Five ads I wish I’d made, and one I did – by The Film House’s Omar Khalifa

Five ads I wish I’d made, and one I did

On the back of my passport cover, it says “Life is like a bicycle… to keep your balance, you must keep moving”. That’s up there with everybody’s cringe decal ‘Live, Love, Laugh’, but here we are….

… Movement. That’s what I’m trying to say. Movement.

I made an ad recently for Land Rover, which you might call a ‘dance film’. I’d go a little further. It’s about movement. And symmetry in movement.

When I look back, there’s a few ads about movement that I wish I’d made, which thankfully I didn’t, because I’d have made them much, much worse.

Here they are:

#1 Lacoste | The Big Leap | Seb Edwards

The leap of faith. That moment before. The fear. The internal questions. The what-ifs. To get anywhere in life, you have to move. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith. And typically, Seb Edwards does it with effortless charm.

#2 Guinness | Surfer (1998) | Jonathan Glazer

He waits, that’s what he does. Is there a more iconic opening line in advertising history? A face. Then a VO, 17s in. Black and white. No movement. Then Movement. Movement. Movement. Impactful vfx for its day. Horses… riding waves! Stills intertwined with motion. Adore. The lost art of art in advertising. Takes a confident client. And Jonathan Glazer.

#3 Ecco | Shoemaker | Per-Hampus Stålhandske

Ecco make shoes. Shoes! And so how this got signed off I have no idea but I am thankful that it did. High concept. Gorgeously-shot. Each scene a feeling of movement and an emotional ride of visual language. Director and DoP (Oli Millar) make stunning films and I’m very jealous. Check out more of their work online.

#4 Jägermeister | It Runs Deep | Seb Edwards

I could list so many more by Seb Edwards (Barclays Thank You, for example). It’s the humanity in his work. The sense of reality. The micro-moments that leave the biggest marks. This one, an observational doc feel, boys trip, memories, carries you along like you’re there with them. This is the movement, a continuous movement. The journey. And in the end, it leaves you with one of the most epic things a man can do in his spare time. What do you do in your spare time?

#5 Apple HomePod | Welcome Home | Spike Jonze

Because it’s actually dance performance. Because it grows. And grows sensationally. Because the song is crank-the-sonos jiggle-alone material. Because it ran 4mins and let you enjoy the narrative for a minute. Because it was REAL (they actually made the set). Because Spike Jonze. And because it shows what you get when you combine performance on screen, amazing art direction, wicked music and good times.

And the one I did:

#0 Land Rover | Defender

I have single full takes of our dancer Nicole Nyemi-Tei that you could watch endlessly. When an incredible performer performs, it can leave you awestruck. It was new here, in Qatar. Made in Qatar. Unrestricted by formulas. It was just … different. Focused on its craft and direction. A lesson in just do it. And in making this ad, I felt like we’d made a movement. Trodden new ground. Made bigger strides.

Which takes me back to the bicycle analogy. It’s true. Keep moving, and stay balanced.