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My Favourite Lance Acord 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.

Lance Acord

After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in Photography and Filmmaking, Lance worked with photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber who is renowned for his iconic images that leveraged the Calvin Klein brand to global prominence.

The Bruce Weber studio also made documentaries, and music videos and Lance won a MTV Music Award for Best Photography for his work on Fatboy Slim’s ‘Weapons of Choice’ music video, directed by Spike Jonze, and featuring actor Christopher Walken.

Park Pictures

In 1998 Lance Acord and business partner Jackie Kelman established Park Pictures Commercial Film Production Company. Their new venture proved to be a successful springboard for Lance who went on to win 25 Cannes Lions, 18 AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers) awards and becoming a 3 time nominee of Best Commercial Director by the DGA (Directors Guild of America).

1. Nike, Dream Crazy

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, USA

The commercial for Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ advertising campaign, directed by Lance Acord, features athletes of all ages who successfully fulfilled their dreams that were thought to be crazy.

The topical inclusion in the commercial of Colin Kaepernick as the narrator adds resonating meaning to the message; “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The former National Football League player bravely put his own career at risk by controversially kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at NFL games in protest to racism and police brutality.

At the One Club’s 46th annual One Show, Nike’s integrated campaign won Best in Show, 10 Gold pencils, two Silver, four Bronze, along with four Best of Discipline honors in Creative Effectiveness, Integrated, Print & Outdoor and Social Media.

One of the Gold wins was in the Cultural Driver category, which recognizes ideas that have major impact on society and exist outside traditional advertising and design categories.

Wieden+Kennedy was honoured as Agency of the Year and Nike as Client of the Year.

At the Cannes International Festival of Creativity the Nike campaign won an Outdoor Grand Prix and a Grand Prix in the new Cannes Lions category, Entertainment for Sport.

2. Travellers Insurance Financial Services, Footsteps

Advertising Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, USA

Stories about misfortunes that sometimes befall individuals, families, homes or business enterprises, and their ‘assured’ restitution, is a common thread in insurance genre advertising communication.

Lance Accord’s direction however, in a series of commercials for the ‘Red Umbrella’ Travellers company, brings a sensitively portrayed vision of emotive depth to the financial insurance advertising genre as seen in this heartwarming ‘Footsteps’ campaign episode.

3. VW Passat, The Force

Advertising Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles, USA

This charming story about a Star Wars inspired little ‘Darth Vader’ is a skillfully directed portrayal of child-like imagination by Lance Acord.

The multi-award winning visual narrative is accompanied by a music soundtrack of ‘Imperial March’ by composer John Williams.

Aired during the 2011 Super Bowl American Football Championships, ‘The Force’ commercial motivated 50 million views on TV and YouTube and by January 2015, that figure had risen to over 61 million.

According to Advertising Age it has become one of the most watched and shared commercials of all time and to this day, its remarkable public impact remains a much discussed and written about advertising communication case study.

4. Apple, Frankie’s Holiday                                                                    

Advertising Agengy: TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Los Angeles, USA

Lance Accord’s directional skill brings this unusual Festive Season story to filmic life with remarkable emotive depth.

The commercial is a metaphoric take on author Mary Shelley’s iconic Frankenstein aberration played here by actor Brad Garrett. I love the detail of Mary Shelley’s portrait hanging on the wall of Frankenstein’s mountain cabin.

Frankenstein’s heart-warming attempt to find some social interaction solace resonated with millions of viewers and received wide coverage on all the major TV News Channels.

5. Apple iPhone, Misunderstood

Advertising Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Los Angeles, USA

Directed by Lance Accord, the 2013 Festive Season iPhone 5’s ‘Misunderstood’ story won an Emmy for ‘Most Outstanding Commercial of the Year’.

The soundtrack song ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ is by Indie Rock songstress Cat Power aka Chan Marshall.

Although the commercial was loved and shared online by millions of viewers who generally described the story as ‘heart-warming’, there were some dissenting voices.

The ‘dissenters’ were of the opinion that Apple were promoting smart-phone addiction that leads to self-absorbed isolationism and a lack of personal interaction that causes so many family misunderstandings.

My personal take on their criticisms is that they raised a valid social issue of concern that I fully share. The reality however, is that smart-phones are here to stay as an embedded way of life, and I think Apple’s positive message that smart-phones can be an easily accessible and empowering means of visually communicative self-expression, that speaks louder than words, is insightful and highly laudable.

6. Subaru Crosstrek, Welcome To The Pack

Advertising Agency: Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis

Lance Accord directed this charming story, with emotive realism and intimacy, about a girl and her protective dog that is keeping a weary eye on her boyfriend.

7. P&G 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Pick Them Back Up                  

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, USA

Directed by Lance Acord, the P&G commercial for the Russian winter Olympics at the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi, was an integrated advertising extension of their ‘Thank You Mom’ communication platform.

As part of the campaign, all 357 Moms of US Olympians & Paralympians were given a $1,000 VISA gift card from P&G to help them on their journey to Sochi to watch their children compete.

The soundtrack features a new composition by renowned composer Ludovico Einaudi.

8. Firestone Tires, Pickup

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, USA

The rural American setting of Firestone’s ‘Pick-Up’ commercial, directed by Lance Acord, is evocative storytelling at its best about a romantic getaway by young lovers out West.

This emotionally nuanced visual narrative is perfectly underscored by songwriter Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You in the End’ as the soundtrack.

9. HP Business Printers, The Wolf

Advertising Agency: Giant Spoon, New York, USA

Directed by Lance Accord the cinematic commercial stars actor Christian Slater as ‘The Wolf’, who reprises his role of ‘Mr. Robot’ in the popular, multi-award winning American drama-thriller television series of the same name created by Sam Esmail.

HP’s ‘The Wolf’ is the first commercial in a global campaign targeting IT decision makers and company information security managers.

For such a niche target audience, it is a uniquely broad communication approach of an online series of mini-movies consisting of cautionary tales.

But pressure from informed company employees, all of whom probably use printers, can have a considerable impact on managerial decisions that makes the broad reach of the commercial series an inspired creative strategy.