Before "toys" came "the sculptor" for the Peugeot 206, which shows a battered old Indian car being transformed into the shape of a 206 to impress passers-by. In both ads, Andre tried to film as much of the action as possible, minimising on post-production. "I don't like to rely too much on post; I prefer to use it when you can't do something in camera," he says.
Post-production again played only a small role in a recent ad for Christian Aid. The spot encourages donations to help developing nations help themselves by showing a puppet on strings installing a water supply to grow crops in the desert. A puppeteer from Thunderbirds brought his expertise to the ad. "The more the puppet works, the more he can work by himself," Andre enthuses. "It's a light and simple commercial."
When it came to directing an ad for Kinder in France, Andre was initially unsure because of the brand's patchy creative past. But he persuaded the client to branch out. The ad for Kinder Maxi ("for big kids") shows adults behaving like children: an office worker colours her fingernails with a luminous highlighter and there's more spontaneous fun with a shopping trolley and a photocopier. Despite his initial fears, Andre is proud of the finished product, and Kinder liked the departure for its brand. "Everything is about dedication," he philosophises. "You can build (the ad) with the client and that works well."
An Adidas spot starring Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis playing tennis on the streets of Manhattan to the sounds of Roger Sanchez DJing was Andre's way of sexing up the sport. "I find tennis very boring," he confesses, "so we wanted to make it look cool."
Andre originally planned to be a conductor, but swapped the conservatoire for a place at film school. He then worked at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris for two years before making his own films. Keen to continue directing promos and ads, he also wants to direct feature films and has a script in development.
Summing up his ads portfolio, he says: "I've been lucky enough to arrive on scripts where clients wanted a turning point rather than repeating the same script."
- Philippe Andre was talking to Lucy Aitken.