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My Favourite Mark Zibert 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.

Mark Zibert

Canadian born Mark Zibert started his professional career as a stills photographer in 2000. It wasn’t long however, before he ventured into directing commercials with remarkable success.

His compelling visual, and epic technical filmmaking skills are emotive, highly laudable, and sought after.

1. Sapporo, Legendary Biru

Advertising Agency: Dentsu, Canada

‘Biru’ is the Japanese name for beer. Directed by Mark Zibert, the film took over a month to shoot in Guangzhou China, and is a compelling ‘epic’ of breathtaking attention to detail.

Dentsu wanted to translate the legendary cultural heritage and diversity of Japanese artistic craftsmanship into a visually powerful and ‘fluid’ time travel narrative for Sapporo the beer.

They certainly achieved their goal. The seamless visual scroll through centuries of heritage to present day, is a masterful filmic achievement and a delight to watch. The commercial imbues the brand with a national pride and identity of impressive stature.

2. Diesel Fragrances, Spirit Of The Brave

Advertising Agency, Buzzman, Paris, France

Directed by Mark Zibert, ‘Spirit Of The Brave’ is an intimate story about Neymar Jr and the Diesel fragrance he helped create.

His hard-fought, ten-year journey to international football stardom amidst relentless public scrutiny, and huge social pressures, is the epitome of a brave spirit.

Neymar Jr has commemorated each milestone in his life with a tattoo and to date, he has over 70 of them. The ‘Spirit Of The Brave’ bottle design, shaped like a fist, was inspired by one of his iconic tattoos.

The music soundtrack features Zack Hemsey’s ‘The Runner’.

3. SickKids Pediatric Hospital, All In

Advertising Agency: Cossette, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

‘SickKids’ is a major pediatric teaching hospital located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and affiliated with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medecine.

Directed by Mark Zibert, this exuberant, monochrome commercial serves as an emotively powerful visual metaphor for the struggles faced by children who are seriously ill.

The inspired soundtrack selection of ‘I’ll Do Anything’ from the musical ‘Oliver’ provides a resonant force to the compelling message.

4. Nike Sochi Winter Olympics, Play Russian

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Although Nike was not an official sponsor of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in the Russian seaside resort of Sochi on the Black Sea, they nevertheless managed to dominate the highlights with their action packed ‘Play Russian’ commercial, excellently directed Mark Zibert.

The integrated TV and social media ‘Play Russian’ Nike campaign features ice hockey player Alexander Ovechkin, long jumper Darya Klishina, footballer Alexander Kokorin, snowboarder Denis Leontyev, skateboarder Egor Kaldikov and figure skater Adelina Sotnikova.

5. Nike Football, Cristiano Ronaldo Vapor Trail

Advertsing Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, USA, and Tokyo, Japan

Filmed in Madrid, Spain, Mark Zibert directed this compelling slow-motion commercial introducing Nike’s Mecurial Vapor IX Football Boots.

Worn by Renaldo, the vapor trail caused by the boots blows everyone away. Fans, teammates, opponents, coaches, referees, and riot police, struggle unsuccessfully to stay grounded.

6. IKEA, Stuff Monster

Advertising Agency: Rethink, Canada

Directed by Mark Zibert, this very watchable CGI-animated commercial, filmed on location in Toronto, Canada, is a metaphorical message about IKEA’s corporate philosophy on sustainability.

The inspired soundtrack selection is the ‘Hippie-era’ hit song “Tea For The Tillerman” by Cat Stevens.

IKEA, The Lamp

The original ‘IKEA, The Lamp’ commercial by Advertising Agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Colorado, USA, and directed by Spike Jonze, is ranked as one of the most iconic commercials of all time.

The multi, award-winning story about a discarded lamp, was voted for inclusion by Boards Magazine in their 2009 list of the “Top Ten Television Advertisements of the Decade”.

7. IKEA, The Lamp, Child’s Play

Advertising Agency: Rethink Communications, Canada

Sixteen years later IKEA Canada released a sequel ‘lamp’ commercial that was very skillfully directed by Mark Zibert to be as faithful to the original as possible but with a more upbeat tone and mood.

The message delivered by Swedish actor Jonas Fornander in the original commercial was about not feeling bad or guilty about discarding the old to make room for the new.

This time Fornander’s message is that instead of discarding old items, there is much pleasure to be had for other people to recycle them for a renewed lease of life.

8. Walmart, Ode To Motherhood

Digital & Advertising Agency: Camp Jefferson, Toronto, Canada

Walmart’s ‘Ode To Motherhood’, directed by Mark Zibert and produced by Scouts Honour Productions, is a larger-than-life short film of a Mum struggling with the day-to-day challenges of motherhood.

‘Ode To Motherhood’ is surreal, fast-paced, funny, emotive, full of surprises and rewarding to watch.

Tammy Sadinsky, VP of Marketing Communications at Walmart explained the insight behind the campaign:

“Parents’ love for their families is limitless even though time and financial resources are not.”

“We wanted to acknowledge this by telling their stories in an empathetic way. By saving, parents can have better lives, which ultimately means deeper relationships and experiences with their families.”