Wes Anderson Commercials: The Best and the Worst

The Best (and Worst) Ads Either Made or Inspired by Wes Anderson

The Best (and Worst) Ads Either Made or Inspired by Wes Anderson

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 28 2011 3:06 PM

The Worst Wes Anderson-Inspired Ad Yet

wesandersonbeerad

As Elbert Ventura pointed out in Slate a couple years ago, Wes Anderson’s stylistic tics have crept into pop culture like those of few other directors. (Ventura argued that Anderson had surpassed Tarantino as the go-to indie touchstone for “every NYU graduate and Sundance contender.”) It’s now been four years since Anderson released a live-action film (2007’s The Darjeeling Limited; his 2009 film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, utilized stop-motion animation), but a new Miller Lite ad suggests that paying homage to the director is still a popular shortcut to what companies presumably hope will halfway resemble hipster cred:

David Haglund David Haglund

David Haglund is the literary editor of NewYorker.com. 

That this rather uninspired 30-second spot is intended as an Anderson homage is given away not only by the slo-mo strut scored to “Making Time” by the Creation—a song that appeared in Rushmore—but also by the guy (pictured above) whose brown suit and shaggy, strawberry-blond hair are almost certainly a nod to the director.

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I enjoy commercial homages to beloved filmmakers—especially when they’re done by Anderson himself: The American auteur, who has directed several ads, used spots for American Express and a Japanese cell phone company as excuses to pay tribute to two of his favorite French filmmakers: François Truffaut and Jacques Tati, respectively.

But as those ads suggest, homages can and should be so much better than this one. And you needn’t be a filmmaker on the level of Anderson to pull it off: Consider the Geico spot from a few years back that alluded to Anderson with its precocious child narrator and prominent use of go-cart racing. (A surprising number of commercial directors seem to associate Anderson largely with kids and cars; see also the ads made for Hummer and Cars.com.) You don’t even need a big, corporate-provided budget: Witness this passable 2008 take on what an Anderson-directed McCain-for-President ad might look like.

Happily for Anderson fans, the director’s next live-action film is not too far off: Moonrise Kingdom, with its swoon-inducing cast (including Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Ed Norton, alongside Anderson-mainstay Bill Murray) is scheduled to arrive in theaters in 2012. Perhaps it will remind all the ad-makers out there how Anderson really does it.

Further viewing: My favorite commercial by Wes Anderson is the very amusing one below, made for IKEA. Enjoy.