Mark Molloy, the director behind Apple's award-winning "Underdogs" films, has encouraged his peers to embrace products in ads.
He explained that a "huge" part of his journey as a director for ads has been to "embrace the system, not to fight it", during a talk at the Ciclope Festival in Berlin, Germany, yesterday (7 November).
Molloy added: "I spent many dark years fighting the products in ads – it was so often a battle. But my work with Apple has taught me to embrace the product. That's easier said than done, I know that.
"If you can, embed it into the story and build things around it so it never feels like an afterthought or a disruption or a distraction."
Molloy's work with Apple began in 2019 when he was asked to create a film that shows office workers making use of the brand's products. It resulted in the beginning of a four-part comedic series about four colleagues, with subsequent ads being about working in lockdown, resigning and Apple's security features.
He added that he would encourage the use of a product if he thought it would progress the story, and explained that "Escape from the office" had around 150 product shots.
Molloy said that another learning he has had as a director is trust. He said: "The reason this whole series is what it is, is all down to trust. Over the years I've developed an amazing relationship with Apple which is really rare in this advertising world. They trust me as a storyteller, I trust them as creatives, as people and as a brand.
"I've had to earn it but it's essential. They're really brilliant collaborators and they give me and my team the inspiration and the freedson to go and make these films and they understand what it is to entertain.
"The series has been hugely successful for Apple, not just from a marketing perspective but from a business perspective too."
Molloy accepted that the series has been very useful for his career too. At the end of last year he finished shooting a Beverly Hills Cop sequel. He said that producer Jerry Bruckheimer called him after seeing the Apple work. Molloy described it as an "incredible, humbling, terrifying" experience.
He ended his talk saying that his biggest learning in his career has been to "test yourself, get out of your comfort zone and experiment".
Molloy added: "Directing a massive Hollywood movie is pretty different but it's also not so different to directing commercials. There are lots of big personalities, there's never enough time, there's similar problems to solve. It's always a game of compromises and it's about trying to protect your vision."