For most people Michel Gondry is best known for directing “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. However, Gondry has worn a lot of different hats over his career including art school student, drummer in pop-rock band Oui-Oui, music video director and yes, advertising maven.
Gondry’s video career began when he directed the music video for Bjork’s first solo release “Human Behavior”. The success of that video led to more and bigger budget videos for the Icelandic singer-songwriter, as well as commercials for other artists including Massive Attack. His unique, other-worldy visual style also attracted commercial advertisers including Coca Cola, Adidas, Air France and Gap.
Along the way Gondry has pioneered a number of cinematographic techniques. Among these is the use of morphing he first implemented in the IAM (Je danse le Mia) and using multiple cameras around a central figure at the same time.
As the list of brands that Gondry has worked for attests his advertising career has been extremely successful. Notably, his 1994 “Drugstore” for Levi Jeans achieved a record for the most awards for a TV commercial.
Motorola – Razr2 – 2007
Gondry in this ad shows how the Motorola Razr2 fits into your everyday activity whether it is media, entertainment or photography. He depicts the many uses of the phone as the scenes change with the main character doing different tasks in each scene.
Smirnoff – Smarienberg – 1997
This ad transitions from scene to scene in a very smooth and liquid manner. We see here that Gondry plays on two of the characters of Smirnoff it being a smooth liquid. Set to upbeat music, this ad is very visually dazzling with the ad playing out like a high action movie where the damsel in distress is saved in the end as well as the Smirnoff.
Levi’s – Drugstore – 2006
Michel Gondry does this commercial in a classic style. It is set in a retro like black and white movie and features a young man going to the local drug or grocery store to purchase condoms. He stores the condoms in the watch pocket of his jeans and then later visits the house of a young lady who turns out to be the daughter of the store owner. The ad depicts the fact that Levi jeans have been leaders in innovation in clothes since 1873.
HP – Michel Gondry Eternal Dreamer – 2007
This ad interestingly features Gondry himself as he speaks about how he uses his HP personal computer. The ad speaks about the processor inside and displays how the technology provides the ability for him to multi task using a lot of processor speed without affecting productivity. Gondry emphasizes how he even used his HP for the music that accompanies this said ad. The imagery and effects used in the ad are very catch and keep the viewer engaged throughout the entire ad.
Air France – Le Passage – 1999
This ad is set to smooth and slow music and features an airline flying in the sky. In each scene the airline pass people from different walks of life each performing an activity that mimics or sets a path for the sight of the passing airplane. The action in the ad follows the title of the ad as we see the flight passing various locations throughout the day.
BMW – Pure Drive – 2008
Gondry makes this ad simple yet highly effective. It features the BMW 3 series being driven at night and shows you the car throughout the ad as it drives down the road. The ad is set to up tempo techno music and the only narration comes toward the end where a female voices notes “every car as its moment but this one has thousands per second….” The ad depicts this in the video as they show they car at multiple intervals as it drives down the road.
Heineken – Debut – 2008
This ad doubles as an ad for Heineken as well as for the James Bond thriller/action movie “Quantum of Solace”. It features Bond himself and his leading lady and features music from the soundtrack of the Bond movies. The music alone makes the commercial highly relatable and highly attractive. It engages the viewer from beginning to end.
Coco Cola – Snowboarder – 2012
This Coco Cola ad is set out in the snow and features a gathering of people watching a snowboarder perform. The ad is set in slow motion to show the reaction of the group as well as the opening of a can of Coco Cola and the way the liquid squirts out of the can as well as the way the snowboarder moves through the air and how the snow that is kicked up due to his performance.