How Filmmaker Casey Neistat Gets Away With Murder

Director does his own thing for Nike and Mercedes

Headshot of Tim Nudd


Who Casey Neistat

Age 32

New gig Freelance commercial director

Old gig Commercial director, HSI Productions

You mostly make unbranded videos. How did you get into branded work?

I met Andy Spade in 2002 or 2003, and he invited me out to Arizona, where they were doing a still photo shoot for Kate Spade. We made some pretty crazy videos that might be par for the course now, but 10 years ago people didn’t know what to think.

You’ve convinced Nike and now Mercedes to let you spend their ad dollars basically traveling the world and having fun. You must be pretty charming in meetings.

I made a living for 10 years making very typical TV commercials. But I always wanted to reach beyond that and do stuff that people might relate to in the way they relate to my nonbranded content. I have 60-plus videos on YouTube and over 30 million views. Of those 60, only three or four are branded videos. I built that audience by telling stories the way I like to tell them. If you want me to emulate that for your brand, I need to do it the same way. Lending my voice to something is not me endorsing a product as much as it is me sharing my perspective on it. That’s at the heart of everything I make.

BONUS: Photo details of Casey's studio:

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.