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My Favourite James Rouse Commercials

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

James Rouse

After graduating from the School of Creative Arts in London, James spent some time in advertising agencies as a Copywriter and Art Director, before deciding to become a director and filmmaker of commercials.

His subsequent development as a cinematic storyteller extraordinaire, is a remarkable creative achievement that has few advertising film-craft equals.

1. Pedigree Pet Nutrition, Vampire

Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA

With currently half of the world’s dogs being homeless, Pedigree decided to add impetus to their ‘Adopt’ initiative, with a global campaign by BBDO encouraging people to re-home shelter dogs, with the message that pet shelters are full of good dogs, they just need good homes.

The campaign’s cinematic fantasy scenarios, directed by filmmaker James Rouse, are entertainingly dramatised from the perspective of imaginative young pet owners.

The featured Pedigree ‘Vampire’ pet-owner story, is superbly visualised with many humorous little quirks like the brief scene of empty ‘vegan blood substitute’ cartons.

2. McDonald’s, Ellie & Archie

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, London, UK

As seen through the eyes of a young girl’s vivid imagination, this charming scenario, directed by filmmaker James Rouse, combines live footage with animation by ‘Againstallodds’.

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, ‘Againstallodds’ is an award-winning collective of computer graphics, illustration, and 2D stop-motion animation artists.

The magical McDonald’s ‘Ellie & Archie’ festival season campaign, included e-book, audio and “Archie the Reindeer” storybooks, as well as in-store promotions of free McDonald’s carrot sticks.

3. Evian, Baby Bay

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Filmed in South Africa and directed by filmmaker James Rouse, ‘Baby Bay’ builds on Evian’s hugely successful ‘Live Young’ theme.

Starring actor Robin Clive, and featuring a soundtrack rendition of the Beach Boys’ song “Kokomo” by folk duo ‘Lilly Wood and The Prick’, Evian’s ‘Baby Bay’, motivated 123 million online views in the first weeks of airing.

4. Marmite, The Gene Project

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

DDB based their consumer insight on the results of a scientific study they commissioned, that found that food taste preferences are usually genetically defined. This sparked the idea of ‘gene testing’ to test whether people were either born haters, or born lovers of Marmite.

The amusing and very witty ‘Love it or hate It’ commercial, directed by filmmaker James Rouse, spearheaded an integrated campaign that also offered fun Marmite gene testing kits for people to determine if they were indeed born haters or losers.

The many awards won by the campaign, include a Cannes Gold Lion, and a Grand Clio in Integrated.

5. International Red Cross, Hope

Advertising Agency: Sra Rushmore, Madrid, Spain

‘Hope’ is a heart-rendering depiction of the dire consequences of war on families and the health-care workers dedicated to help them.

The story serves as powerful public wake-up-call globally, of why the International Red Cross deserves every bit of support one is able to give them.

Directed by filmmaker James Rouse, the emotive short film won a Cannes Gold Film Lion, and a Cannes Grand Prix for Direction.

The soundtrack music was composed by Jon Clark, and produced by Sian Rodgers, at SIREN Composition & Music Supervision, London, UK.

6. Xerox, Brother Dominic

Advertising Agency: Y&R, New York, USA

Thirty odd years ago Xerox aired a commercial during the live TV coverage of the USA Super Bowl Football Championships, about a Brother Dominic that was hugely popular with viewers of all ages, and became an Advertising Hall of Fame classic.

To celebrate the launch of Xerox’s revolutionary new colour photocopier capabilities, Brother Dominic returned to ‘Set The Page Free’.

Directed by filmmaker James Rouse, with stellar performances by his cast, Brother Dominic’s ‘divine’ global successes with Xerox, are a joy to view.

7. Volkswagen, Baby

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Filmmaker James Rouse describes the scenario about Volkswagen’s ‘Start Stop Technology’, that saves fuel by automatically switching off whenever a driver stops, as one of the most challenging directing assignments he has faced to achieve the desired filmic outcome.

But succeed he most definitely did, winning many accolades that included a Eurobest Gold award for Direction, and a Eurobest Direction Grand Prix.

The commercial’s soundtrack song, “Go To Sleep My Darling Baby”, is by country-music duo ‘The DeZurik Sisters’.

8. Maille Dijon Mustard, Memorable Guest

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

This online commercial for Maille’s Dijon Mustard, about a conversation at a Christmas dinner party, humorously crafted by Copywriter Alex Lucas, and brilliantly directed by filmmaker James Rouse, is a great favourite of mine.

The added bonus of Joanna Lumley providing the ‘voice-over’ in this Advertising Producers Association (APA) Show Winner, is an absolute treat.