Comedy Specialist Roderick Fenske Joins FANCY Content in US
What do English advertising creative stars, Swedish production company owners and American TV audiences have in common? The comedy director Roderick Fenske, who’s just joined the roster at FANCY Content, has made them all laugh. To view his reel, click here. He joins FANCY from Dapper, the comedy division of Believe Media.
Fenske brings an eclectic background to his role as a comedy director, and his unique influences clearly inform his approach to comedy. He’s one of the few American agency creatives to find success in the clubby agency environment of London, where he was a creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day. Previously he held creative posts at St. Luke’s and HHCL in London. He first began directing his own scripts while at St. Luke’s, and continued to direct once at TBWA, shooting for such clients as Sony Playstation and FCUK.
It was Trevor Beattie, then ECD at TBWA and a creative superstar in London, who first urged Fenske to pursue directing full time – and that’s just what he did, signing with the Swedish production company Acne and becoming the first American comedy director on their roster. He later joined Hungry Man, which repped him in both the US and UK, before returning to the States to launch Dapper. Prior to heading overseas, Fenske worked for agencies in San Francisco, where he started his agency career, and in New York, where he worked at Ogilvy and Margeotes Fertitta + Partners.
“Roderick has an amazing creative pedigree,” says FANCY Content Founder and EP Robert Wherry. “From working at some of the top creative shops in both the US and London to shooting for agencies and clients both here and in Europe, it’s a great background for a writer/director like himself to have. And he’s got the work and the awards to show for it, too.” In addition to Cannes Lions, work directed by Fenske has won at such international advertising competitions as D&AD, the One Show, Eurobest and more.
His offbeat approach to comedy combines an emphasis on performance with a finely-honed visual style. “My goal has always been to create comic narratives that have a cinematic feel to them,” Fenske explains. “I think that’s what makes my work have such wide, cross-cultural appeal.”
This touch shows up often in his work. For example, he captured a sense of escapist absurdity surrounding the made-up holiday of “ChinChilli Day” for Las Vegas Tourism and R&R Partners. In this campaign, a Cannes Lion winner, an office worker requests time off to celebrate this cultural occasion, when a village of hardy peasants rose up to defeat a band of armed, marauding chinchillas. Fenske’s raucous recreation of the epic struggle is like “Caddyshack” meets “The Wild Bunch,” celebrated by – what else? – a three day blowout in Vegas.
For EasyJet and the agency VCCP London, a line of travelers in an airport start doing a hilarious version of a German folk dance as they slap their thighs, shins, rumps and chests, looking vainly for their boarding passes. As oompah music swells and the dancing becomes more manic (and synchronized), a savvy EasyJet business traveler sails by with her boarding pass on her smartphone.
On joining FANCY, which represents him for commercials and branded content, Fenske finally gets an opportunity to work closely with Executive Producer Robert Wherry, whom he first met during his agency days in New York. “We clicked back then and always stayed in touch,” says the director. “Robert’s building a great company with a talent roster doing strong creative work. He’s also been a huge evangelist for both my work and my sense of humor, and that’s what I’m looking for now: an experienced EP with a track record of managing directors’ careers, someone who’s super-enthusiastic, knows the marketplace and is going to help me navigate to the next level in terms of comedy.”
In addition to Fenske, FANCY’s directorial lineup that includes Chris Applebaum, Rad-Ish, John Mastromonico, Ed McCulloch, Chris Shimojima, and Paul Laufer.