Wherever we look, we are bombarded by adverts and advertising campaigns. Advertising varies in scale dramatically, from an individual advertising their goods in a local paper or on the internet, to television adverts costing thousands of pounds. Guinness advertises on a mammoth scale, and although they use different advertising tools and techniques, they still have the same advertising objective: to acquire business and lure potential customers. The proof of the advert’s success is apparent. The advert has won many awards including two British design and Art Direction awards quite recently after the advert’s release in 1999.
The Guinness advert starts with a clip of a man’s face looking into the distance, and next it cuts to a group of surfers on the beach. The surfers are looking into the distance and see a huge wave. They all run towards the water and try to catch the wave. In the end, only one of the surfers fulfils his desire and manages to successfully ride the wave. He celebrates and then the Guinness product is displayed on the screen as if it is man’s ultimate desire.
At first, we see the man’s face in extreme close-up. This intense close-up gives us a detailed mapping of the face. We can see deep into his eyes, and also the profound wrinkles on his brow. These furrows are a clear symbol of intense concentration, and he clearly seems to be focusing on something gigantic in comparison to him. He looks slightly drained, but the flare in his eyes may suggest that this is really the moment that he has been waiting for. His eyes also seem to be looking up into the distance,
this makes you feel like he is looking at something behind you, and makes you want to turn around. If you look closely into the man’s eyes, you can see that it looks exactly like a pint of Guinness being poured suggesting that this is what the man is anticipating. He is not the stereotypical surfer, as he is slightly older and less muscular. This conjures a mental image of experience. The choice of character is extremely pertinent as he will be somewhat of a role model to Guinness’s target audience. You can also distinguish his lips flickering as if he is muttering to himself; this could be a way to prepare him for what he longs to see in the distance.
Although we can see the man very clearly, and all of his facial features, it is noticeable that we do not see far below his bottom lip. The advertisers obviously want us to focus on the eyes, mouth and brow as these features give off a stronger sign of how the man is feeling. The man’s lips look dry and this implies that he has a thirst for the waves. The viewer wants to see the man quench his thirst and the solution is the mighty wave and perhaps the image of the Guinness at the end of the advert.
This is the first time we view the surfers together on the brink of war. We are instantly reminded of how the men are dwarfed by the humungous wave. This could, metaphorically speaking, be a link to how powerful and strong the Guinness brand is and that it is a giant compared to business competitors. The men are standing in a specially organised configuration and they all look like soldiers ready to go into battle, The surfers boards could be like weapons.
Next the men charge towards the water and this gives us a mental image of war: specifically a less technically advanced war, that would have been fought hundreds of years ago.This links directly to the Guinness brand, as the traditional brewing technique used by the Guinness factory is unique and stretches back hundreds of years ago. If we imagine this situation to be a war, we can think of the opposition as the sea. We then watch all the surfers running almost simultaneously towards the water. When the surfers reach the water they are all getting dragged under, but force themselves back up to the surface to fight their battle.
As the wave rapidly approaches the men, white water fiercely spatters in all directions. Similarly to the eyes of the man at the beginning of the advert, we can see a clear resemblance to the Guinness product itself. The top of the wave looks very much like a pint of Guinness being poured. The struggle of the men against the wave now begins. Instantly after the aerial shot, we focus into the men and are drawn to the fact they look extremely engaged and ready for the approaching wave. The next shot is of a man in a struggle with the wave. His facial expressions vary greatly from earlier shots. His face has changed from engaged and psyched, to extreme panic and even fear for his life. Although he looks very scared, he is still determined not to be beaten.