Remembering the great Keith Rose

2 October 2018

The advertising production community has been plunged into shock and grief today following the news of the untimely death of acclaimed commercial director and DOP, Keith Rose.

Rose’s commitment to creative excellence, to sharing his tremendous talents and to pushing the boundaries of commercial filmmaking to their limits made him one of South Africa’s most formidable directors and his career, which spanned over 4 decades, was celebrated both in South Africa and abroad.  Shots Magazine selected Rose as one of the “100 Advertising People of all Time” while Campaign Magazine identified him as among the top 5 directors globally.

In addition to being an icon in the industry, Rose’s work often captured the imagination of the public who delighted in the commercials he directed, many of which are now part of advertising folklore.  Who can forget the elephants crossing the dessert to “He aint heavy” for IBM or the little white mouse running on the steering wheel of a BMW which saw Rose inducted into the Clio TV Hall of Fame?

While Rose was part of a prolific group of South African directors who put South African advertising on the international map in the 80’s and 90’s, his career did not end there.  Instead he continued to be a creative force in the industry until very recently and he never lost his unique gift and passion for making great advertising.

In addition to being a remarkable and talented director and cinematographer, Rose was also known for giving generously of his time and for mentoring a new generation of directors and producers who accredit much of their success to working with and learning from him.  He was a hard taskmaster but also a good guy with a big heart.

Rose’s most enduring legacy will be that it was he who pushed our industry, and everyone in it, to do more and be more than they thought possible.  He was a driving force who others saw as an example who they sought to emulate and he changed the way commercials are made in South Africa.  His longevity and relevance transgressed generations and will live on through those he inspired.

As we pay tribute to Keith Rose, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his friends and to our industry, which is feeling the weight of a great loss today.

RIP Keith – we will miss you.

To see Industry tributes, please click here

To visit the website set up in Keith’s memory, please click here

Showreel from Loeries 2014 where Keith was inducted into the Loeries Hall of Fame