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My Favourite Dante Ariola Commercials

This is another in the globally popular ACES series of featuring commercial film directors that I admire for their dedicated craftsmanship in bringing creative concepts and storylines to filmic life that enthrall viewers, and motivate well-earned accolades from the Advertising Communications industry.

Dante Ariola

Dante grew up in New York City’s West Village, and started his film career directing music videos before becoming a filmmaker and director of commercials.

He is best known for his visual storytelling artistry that has won him numerous international awards and film industry accolades.

1. Hyundai, Next Awaits

Advertising Agency: Innocean Worldwide, Berlin, Germany

Dante Ariola directed the ‘Next Awaits’ commercial that spearheaded the launch across Europe to position Hyundai as more than merely a value for money automotive brand.

Because of their hugely successful car market penetration, the South Korean automotive manufacturer has been reticent in the past to change tack and talk about their historical engineering successes over 50 years that includes the building of much of South Korea’s transportation infrastructure.

Automotive purchase decisions however, are influenced by both rational and intuitive consumer brand preferences. Going forward, Hyundai have recognised the importance of engendering a value adding brand affinity of both purchase influences in their advertising communication.

2. Johnnie Walker, The Android

Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London, UK

This multi-award winning commercial, directed by Dante Ariola with special effects from The Mill studio, about an android speaking about being human, motivated numerous discussion papers in the early 2000’s.

Summed up by the line “I have perfect sight, you have vision”, academics and communication specialists debated and analyzed the commercial’s prognostic take on androids and artificial intelligence.

Sir John Hegarty has described the ‘Android Storyteller’ as one of his agency’s most intelligent creations.

On the Johnnie Walker ‘Keep Walking’ theme, the general consensus was that the strength of the message lies in the fact that it reflects the feelings, values, opinions and perceptions of success of its viewing audience.

“The campaign is selling us something else besides consumer goods. It is selling us ourselves”.

3. Michelob Ultra, Robots

Advertising Agency: FCB, Chicago, USA

Dante Ariola found himself directing another commercial featuring androids. This time for Michelob Ultra’s advertising slot during the live broadcast of the 2019 American Super Bowl football championship.

To the delight of many viewers, the highly popular Colombian singer Malluma, appears in a cameo at the end of the commercial.

4. Jim Beam, Parallels

Advertising Agency: StrawberryFrog, New York USA

Superbly directed by Dante Ariola, the ‘Bold Choice’ campaign commercial stars the Oscar winning American actor Willem Dafoe.

The ‘voice-over’ narration is also by Dafoe and he reminds us that in life there is really only one choice; “All choices lead you somewhere. Only a bold choice takes you where you’re supposed to be”

‘Bold Choice’ won a Cinematography Yellow Pencil at the D&AD Awards and Cinematography Gold at the International ANDY Awards.

The American Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) honoured the commercial with three awards, Direction, Visual Style and Cinematography.

5. Mercedes-Benz CLA, Soul

Advertising Agency: Merkley & Partners, New York, USA

Dante Ariola directed this compelling commercial featuring Willem Dafoe as ‘The Devil’ trying to entice a young man to give up his soul in exchange for a Mercedes CLA, with the promise of an accompanying high-rolling lifestyle with the likes of Kate Upton and Usher.

Dafoe’s target victim is sorely tempted at first, but ultimately declines the offer when he decides that the CLA is so affordable, he can acquire one without having to sacrificing his moral integrity.

6. BMW X7, Make Every Day Legendary

Advertising Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, USA

The BMW seven-seat X7 launch commercial involves a larger-than life story about the legend of Ol’ McLanden, based on an epic poem, and narrated by Chris Pine.

The ‘Make Every Day Legendary’ promise is brought to life by Dante Arioal’s visually compelling direction of the legendary characters that drive the narrative and the allegorical obstacles they present.

7. General Electric, Childlike Imagination

Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA

The General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate actively involved in aviation, renewable energy, healthcare and many other manufacturing, financing and IT industry segments.

The question in the minds of consumers that often confronts conglomerates like GE however is; what exactly is it that they do to my benefit to warrant my attention?

GE’s answer in this superbly directed corporate commercial by Dan Ariola. ‘Childlike Imagination’ is an allegorical vision of the company’s aim to improve the quality of life for societies across the world with technological innovation.

Ideas that are so innovative, they may seem as if they could only have been inspired by the imaginative mind of a child.

8. Audi A6, The Drones

Advertising Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, USA

Starring menacing drones, Dante Ariola skillfully directed this fun parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror movie ‘The Birds’ about a series of sudden, unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California.

There’s an amusing tongue-in-cheek scene of the Audi driver telling Google Search to direct him to Bodega Bay.

Elias Arts created the music and song featured in the soundtrack.

9. Nissan, Gas Powered Everything

Advertising Agency: TBWA Chiat Day, Los Angeles. USA

Directed by Dante Ariola, the commercial entertainingly includes a ‘cheeky’ dig at Chevrolet.

It shows a driver fueling up a first generation Chevrolet Volt, plug-in hybrid, that after travelling a mere 50 miles, required its internal combustion engine to be aided by recharging an electric generator to extend the vehicle’s