Guinness – Surfer 1998 TV commercial

Guinness - Surfer

The ‘Surfer’ by Guinness is a critically acclaimed advertising campaign that was launched in 1998 by Diageo in the United Kingdom. The cornerstone of the campaign was the 60 second TV commercial that is centered around a Polynesian surfer who successfully took on a gigantic wave. It was shot in Hawaii over a period of 9 days and was directed by Jonathan Glazer. This advert went on to win more awards than any of the other commercials at the time, and in 2002 was voted the ‘Best ad of all time’ in a poll conducted by Channel 4 and The Sunday Times.

Guinness - Surfer

The plot centers around a group of surfers who are waiting for the perfect wave to ride. When the wave arrives we can see ‘white horses’ turn into actual horse and one by one the surfers crash out leaving only one, who manages to conquer the wave.

The background music track was created by British band Letfield, and this track eventually formed the basis of their track ‘Phat Planet.’

Reviewing the Surfer by Guinness:

Well what can I say. The graphics of overlaying the horses into the wave is simply brilliant. Especially when you consider the time that the advert came out. The cuts from the camera also make the advert outstanding by truly capturing the essence of a surfer conquering a giant wave, and this is also clearly seen in the still images that they mix into the moving images. 5/5

Message: 5/5

The purpose of this advert was to get the Guinness brand out there, as well as enlighten us of their new draught, and it certainly achieved that. The number of awards it won was certainly well deserved. For outstanding brand messaging I give it a 5/5.

Pace: 5/5

The pace of the advert is perfect for what it is. Showing the failures of some surfers and then the advancement of the final surfer into the world of conquerors is neatly portrayed within just 60 seconds. 5/5

Sound: 5/5

The build up from the waiting for the wave, to the success of conquering the wave, and then finally the advertising purpose of showing us the new Guinness draught is simply stupendous. The voice over builds up the suspense in the scenes without a background music track, and then further enhances the ad when the background music track starts. The music track also ads to the suspense and build up of the advert making it a great advert to watch. 5/5.

Overall: 5/5


What about you?
What do you think of the advert? I’d love to see your feedback in the comments below.

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