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My Favourite Seb Edwards Commercials

This is another in the globally popular ACES series of featuring commercial filmmakers and directors that I admire for their skills in bringing creative concepts, and storylines to enthralling life.

Seb Edwards

British Director Seb Edwards had an early introduction to the film industry when at the age of 8 he starred in John Boorman’s feature film ‘Hope and Glory’ about a young boy’s adventures during World War II’s London blitz.

After graduating in Fine Arts from the University of Leeds, Seb enrolled at New York University’s School of Film, after which he returned to London, launched his career in commercial filmmaking, and became one of the world’s leading directors.

He is widely known and lauded for his cinematic, aesthetically impactful and emotive storytelling expertise.

1. Lacoste, The Big Leap

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Production Company: Wanda, Paris, France

Post Production and VFX Studio: Moving Picture Company, Paris, France

Masterly directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, Lacoste’s metaphorical ‘Big Leap’ scenario, is an expressive visualisation of that surreal feeling of the first kiss, and falling deeply in love.

The soundtrack features a remix by Australian musician Flume, of English singer and songwriter, from Westminster, London, Eliza Doolittle’s “You & Me”.

2. Lacoste, Timeless

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Production Company: Wanda, Paris, France

Post Production and VFX Studio: Mikros, Paris, France

Superbly directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, the short-story scenario is a ‘time-jump’ through 80 years of history during which Lacoste evolved from a sports brand to a fashion brand.

Filmed in Budapest, Kiev and the South of France, starring actors Damien Chapelle and  Dorcas Coppin, the scenario features a soundtrack of Max Richter’s song “November”

The impressively produced ‘love at first sight’ short film, makes for very rewarding viewing of ‘what makes life beautiful’.

3. Aviva, The Journey

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Production Company: Academy Films, London, UK

Post Production and VFX Studio: The Mill, London, UK

British insurance company Aviva, headquartered in London, is the United Kingdom’s largest general insurer, life and pensions provider, that also covers Ireland and Canada.  

Filmed in Scotland’s border counties from Glasgow to Glencoe, and the rural Ettrick Valley, the ‘Aviva Journey’ scenario is mesmerising.

Directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, Scottish actress Shauna MacDonald delivers an emotive portrayal of a woman’s metaphorical journey that spans her life.

The classical cello-music soundtrack, was composed and recorded for the commercial by Berlin-based, Argentinian composer and cellist, Sebastian Plano.

4. Penny Supermarket, The Rift

Advertising Agency: Serviceplan, Munich, Germany

Production Company: ANORAK Film, Berlin, Germany

Service Production Company: ICON Films, Bucharest, Romania

Post Production and VFX Studio: Time Based Arts, London, UK

German discount retailer Penny’s end of year ‘The Rift’ commercial, masterly directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, who elicits superb performances from his cast, was filmed at a residential high-rise in Bucharest, Romania.

The atmospheric short-film, with its impressive visual effects, centres on the need for more tolerance, empathy, and open-minded social engagement.

Powerful analogous scenes depict cracks running through an ordinary apartment block, that is being torn apart by the heartlessness, and insensitivity, of its ill-disposed inhabitants.

On the ‘Muse by Clio’ online portal, Serviceplan managing partner Christoph Everke remarked: “The essence of Penny is community. The retailer has 29,000 employees who come into direct customer contact every day and are exposed to all these conflicts that we describe in our film”.

“At Penny markets, all people, opinions and their disputes meet. They are the neighbourhood market that stands for closeness and community. So, the message comes directly from the heart of the brand.”

5. John Lewis & Partners, The Boy and The Piano

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Production Company: Academy Films, London, UK

Post Production and VFX: Moving Picture Company, London, UK

Filmmaker Seb Edwards directed the excellently crafted scenario about how the power of a thoughtful, loving Christmas gift, can be inspiringly formative and influential in a young child’s future direction in life.

The commercial stars singer, songwriter, musician, and philanthropist, Sir Elton John, who looks back to that Christmas morning in his youth, when he received a special gift that changed his life.

He described the commercial as; “a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing a piano, marks the moment when music came into my life”.

“The ad is absolutely fantastic and I’ve truly loved every minute of being a part of it”.

And as a Christmas gift, he donated a generous portion of his fee to the Elton John Charitable Trust.

John Lewis & Partners also commendably advised their customers, that the most suitable gift for a child, like a piano, might not be found in their stores.

6. Santos de Cartier, The Thrill

Advertising Agency: Publicis 133, Paris, France

Production Company: Art and Commerce, Paris, France

The classic Cartier Santos wristwatch is dedicated to the memory of Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer who spent most of his adult life in Paris dedicated to aeronautical study and aviation design.

In Brazil Santos-Dumont is believed to have created the world’s first practical aeroplane and is fervently regarded as a national hero.

His ‘Demoiselle’ monoplane did indeed make aviation history with its 15 kW air-cooled engine, and a wire-braced wing mounted above an open-framed fuselage built of bamboo.

In 1940 Alberto complained to his friend Louis Cartier about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch during flight.

To solve the problem, Cartier inventively created his first men’s wristwatch so that Alberto could check his flight-times while keeping both hands on the controls.

The compelling cinematic ‘Santos de Cartier’ commercial, directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, stars actor Jake Gyllenhaal, in a surreal dream about the thrilling freedom of flight that Santos-Dumont pioneered.

The music soundtrack features singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Paul Dixon, and producer, composer, and violinist James Underwood’s collaborative ‘Fyfe & Iskra Strings’ composition, titled “Peaks”.

7. British Army, Normal Days

Advertising Agency: Engine, London, UK

Production Company: Academy Films, London, UK

Post Production and VFX Studio: Electric Theatre Collective, London, UK

The ‘Normal Days’ scenario is about the British Army helping to restore normal days to thousands of people around the world whose lives have been disrupted by civil wars and natural disasters

Masterly directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards, with the rain sequences filmed on location in the Latvian capitol of Riga on the Baltic Sea, the commercial is an epic production that is visually compelling.

The inventive cinematic ‘reveals’ of changing perspectives, powerfully presents the important roles the British Army conducts abroad, that often fly ‘under the radar screen’ of public appreciation.   

8. Hovis Bread, Farmer’s Lad

Advertising Agency: Dare, London, UK

Production Company: Academy Films, London, UK

The Cannes award-winning commercial, was part of integrated campaign about the hard work that goes into every Hovis 100% British Farmers Loaf of bread.

The tender story about a tough life involving a farmer’s lad, trying his best to earn his Dad’s respect, was directed by filmmaker Seb Edwards with carefully observed human insight. The emotive nuances of excellently portrayed reality, make for stellar storytelling viewing.

The music soundtrack is by renowned English composer Rachel Portman OBE.