Ad of the Week: Guinness, ‘Surfer’, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO


This week was a terrible week for creative advertising. Even after searching the most far-flung corners of the Internet, it soon became clear that nothing was released this week that demonstrated much in the way of original thinking. The closest thing to the best ad was this Nike ad, ‘Game On, World’, but ultimately it’s just another easily forgotten high budget Nike ad.

So, rather than award ‘Ad of the Week’ to some half-hearted attempt at advertising for the sake of it, here’s a classic instead. Regarded by many as the best ad of all time, ‘Surfer’, was produced for Guinness in 1999 (Diageo) by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. The ad was shot in Hawaii and the crew spent nine days spent shooting surfers in Hawaii and a further three filming horses in a studio.

The technology used to meld the motion of the waves with horses was the same digital technology as that used in James Cameron’s Titanic. Music is Phat Planet by Leftfield and the ad was inspired by this magnificent painting, Neptune’s Horses, by Walter Crane:

Neptune's Horses, by Walter Crane

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