6. Sofia Coppola (Dior)
If there’s one thing Sofia Coppola does well, it’s using scenery to set the mood just right, whether it’s the big-city melancholy of Lost In Translation or the lush youthful excess of Marie Antoinette. Her elegant, oh-so-European ad for Dior’s Cherie fragrance pulls out all the stops—the vintage color palette, Parisian backdrops and use of Brigitte Bardot will have anyone watching the spot dreaming of the City of Lights.
7. David Lynch (Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, PlayStation, Nissan)
The Twin Peaks creator and master of All Things Creepy has been bringing his distinctive style to the ad world for years, beginning with his stunning black and white ad series for Calvin Klein’s “Obsession.” His slick, futuristic 2002 spot for the Nissan Micra, in which disembodied female lips creepy-seductively utter made-up portmanteaus as the car rolls through a shiny Parisian backdrop, has some echoes of Mullholland Drive. NO. HAY. BANDA.
Did we mention that Lynch also shot a series of Clearblue home pregnancy test commercials for Ogilvy & Mather in 1997? Well, that happened. At least the brief spots didn’t involve that creepy pterodactyl-goat-demon-baby-thing from Eraserhead. That’s enough to make anyone fear, well, pretty much anything, including pregnancy tests.
8. Wong Kar-Wai (Lacoste, Motorola, Phillips, Takeo Kikuchi)
Much like his films (Chungking Express, 2046) Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai’s forays into advertising took a while to reach Western audiences at large, until his dynamic short as part of BMW’s 2001 “The Hire” campaign aired online (see below for more info on “The Hire”). But his penchant for playing with unique lighting and taking to filmmaking like a fine-art photographer give his ads an uber-cool effect.
9. David Fincher (Levi’s, Heineken, American Cancer Society, Coca-Cola)
Fincher brings the same gritty, urban feel of flicks like Fight Club and Se7en to dynamic, chase scene-heavy spots for Coca-Cola, Levi’s and others. He even brought longtime muse Brad Pitt along for the ride in this flashy Heineken spot:
But Fincher’s most high-impact ad is also his least action-packed. The director, who has a keen eye for that one go-for-the-jugular image (“WHAT’S IN THE BOX?”), dropped jaws with the depiction of a cigarette-wielding fetus in an ‘80s anti-smoking ad for the American Cancer Society. In other news, we’re pretty sure Fincher used the same creepy fetus-bot from the ACS ad in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
10. The Directing Team Behind “The Hire”
“The Hire” was kind of like Paris, Je T’aime, if Paris Je T’aime were about luxury cars and involved guns, drag races and Clive Owen. In 2001, BMW broke ground in the world of advertising for the web when it recruited a crack team of directors including Guy Ritchie, Tony Scott, John Woo and Ang Lee to each helm a short film for an online miniseries to sell their cars. The results are mini-doses of popcorn-movie fun, especially Scott’s Beat The Devil, which features entertaining cameos from Gary Oldman and the late, great James Brown.