LOS ANGELES—Original has reached out to London to sign one of the UK’s top commercial comedy directors. Nick Jones has directed funny spots for eHarmony, Sony PlayStation, AT&T, Mercedes, Walmart, McDonald’s, Kia, Heineken and scores of other brands. Original will represent him exclusively for advertising projects in the United States.
“Nick is an extremely gifted comedy director and a naturally funny person,” says Original Executive Producer Bruce Mellon. “Nick works really well with actors and knows how to get a laugh, and how to do so with a touch of humanity.” Adds Original partner Joe Piccirillo, “He is a great addition to Original.”
Jones has been directing commercials for ten years, after beginning his career in music videos and television. His strengths are in casting, writing, performance and dialogue. He also has a keen visual eye and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the technical side of filmmaking.
For a recent eHarmony ad, he designed a steel support system, built into a couch, to hold the weight of a 1300 pound dromedary (who was “matched” to a hapless young man by an inferior dating service).
In advertising, Jones’s humor often centers on ordinary folk caught up in oblique or incongruous situations. A recent ad for the financial services Affinity Plus takes the form of a banal testimonial but gives it a wry twist: a couple gushes about a loan officer who is so eager to please, she serves as their surrogate mother. In a spot for Subway a man leading an exercise class through a lively Zumba session wakes to find he’s been hypnotized and has been dancing in a theatre full of people wearing only his underwear.
“I’ve been very lucky to been given good material by people who’ve trusted me to make the most of it,” Jones says, “and many of them have come back to me more than once.”
Jones honed his casting eye while working on such British television series as Bruiser and Eastenders. He gave a first break to a number of actors who have since gone on to great success, including Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg and Ricky Gervais. “I’m quite good at finding good people and getting them to show their best,” he says.
Jones says that he talked to a number of U.S. companies about representation and chose Original because of the quick rapport he developed with Bruce Mellon. “It felt right,” he says. “At the end of the day, this business is all about whom you work with. Building good relationships, person to person, stands the test of time.” He added that he wanted to be with a well-established company that has the trust of ad agencies across the country.