The Annual 2006: Top 10 directors

1. NOAM MURRO, Independent/Biscuit Filmworks

The larger-than-life Californian is in danger of going native, he's spent so much time working in the UK. Murro's work for Skoda, Sure and Orange this year means rarely a day has gone by without an ad made by the big man appearing in a break.

2. JONATHAN GLAZER, Academy

Advertising will always play second fiddle to his films, but Glazer proved this year that he can still pull out all the stops when it comes to ads. Sony "paint" was billed as a collaboration between Fallon and Glazer, and it's hard to imagine what the film would have looked like had he not been involved from the start.

3. CHRIS PALMER, Gorgeous

The Gorgeous director has had another steady, stellar year. His brilliantly realised real-life "Simpsons" viral for Sky and "Old Lions" World Cup campaign for Carlsberg stand out as highlights in a 2006 reel that is strong, diverse and impossible to pigeonhole.

4. DANNY KLEINMAN, Rattling Stick

It's been a fairly quiet year from the hardest-working director in the UK, but a successful one nonetheless. Expect big things from Kleinman's production company, Rattling Stick. His partner is Ringan Ledwidge and the company's latest signing is the Fallon co-founder, Andy McLeod.

5. DOUGAL WILSON, Blink

Wilson continues his climb up the directorial top ten with a string of big-hitting ads. His "the ride" spot for Orange cut through the broadband clutter, while "four steps" for Beck's was a populist hit. Destined to be even bigger and better in 2007.

6. NE-O, Stink

The husband-and-wife directorial team of Jake Knight and Ryoko Tanaka enjoyed an excellent year at Stink. The duo capitalised on their charming guinea pig ads for Egg last year with "humanity" for Toyota - an ad that goes to extreme lengths to prove that it's the human touch that makes the marque stand out.

7. TRAKTOR, Partizan

They might be too old for their Cannes party now, but the Swedish collective are still knocking out the hits. A UK highlight this year was "expo" for 3, while "a love story" for Axe and "stick" for FedEx scored well on the international front.

8. IVAN ZACHARIAS, Stink

It must be a source of unending irritation for his production company Stink that Zacharias only does two jobs a year. This year, he was behind the camera for Nike and Lynx, coming up with two massive ads, proving that what his reel lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.

9. FRANK BUDGEN, Gorgeous

Two films for Xbox - "water balloons" and "jump rope" - and a return to the Levi's scripts ensure a place in the top ten for Budgen. "Water balloons" would earn him a place alone - it combines fun with more than a hint of the opening sequence to Saving Private Ryan and no doubt inspired hundreds of water fights in playgrounds.

10. ANTOINE BARDOU-JACQUET, Partizan

Some found the strategy behind Wieden & Kennedy's Honda "choir" ad difficult, but it's hard not to admire Bardou-Jacquet's direction. The French director scored a critical hit with "fish" for Orange, too: the first (and possibly last) ad for the mobile phone provider to come out of Marcel.

Probably the last, too, following the Marcel founders defection to a Vincent Bollore-backed start up.

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