The 50 Best Commercial Directors in the World
In the past, directors were not considered stars. Stars were stars, and commercial directors were just people operating in the background, doing what big brands wanted them to do.
But nowadays this has changed. Directors are hailed as the heroes of commercials and films.
And by the way: Did you know that many famous movie or music directors are behind some of the world’s most successful commercials?
But who are the true stars among the commercial directors? We’ve collected this list for you, based on the ranking of LÜRZER’S Archive. In addition, we at Filestage had a close look at the Cannes Lions, CLIO Awards, D&AD winners and much more.
1. TOM KUNTZ
He is best known for his exclusive television commercials and music videos, with colorful settings and wildly strange humans.
2. DOUGAL WILSON
He is well known for his iconic and recognizable commercials.
3. RINGAN LEDWIDGE
He is one of the industry’s top commercials directors with a hint of magical realism.
4. TIM GODSALL
He is well known for his eccentric and funny spots.
5. JAMES ROUSE
James Rouse is one of the best comedy directors with a lot of ironical jokes and bittersweet sentiments in his spots.
6. CHRIS PALMER
With his crazy ideas, he created some of the best-loved ads in recent years, and is considered the Steven Spielberg of the commercial world.
7. JOE PYTKA
He is the creator of some of the world’s most memorable television commercials.
8. PAUL MIDDLEDITCH
Paul Middleditch is one of the world’s best commercial and film director with over 200 TV commercials to his name.
9. STEVE ROGERS
He is renowned for his dry humour and intimate cinematography.
10. BART TIMMER
His strength in storytelling is his extreme attention to detail and his humour.
11. NOAM MURRO
He is the founder of Biscuit Filmworks. He is well known for his groundbreaking commercials and has conquered a series of tricky special effects.
12. STEVE AYSON
Steve Ayson has gained a reputation for creating TV commercials people talk about after they stop airing.
13. ANTOINE BARDOU-JACQUET
He is a multi-award-winning director. His Honda – “Cog” spot is the most awarded commercial in the history of advertising.
14. LANCE ACORD
Lance is the co-founder and director of Park Pictures and known for emotive power in his commercials.
15. MARTIN KREJCI
His commercials are emotional and funny. Krejci’s success has to do with his offbeat visual style.
16. JIM JENKINS
He started making movies as a kid with an 8mm camera. Today he is one of the best directors in the world.
17. HAROLD EINSTEIN
Harold Einstein is well known for his dialogue-driven comedy style.
18. JEFF LOW
Low is known as a master of wry sense of humor.
19. ANDREAS NILSSON
He is famous for his dark, surreal and comical style.
20. ANTHONY WONKE
Wonke’s work covers a variety of genres and is always driven by intelligence, visual flair and emotional insight.
21. ERIC LYNNE
He combines technical perfection with a personal visual style.
22. HAMISH ROTHWELL
He is one of Australia’s best directors with an eye for comedy.
23. SEB EDWARDS
Seb Edwards is one of the world’s leading commercial directors.
24. MARTIN WERNER
He is the founder of Bacon Productions in Copenhagen and one of the most awarded and loved directors in Scandinavia.
25. IVAN ZACHARIAS
He is characterised for his human, cinematic styled storytelling.
26. ANDY MCLEOD
Before joining Rattling Stick, he was the founding partner of Fallon – one of London’s most respected advertising agencies.
27. FREDRIK BOND
The industry magazine Campaign has ranked Fredrik Bond among its top five commercial directors.
28. SAM BROWN
He is known for commercials with a music-video-style.
29. ADAM BERG
His films cover all styles and genres.
30. PETER THWAITES
Peter Thwaites is the co-founder of the production company The Corner Shop.
31. DANTE ARIOLA
He gives every commercial and feature film its own rich, cinematic look and distinctive style.
32. MICHAEL GEOGHEGAN
Michael’s adaptive style and strong ethics have long been established, and still carry through to each film he takes on.
33. JOHN DOLAN
He is well known for his commercials with emotional component.
34. GRADY HALL
He is a producer and director, known for award-winning commercials.
35. JOACHIM BACK
Joachim Back is known for his unique sense of humour and visual style in his spots.
36. SPIKE JONZE
He created a number of memorable television commercials for companies like Nike, Nissan and Coca-Cola.
37. CHARLEY STADLER
Charley Stadler directed more than 200 commercials for some of the biggest brands all over the world.
38. LAUREN GREENFIELD
She was the first female director with a nomination for best commercial director by DGA.
39. MARTIN STIRLING
He is known for his extreme attention to detail and crafting unique ways of telling stories.
40. DANIEL KLEINMAN
Kleinman has a knack for making people laugh. He is well known for his provocative and comic commercials.
41. TONY SCOTT
Sadly, Scott died in 2012, aged 68. He committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.
42. MATTHIAS HOENE
He won several awards for his very first commercial “Club 18-30”.
43. TOM NOAKES
Tom Noakes is known as a weird comedy director.
44. MICHEL GONDRY
He is known for his extraordinary ideas.
45. DAVID SHANE
Shane is recognized for his black humour and awkward performances.
46. BRYAN BUCKLEY
He was named the “King of Super Bowl” by the New York Times. He directed more than 50 commercials for the game since 2000.
47. MICHAEL MANN
He is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer.
48. FREDRIK CALLINGGARD
Callinggard is well known for commercials with a lot of emotions.
49. FRANK BUDGEN
He died in 2015 at the age of 61 after producing many successful commercials.
50. RIDLEY SCOTT
Scott is known for his groundbreaking achievements in visual effects.
This list is not a judgement. We’ve merely compiled a collection of the best directors, based on extensive research. Perhaps you noticed that we at Filestage just ranked one women. Unfortunately, this business is still dominated by men. But perhaps the day will come, when more women are recognized for their achievements in the industry. Watch this space.
“I would love to see more women directors because they represent half of the population – and gave birth to the whole world. Without them writing and being directors, the rest of us are not going to know the whole story.” – Jane Campion
Do you agree with our ranking? Or do you think we left someone out? Just comment and let us know what you think.
By the way: What is Filestage?
Filestage is a web app to make client reviews easy. You can share, review, and approve media files with clients and co-workers. They simply click and comment to give you feedback on videos, audio files, documents and designs.
Marketing changed my perception of life. Affecting people with a minimum of resources, understanding how they think and what we can do to keep them hungry for more, that’s what fascinates me the most.