When Tony Scott graduated from art school his first inclination was to enter the world of documentary film-making. He was quickly dissuaded from the notion by older brother Ridley who had opened the advertising agency Ridley Scott Associates. Ridley told his car loving younger brother:
“Come work with me and within a year you’ll have a Ferrari”.
It was a prediction that would be realized.
From commercial work Tony Scott went on to direct such action blockbusters as “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills Cop 2”. In the process he cemented his reputation as a one of Hollywood’s A-List directors.
Tony Scott’s brash, energetic and flashy directorial style perfectly suited the action films that he is best known for, but also worked very well for advertising products ranging from BMW’s to banking services. Take a look at some of the best of Tony Scott’s commercial work below:
SAAB – Nothing on Earth Comes Close – 1983
This ad for SAAB prefigures the film that Scott would be most famous for “Top Gun”. Scott relates the experience of owning a SAAB to that of flying a Viggen Fighter Plane. The advertisement feature as it’s protagonist a square jawed, aviator wearing Tom Cruise look alike. While the ad can look a little comical at times to a modern audience, Scott does an excellent job of convincing the audience of the strength and durability of a SAAB. The ad includes some very clever match-cuts and of course a stirring Top Gun style soundtrack.
Barclay’s – Big – 2000
Tony Scott could be declaring his personal motto when he has Sir Anthony Hopkins say “Clinching the big deal, nobody wants to clinch the little deal, who wants to do that?” This commercial titled “Big” for Barclay’s Bank features a direct to camera monologue by Hopkins as he expounds on why we love the idea of “Big”. The casting of Hopkins is perfect as he delivers a speech with a sense of gravitas which leaves you thinking that he just might be right. The advertisement concludes with Hopkins stating that when he his negotiating his film fee it needs to be… big. No doubt, similar to the “big cheque” that Hopkins was paid for doing this bank commercial. Regardless, the glossy look of the video and Scott’s assured directorial style are perfectly suited to the ethos of this commercial.
Marlboro – One Man, One Land – 2003
This 2003 ad for Marlboro “One Man, One Land” is reminiscent of one of Tony Scott’s best known films “Days of Thunder”. The ad is set at on a Formula 1 racetrack. As with “Days of Thunder” Scott’s high-octane film-making style is perfect for capturing the energy of race day. At the same time Formula 1 sponsor Marlboro has the opportunity to frequently display their logo through-out the ad.
BMW – Beat The Devil – 2002
Tony Scott leaves nothing on the table for this 10 minute mini film advertisement featuring Clive Owen, Gary Oldman and James Brown. The story explains how James Brown sold his soul to the devil for fame and fortune and wishing to remedy this hires Clive Owen to be his driver. Gary Oldman plays the devil and finds a way to bring Owen over to the dark side. “Beat the Devil” has the same frantic editing style with extremely frequent cuts that Scott used on “Man on Fire” and “The Taking of Pelham 123”.
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