Refreshes the parts other beers can't reach No 128: GUINNESS

Peter York
Saturday 27 April 1996 23:02

The pathetic beginning of the new Guinness commercial sets us up to guess Age Concern has scraped together enough for a tear-jerker. An old man makes his way home, in pyjamas and on a stick. In his cluttered flat, he does the things you'd expect: looks at photo albums of a family dead and dispersed; feeds the budgie and the fish; looks ready to nod off.

He's a very old man with a completely collapsed face - a big set of false teeth, unworn and unwanted, lie in a commemorative Jubilee glass. And - delicious choice - Michael Holliday's Fifties hit "Story of My Life" is the soundtrack to tell us that it's not Age Concern, but something with a full quotient of attitude and irony.

Our creatives have a sense of period too, because up on screen in huge lettering comes Pete Townshend's unfulfilled hope to die before getting old. Our old party becomes strangely enlivened. We see him dressing up, cheerful, glancing towards a photograph of what looks like a Fiesta sex-kitten from 1981. Is this a documentary about pensioners' porn?

We move to a wedding. The old boy's pulled it off - with a gorgeous, young, pregnant blonde. It's the Fiesta girl, showing every sign of advanced gerontophilia. The whole thing looks not unlike the Anna Nicole Smith set-up. As he pats her tremendous tummy, the message is clear: that things aren't as they seem, and there's life in the old dog yet. The wedding is shown in the most conventional way; friends, confetti and the kiss (though the kiss itself looks like a medieval Awful Warning as Grandpa approximates his black hole to her luscious lips).

"Not everything in black and white makes sense" is the Guinness sign- off with this and its companion ad about fish, women and bicycles. Even set against such a high-spend, high-creativity advertising sector as brewing, Guinness seems to be on a roll, producing a campaign with a strong bar- room debate factor straight after one that hit the mark on youth style.

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