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My Favourite Ivan Zacharias 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.

Ivan Zachariáš

Czechoslovakian born filmmaker and director Ivan Zachariáš, winner of the Czech Lion Award for Best Television Drama Series, is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts Film Faculty in his hometown of Prague.

Ivan’s storytelling craft and expertise in portraying human emotions have received international recognition with over 100 awards including four Cannes Gold Lions, and the Fellowship Award for outstanding contribution to the production of commercials from the British Arrows Awards in 2011.

Furthermore, the New York Museum of Modern Art acquired his Bollywood parody short-film titled ‘Mulit’ for their prestigious and famed film collection.

1. Kahlua, The White Russian

Advertising Agency: Lucky Generals, London, UK

French alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard’s Kahlua brand was born in Veracruz, Mexico in 1936. Kahlua’s unique mix of rum and coffee is a key ingredient in some of the world’s most famous cocktails, like their ‘White Russian’ consisting of one part Kahlua and one part Vodka over ice, topped with heavy cream.

The retro cocktail’s new age, new ‘cool’ revival involves a cinematic, long-form storytelling commercial about a strange, unexpected and life-changing meeting in the 1970’s by two men from different worlds in the desert near Mexico.

Directed by Ivan Zacharias and featuring Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges, the ‘cult-inspired’ story plays out against a mixed score soundtrack by Swedish band Hird, consisting of classical jazz and a passionate Mexican love song.

2. Toyota Tacoma, One Team

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, USA

Aired during halftime of the 2018 Super Bowl Football Championships, the ‘One Team’ commercial is a lighthearted story, directed with an uplifting, human touch by Ivan Zacharias about religion and sport.

Four religious leaders of different faiths flee their respective houses of worship to arrive at the stadium together in a Toyota Tacoma.

The timely demonstration of camaraderie however, receives a bit of flack from some nuns for the not so timely arrival of the four religious Big Game fans.

3. Stella Artois, The Pilot

Advertising Agency: Lowe, London, UK

Directed by Czech filmmaker Ivan Zachariáš, the ‘Pilot’ commercial involves a cinematic scenario about a downed, First World War English pilot, seeking refuge in a nearby Belgium public house from a pursuing German officer and his troopers.

The dark humour of the multi award-winning commercial, which is brilliantly portrayed by a talented cast and superbly amplified by the dramatic use of ‘retro’ black and white footage, makes for impactful and memorable viewing.

4. Volkswagen, Woofwagen

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

‘There’s a Volkswagen that’s right for everyone’, was the theme for a multi-media corporate campaign that included three screen audiences. Television, Cinema and Online.

The commercial, directed by Ivan Zacharias, cleverly stars 36 dogs matched to individual VW car models. The commercial also underscores the human truth that it would be hard to find a more reliably loving and appreciative car companion than one’s own pet dog.

5. Karlovy Vary Film Festival, John Malcovich and Kenneth Maharaj

Promotions Agency: Cez Group, Prague, Czechia

Ivan Zacharias has, for nearly a decade, directed and produced several noteworthy commercials for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF). This scenario features the globally esteemed John Malkovich and American actor Kenneth Maharaj from the Caribbean Isles of Trinidad and Tobago.

Karlovy Vary is a picture-perfect spa town in the west Bohemia region of the Czech Republic and the host of the annual International Film Festival.

Besides being the largest film festival in the Czech Republic, it is also the most prestigious and one of the oldest of such festivals in Central and Eastern Europe.

Among filmmakers, buyers, distributors, sales agents, and journalists, KVIFF is considered the most important event in all of Central and Eastern Europe.

Commercials promoting the festival are sponsored by the ‘Cez Group’ energy generating and distribution conglomerate; owned by the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Finance.

6. Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Jude Law

Promotions Agency: Cez Group, Prague, Czechia

Directed and produced by Ivan Zacharias this promotional Karlovy Vary Film Festival trailer features Jude Law.

The highly talented English actor has received multiple accolades that include a BAFTA Film Award, four Golden Globe Awards, three Laurence Olivier Awards, two Tony Awards, and two Academy Award nominations.

In 2007, Jude Law received an Honorary César, and was named a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, in recognition of his contribution to World Cinema Arts.

7. Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Casey Affleck

Promotions Agency: Cez Group, Prague, Czechia

Directed and produced by Ivan Zacharias, this film trailer for KVIFF stars Ben Affleck’s younger brother, actor and director Casey Affleck.

For his lead role in the 2016 drama film ‘Manchester by the Sea’, Casey won a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and an Academy Award for Best Actor.

8. Audi A6, The Chase

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

This classic 2009, cinematic Super Bowl commercial, directed by Ivan Zacharias, stars English actor and film producer Jason Stratham known for his ‘tough-guy’, action-thriller roles.

This fast-paced Audi A6 commercial, with its amusing twists and turns, undimmed by time, remains a rewarding viewing delight.

9. Rexona, Stunt City

Advertising Agency: Lowe Worldwide, London, UK

This classic Unilever series of vignettes for Australian deodorant and antiperspirant brand Rexona For Men, was skillfully directed by Ivan Zacharias for a quick paced edit of energetic visualization.

Filmed in the Rocks district of Sydney, Australia, the Cannes Gold Lion commercial amusingly dramatises the analogous ‘Over The Top Protection That Won’t Let You Down’ message, to metaphoric, entertaining life.