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My Favourite Greg Grey Commercials

This is another addition to the globally popular ACES series of featuring commercial film directors that I admire for bringing creative concepts and storylines to filmic life that enthrall viewers.

Acknowledgements by the Advertising Communication industry, with accolades and international awards for their exemplary filmmaking craftsmanship, are hard-won and well deserved.

Greg Grey

South African Filmmaker Greg Grey during his tenure as an Assistant Director honed his craft, and in the late 1990’s, stepped onto the big stage and into the limelight as a Film Director of note.

‘Bestadsontv’, the international platform for advertising industry professionals and agencies, places Greg Grey in their prestigious ‘Top 20’ Film Director ranking.

On the South African ‘Bizcommunity’ online portal, Greg revealed the inspiration behind his noteworthy, filmic craftsmanship.

“I like storytelling injected with emotion. Emotion can make people laugh or cry, or just feel moved. So, that is what I try to do: narratives that leave you feeling something.”

1. Savanna Cider, Juniper Jean

Advertising Agency: Grey, Johannesburg, South Africa

Directed by Greg Grey, this very amusing parody of flamboyant showmanship by a ‘Cocktail Mixologist’ is highly watchable.

The barman’s artisanal ritual, delivered with great panache, takes so long to prepare that the waiting customer eventually sprouts a long beard.

The commercial entertainingly highlights the analogy between overtly complicated cocktail formulations, and the simplicity of Juniper flavoured, Savanna Cider Jean, that merely requires sticking a piece of lemon into the neck of the bottle.

2. VW Polo, Red Flashy Thingy

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Cape Town, South Africa

Brilliantly directed by Greg Grey, with a great ‘voice-over’ narration by Bob Dunsworh, and a superb cast, this meticulously crafted and skillfully paced commercial is very entertaining and makes for rewarding, multiple viewing.

3. Dial Direct Insurance, The Notebook

Advertising Agency: Joe Public, Johannesburg, South Africa

Directed by Greg Grey, and filmed in Cape Town’s seaboard area of Kalk Bay, this emotive story centers on a young lad who takes it upon himself to help his overworked Mum by doing numerous household chores, so that she has more time to devote to her children.

The commercial is about just how precious in our fast paced lives time has become, and by making insurance that much easier and readily accessible, Dial Direct aims not to waste our cherished time.

A superb performance by the young actor, and a story told with touching humanity, make for very rewarding viewing.

4. Bell’s Whisky, The Reader

Advertising Agency: King James, Cape Town, South Africa

This much lauded, excellently crafted commercial was directed by Greg Grey and struck an emotive chord with many viewers.

The selling line “Give that man a Bell’s” became a metaphor for a well deserved token of honourable achievement and a popular South African catchphrase.

5. Nedbank Business Banking, Reins

Advertising Agency: Joe Public, Johannesburg, South Africa

Directed by Greg Grey, and filmed in the South African Western Cape locations of Wellington’s farmland and Kenilworth Racecourse, the heartwarming story centers on a farmer and his young foal.

To fulfill his dream of raising his foal to become a champion racehorse, the farmer comes to realise, that any hope of success will depend on the right financial assistance and professional business guidance.

The soundtrack features the song “Stay Alive” by artist José González.

6. Coca-Cola, Share a Coke With Bobby

Advertising Agency: Draftfcb, Santon, Johannesburg, South Africa

Directed by Greg Grey and filmed on location in Johannesburg, the commercial is an extension of the highly successful Australian conceived ‘Share a Coke’ integrated marketing and communication campaign that centered on the personalisation of Coke products by co-branding them with popular names.

The commercial features British, garage-punk-pop band Ting Ting’s hit tune, “That’s Not My Name” as the soundtrack, and was aired in numerous European countries to hugely popular acclaim. Bobby, the adorable black-and-white, border-collie-cross-pit-bull, won millions of viewer’s hearts.

7. Amstel Lager, The Boxer

Advertising Agency: OwenKessel, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Amstel Boxer story is about Thapelo ‘Tick Tock’ Mokoena, and the caring community that supported and encouraged him to pick himself up after being knocked-out, and make the triumphant comeback he eventually succeeded in.

Directed by Greg Grey with his trademark storytelling expertise, the soundtrack features ‘The XX’ British Band’s hit “Crystalised” that was especially re-recorded for the commercial.

8. Virgin Atlantic Airways, Love Story

Advertising Agency: BBDO, Johannesburg, South Africa

This multi-award winning 2005 classic, directed by Greg Grey for Virgin Atlantic Airway’s, Upper Class travel offering, was voted by Travel Magazine as; ‘The Best International Travel Commercial for a Decade.’

Shots Magazine, in their 100th issue rated ‘Love Story’ as one of the best commercials of all time.