From Michael Jackson to Superbowl via SpaceJam: is Joe Pytka the world's best director?

Campaign takes a look at some of the work of the director Joe Pytka, following the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity awarding him the Lion of St Mark.

Michael Jackson: 'The Way You Make Me Feel' directed by Joe Pytka
Michael Jackson: 'The Way You Make Me Feel' directed by Joe Pytka

In his 33-year career, he has directed ads for brands including Nike, IBM and Pepsi, as well as music videos and feature films. Read a full interview with Pytka in Campaign tomorrow.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1938, Pytka entered the film world while still in college, slowly moving up the ladder from editor and animator, all the way up to director.

He has cited influences such as the American directors John Ford and Howard Hawks, and European directors Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Frederico Fellini.

Pytka feels that it was his background in painting that drew him to the formality of commercials.

He has also stated that he preferred to read scripts before brands "got their hands on them. That way you can read the original creativity before it is affected by the opinions and requirements of the clients."

Below you can find a sampling of some of his best work over the years including his personal favourite, a music video he did for the Beatles entitled 'Free As A Bird.'

The Beatles - Free as a Bird from Manny on Vimeo.


Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 How Sainsbury's ads revolutionised the UK's food culture

Abbott Mead Vickers' press ads for Sainsbury's in the 1980s formed the most influential and culturally significant campaign the UK has ever produced, argues Paul Burke.

Just published