On My Radar: Pierre + Bertrand
Not To Scale's directing duo on the Spice Girls, scary movies and the limitations of advertising content.
What’s the best ad campaign you’ve seen recently?
Pierre: I really like the IKEA TV advert Come Home to Play. I think the style of the characters and backgrounds are great.
Bertrand: I really liked the AA Doors film by Buck. It’s not only amazing artistically, but it also has a really powerful message. I think it serves a meaningful purpose as a commercial film.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
Pierre: Fubiz to see what's new in design, graphics, photography etc...
Betrand: YouTube’s a favourite of mine. I like that you can listen to any kind of music at work, whether it be commercial or underground.
What’s the most recent piece of tech you’ve bought and why?
Pierre: I love cooking traditional French recipes for my family, but don’t always have the time, so I recently bought a Thermomix – a cooking robot, to assist me in the kitchen.
Bertrand: I bought a GoPro recently that I carry everywhere. I love it, you get some hilarious results at brilliant quality.
Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?
Pierre: I actually don’t use any of them. I try to stay as far away from social networks as possible.
Bertrand: I use Facebook to keep in touch with long distance family and friends but I don’t have an Instagram or Twitter account. I find them too time consuming.
What’s your favourite app on your phone and why?
Pierre: Well, my sense of direction is really bad so I rely on Google Maps quite a lot.
Bertrand: No smartphone for me. When I shut down the computer it means I'm no longer connected to any network or any other device, which I find really peaceful.
What’s your favourite TV show and why?
Pierre: We don't have a TV at home so I can’t answer that one I’m afraid.
Bertrand: Because I live in the Netherlands and I’m French I don’t watch too much TV because of the language barrier. I do quite like cooking shows though, just because I love food and the language barrier isn’t a problem. In terms of a TV series, I actually prefer to watch feature films but really enjoyed Breaking Bad. The quality of the actors, the editing and the topics were great.
What film do you think everyone should have seen?
Pierre: Children of Paradise by Marcel Carné (1945). This film is the pure definition of what cinematography means.
Bertrand: Probably not the most original answer but I’m going with it: 2001 A Space Odyssey.
Where were you when inspiration last struck?
Pierre: I went mountain trekking in the South of France looking for inspiration, but nothing came to me. Then funnily enough inspiration struck when having a beer at the summit after.
Bertrand: In front of a couple of empty bottles of beer.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
Pierre: The internet. More and more advertising commercials are now only for the internet. I feel that TV commercials have become deprecated.
Betrand: Easier access to the tools to create everything you want. It's now really cheap and easy to buy a good computer, a professional camera, camcorder, electronic music devices and produce stunning pictures, films or music.
If there were one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
Pierre: To cut down on how many short commercials are being made and focus on making longer, higher quality work where you can really tell a story. I find that commercials are quite often too short to really get your ideas across.
Bertrand: I would change the amount of commercials that are being produced at 10, 20 and 30 seconds. It’s definitely too short to tell an interesting story and be 100 per cent creative. Quite often we have to remove some of our best ideas to keep within the 20 second limit and it can be really frustrating, especially with an animation project.
Pierre+Bertrand's animated short, which they took two years off to make.
What or who has most influenced your career and why?
Pierre: My friend and co-director Bertrand. If I can’t find the inspiration for a project I can always count on Bertrand to find some. Executive producer and founder of Not To Scale Dan O’Rourke always find’s the right projects to show our creativity, which also helps.
Bertrand: Obviously my co-director Pierre. We have worked together for more than 10 years and share and mix our influences, styles and skills.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…
Pierre: When I’m working on something that I need to be really focussed for, I’ll listen to some old stupid music tracks by Britney Spears or Spice Girls. It keeps me from being distracted surprisingly.
Bertrand: When I was about eight years old, I slept in my parents’ bed for two weeks after watching horror movie, Slaughter High, on Christmas Eve. It traumatised me. The good thing is that now I’m very fond of horror movies, maybe because of the experience, or maybe not.
Read more about Pierre+Bertrand's career in advertising and beyond in this extended feature.