Our legacy of innovation is about more than just beer. With the ‘Surfer’ commercial, we were riding the wave of creativity at its very crest. You’ll know it for the clash of the horses and water. The pulsating drumbeat. The race between surfer and stampede. Tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick. We remember it as our chance to usher in a level of visual effects never before seen on British TV advertising.
A script of this scale required a sizeable talent to direct it. To this end, advertising agency AMV BDDO commissioned Filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, a man up to the task. Combining inspiration from the slow pour of Guinness®, Moby Dick, and even Roman Mythology, Glazer captured the Polynesian surfer and his comrades as they battled real-life waves in Hawaii.
A testament to the authenticity of Guinness, Glazer didn’t want a polished model or a practiced actor. He wanted the real thing: a man waiting for the perfect wave. Trawling the islands, he found a local surfer who he enlisted for the task.
The filming was dangerous. The crew was capsized. The cameraman hung from the front of a speedboat and Glazer was himself racing the 60 mph waves to capture the perfect moment. These dramatic scenes were then blended with the filming of leaping white horses and set to the thumping beats of Leftfield’s ‘Phat Planet’.
The result was a seminal moment in Guinness’ advertising history; a multiple award-winning commercial that got the number-one spot out of 100 in a lineup of the greatest TV ads of all time.
Visual effects and stirring voice over came together to evoke a palpable feeling. A sense of waiting for something that’s worth it. A personal victory. An unforgettable incarnation of the campaign’s sentiment: ‘good things come to those who wait’.