Top 10 Commercials Directed By Famous Directors
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Niki Neptune.
Feature films are not the only place where directors can shine. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Commercials Directed by Famous Directors. For this list, we're looking at remarkable commercials directed by some pretty remarkable people.
Special thanks to our user Jacob Koopmann for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Niki Neptune
Top 10 Commercials Directed By Famous Directors
Feature films are not the only place where directors can shine. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Commercials Directed by Famous Directors.
For this list, we’re looking at remarkable commercials directed by some pretty remarkable people. While they may not be the two-hour-long productions these directors have grown accustomed to, what these short films lack in length, they more than make up for in style. To note: the commercials on our list must have appeared on TV at some point somewhere in the world, even if they may have been shown before or after in theaters, online or other media.
#10: “Smarienberg” for Smirnoff Vodka
This highly stylized commercial may be just over a minute long, but it still packs a wallop. Directed by Academy-Award winning French director Michel Gondry, the late ‘90s ad manages to cram in a thrilling escape, a fight scene, a love affair, and product placement without skipping a beat. With the scene transitions occurring through the Smirnoff vodka bottle that’s being promoted, we’re reminded that this isn’t just some wacky art house short - it’s still a commercial, albeit a captivating one. We might not know the full extent of the story, but we don’t have to. It could all just be one long, vodka-induced hallucination.
#9: Victoria’s Secret
Known for his over-the-top action sequences, outrageous explosions, and bloated film budgets, director Michael Bay also took his flair for the excessive into the world of women’s lingerie in the new millennium. While it’s difficult for most to complain about beautiful, half-naked women perched atop pool tables and motorcycles, it’s also exceedingly easy to forget that this is supposed to be a commercial for women’s underwear. Bay’s penchant for quick cuts and slow, panning shots is appreciated here since it articulates the movements of the subjects on screen. Plus, the explosions and slow-motion help us appreciate the fire-resistant nature of the garments being advertised in this commercial for Victoria Secret. That’s why the lingerie brand is so popular, right – it can withstand explosions?
#8: “Surfer” for Guinness
If you didn’t know that this was a commercial for beer at the start, then you probably wouldn’t have come to that realization from watching the whole thing either - at least not until the end. Best known for his directorial feature film debut, 2000’s “Sexy Beast”, this British director is no stranger to the small screen or to short films. And in this black and white commercial for Guinness, Glazer manages to evoke more intensity and emotion than one would expect in an advertisement for a dry stout. Between the water, the weathered surfers, and the wild horses that crest the waves, there’s a lot to take in. It culminates in a shot of the beverage that leaves you wanting more of both the beer and the story.
#7: “No. 5 the Film” for Chanel No. 5
As a brand, Chanel has almost always appealed to the feminine mystique. And in this 2004 spot featuring Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro, no expense was spared in exploring this. If the commercial strikes a notable resemblance to 2004’s “Moulin Rouge!”, that’s probably because Luhrmann also directed the feature film... that also stars Nicole Kidman. The Chanel No. 5 commercial is chock full of roof escapes and longing, wistful looks between lovers who for whatever reason can’t be together. At a full two minutes, it is a feast for the eyes, although it’s supposed to be a perfume advertisement. In fact, you don’t even see the perfume itself anywhere in the commercial, but you can imagine that the characters on screen are bathed in it.
#6: “Pardon Our Dust” for Gap
This Oscar-nominated director has some heavy-hitters under his belt, so his foray into the world of commercials might have come as some surprise following his smash hit “Being John Malkovich”. Even his Ikea commercial was surprisingly poignant and hilarious. But it’s his ever-present quirky and whimsical directorial style in this commercial for the Gap that makes our list. Ostensibly about the company’s remodelling efforts, the ad starts out with someone knocking down a pile of shirts, which kick starts the chaos and destruction, including someone else snapping a hanger, the tackling of mannequins and so on. Before you know it, a woman is crashing into the entry doors with her van and everything from there on in reminds us why we like Spike Jonze so much.
#5: “La vie en rose” for Christian Dior’s Miss Dior
Ethereal and romantic, Sofia Coppola’s 2013 commercial for Christian Dior’s “Miss Dior” perfume line is everything we’ve come to adore about the acclaimed director. Making a name for herself with films such as “The Virgin Suicides” and “Lost in Translation”, this Oscar-winning director lends her directing talents to create this intimate and visually lavish advertisement starring Natalie Portman. With the commercial centered on her moments with her handsome beau, we’re given a glimpse into their indulgent lives and their sweet love affair. Traipsing through fountains in formalwear and luxuriating in a wall of flowers, the ad truly does look like “La Vie en Rose”.
#4: David Beckham Bodywear for H&M
In this Guy Ritchie spot for H&M, there are decidedly fewer shootouts and less violence than we’ve come to expect from the acclaimed UK director, but there’s still the humor and the wink. The ad stars everyone’s favorite footballer, David Beckham. And thanks to his underwear line with H&M, we’re treated to nearly two minutes of him sprinting, leaping, lunging, and swimming after a robe trapped in a car door. All in his skivvies. No complaints there. And with the wide camera angles and colorful characters, we’re still aware that we’re watching a Guy Ritchie original, even if we’re a bit distracted by the raw athleticism on display.
#3: “The Third Place” for PlayStation 2
Odd, surreal, and sometimes confusing, David Lynch’s directorial style can be considered anything but expected. That’s probably why it was such a surprise when the “Mulholland Drive” director teamed up with video game bigwig, PlayStation, for this 2000 commercial spot. Shot in black and white, it’s more of an experience than an ad, with surrealist visuals, flying faces, and even a “duck” that’s talking about something other than health insurance. It’s definitely a strange commercial, but also pretty interesting and still has us wanting to find out what’s going on with PlayStation and “the third place”, even over a decade later.
#2: “Street of Dreams” for Dolce & Gabbana’s The One
This advertisement for D&G’s fragrance “The One” feels entirely like a scene from a movie we’d like to keep watching, much like Scorsese’s Bleu de Chanel commercial. Starring the perpetually attractive Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey, this quietly romantic, if not slightly nostalgic, TV commercial brings together years of Scorsese’s expertise. The couple winds through the streets of New York in an Alfa Romeo as they flirt and trade pleasantries. The black and white footage is paired wonderfully with the ad’s vintage aesthetics, as well as Scorsese’s signature directorial style. It’s quaint and simple and lovely and the actual product being advertised is nowhere to be seen.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Leave Nothing” for Nike
- “Budweiser Frogs” for Budweiser
- Clearblue Easy One Minute Home Pregnancy Test
- Resident Evil 2
- “Tied Up at the Office” for Agent Provocateur
- Renault 18
#1: “1984” for Apple Macintosh
This early ‘80s spot from Apple capitalized on the year to make a timely reference to one of pop-culture’s most misappropriated literary works. Directed by celebrated director, Ridley Scott, this heavy-handed nod to the George Orwell novel was produced after he already had “Alien” and “Blade Runner” under his belt. Set in a mostly monochromatic, dystopian future full of shaved heads and towering mega screens, the ad then sees a blonde athlete arrive to fling a slingshot into a digital talking head. She represents the revolution that is the Apple brand - and if the company’s long standing success is any indication, then this commercial wasn’t that far off the mark.
Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite commercial directed by a famous director? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.