Ad of the Day: Guinness

Saatchi & Saatchi wants you to paint the town black for Arthur's Day

Arthur's Day isn't quite as historic as St. Patrick's Day. The latter has been celebrated for centuries, while the former was invented in 2009 by Guinness as a fabricated holiday honoring its founder, Arthur Guinness. So, perhaps it makes sense that advertising for Arthur's Day still has a ways to go.

Saatchi & Saatchi in London has just released the 90-second global Guinness commercial below, encouraging people to "Paint the town black" on Arthur's Day, which is Sept. 27 this year. It opens with people doing just that. They slather thick black paint on everything in sight—buildings, roads, cars, pianos, bed sheets, horses, even themselves. Pretty soon, everything is a black oily mess. In fact, it looks like actual oil—and without knowing the advertiser, you might wonder if it's shaping up as some kind of environmental message. (If Greenpeace doesn't work with Saatchi London, they should.)

Not that beer ads need to be appetizing in the same way food ads do. But as tempting as it must have been to want to shade the "Paint the town" idiom in Guinness's signature color, advertising one tasty black liquid with sloshing images of a toxic one doesn't quite work.

Some of the visuals are impressive—in particular, the almost war-torn look of the motley parade of people passing the now-blackened houses on their way to a party in the town square. But it says something about the thin-ness of the idea that so many of the shots here feel gratuitous—music-video-like in their resistance to advancing the story line in any way. (The spot would be better as a :60.)

Guinness's 2012 St. Patrick's Day spot by AMV BBDO, with the sheepdog trained to herd Guinness drinkers lest they get sidetracked on their way to the pub, was a bit of comic genius. No one gets sidetracked in this Arthur's Day spot. Even against the surreal backdrop, their camaraderie is single-minded and more than a little predictable.

Like the holiday itself, it just feels a little too manufactured.


Client: Guinness

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London

Executive Creative Directors: Kate Stanners, Paul Silburn

Copywriter: Gavin Torrance

Art Director: Danny Hunt

Planner: Charlie Finnigan

Producer: Rebecca Williams

Production Company: Somesuch & Co.

Director: Daniel Wolfe

Editing Company: Trim

Editor: Dominic Leung

Producer: Dougal Meese

Post Production: Framestore CFC

Audio Post Production: Wave