Joe Pytka, the director behind iconic television commercials such as the “Bo Knows” ads for Nike, Budweiser’s Clydesdales and the “This is your brain on drugs” public-service spots, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America, the guild announced Monday.
Pytka has directed more than 5,000 commercials, including the “Make A Wish” ad for Pepsi that featured Madonna and was released with a global satellite premiere. His ads have also featured celebrities including the Beatles, Michael Jordan, Tom Hanks, Marlon Brando, Wayne Gretzky, LeBron James and President Barack Obama.
Paris Barclay, president of the DGA, said Pytka’s resume includes more than 80 Super Bowl commercials, and many of his ads have become “part of the nation’s zeitgeist.”
His ads have included spots for John Hancock insurance, UPS, State Farm, Hallmark, McDonald’s, Gatorade, American Express and IBM.
He also directed a pair of feature films — the comedy “Let it Ride” and the animation/live-action “Space Jam,” which was inspired by his Nike ad featuring Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. He has also helmed music videos including the Beatles’ “Free as a Bird” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Pytka will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction during the 68th annual DGA Awards on Feb. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
— Wire reports