There isn't a much better place to start than with Michel Gondrey's spot for Levi's Type 1s, featuring the mutant mice people. Now, clearly, this wasn't cheap. There's post-production in every frame, because Gondrey insisted on using real mice. That said, by shooting on video, he has cleverly given it a non-glossy feel, which plays to the current mood perfectly.
Nellee Hooper composed the track. There's also some exclusive footage showing how Gondrey actually made it all happen technically.
MTV Aids Awareness spots from Mother bring a welcome new approach to promoting the use of protection. And there's an unexpected twist in TBWA/London's Transport for London ad promoting black cabs, directed by Mike Leigh.
I won't spoil them for you.
You'll even find lower-budget ads in Mark Tutssel's guide to the Super Bowl. That said, you'll also find some very expensive ones. For my money, and I suspect the clients', the cheaper ones such as Fed Ex's Castaway spoof win out.
The direction on Daniel Kleinman's Johnnie Walker "human shoal", just to contradict myself and to show there are no rules, is money well spent and nothing short of amazing. And the Rupert Sanders 50-camera Nike ad for Wieden & Kennedy Portland, while pulse-racing for us, was presumably heart-stopping for the editor when he turned up with 560 hours of rushes.
I've had Mint Royale's Dancehall Places on repeat on my ipod forever, so I was very happy to see this video for Blue Song by Edgar Wright out of Godman. I love the idea. What does the getaway driver do during the three minutes it takes to rob a bank? Simple idea. Didn't cost a lot.
Shot in a car park. Great choreography.
There is also a promo for Phoenix, by Roman Coppola. It starts by letting you follow the e-mails that went back and forth re: the budget and the treatment.
It actually says: "It's a nine-minute song and there isn't much money." The weaving stream of consciousness that follows soon has you hooked.
Another example of strong ideas resulting from heavy budgetary restraints.
I like the sound of the directing duo Happy and I like the look of their work too, judging by the examples shown in the "ones to watch" feature.
And there's a late entry from Moret, the thirtysomething graphic designer.
It's a promo he made at home on his G4, for Roudoudou. It stars these animated underwater hula girls. And you can't get much more high concept and low budget than that.
Finally, there's a short film, The Jaffaman. It looks suspiciously like it's been funded through embedded marketing. That's the new term for product placement. On the other hand, the director Oliver Ashton may have put his star in Adidas Superstars because they are extremely cool. Whatever, I hope that this gets seen by a wide audience.