I’ve never really taught about commercials. I always considered them not part of the film industry, somehow different, somehow apart. That’s been a fairly silly mistake on my behalf. Commercials can be an excellent stepping stone in the career of a filmmaker. A successful advert can incite the confidence of financiers or glean the lucrative attention of a production company. Many well-known directors have used commercials to advance their careers…and keep the wolves from the door! In fact some directors make commercials throughout the span of their careers.
In my curiously I’ve had a look around the internet; here are my top five.
1. Wes Andeson
In 2008, Anderson teamed up with Brad Pitt to make a commercial for the Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank. Inspired by Jacques Tati’s Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday), Anderson sets the Japanese commercial in a French seaside town and uses one continuous shot to capture Pitt as a bumbling tourist. The advert is infused with Anderson’s notorious style.
2. Spike Jones
Spike Jonze is the patron auteur of irreverent chaos, so it makes total sense that he’d direct this wild Gap commercial. Jonze captures this full-scale store revolt of Jackassian proportions with his trademark cinema vérité.
3. David Lynch
I find this one bizarre. It has to be the weirdest pairing of product and auteur director…ever! The director has made his fair share of Lynchian commercials. Maybe he did this one for the money? Maybe he really loves pregnancy tests? I’ll leave that to you.
4. Ridley Scott
I really love this one. While I wasn’t around for its TV broadcast it is one of the most American commercials of all time. Its 1984-influenced commercial opus was not only the start of a new era of personal computing with Apple’s first Macintosh computer, but it also pushed the creative boundaries for TV ads farther than they’d ever been before. It’s fairly clever stuff.
5. Baz Lurhman
Chanel No.5 is the scent of decadence, and who better to portray that than Baz Lurhman? Based on the William Wyler film Roman Holiday, the 3-minute commercial was lush, flamboyant… oh and expensive!The commercial was so extravagant that it’s considered one of most expensive commercials of all time with an estimated budget of $33 million. Nicole Kidman received $3 million for appearing in the ad alone. Not a bad day’s work!