The commercial world is evolving into realms we’ve never imagined. Less often will we be forced to sit through the sugary visuals and schizophrenic direction marketing teams try to lure the “general” audience in with. Instead, filmmakers are being given more slack on the proverbial rope to try their own artistic visions. In this Top 5 Shakedown, we’ll be focusing on some of the best commercial filmmakers that I could find on Vimeo. These filmmakers showcase a flawless combination of technical prowess and creative intuition that could be in the running for the best visual works happening now.
NIKE | FOOTLOCKER “AFTER THE BITE”
Directed by Matthew Dillon Cohen
Cinematography by Albert Salas
NIKE has made an unshakable reputation for its energizing and in-your-face marketing material. For me, this commercial takes it to a whole new level by adding in a performance with MANY moving parts. The director, Matthew Dillon Cohen is a prime example of a filmmaker who is able to stand out in a loud marketplace. You can hear the atmosphere before you see it, which adds another dimension. The light sizzles and triggers multiple senses at once. The further we progress in motion capture, the more exciting it’s going to be to witness boundaries being crossed and rules being smashed. “After the Bite” brilliantly blends vintage with modern technique to formulate a raw yet furbished experience. It’s refreshing to see how music is worked into the advertisement, while seamlessly working the product in without making it seem forced.
C41 x ADIDAS – WAITING FOR THE WEEKEND
Directed by Luca A. Caizzi
Cinematography by Alessandro Ubaldi
From the moment I pressed the play button, I was hooked. The look, the sound, the dialogue, the effects… it’s hypnotic, challenging, and invites you into the world of these characters. “Waiting for the Weekend” masterfully weaves from one character to the next and it never feels jarring or unnecessary. It’s a masterclass in editing and understanding how to flesh out a message in minutes, not hours. We can all stand to take a note from that characteristic alone. There is not one bad frame in the whole piece. Seriously, prove me wrong. You can tell that the director, Luca Caizzi, knows exactly what he wants and doesn’t want. It plays more as a documentary than a commercial but still serves the same purpose. It’s an impressive piece by Luca A. Caizzi and Alessandro Ubaldi. Bravo.
Directed by Daniel Wolfe
Cinematography by Chayse Irvin
This piece takes the cake for imagination and execution. Director Daniel Wolfe understands the importance of product placement and showcasing the power of the brand, but not diluting it with a run-of-the-mill commercial spot. He understands the audience that this product caters to, it poses the simple question of “What if?” Well what if this ex-basketball player would have had this back in his day, would things have been different? It’s the type of thing that everyone does on a daily basis – reflecting back to what could have been. The decisions made in this piece showcase the ability to make something memorable for years to come.
STIEGLITZ SS18 “MOROCCO” COLLECTION
Cinematography by Douwe Hennink
When it comes to fashion pieces, “Morroco” exudes everything that I have come to love about the medium. This mashup of images and sounds makes you wonder if you’re having a fever dream or a surge of memories that makes you question your reality. It’s fun, in your face, and quirky. I’m sick of seeing high-class, over-cranked spots that Dior and Louis Vuitton love to push like its the next best thing when it’s really yesterday’s news. This has something tangible for the audience whether you can afford the clothing or not. It’s rough around the edges and I really like that. Sometimes as filmmakers we get caught up in the perfection of the craft to the point where it becomes stale and boring. This is a good example of letting stuff happen. Observe and experience. I look forward to watching Nick Harmsen & Douwe Hennink through their careers.
BILLBOARD | OVERDOSE
Directed by Pantera
Cinematography by Adolpho Veloso
Whether it’s short or long-form content, your goal should be to setup an environment for the talent to shine. Pantera and Adolpho Veloso created the perfect, or excruciatingly sobering world for this story to unfold. This is how you get the audience’s attention. We must sit and witness a painful scene as each second becomes more futile than the last. I remember the first time I watched “Overdose.” I was shook to the core. Never have I seen something so visceral in a spot that is for… Billboard? Wow. Like I was saying, this piece lets the talent rise to the occasion and deliver what could be their best collective performance to date. The right decisions were made in the casting process. Cudos to the team behind this commercial to pull off something so unnerving and real that stays with you long after watching.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s shakedown! If you liked our picks for the week, or have some of your own, let us know down in the comment section below. Or, just keep liking and subscribing as we continue on our journey to sift through the best of the best right now on Vimeo. And hopefully you can walk away from this segment with the thought that commercials can transcend the typical and can offer artistic insight that can rival all art forms.