David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

THE RETURN OF
HARALD ZWART
4 June 2014

Director Harald Zwart - represented in the UK by 15 Badgers - is back in TVC action with a pair of excellent commercials which offer a potent reminder of his sublime pedigree. Zwart has a parallel life as a highly successful director of Hollywood movies and his hits include the $380m grossing Karate Kid.

We caught up with him in Los Angeles and discovered he's raring to go; that he's still proud of a commercial he made "a thousand years ago" and how he loves 15 Badgers' Bash Robertson because of something he once saw him do to a cactus.

Welcome back! I've seen the lovely work for Telenor and Dugg... what's it like adjusting to TV commercials again and what is it about the discipline that you enjoy?

I always love doing ads and have been doing them in between features whenever I can.

I enjoy a great idea. To me commercials can be small features. They tell a story, and I work just as much on design and performance. I also enjoy the collaboration with agencies, I learn a lot from that.


Is it fun having 'star' status as a director?

Norway is wonderfully free from any star admiration and the ad world in general seems to hire you based on your work.

It's a flattering question but I don't see any of that. Maybe I should become more eccentric.


I've always admired Chris Palmer, Fredrik Bond and Matthijs Van Heijningen.

 ”

Which of your commercials are you most proud of?

That's a really hard question. If I'm being really nostalgic it's the one for Danish Road Safety, but that one is a thousand years old.

I am very happy with the Capitol One campaign I did for the US with the Vikings. We were shooting in New York City and everyone was shouting "what's in your wallet?"

Even the police passing us went on their loud-hailers and yelled it out. It was so much fun.

That's when you know your campaign has had an impact.


An equally tricky question... which other commercials directors do you admire?

You're right. Just as hard. I've always admired Chris Palmer, Fredrik Bond and Mathijs Van Heinigen.

When an agency gets Harald Zwart, what do you like to think is the key benefit you bring to a project?

I'm pretty easy to work with. I always have a vision but am open to better ideas. I think you're not done until you're done. So coming up with big changes on the shoot never scares me. It only scares the producers.


I've been working with Bash for half a lifetime, and I will never forget when he hugged a cactus in South Africa to entertain the agency.

 ”

How do you like the Badgers? What persuaded you to hook up with Bash and Toby?

I love the Badgers. I've been working with Bash [Robertson] for half a lifetime, and I will never forget when he hugged a cactus in South Africa to entertain the agency.

I don't think he's forgotten either!

Finally, do you think your surname has helped to make you a patient fellow... always last in line?

That's right, it has! And it's worse for my son - he's called Zander.

For more information on Harald Zwart or any of the other badgers in the sett... contact the indefatigable Toby Courlander on 07710 504 752.

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David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.