Vittel "A New Life Every Day" by Ogilvy & Mather Paris (2003)
David Bowie had a keen sense throughout his career for seizing worthwhile commercial opportunities, and yet this exceptional ad which he fronted for Nestle's Vittel mineral water in 2003 still takes one's breath away for its playful wit and its imaginative scope. And it was a far superior promotional video for what was then Bowie's latest album 'Reality' than the actual video for main single 'Never Gets Old'. It would be facinating to know whose idea it was originally: it would surely have required immense courage for the OgilvyParis creative director of that time, Bernard Bureau, to approach Bowie with the suggestion that he revisit the various personae he had inhabited over the course of his long career. Who would imagine he might agree? So perhaps part of the idea came from Bowie himself, clearly ready by now to poke some fun at himself and cast an eye back over his past lives. And there they all are: Ziggy, the Thin White Duke, the Ashes to Ashes Pierrot, even such comparatively short-lived characters as Jean Genie, 'Fashion's grande dame and - most daring of all - the Diamond Dog himself. One thing Bowie wasn't prepared to do, though, was re-inhabit all those characters himself. Instead, noted tribute performer David Brighton was hired to play the great man's past lives, and by all accounts the two got on famously on set. Brighton later told Vice that Bowie had been immensely entertaining between takes, delivering a series of little micro-performances, including comedy routines with American accents, impromptu mimes and dance moves. The result is a fantastic piece of work, and a wonderful reminder of an iconic musician at the top of his game.