THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Hottest commercial directors

1. Daniel Kleinman

The most-awarded director in the world in 2003, Kleinman achieved most of his tally with two great campaigns: John Smith's bitter and Microsoft's Xbox. Kleinman continues to show a true talent for comedy. From John West Salmon's "bear" to TBWA\London's hilarious John Smith spots starring Peter Kay, he has an unerring ability to keep them coming. At the same time, his Xbox and Johnnie Walker work demonstrates the breadth of his ability.

2. Frank Budgen

His Budgenness didn't quite manage a repetition of last year's stellar performance, but he still ranks as one of the most admired directors on the planet. 2003's awards success came for the incredibly powerful NSPCC "cartoon" and ads for Levi's, Reebok and Nike.

3. Antoine Bardou-Jacquet

Bardou-Jacquet couldn't fail to make the cut this year after directing the Honda "cog" film, which is already being ranked alongside Guinness' "surfer" and Levi's "odyssey" as among the greatest commercials of all time. The ad took almost 700 takes to get right as well as five months of experimentation to create the now-famous chain reaction that produces the Honda Accord.

4. Spike Jonze

A deserved debutant after his "lamp" film for Ikea upset the form book by beating Honda's "cog" commercial to the Grand Prix at Cannes. The spot, featuring a discarded lamp that's been cast out on to the street, reflects Jonze's background as a feature-film director, not least because of its clever casting and ability to inspire emotion for an inanimate object.

5. Matthijs Van Heijningen

He leaps on to this year's list after capturing the journalists' award at Cannes for his remarkable "sculptor" ad for the Peugeot 206. The image of a young Indian man remoulding his car is consistent with Van Heijningen's background as a short-film maker. "People are interested in characters' adventures and this catches the attention for the message," he says.

6. Traktor

The eccentric directors' collective noted for the anonymity of its directors had its boat rocked this year when one of its founders, Ulf Johansson, left to do his own thing. Nevertheless, it remains home to a range of diverse talent with an impressive list of award-winning work to its credit.

7. Tom Carty

Twenty-two D&AD Pencils, including three blacks, as well as outstanding work for Guinness, Volvo and Dunlop explain why Carty is one of the most in-demand talents in the business. His flexible contract with JWT allows him to continue directing through Gorgeous and cherry-pick the clients with which he wants to work.

8. Noam Murro

The US-based Murro has struck gold twice at Cannes since forming Biscuit Filmworks with the producer Shawn Tessaro two years ago. One award was for Clemmow Hornby Inge's Tango "helmet" film, the other for the amusing and moving "sheet metal" spot for Saturn cars. The commercial is already regarded as a milestone in auto advertising, largely because there are no cars in it.

9. Jonathan Glazer

A "must" for this year's list if only because of his blockbuster "Devil's Island" commercial for Stella Artois. Not only was this tale of ragged convicts on board a ship sailing for a French penal colony the most expensive ever made to promote the beer, but Glazer managed to create a commercial impressive both in its scale and the quality of its dramatic performances.

10. James Brown

Included for directing the "I'm lovin' it" global brand campaign for McDonald's - a directing triumph, especially for a vegetarian, although the idea is as thin as they come. Brought his background as a photojournalist into the assignment, using a wide range of locations and cameras. "My inspiration was to try to make it look more human," he says. "The ad is meant to feel a bit more jumbled, less conceived."


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