13 Famous Directors Create Commercials for the Small Screen

You know these famous directors for their work on the big screen, creating feature-length films that run for hours, but what about their work for the small screen that run for mere seconds? Yes, plenty of directors we admire have turned their talents to creating commercials. Some are for beer, come are for humanitarian causes, and a ton are for the latest fragrance. Let’s look at examples from 13 famous directors.

Steven Spielberg

Right after the success of Jurassic Park this now retro ad was equally high tech in 1994. Enlisting the help of Industrial Light & Magic, and John Williams to compose the music, this was one pricey pizza delivery in the name of petroleum.

Wes Anderson
American Express

You know him for The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but Wes Anderson has lent his quirky eye to a number of ads, including this famous example which stars friend Jason Schwartzman and Anderson himself directing a film. How meta.

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Stella Artois

How about two for the price of one? Anderson teamed up with Schwartzman’s cousin and fellow director Roman Coppola to create the ultimate bachelor pad with a twist.

Martin Scorsese
Dolce & Gabbana

He might have directed Taxi Driver but in this one the actors drive themselves. Enlisting Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson, Scorsese directed the long format spot Street of Dreams as the pair drove around New York, reminiscing about Manhattan, love and desire.

Ridley Scott

Scott was already a master of imagining distopian futures when Apple asked him to direct their 1984 Superbowl teaser for the Macintosh. The ad didn’t show the computer, but it did allude to smashing the dominant and boring leader in computing: IBM. The Macintosh and the ad (which only ran once) have gone down in history as game changers.

Spike Jonze

Jonze made you care for a computer in 2013’s Her, but in this 2003 Cannes Grand Prix winner he makes you care for a lamp.

Kathryn Bigelow

Bigelow gave us a unique perspective on war in 2010’s Hurt Locker, a film which won her the Best Director Academy Award–the first for a woman. Here she turns her focus on another war, one against poaching and the role it plays in funding terrorist organizations. Learn more here.

David Lynch
Calvin Klein

Don’t get lost in Benecio Del Toro and Heather Graham’s eyes. One of four commercials for Calvin Klein’s fregrance line, the director of Lost Highway and Blue Velvet created an iconic advertising style in 1988 that has often been imitated… and mocked. The quote you here is from F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

This ad is more than a little different than Birdman and The Revenant, the films which won Iñárritu back-to-back Best Director Oscars (making him the 3rd person in history to do so). This ad shows the incredible diversity in his craft.

David Fincher

The director of Fight Club teams up with Brad Pitt again on Beer Run, as the famous actor deftly avoids hoards of paparazzi on his midnight mission.

Spike Lee

This fantastic retro ad from 1988 features Michael Jordan, with Spike Lee reprising his role as the Michael Jordan-loving Mars Blackmon from his first film She’s Gotta Have It. “It’s gotta be the shoes!”

Ang Lee

Ziyi Zhang stared in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Here they team up again as she fights her way through an exhilarating culinary experience.

Sofia Coppola

As Miss Dior, Natalie Portman dances her way through a series of romantic vignettes. It’s altogether different than the subtle work in Coppola’s Best Director nominated Lost in Translation, but just as delightful.

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