Spotlight On: Apple Music Spots with Taylor and Drake
By Yash Egami on Jan 22, 2017
We all know Taylor Swift has a huge following, as does the singer Drake. So what happens when you put them together in a series of spots? Nearly 5 million views on YouTube and 500 million media impressions in the first three days, according to director Anthony Mandler of Black Hand Cinema. Mandler, who cut his teeth as a photographer and then director on music videos for top artists including Swift, Jay Z and Rihanna, has branched out into advertising and film work over the years. We spoke with Mandler about his latest project and how he worked directly with the client to create the spots.
When you first started shooting the spot with Taylor, did you already have the follow-up piece with Drake planned?
When we saw the global impact of the campaign our minds started working. Drake spoke up that he would love to respond to the spot with his own. The tag "Distractingly Good" really took on a life of its own in the process.
You could see Drake being a Swift fan—what was his initial reaction to the idea?
I think he was flattered that she was such a fan of his music...
There was no agency involved—is this unusual in how you guys work or is this becoming more commonplace?
Larry Jackson, the Head of Content at Apple Music, and I have a long relationship that goes back to his days at Jive/Interscope Records. His approach has always been closer to the synergy creatively you hope to have between an A&R, Artist and Director when crafting the campaigns that star musicians. It’s not that he is against agencies—rather his approach always focuses on a certain kind of intimacy and streamlining to the process. And frankly he’s a brilliant creative.
Who is Black Hand Cinema? What’s Black Hand’s latest project that you’re excited about?
Black Hand Cinema is my production company. All of my production, creative and directing work is produced through Black Hand Cinema. Right now I'm working on several new spots with Apple Music, the global launch of Hugo Boss “Hugo," and the premier of Monster, my debut film.
Click here to watch "Apple Music – Drake vs. Bench Press."