The Next Wave: Alain Gourrier, Bruce Dowad & Associates

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French director Alain Gourrier joined Bruce Dowad two years ago, and since then he has channeled into his work the amazing breadth of his creative influences. As a boy in Provence he spent time with his grandfather, a photographer and sculptor who hung with Picasso at the outset of Cubism. He went on to study architecture and film, and then moved to the states where he did postproduction for visual vets like Peter Smillie, Erick Ifergan and Gore Verbinski. His surrealistic reel features spots in which a woman "picks up" water, for Kenzo and birds skim across a tabletop's aqueous surface for Boeing; and a stunner for Timotei shampoo that gives a new meaning to "bad hair day," when an aerial shot of snakelike, traffic-congested highways turns into a woman's gnarly 'do. "A spot should open your mind, not close it," he proposes. "I realize that mixing up things, making up your own world is something that you do everyday in your sleep. There must be some connection between that and your awake life. I think it's in this free association of things that you can reach the heart of people. " As fuzzy as it may sound, there's a rock solid strategy behind his thinking. "Clients want to raise the bar for the brand. You can do that with an enigmatic visual style because it makes people really want to ponder the brand name and naturally have a sense of respect toward the brand. Respect in marketing is very difficult to obtain."
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