Director Eric Yealland, who won a Bronze Lion at Cannes earlier this year for a hilarious web campaign for Canada’s National Advertising Awards, has signed with Los Angeles-based Original for exclusive representation in the United States. Yealland brings lengthy experience as a comedy director in Canada and Europe including campaigns for Budweiser, IKEA, Coors Light, Ford, Toyota, eBay and Coca-Cola.
Yealland says that he is eager to explore the U.S. market and calls Original the ideal vehicle to do so, citing the company’s track record for growing directorial careers and its complementary roster of talent. “I like the other directors they represent,” he says, “and I like the company’s energy. Bruce Mellon, Marc Lasko and Joe Piccirillo have a passion for the business and an excellent strategy for marketing my skills. It’s a great fit.”
Yealland won his Bronze Lion for Focus Group, a web video produced by Draftfcb for the National Advertising Awards. The spot shows a blandly cheerful marketing professional soliciting comments from a consumer focus group about a new commercial. One of the creatives from the project, lurking in the next room behind a one-way mirror, shows his contempt for the focus group’s vapid opinions by dropping his pants and rubbing his backside against the glass.
“I like dry, observational humor,” Yealland notes. “I grew up with a strong British influence on my comedy, so I tend to like it dry. I want the viewer to feel like they’re in the room, watching it all unfold.”
Yealland calls himself “an actor’s director” and his work tends to be economical and performance-driven. His recent spot for eBay, for example, is a single set-up gem: a postal worker phones a woman about a vibrating package that he suspects contains an adult product. (It’s a cellphone.) Recently, however, the director has worked on a few campaigns involving ingenious special effects. A spot for a milk producers group shows members of a dance class withering like balloons as they lose energy.
“The effects were all done in camera,” he explains. “It was all careful positioning and puppetry. We used sex dolls. We dressed them in the same wardrobe as the actors and rapidly inflated and deflated them to get the plates we needed.”
Yealland began directing music videos in his early twenties and signed his first commercial contract, with Partners, Toronto, when he was just 24. He went onto direct more than 100 commercials for the company over the next decade. He is currently represented in Canada by Industry Films, Toronto.
Yealland has won numerous awards for his work. His campaign for Canada’s Metro newspaper and Rethink Communications won four Lotus Awards and an Applied Arts Magazine Award for Best Campaign. He is also the recipient of an ICE Award (for a Phamachoice spot out of Extreme Group), and a Gold ADCC Award and a Silver Marketing Award (for the Playland spot Snack Bar out of Rethink Communications).
Original is led by executive producers Bruce Mellon, Joe Piccirillo and Marc Lasko.