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My Favourite Matthijs van Heijningen 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 enthral viewers and motivate well-earned accolades from the Advertising Communication industry.

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr

The multi award-winning Dutch filmmaker, writer and producer has directed many remarkable commercials.
The son of a prominent Dutch movie producer by the same name, Matthijs van Heijningen’s passion for all aspects of filmmaking began at an early age when, with every available opportunity he had, he would devote to working on his father’s films. From set building to lighting and film editing.

1. Centraal Beheer Insurance, Freedom

Advertising Agency: DDB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Filmed in Spain and directed by renowned filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen, who elicits sterling performances from his cast, the amusing scenario’s unexpected twist ends with a broad smile for viewers, and maybe also a little sympathy for the ex-detainee’s joyous freedom that may be short-lived.

The soundtrack features American musician, singer, and songwriter George Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone”.

2. Sony PlayStation, Journey Ahead

Advertising Agency: BBH, New York, USA

Filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, ‘Journey Ahead’ was directed by filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen with special effects by The Mill Studios.

The cinematic combination of live action and special effects depicts a scenario of immersive experiences for gamers with references to ‘Days Gone’, Marvel’s ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’.

A lone gamer’s PlayStation journey to action hero self-discovery, is supported by a poem about the greatness that awaits all gamers.

3. Edeka Supermarkets, Christmas Humanity

Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg, Germany

The dystopian short film for Edeka, Germany’s largest supermarket chain, is atmospheric, superbly art-directed in painstaking detail, and compellingly cinematic.

Directed by storytelling filmmaker extraordinaire Matthijs van Heijningen, the charming sci-fi story about a robot in search of experiencing human companionship in a real Christmas family gathering, ends with the insightful line ‘Without love, it’s just a feast’.

4. KIA, Hero’s Journey

Advertising Agency: David&Goliath, Los Angeles, USA

Filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen directed the Kia commercial series ‘Hero’s Journey’ for airing during the 2017 live TV broadcast of the American Super Bowl football championship.

The commercial stars popular American actress, comedian and fashion designer Melissa McCarthy. Super Bowl TV audiences that regularly average over 104 million viewers of all ages, are always highly expectant of entertaining commercials, and Kia’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ campaign certainly did not disappoint them.

5. Heineken, The Trailblazers

Advertising Agency: Publicis, Milan, Italy

The Heineken brand message of expanding ones horizons as symbolised by an imaginative time travel ‘romp’, was brought to life by filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen, with a tongue-in-cheek, cinematic epic of great visual drama, and amusing viewer appeal.

6. Heineken, Crack The Case

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

To coincide with the launch of the 007 ‘Skyfall’ feature film, the commercial features appearances by James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Skyfall actress Berenice Marlohe.

The story centres on some villains pursuing a young man who they mistake for Bond, but before they spot their correct target, 007 escapes with a ‘Skyfall’.

The fast paced action was skilfully directed by filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen in typical Bond fashion with the addition of some some amusing interludes that are highly rewarding to view.

The soundtrack song titled “A Man Like That”, is by New Zealand songstress Gin Wigmore.

7. KIA Sorento, The Perfect Getaway

Advertising Agency: David&Goliath, Los Angeles USA

Directed by filmmaker Matthijs Van Heijningen, the ‘Kia Sorento’ scenario is about a producer unpacking his proposal to James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan to star in a film about the perfect getaway vehicle.

What makes for rewarding viewing is that the dramatic, action-packed firepower the actor envisioned, amusingly turns out to be fireworks of a romantic nature.

8. KIA Soul, Turbo Hamster Has Arrived

Advertising Agency: David & Goliath, Los Angeles

Matthijs Van Heijningen directed this introduction of a very cute new Soul Hamster arrival to the Kia Soul’s highly successful, long-running and hugely popular campaign of life-size hamster characters.

Baby Turbo’s fast paced escape from a hospital’s maternity ward plays out against the fitting soundtrack of Motörhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’.

9. Samsung Gear VR, Ostrich

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, USA

Directed by filmmaker Matthijs Van Heijningen, the commercial was filmed in South Africa and features Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ as the soundtrack. It is regarded by many industry professionals as one of the best ever commercials to be made for Samsung.

The entertaining ‘Do What You Can’t’ story won 2 Bronze, 2 Silver and 3 Gold Cannes lions in the film craft category for best direction, visual effects and animation.

At the 2018 Art Directors Club of New York (ADC) awards show, Leo Burnett, Chicago, and video production service company AJZ in Los Angeles, California, took home three top prizes for ‘Samsung Gear VR, Ostrich’.

The awards are namely; a Gold Cube in the Online/Mobile Video category, a Gold Cube for Craft in Video/Cinematography, and a Gold Cube for Experiential Design.

10. CANAL+, The Bear

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Brilliantly directed by filmmaker Matthijs Van Heijningen, ‘The Bear’ is a highly watchable parody of a typical Hollywood Film Director; part creative genius and part control-freak. The reason for the odd, thin shape of the bear, named Paul Bearman, is rewardingly revealed at the end of the commercial.

‘The Bear’ motivated 1.5 million views on YouTube immediately after its first airing. It received worldwide acclaim, won a Cannes Film Craft Grand Prix and became part of French popular culture.

11. CANAL+, Unicorns

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Filmmaker Matthijs Van Heijningen, takes the directional spotlight again in this cinematic commercial.
The imaginative scenario, of epic proportions, has been meticulously crafted, and is a highly entertaining visualisation of a tall tale.

12. Peugeot 206, The Sculptor

Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG Worldwide, Milan, Italy

A young man in Jaipur India, after seeing a picture of a Peugeot 206, decides with typical entrepreneurial zeal that the country is so well known for, to convert his boxy car to look like the ultra cool 206.

Directed by filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen, the commercial won dozens of top International awards, and on its twentieth anniversary, it continues being hailed as one of the best car commercials ever made.

The music soundtrack of ‘Bhangra Knights’ was specially composed for the commercial by Husan White.