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The greatest beer adverts of all time


Slowly being driven insane by the WKD advert where the guy bursts in on his wife, having a bath, in order to drop trou' and defecate?

Take comfort in the fact that not all alcohols taste so bad and make men look so laddish. In the world of boozy advertising, there has been some blinders, in fact. Like the genius efforts from Guinness.

We have our favourites from the years gone by, but we accept that we may not be entirely qualified to call out the pros and cons of commercials. Over, then, to advertising guru Paul Houlding, managing director of the award-winning London agency Isobel, who has named his top beer adverts.

Legendary Biru
This ad, unknown to many, tells the simple story of how beer's made - in an epic, original and truly awe-inspiring way. Created by ad agency Dentsu, it's full of exquisite detail - I love the over-sized sumo wrestlers - with each transitional room created by three dedicated artists. This is beer advertising done differently, done beautifully. Watch it, watch it again and then watch it again. Cool ad for a cool brand.

John Smiths
Directed by Danny Kleinman – famous for creating some of the most iconic Bond title sequences including Goldeneye and Casino Royale – this great ad for John Smith's works on every level. Neatly crafted with a well-written tight script, a good set up and spot-on casting - when the 'no nonsense' landlord shouts "Y're barred" its as if he speaks for each and every one of us.

Bud Light
This big-hit viral campaign for Bud Light has had over 12 million views despite having never aired on TV. Created by DDB/Chicago and directed by David Shane – who started out as a writer on South Park – this ad garnered a host of top honours including an Emmy. Inspired by 'The Office' the deft subtle direction elicited some great performances and some ‘laugh out loud’ moments of pure brilliance.

Carlton Draught
A parody of big sequences in big films with sweeping dramatic landscapes and a cast of thousands, this 'Big Ad' for Carlton Draught went viral and went, well, big. Premiering on Australian TV in August 2005, within 24 hours the ad had been downloaded 162,000 times. 30 global awards later including a Cannes Golden Lion the ‘Big Ad’ has definitely earned its place in the Top 5 Beer Ads. Sometimes bigger is best.

When looking at beer ads, no ‘Top 5’ would be complete without at least one from Guinness and my vote goes to Swim Black. Directed by Jonathan Glazer who gave us cult Brit-flick Sexy Beast it’s an epic ad with a compelling central premise and a cracking soundtrack – a cover of the Pérez Prado hit Mambo No.5. One of the very best.

I applaud the ambition of this campaign - it’s bold, audacious and confident and the sound design is great. But I’m particularly interested in what this ad represents for the future of advertising. The new 3D projection mapping technology is a new and improving toy for adland to play with and has already been embraced by some of the big players including Nike, Samsung and BMW. The White Cliffs of Dover is good but it really is just the tip of the iceberg.



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