These British Beer Ads Have the Best Cast of Characters We’ve Seen in a While

Camden Hells Lager's memorable TV debut

Beer commercials don’t usually invoke famous Shakespeare soliloquies, or star a blind gal with her service dog, or a guy in drag named Carl who calls himself “a stroppy cow” for refusing to order “the usual” at the pub.

But then, the first TV campaign for Camden Hells Lager is anything but ordinary.

It launched recently in the U.K. with four beautifully shot, wonderfully compelling character-based spots that also feature a blues musician named Papa George using a Hells Lager bottle to jam on his guitar. Who wouldn’t want to grab a pint with these folks and #RaiseHells?

The work is meant to show the “vibrant, diverse, inclusive and anarchic spirit of the brewery’s home—the London borough of Camden,” described as “a place where everyone is welcome, anything goes and people can be themselves,” according to creative agency The Garage Soho.

The startup incubator/ad agency springs from legendary adman John Hegarty (founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty), who’s also an investor in the beer brand (there are family ties).

With the spots, Camden Hells Lager, a fast-growing company that just opened its second U.K. plant, becomes the first of London’s craft breweries to appear on TV, the agency says.

As part of the ad splash, there’s a two-minute anthemic mini-movie narrated by TV and stage actor (and Camden native) Ashley Zhangazha that includes references to famous sons like the poet Keats and the artist Pissarro, along with some cool archival footage and potential game-show-winning trivia (Karl Marx is buried at its Highgate Cemetery).

Part of the history recounted in “Camden Celebration” details the rowdy rivalries between English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish laborers who built railroads and waterways there in the 1800s. (The brawlers had to be kept apart in their off hours, hence a pub for each country, several of which are still standing.) It’s part hero ad and part travelogue, though no matter how it’s classified, it could do wonders for tourism in north London.

In addition to airing on well-watched primetime shows on ITV, via media agency Electric Glue, there will be digital, out-of-home in major train and Tube stations and billboard takeovers.

CREDITS

‘Characters’ production credits:
Brand: Camden Town Brewery
Creative Agency: The Garage Soho
Founder & Creative Director: Sir John Hegarty
Writers: Sir John Hegarty & Neil Patterson
Creative Project Manager: Moira Rigopoulos
Production Agency: Royle Productions
Director: Sam Washington
Exec Producer: Sarah Marcon
Producer: Selena Cunningham
Production Manager: Agnes Szyperek
Production Assistant: Marta Belczynska
DOP: Paul O’Callaghan
1st AD: Will Jasper
Post Production: Raised By Wolves
Flame Artist: Jon Hollis
Editing: Flock Collective
Producer: Arlinda Craven
Editor: Alexandra Wood
Graphics: Studio Juice

‘Camden Celebration’ production credits:
Brand: Camden Town Brewery
Creative Agency: The Garage Soho
Founder & Creative Director: Sir John Hegarty
Writers: Sir John Hegarty & Neil Patterson
Creative Project Manager: Moira Rizopoulos
Production Agency: Royle Productions
Director: Stella Scott
Exec Producer: Sarah Marcon
Producer: Agnes Szyperek / Selena Cunningham
Production Manager: Frank Hanrahan
Production Assistant: Marta Belczynska
DOP: Vanessa Whyte
Post Production: Raised By Wolves
Flame Artist: Jon Hollis
Editing: Tom Chick Pictures
Editor: Tom Chick
Music: The Dhol Foundation
Sound Engineer: Mark Hills, Factory

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