Thursday, 4 March 2010

Icon #44 Guinness - Surfer

How do you choose the most iconic TV advert of all time?  Not very easily I can tell you.  For such a maligned medium there have been some absolute corkers and once again I'm almost left ruing that I didn't narrow down the topic a bit.  And for that reason and that reason alone there is a small post script at the end of this piece.

The Guinness adverts have always been brilliant, many of the Rutger Hauer ads from the eighties were confusing and striking examples of how they could be like small films if the business had the budget to put behind their product.  It's also the second time that Guinness has appeared as an icon, the first time being way back at #9 appearing as an icon in its own right back in the days before themes.

So considering Rutger, the Mynah bird (yes I am old enough to remember that), why the Surfer?  It's the noise. That pounding bass, that in the cinema made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up the first time I saw it.  It's the stark monochrome film of the surfers and it's the white horses that 'join them' as they ride the perfect wave.  One by one they fall, leaving a lone surfer to reach the beach, the others joining him as he celebrates reaching his goal.

It is beautifully filmed.  Director Jonathan Glazer capturing in 90 seconds what many directors fail to achieve in 90 minutes.  A seamless blend of music, voice over and image.  And what a voice over by Louis Mells.

He waits; that's what he does.
And I'll tell you what: tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick...
Ahab says, 'I don't care who you are, here's to your dream.'
'Here's to you, Ahab.'
And the fat drummer hit the beat with all his heart.

Here's to waiting.

Leftfield's pounding builds and builds like a relentless headache over the top.  You can not take your eyes off it.  It's not an advert in any traditional sense until that glorious pint of black gold appears at the very end, almost, but not quite, spoiling it.

'Good things come to those who...'
Tonight's post is dedicated to (yes these lists are getting longer), in no particular order @jackfaulkner, @flashmcglash81, @moviegrrl, @SoullsTheGoal, @debsa and also those that mentioned Guinness but weren't specific about the ad, @MrsR1ck, @D_Forbes and @emmabunce.  So close @domcoke.

POST SCRIPT

I've never done this before, ever.  But it was a very close call tonight.  This is the first advert that I remember people going nuts about was this one.  So not quite the icon, but a very close second.
It was suggested by @fernandomando, sorry Mike, there had to be one winner, but it was a very close thing.

Finally huge thanks to Toby for four excellent themes.  Over the next four weeks @theboycheese takes control.  Who knows, he may even tweet.  

Sorry Annie, better luck next week.  But look you got a mention ;-)