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My Favourite Paul Middleditch Commercials

This is another in 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.

Advertising Communication industry acknowledgements of their exemplary filmmaking craftsmanship with accolades and international awards, are hard-won and well deserved.

Paul Middleditch                                                                                        

Paul is Australia’s most awarded commercials Director. He has won over 300 national and international awards that includes 8 Cannes Lions.

His filmic skills in human characterisations of simple stories and dramatisations of epic scenarios with rewarding humour, are remarkable and make for memorable viewing.

1. Cox Digital TV, Epic Battle

Advertising Agency: FCB, Chicago, USA

‘Cox Communications’ is an American cable television company that provides a multichannel digital video service.

Paul Middleditch used his trademark skill in directing humorous scenarios to laudable cinematic effect in this commercial that makes for very rewarding viewing.

2. Meridian Energy, Napkin

Advertising Agency: BC&F Dentsu, Auckland, New Zealand

Directed by Paul Middleditch, the commercial for energy provider Meridian, is a humorous take on the great lengths New Zealanders go to in order to keep their beautiful country unpolluted and environmentally pristine.

The integrated campaign highlights Meridian’s celebrated 100% renewable electricity generating sources of wind, water and sun.

3. John West Salmon, Into The Woods

Advertising Agency: BWM, Melbourne, Australia

Directed by Paul Middleditch, this cinematic Australian sequel to the famous ‘John West Fighting Bear’ commercial was filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

The soundtrack was composed and orchestrated by Song Zu Music & Sound Design Studio’s Robin Hoffman and performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

4. Carlton Draught, Big Ad

Adertising Agency: George Patterson Y&R (Y&R ANZ) Sydney, Australia

Composer Carl Orffs ‘O Fortuna’ from his ‘Carmina Burana’ cantata, drives this entertaining parody of ‘advertising epics’.

Directed by Paul Middleditch and filmed on location in Queensland, New Zealand, two weeks before its TV debut, it was released on the Internet and within 24 hours was downloaded 162,000 times.

The lyrics of the cantata chorus were humorously adapted for the accompanying soundtrack.

It’s a big ad. Very big ad.
It’s a big ad we’re in. It’s a big ad.
My God it’s big! Can’t believe how big it is!
It’s a big ad! For Carlton Draught!
It’s just so freaking HUGE!
It’s a big ad! Expensive ad!
This ad better sell some bloo-oo-oo-oody beer!

‘Big Ad’ won a Cannes Gold Lion, was declared Commercial of the Decade by Campaign Brief, and in 2018 was selected by the Metroplitan Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, for inclusion in its Permanent Collection.

5. Carlton Draught, Slow Motion

Advertising Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, Australia

Paul Middleditch’s direction of this highly amusing and compelling commercial won a Cannes Gold Lion award and a Cannes Grand Prix award.

The scenario plays out in slow motion to a soundtrack of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma (None Shall Sleep). Nessun Dorma is an aria from the final act of Puccini’s opera Turandot.

To provide an explanatory subtext to the commercial, the aria’s lyrics were humorously amended as follows:

Men in slow motion.
Men look much better in slow motion.
It makes me want to sing quite loud.
Now, now, I want a Carlton Draught, chips and lasagna.
Men in slow mo…
In slow mo…
Slow motion.
Blah blah blah…
Slow motion.

6. Carlton Draught, Flashbeer

Advertising Agency: George Patterson Y&R, Melbourne, Australia

Carlton Draught’s ‘Flashbeer’ is a highly amusing parody of the global box- office hit ‘Flashdance’.

The 1983 American romantic drama about a young female steel-mill worker, who aspires to become a professional dancer, was directed by Adrian Lyne and starred Jennifer Beals.

Paul Middleditch’s skillful direction reprises the mood, tone and setting of the original movie’s audition scene, albeit with a comedic twist.

This time the aspiring professional dancer is a rather bulky Kevin Kavendish who appears to be the unlikeliest audition candidate one could ever imagine. A surprise however, is awaiting exposure.

The soundtrack features Irene Cara’s Academy Award best song Oscar winner, ‘What A Feeling’.

7. Carlton Draught, Skytroop Show

Advertising Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, Australia

Directed by Paul Middleditch this classic Carlton Draught epic features 30 skydivers who, with special effects enhancement, becomes a cast of 300.

The ‘skytroop’ manage a spectacular, synchronised sky-show to the delight of sports stadium onlookers. One hapless skydiver however, with hilarious consequences, finds himself ‘out of sync’ with his troop trapped in a giant Carlton Draught prop.

8. Air New Zealand, Pete’s Discovered a Better Way To Fly

Advertising Agency: True, Auckland, New Zealand

Paul Middleditch directed this much lauded commercial by the Travel and Leisure industry, featuring actor Sam Neill as Pete’s ‘voice over’. Sam Neill also makes a cameo appearance as one of the passengers.

The commercial is part of a campaign to effectively establish Pete the talking Kiwi, as an iconic spokesperson for Air New Zealand.

Factual travel information generally does not enjoy high brand recall, but Pete charmingly transforms Air New Zealand’ travel information into memorable and demonstrative communication persuasiveness.