PETER YORK ON ADS

No 91: GUINNESS
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The Independent Culture
FOR SOME time now - about 18 months or more - there's been a little London clubland trend towards "easy listening", the musical stuff of the late Fifties through to the early Sixties. Mainly instrumental, and often Latin American/ballroom flavoured, this is middle-aged music that was once dismissed as supper-club Muzak - but now rediscovered, half in homage, half in irony, by boys who've done absolutely everything else.

Perez Prado is just such a musical artiste, hitherto consigned to the LP corners of provincial charity-shops - although he's tailor-made for so many useful modern roles, and just needing someone who sees his potential ...

Like the makers of a Guinness advertisement. Guinness's new mainstream commercial - they've test-run it earlier - leads on the Perez Prado sound. It also features a young man dancing round an enormous glass of Guinness, willing it towards him with a repertoire of Tommy Cooper snake-charmer gestures. It's intercut with a barman - who, with his faint resemblance to the comic Michael Redmond, just has to be Irish - pouring the tantalising glass. It's desperately simple, highly enigmatic and at the same time absolutely obvious (the film is tinted sepia, the glass is as big as a bus, it's a dance of desire, and he never really gets to enjoy it).

I dislike mime and I find Mr Bean profoundly unfunny, but this little comic turn manages to be fashionable and engaging, highly memorable and highly branded - which is a difficult trick to pull off. You're not irritated by any straining after effect, but rather reminded that Guinness just might be good for you.

God is in the details and they've got them right here - the casting in particular. The young man is just sufficiently deconstructed to look faintly Irish and faintly alternative without being irritating. The bare set and absence of spooky effects helps too. It looks as if it just might have been knocked off quickly - and those are often the commercials that take the longest.

Reviving Mr Prado in this context looks more like serendipity than an act of conscious style-leadership by the admen. But those who always knew will have clocked up points to Guinness.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials

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