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My Favourite Terence Neal Commercials

This is another addition to 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.

Acknowledgements by the Advertising Communication industry, with accolades and international awards for their exemplary filmmaking craftsmanship, are hard-won and well deserved.

Terence Neal

Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, filmmaker and director Terence Neal rose to the attention of the creative advertising fraternity through his visual dynamism of the South African rave-rap duo ‘Die Antwoord’s’ music videos.

International acclaim followed when in 1917 Terence won a Cannes Lions Entertainment Grand Prix for the Adidas commercial ‘Original Is Never Finished’ by New York Advertising Agency, Johannes Leonardo.

1. Adidas Originals, Original Is Never Finished

Advertising Agency: Johannes Leonardo, New York, USA

Creative Director Wes Phelan insightfully noted that the past empowers the future. “We wanted the film to reflect the rich past of all creative spheres: music, art, film and sport.

Starting with the music, we intentionally chose a track that had been done multiple times before to prove our point, that original is never finished.”

“The song provides the narrative thread that connects the different role players and the motivation of their creative drive.”

The commercial was filmed in various locations throughout Europe and Africa by filmmaker and director Terence Neale. The image disruptions and definition fluctuations are intentional and part of the desired ‘actuality’ look and feel he wanted to create.

‘Original Is Never Finished’ was one of YouTube’s 10 most watched commercials of 2017 having reached a staggering 25.4 million views.

The mix of contemporary creative talents featured are: Snoop Dogg, hip-hop artist Stormzy, basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and artist Petra Collins’ re-imagining of Boticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’; all set to the re-worked sounds of Frank Sinatra’s classic tune ‘My Way’, that was especially written and composed for him by Billy Joel.

2. Adidas Originals China, Original Is Never Finished

Advertising Agency: Johannes Leonardo, New York, USA

The ‘Original Is Never Finished’ campaign seque, directed by Terence Neale for China, explores the idea of recreation and the notion that when something is pushed far enough, it becomes original again.

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” is re-imagined into a poetic, transformative anthem and scenes from the first commercial are recreated featuring a new group of ‘creators’.

Adidas Originals Global Brand Ambassador, Kendall Jenner, is joined by singer and actor Eason Chan, Visual Artist Chen Man, singer and actress Meng Jia, NBA star James Harden, and rappers Playboi Carti, 21 Savage and Young Thug.

They all redefine the idea of originality by challenging the status quo with passionate individuality and creative drive.

The classic ‘MyWay Remix’ soundtrack is by Human Music Production Studios, Franklin, Tennessee, USA, with sound design by Q Department and sound mix by Sonic Union.

The ‘Original Is Never Finished’ adidas brand campaign garnered a trove of International Advertising Awards that included:

2018 Effie – Global Gold

2018 Clio Sport – Grand Prix in Film

2018 Clio Sport – Gold in Audio

2018 One Show – Gold for use of Music

2018 One Show – Gold for Editing

2017 Cannes Lions – Grand Prix – Music Entertainment

2017 Clios – Gold in Use of Music

2017 Clios – Gold in Branded Entertainment

2017 Ciclope Festival Berlin – Gold in Production Design

2017 AMP – Best in Show

2017 AICE – Best Digital Content

3. Chicken Licken, They Also Crave It

Advertising Agency: Joe Public, Johannesburg, South Africa

Directed by filmmaker Terence Neal, the ‘they’ referred to, turn out to be some extraterrestrial characters that in a ‘bolt out the blue’ descend on a family’s home with an amusing impact on their lives.

The unfolding phantasy however, has a nasty sting in its ‘tale’ that is entertaining to view.

4. Beats Studio 3 Wireless Headphones, Above The Noise

Advertising Agency: JohnXHannes, New York, USA

The global campaign commercial of Beats by Dre’s ‘Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling’ technology, impressively directed by Terence Neal, stars actor K, Williams a the narrator with this insightful message:

“When the noise is all gone, and you’re just left with you that’s when you hear what you’re meant to do,”

The film features some exemplary figures that have risen above the ‘noise’ of adversity and anxiety and still do, such as Serena Williams, Neymar Jr, Cara Delevingne, and Chinese-Canadian actor, rapper, singer, record producer, and model, Kris Wu.

5. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Option 2

Advertising Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, USA

Directed by Terence Neale, BMW’s Option 2 commercial for me is a dynamic and fresh take on the well-travelled theme of individuality aimed at the mavericks, who aspire to transcend the mind-numbing boredom of conventionality, to be able to live out their lives and aspirations according to their own rules.

The commercial features exemplary talents of individuality and boundary- breaking creativity such as the Dear Ribane creative trio of South African artists Tebogo, Manthe and Kokona Ribane, and famed Hong Kong electronic musician, Merry Lamb.

The unconventional soundtrack, especially composed for the commercial, is by South African producer DJ Lag, and features a genre of electronic dance music known as CQOM; a unique sound with a repetitive beat that originated in South Africa’s East Coast city of Durban.

6. Adidas, Your Future Is Not Mine

Advertising Agency: Johannes Leonardo, New York, USA

Directed by Terence Neal, and filmed across a number of locations in both Budapest, Hungary, and Cape Town, South Africa, ‘Your Future Is Not Mine’ highlights the relevancy of the adidas Originals brand values of community, courage and creativity, at this unique moment in time when the current state of affairs in the world are in such disarray.

The future themed commercial serves as a motivational message for the current generation of young people around the world to go forward, and through community, courage and creativity find their own direction in the tomorrows of the their lives, that will be better.

In an interview on ‘The Little Black Book’s’ online portal, Adidas Originals Senior Director of Global Brand Communication, Alegra O’Hare, underlined the timely and insightful relevancy of the brand campaign:

“We talked to creative communities in key cities like New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris and London and the ‘Your Future is Not Mine’ theme, completely resonated with them.”

“The future is something they really all had concerns about, whether it is the environment, current geo-political shifts, or cultural threats.”

The commercial’s stirring soundtrack by singer, songwriter and producer Daisy Hamel-Buffa from Los Angeles, California, USA, was lauded with a Gold Lion at Cannes for Film Craft Use of Original Music.