Ariola Wins Top Directors Guild Prize

LOS ANGELES Dante Ariola won the Directors Guild of America’s top prize for commercial directing at a ceremony here on Saturday. This marks the first time the MJZ director has won the award after three previous nominations.

One of Ariola’s recent spots aired during the Super Bowl telecast on CBS. “First Taste” for Coca-Cola, with creative from independent Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, shows an elderly, institutionalized man who has forgotten that he’s ever had a Coke. Having been reminded, he goes off on a wild spree to recapture other thrills he may have forgotten.

Ariola was nominated for that spot, as well as for “Snowball” for Traveler’s Insurance and “Human” for Johnnie Walker. Those clients are handled by Publicis Groupe shops Fallon and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, respectively.

Ariola had been nominated in 2000, 2002 and 2004. This year, finalists included Hungry Man’s Bryan Buckley and David Gray; Pytka’s Joe Pytka; and Ariola’s fellow MJZ director Tom Kuntz.

Other directors honored included Martin Scorsese for The Departed, a much-acclaimed feature motion picture; Walter Hill for the television movie Broken Trail; Jon Cassar for the dramatic series 24; Jill Mitwell for the One Life to Live daytime drama; Tony Sacco for a reality series Treasure Hunters; Kenny Ortega for children’s show High School Musical; Arunas Matelis for the documentary Before Flying Back to the Earth; Rob Marshall for a Tony Bennett music special; and Richard Shepard for the Ugly Betty pilot.