Guinness Advert: “Surfer” (Dir. Jonathan Glazer)

In 1999, Guinness, the hugely popular Irish dry stout, released an advert entitled Surfer. The advert, which was directed by Jonathan Glazer, whose film credits include Sexy Beast, Under the Skin, and Birth, and who has directed music videos for the likes of Radiohead, Blur, and Massive Attack, was an instant hit among the masses, not least for its striking monochromatic visuals, thumping soundtrack by Leftfield, and low-pitched, atmospheric voiceover by Louis Mellis. 

Shot in Hawaii over a period of nine days, Surfer centres around a group of students seeking the perfect wave. Upon arrival, the “white horses”, a surfing term referring to white-crested waves, transform into actual horses, the result of which is a cavalcade of surfers and horses charging at the shoreline in dramatic fashion. Since its release, Surfer has been widely regarded as being among the greatest advertising of all time in a variety of polls, e.g. The Sunday Times, Channel 4, The Independent, etc.

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