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My Favourite Taika Waititi 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.

Taika Waititi,

New Zealand actor, comedian, and highly sought after director and filmmaker, Taika David Cohen, known professionally as Taika Waititi, was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film, in the Queen’s 2020 Birthday Honours, and in 2022, was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world on their annual list.

Taika has accrued numerous awards and nominations, that include a Hollywood Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Grammy Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, as well as Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

1. Belvedere Vodka, Daniel Craig In His Own Way Finally

Production Company: Bandits, Paris, France

Choreographer: JaQuel Knight, Los Angeles, California, USA

I’m left with the overwhelming impression at times, that creatively, many commercials seem to be a case of  ‘when you’re stuck for an idea, just relax, call a choreographer, and leave the rest for a film director to sort out, with maybe the addition of some cool after-effects’.

Don’t sweat it, dance it, and you may even win a Cannes entertainment Gold Lion.

But the Belvedere Vodka scenario, directed by filmmaker Taika Waitit, and  filmed in Paris starring Daniel Graig as himself, elevates choreographed portrayals to stellar heights for me.

Featuring a soundtrack by British singer-songwriter Rita Ora, with rapper-songwriter Giggs, and a humorous take of Taika Waititi on set, the entertainingly up-beat Belvedere Vodka commercial about self-expression, makes for rewarding viewing.

2. Xbox, MoonLiteWolf’s Lucid Odyssey

Advertising Agency: 215 McCann, San Francisco, California, USA

Production Company: Hungry Man, Los Angeles, California, USA

Post Production and VFX Studios: Parliament, Detroit, Michigan, USA

215 McCann and Xbox, teamed up with dream scientists, to bring the dreams of gamers to filmic life, for the expressive ‘Made From Dreams’ advertising campaign.

The immersive exercise used advanced dream technology to record the dream data of gamers who used the Series X console for the first time, before sliding into sleep, and entering a semi-lucid state, between being asleep and awake, known as Hypnagogia.

Streamer and influencer MoonLiteWolf’s ‘Lucid Odyssey’, directed by filmmaker Taika Waititi, is an epically visual and surreal ‘Hypnagogia’ journey, ‘powered by her dreams’.

3. Coca-Cola, Letter To Santa

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, London, UK

Production Company: Curious Films, London, UK

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi, the imaginative ‘Letter To Santa’ film-scenario, about a Dad’s unflinching love for his daughter, was skilfully brought to life, with emotive portrayals, that feel genuinely heart-felt.

On the ‘Sun News’ portal, Kris Robbens, marketing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain, described the cinematic adventure, filmed in the South Island of New Zealand, as reflecting the real magic of Christmas being about treasured familial ‘presence’, and not the exchanging of ‘presents”.

“The story reflects our greater appreciation for loved ones, a sense of community and our need to be present with each other this Christmas, above all else”.

4. Pepsi MAX, No Can Left Behind

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Production Company: Hungryman, London, UK

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

Directed by filmmaker Taika Waititi, the epic Pepsi MAX commercial stars American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer, Paul Rudd, and movie actor, and musician, Michael Antony Peña.

Their sterling performances as bumbling astronauts, showing just how far they will go for a Pepsi Max, are great fun to view.

5. Amazon, Joy Is Made

Advertising Agency: Lucky Generals, London, UK

Production Company: Hungryman, London, UK

Post Production and VFX Studios: Black Kite, London, UK

Directed filmmaker, Taika Waititi, the festive season Amazon short-film, features a heart-warming scenario about a father’s love for his daughter.

To a stirring soundtrack of American singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Jonathon Linaberry’s song “You Hold Me Up”, the father played by Jared Turner, with Anouk Christiansen as his daughter, deliver sterling performances of emotive endearment.

On the Creative Boom’s industry magazine website, Ed Smith, Amazon’s General Manager of Integrated Marketing Europe, provided this valuable creative insight.

“We’re constantly inspired by the inventive spirit of Amazon customers, and we wanted to tell a story with a different view of generosity and ‘giving’ at Christmas, and the joy from doing something special for someone you love.”

“We’re happy to play a small part in creating that joy, but the story’s hero is a father’s love for his child.”

6. Old Spice, Talk to The Land

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

Production Company: Hungry Man, Los Angeles, California, USA

Service Production Company: Twentyfour Seven, Madrid, Spain

The wacky ‘Talk to The Land’ scenario, centres on the famous Old Spice advertising campaign theme, of ‘nothing sells men’s grooming products like the promise of female attraction’.

Director and filmmaker Taika Waititi reported, that when he got together with the amazing Wieden+Kennedy Old Spice team, and was offered the commercial assignment; “I said yes, no doubt it is just too good of a combination to miss this opportunity”.

“So here it is the ad, not a masterpiece but a little fun. I love the shot of the lady on the phone, with that 50’s lighting that we created to make it more mysterious, sexy and fun”.