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My Favourite Tim Bullock 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 enthrall viewers and motivate well-earned accolades from the Advertising Communications industry.

Tim Bullock

Australian economics graduate, writer, producer and director Tim Bullock, spent eight formative years at Saatchi & Saatchi before deciding that filmmaking was his true passion.

He went on to produce award winning short films, co-produced a TV comedy series as writer and creator, and became a commercial director in great demand.

I find his attention to detail, his insightful storytelling and keenly observed foibles of human behaviour that he expresses with such effective filmic humour and character portrayal, very rewarding to view.

1. CANAL Plus, Spitfire

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Directed by Tim Bullock, the hugely enjoyable WWII parody of the hit film ‘Dunkirk’, features Spitfire pilots, who are well past their prime. The commercial serves as an amusing message for viewers to not postpone watching the big movies currently on offer.

2. Specsavers, Fawlty Car

Advertising Agency: Specsavers Creative

Directed by Tim Bullock, the commercial stars John Cleese who reprises a similar scene from the hugely successful TV comedy series ‘Fawlty Towers’ that ended in 1979.

Fawlty Towers was the name of a fictional hotel in the seaside town of Torquay on the ‘English Riviera’ and run by Basil and Sybil Fawlty, played by John Cleese and Prunella Scales.

The ongoing conflicts between Basil Fawlty’s bombastic and outrageous behaviour and his pedantic wife’s attempts at managing his chaotic ineptitude, provided much of the humour in the unfolding episodes that were sold to 17 countries and continued running by popular demand long after the series ended.

3. Toyota Hilux, Unbreakable

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney, Australia

Directed by Tim Bullock, this amusing parody of a Toyota ‘boot-camp’ to find unbreakable drivers worthy of owing a Hilux, makes for entertaining viewing.

4. Lotto Powerball, Lost

Advertising Agency: DDB, Auckland, New Zealand

Skillfully crafted and directed by Tim Bullock, this recent installment of New Zealand Lotto’s long-running ‘Imagine’ campaign series of commercials, tells the story of a flight attendant’s ups and downs concerning her Lotto ticket.

The story continues with the advertising theme of family, friendship and support that has struck such a resonant chord with the New Zealand public.

5. Harvey Nichols, Avoid Gift Face

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

Directed by Tim Bullock, this amusing commercial is a story about a human insight I’m sure we all can relate to.

It’s about that expectant moment of opening a gift and discovering that you hate it, but out of politeness had to pretend that you loved it by putting on your best ‘gift face’ expression.

In fact, a survey revealed that 72 percent of adults in Britain admitted to having pulled a “gift face” to save the feelings of a loved one, and 63 percent admitted to wearing or using an unwanted gift after Christmas to keep up the pretense.

According to Campaign magazine, ‘Gift Face’ was the most engaging campaign of the 2015 festive season.

6. Specsavers, Workout

Advertising Agency: Specsavers Creative

Tim Bullock directed this amusing story about a gathering of senior citizens for a game of Bingo that instead get a surprise workout when they are told to “Shake what your mother gave ya!”

The soundtrack features the Grammy-nominated tune ‘Sexy and I Know It’ from Redfoo and SkyBlu.

7. Specsavers, Cat With No Pulse

Advertising Agency: Specsavers Creative

Tim Bullock’s comedic direction skills come to the fore again in this amusing Specsavers commercial.

A vet calls his assistant Karen for help when he can’t find any signs of life in Phoebe the cat. The amusing cause of the problem revealed in the tale’s ending makes for rewarding viewing.

8. Toyota Kluger, Desire

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney, Australia

Toyota’s Kluger, also known as the Highlander, is a mid-size crossover SUV. Directed by Tim Bullock, the commercial is based on the consumer insight that women SUV drivers often outnumber that of men.

The story at first seems like an automotive cliché of an attractive woman driving an attention getting new SUV model. The mould-breaking twist in the story however, very effectively communicates the Kluger’s selling line of “Built for families. Designed for attention” with memorable appeal

9. Subaru Forester, Do

Advertising Agency: Disciple, Sydney, Australia

Excellently directed by Tim Bullock, this amusing commercial about three dogs, features a soundtrack inspired by Lou Reed’s iconic ‘Walk On The Wild Side’.