It's an open secret that many famous Hollywood actors have appeared in foreign commercials they probably wouldn't want shown in the States, but just as many directors have done their time in the lucrative world of advertising, either at the beginning of their careers, or after they were famous. Take this video quiz from Fandor Keyframe and see how many you can guess, then check out some more commercials made by A-list directors.
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola have teamed up to make ads for Prada (they're more like short films, though), and Steve McQueen (the director, not the movie star) has done work for Burberry, but here's some other commercials from famous directors that might surprise you:
Ridley Scott-"1984", Apple Macintosh
Blade Runner director Ridley Scott helmed this iconic Superbowl ad, considered to be one of the most important commercials ever made. Here's a clip of him talking about the making of the commercial:
Spike Jonze, "Lamp", IKEA
Adaptation and Being John Malkovich helmer Spike Jonze directed this ad for IKEA, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2003.
Spike Lee, Nike
Another Spike (Lee) appeared as the character Mars Blackmon from his breakthrough film She's Gotta Have It, teaming up with Michael Jordan to make a series of ads for Nike in the late 80s and early 90s.
Wes Anderson, "My Life, My Card", American Express
David Fincher, "Smoking Fetus" PSA, American Cancer Society
Fincher, one of the biggest names in Hollywood, director of hits like Se7en and Gone Girl, came to prominence with this iconic 1984 Public Service Announcement for the American Cancer Society, though he did a great deal of commercial work at the start of his career. But it's the following 30 seconds that arguably made his career.
Say what you will about the intersection of art and commerce, It's fascinating to see how directors translate their unique styles from the big screen to the small one, and how even in the anonymous world of advertising, it's still possible to pick out their trademark stylistic essence in these ads. And if you're inspired to break into commercial directing yourself, check out these tips from a veteran producer.