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My Favourite Dougal Wilson Commercials

This is another in the 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.

Dougal Wilson

The British filmmaker and director, after studying astrophysics at Durham University, worked as a Copywriter at Leith Advertising in Edinburgh before successfully turning his hand to directing music videos and many noteworthy commercials.

1. Stella Artois, The Race

Advertising Agency: Lowe, London, UK

This ‘Do it for Papa’ story about two brothers in a vintage cycle race was directed by Dougal Wilson and filmed on the island of Majorca known in Spanish as Mallorca.

The painstaking attention to detail of the props and cycling gear of that time adds an enchanting feeling of authenticity that makes for rewarding viewing.

2. Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Barbers

Production Company: Furlined, USA

This charming story about a small barber shop in New Orleans and the iPhone Plus 7’s camera Portrait Mode, was Directed by Dougal Wilson.

The soundtrack features William Onyeabor’s ‘Fantastic Man’.

The commercial received an Art Directors Club New York (ADC) Gold Cube, a Black Cube for Best in Show, plus a Gold Cube for Best in Motion and Film Craft.

3. Lurpak, Adventure Awaits

Advertising Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London, UK

Dougal Wilson’s much lauded direction of Lurpak’s ‘Adventure Awaits’ commercial received a Grand Prix at the 2014 Ciclope International Festival of Craft Awards, as well as three gold arrows at the British Arrows Awards in 2015.

4. Arla Skyr Icelandic Yoghurt, The Messenger

Advertising Agency: Wieden+ Kennedy, London

Skyr has a long history in Iceland of being part of everyone’s diet which explains Arla’s faithful adherence to a recipe that is more than a thousand years old.

This story turns the clock back to the 60’s when young Icelanders, in remote villages with only one telephone, worked as messengers to keep the hardy inhabitants of this sparsely-populated island connected to each other.

Dougal Wilson directed this beautifully filmed commercial, shot on location in Iceland during sub-zero temperatures, about one such young messenger Orri Sigurdsson who, sustained by his daily diet of Skyr, goes to extraordinary lengths to deliver his messages.

5. IKEA, The Joy Of Storage

Advertising Agency: Mother, London

Directed by Dougal Wilson, this beautifully produced commercial is part of IKEA’s ‘The Wonderful Everyday Day’ campaign series of commercials.

It is a surreal depiction of the joy to be had with adequate, fit-for-purpose storage. I can easily identify with that great feeling of knowing instantly where, what I’m looking for, is safely ‘nesting’.

6. John Lewis, Monty The Penguin

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

Superbly directed by Dougal Wilson, this 2014 Cannes Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix, and Film Craft Grand Prix winner was described by jury president Andrew Robertson as follows:

“Everything the Cannes festival stands for. It’s beautiful, emotional work for a retail brand that was proven to have contributed to revenue growth of 132 million pounds.”

Monty’s Christmas sparked 212,000 tweets, plus 165,000 ‘shares’ on Facebook, and increased web traffic by an extra 14 million visits.

Online views across all social channels totaled 29 million of which 22 million came from YouTube and overall the campaign delivered a staggering 568 million impressions.

People engaged with ‘Monty’ online and social media also allowed fans to continue following the story online. A ‘Monty App’ hit the top spot in the ‘iTunes Kids’ chart, with more than 500,000 interactive sessions.

7. John Lewis, Buster the Boxer

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

Directed by Dougal Wilson the commercial according to Campaign magazine was the most shared on social media in 2016. It motivated 137 million views in the first week of its festive season campaign’s launch.

Chief Marketing Officer of Brandwatch, Will McInnis, summed up the campaign’s consumer appeal as follows:

“As marketers, we know that a great ad is all about eliciting emotions. It’s classic big brand storytelling, meets distribution in the social age.”

“Essentially people won’t share boring content and John Lewis knows it. In a world where our attention is pulled in so many different directions, it’s a reminder that a good story still matters.”

The soundtrack, which features a cover version of Randy Crawford’s 1980 hit, ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’, performed by British electronic trio the ‘Vaults’, was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios and topped the YouTube’s annual festive leaderboard globally.

8. John Lewis Waitrose & Partners, Bohemian Rhapsody

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

The John Lewis Partnership Trust, the parent company of the John Lewis high-end retail department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, undertook a major rebranding exercise aimed at creating an effective synergy in cross-branding integration between the two stores.

The retailers were renamed Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners as part of a concerted drive for a greatly enhanced customer service.

Directed by Dougal Wilson, this charming ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ commercial was released to mark the rebranding launch.