Patrick Dempsey Directed His First Ad, and It’s This Stylish, Enigmatic Short for Tag Heuer

Yes, it's selling a watch and not a car

When we last saw Patrick Dempsey in a commercial, he appeared alongside fellow TV doctors like Lisa Edelstein (House), Alan Alda (M*A*S*H), Noah Wyle (ER) and Donald Faison (Scrubs) for Cigna health care. The point of that campaign was to encourage people to see real physicians for annual exams.

Dempsey’s new ad, for luxury watch brand Tag Heuer, might not cause a full-on syncopal episode, but it could be enough to spike at least a few superfans’ blood pressure. Cuff, please! It’s an atmospheric black-and-white mini-movie that has Dempsey tooling around in a vintage roadster being, well, McDreamy. The guy simply can’t help it.

The former Grey’s Anatomy star also makes his directorial debut with the two-minute spot, called “To Jack,” that tries “to create the essence of the past, present and future,” he said in a statement. It’s an homage to company founder Jack Heuer, featuring a classic convertible similar to the one he used to drive.

Some viewers have been confused about the product on display. Is it a car ad? A travel spot for a foggy coastal city? By the end, the pricey watch does get significant face time, so to speak.

The ad might be as noteworthy for its creators as for its content. Dempsey, who’s now part of a filmmaking and commercial directing collective called Independent Media, worked with A-list cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) and Grammy-nominated jazz musician Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah on the spot, which ends with the line, “To be continued.”

The actor and racecar enthusiast has said he will delve further into commercial and brand work, following the path of other auteurs in the Independent Media group like Doug Liman and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

CREDITS
Client: Tag Heuer
Spot: “To Jack”
Director: Patrick Dempsey
Director of photography: Janusz Kaminski
Music by: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah