My Favourite Tom Kuntz Commercials
This is another in the ACES series of featuring commercial film directors that I admire for their dedicated craftsmanship in bringing creative concepts and storylines to filmic life that enthral viewers, and motivate well-earned accolades from the Advertising Communications industry.
American filmmaker Tom Kuntz began his career at MTV promoting the channel and directing MTV commercials before joining Propaganda Films.
A highly successful, multi-award winning career followed that includes multiple nominations for the honour of ‘Best Commercial Director of the Year’ by the Directors Guild of America (DGA), in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2016.
1. Avanti West Coast, Feel Good Travel
Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK
In a partnership between Aberdeen-based firm FirstGroup and Italy’s Trenitalia Transport Company, Avanti West Coast is the train operator for intercity services on the United Kingdom’s West Coast Main Line.
Filmed in an around Manchester, the village of Castleton, and the Twemlow viaduct in Cheshire, the integrated, ‘Feel Good Travel’ campaign commercial, was directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, starring rollerblading turtle Turbo.
Adding to the commercial’s delightful ‘feel-good-factor’, a resonant soundtrack features Algerian Chaoui music singer Dihya’s song, “Badala Zamana”.
2. Nissan Rogue, World of Distraction
Advertising Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, USA
The Nissan Rogue ‘World of Distraction’ commercial directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz is an insightful parody about why safety features, like emergency braking systems that detect pedestrians, and systems that warn about blind spots warnings, are so important in our modern world of endless distractions from personal mobile devices.
The creatively inspired, dystopian depiction, for all its amusement, does however, highlight a disturbing element of truthful reality, and sobering thought, that makes for compelling viewing.
3. IKEA, Silence The Critics
Advertising Agency: Mother, London, UK
Directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, IKEA’s first-ever Festive Season commercial is insightfully entertaining.
Sarah Green, UK and Ireland Ikea Marketing Manager outlined the rationale behind the engaging IKEA brand communication about ‘home shame’, featuring a home-clutter collection of rapping critics.
“It was born from the common feeling that along with the seasonal joys, a lot of us feel a looming sense of dread when it comes to hosting others. This campaign aims to inspire us all to get our homes party-ready and ‘Silence the Critics’, once and for all.”
The inspirational choice of an original track by Darren Dixen, the English Grime MC, known as D Double E, provides resonating audio support to the animated story’s visual narrative.
4. Volkswagen Engineering, Wings
Advertising Agency: Argonaut, San Francisco, California, USA
Volkswagen’s ‘Wings’, superbly directed commercial by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, visually dramatises a salient feature of VW, as the brand with the most vehicles on the road, that have done over 100,000 miles.
The imaginative story told by a Dad to his daughter about VW’s engineers sprouting wings every time one of their vehicles surpasses the 100,000 mileage-meter mark, makes for fun viewing.
5. Apple, Apocalypse
Advertising Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Los Angeles, USA
Filmmaker Tom Kuntz’s directional expertise in filming comedy comes to the fore in this commercial that was launched at the ‘Worldwide Developers Conference’ in 2017.
The story is a tongue-in-cheek exaggeration of the chaos that would follow if people suddenly lost all their Apps. The concluding conference message by Apple was a plea to developers to keep inventing Apps as the world depends on them.
Reactions to the commercial were however, controversial. Many industry commentators believe it is a brilliant and amusing reminder of the beneficial role Apps play in the advancement of our daily lives.
But others are of the opinion that Apple has merely highlighted how absurd and vulnerable our digital world has become with our reliance on Smartphones and Apps. My view is that there is strong element of truth to both arguments.
6. Heineken, The Odyssey
Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Heineken believes everyone excels at something, and no matter how obscure their particular talent may be, it deserves a celebratory tribute.
Directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, the commercial features a cast of non-professional actors who each, like bird caller Scott Sparrow from South Africa, has a unique skill.
Johnny Cash’s ‘Sixteen Tons’, sung in Portuguese by Noriel Vilela of Brazil, provides a resonant supporting soundtrack.
7. Axe Anarchy, Unleash The Chaos
Advertising Agency: BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty), London, UK
Directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, the highly amusing commercial features an appropriately fitting soundtrack of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Elvis Presley.
The visual dramatisation of the increasing city mayhem that burning passion unleashes, makes for cinematic and highly entertaining viewing.
8. Heineken, The Chase
Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam
Filmmaker Tom Kuntz’s, cinematic and highly watchable Heineken commercial is an action-packed parody to mark the launch of the Bond movie “Spectre” in which Daniel Craig stars as 007 once again.
For the millions of Bond fans globally, there is an anecdotal reference to villain ‘Odd Job’s’ deadly bowler hat from the movie ‘Goldfinger’ that is very amusing.
9. Old Spice, Hello Ladies
Advertising Agency: Weiden+Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, USA
Directed by filmmaker Tom Kuntz, the hugely popular parody of ‘manliness’, stars American actor and former National Football League player, ‘Old Spice Man’ Isaiah Amir Mustfa.
‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’, won a Cannes Grand Prix for film, and an Outstanding Commercial Primetime Emmy Award, as ‘The Commercial of the Year’, and became the most popular viral campaign in recent history.