The new campaign has the same presenter - young, black Irish looks, dark button-down shirt like a Mr TV-acceptable from the Edinburgh Festival celtic fringe comedy roster: but the feel is different. This is mythic Irish life - how are things in Glochamorra? - and the country pub setting seems lit for warmth. The extras all smile themselves silly.
Our presenter is at the bar with a smiling girl and the whole thing looks somehow ... story-boarded. In comes a man so centrally cast as an Irish pub character he could reasonably burst into song. Soaked, he goes into a routine about it raining cats and dogs. He's handed a Murphy's while the extras gear up for banter - "Is it wet out there, Eamon?" Then comes a set-piece with a wet dog which dries itself over the complainant to widespread applause.
This ushers in the brand-positioning statement, all about mild-taste- despite-ethnic-stout-character. But they've changed it, made it more oblique: "Unlike the Murphy's he's very bitter." So comic complaints contrast with Murphy's mildness, which is really no contrast at all.
The earlier round had the presenter as an outsider, a bit of a loner, suffering reverses which caused him to say that like the Murphy's, he wasn't bitter. It sounds like Eng Lit analysis but every word or implied relationship in a TV campaign is subject to more research than John Major's shirt-sleeved appearances. Perhaps rather literal-minded research suggested the presenter was a miserablist, a bit never-alone-with-a-Strand.
This time I suggest the research should focus on whether the coal fire the dog lies before is perceived as getting its glow from gas.