Guess the Big-Name Directors Behind These Commercials
Features director Ridley Scott famously delivered one of advertising and pop culture's finest moments with his dark Orwellian treatment to Apple computers in the "1984" Super Bowl commercial. That might be the best-known example of a big-time director lending his name to advertising. But he's just one of many well-respected names who have straddled the world of commercials and cinema throughout their careers.
More recently, Sonny London and MJZ director Fredrik Bond, the man behind numerous notable spots, including Heineken's "The Entrance," graduated to the big screen. In November, he makes his features debut with the wide release of the film "Charlie Countryman," an off-kilter love story starring Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel wood.
What other big names are lurking behind the spots? Perhaps more than you realize. So we present this pop quiz to test your directors IQ. See how many bonafide feature talents you can assign to the 15 spots below.
Mouse and click over the blanked out copy following each ad (as if you were highlighting the text) to see the answers.
1) Known for his interesting characters and offbeat storylines this director has earned double Oscar nominations. Following his latest earlier this year, he dug into some good old KFC, sans the bones, on this commercial.
1) Answer: David O. Russell, repped out of Wondros for commercials. His features include "Silver Linings Playbook," "The Fighter," "Three Kings" and the upcoming "American Hustle."
2) This talent actually appeared as an actor in one of director #1's films. But that was just a sidenote to his own highly respected body of work in filmmaking. The Oscar-nominated helmsman continues to keep his finger in all sorts of creative pies, from films to music videos to online content and street gear. This is what it looks like when he directs a commercial for the Gap, via Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
2) Answer: Spike Jonze, MJZ. Director of "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Being John Malkovich."
3) This director's blockbuster films of heroic proportions pose a marked contrast to the emotional reverence of his moving 2010 Superbowl spot in which the Budweiser horses pay tribute to the fallen heroes of 9/11.
3) Answer: Zack Snyder, Believe Media. Features include "Man of Steel," "Watchmen" and 300.
4) The fantastical elements of this fast-paced 2002 Nike spot will give you a clue to the identity of its director, who has been behind a number of wildly imaginative fantasy and sci-fi flicks as well as one of the film world's all-time comedy cult classics.
4) Answer: Terry Gilliam, @radical.media. Feature films include "Time Bandits,""Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,""Twelve Monkeys,""Brazil" and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
5) This multiple Oscar-nominated director has a passion for the technology-driven aspects of filmmaking. That's why he decided to help popcorn brand Orville Redenbacher reincarnate its namesake in 2007, with the help of some high-end special effects. He went on to apply the lessons from that job to one of his features.
5) Answer: David Fincher, Reset Content. Features include "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Social Network," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Zodiac."
6) Given his name, he could easily be mistaken for a famous political speechwriter, but this man has helmed some of Hollywood's most popular blockbusters. During this year's Super Bowl, he brought his comedic chops to bear on a celebrity-studded Samsung spot, but before that, he delivered some high-octane thrills to this commercial for Wrigleys.
6) Answer: Jon Favreau, Pacific Rim Films. Features include "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Elf."
7) A colorful palette, insanely intricate sets and quirky characters are the signature of this talented director -- whether he's on a feature or on a commercial project. Here's one ad he directed for Hyundai.
7) Answer: Wes Anderson, The Directors Bureau. Films include "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Royal Tennenbaums," "Rushmore," "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou."
8) We suspect that inside this director's head is a wonderland full of the zany, unadulterated ideas typically you'd expect to come from a child, given the incredible worlds he creates. That POV was evident in this bizarre 2003 ad he directed for Levi's, out of BBH London.
8) Answer: Michel Gondry, Partizan. Director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind, Rewind, Mood Indigo, The Green Hornet
9) This director isn't exactly a household name, but he won hearts on the indie and foodie circuits with this moving film celebrating one of Japan's national treasures -- a sushi chef. In the commercials world, he applied his food skills to this recent ad for Papa Murphy's.
9) Answer: David Gelb, Nonfiction Limited, director of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," and upcoming Lionsgate horror film "Reawakening"
10) This filmmaker has carried on her family's legacy of standout cinema with a number of notable films. Here's a commercial she directed for H&M's special collection with Marni.
10) Answer: Sofia Coppola, The Directors Bureau. Features include "The Bling Ring," "Marie Antoinette," "Lost in
11) This director's work has helped earn Oscar nominations and nods for top talents like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener. Here, he applies his emotive storytelling to this autobiographical tale of Diane Von Furstenberg, for Amex.
11) Answer: Bennett Miller, Smuggler, director of "Capote"" and "Moneyball"
12) Perhaps the biggest name to appear before this director's lens was Clint Eastwood, for Wieden + Kennedy's Super Bowl spot for Chrysler. In features, he's known for his poetic, coming-of-age stories and, more recently, his laugh-out-loud, weed-tinged tales.
12) Answer: David Gordon Green, Chelsea Pictures, director of "Your Highness," "Pineapple Express," "All the Real Girls"
13) Big hint: She was the first woman to win an Oscar for best director, on a celebrated war film, just one of the many tense thrillers she has steered (which also include one goofy surf-themed cult classic) On commercials, she added a bit of whimsy to the mix, with this Hummer spot.
13) Answer: Kathryn Bigelow, RSA. Director of "The Hurt Locker," "Zero Dark Thirty," "K-19 The Widowmaker," "Point Break."
14) This director has delivered a string of indie and popular hits. He's currently generating big buzz for his terrifying sci-fi fim starring two A-list talents. Back in 2002, he was behind the camera on this colorful reimagining of Hans Christian Anderson's fable "The Emperor's New Clothes," for PBS via Fallon , Minneapolis.
14) Answer: Alfonso Cuaron, Anonymous Content. Features include "Gravity," "Children of Men," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Y Tu Mama Tambien."
15) This director's effects savvy was palpable early on in one of his very first commercials, for Nike, featuring a futuristic crab creature. He later applied his talents to critically-acclaimed sci-fi thrillers.
15) Answer: Neill Blomkamp, RSA, director of "Elysium" and "District 9"