Monday 8 November 2021

Old Beer Ads #16 - Guinness (2019)


Back in March 2019, I was going through what can be described as "personal issues", and was in the unusual position of staying in a Travelodge in my home town.  Of course, anyone who's ever stayed in a Travelodge knows there's little to do in your room other than watch the basic TV or fiddle with the bottle opener bolted to the side of the desk.  So I went to the local sports bar to watch the IndyCar race.

A sports bar shows sports channels.   And sports channels show ads, mainly for alcohol and betting.  I don't watch much TV, so I hadn't seen this ad.  "Ah, the usual Guinness story-led and artily-shot stuff here.", I imagined.  It's a tale of a pair of Welsh brothers spending their inheritance from their late Mam on watching the Six Nations and (naturally) a popular Irish nitrokegged stout.  On the insistence of the Terms and Conditions of her will itself, no less.

As we know, Guinness ads generally have odd soundtracks.  In fact, one ad in the 1990s was mainly responsible for the brief revival of Easy Listening when it contained a Perez Prado track.   So what did they choose for this?  Well.

 You can imagine the copywriters in Soho storyboarding this.  "Yeah, like we've got these Welsh guys, got the rugby, got the beer.  But what music?".  "I know dude!  Remember the best selling instrumental of all-time?  We'll use the B-SIDE of it.  Like totes amazeballs!". So I sat there in this sports bar surrounded by 20 and 30-somethings troughing burgers and wings, listening to "Jungle Fever" by the Tornados, all the time thinking "I'm the only person in here who knows what this song is."

"Jungle Fever" was of course the B-side of "Telstar", and was written by Geoff Goddard.  It ended up on the B as payment from producer Joe Meek to Geoff for providing the majority of vocal and keyboard parts for "Telstar".  Ironically,  while Joe's royalties for writing the A ended up in courtroom dispute hell, and were only settled after his death,  Geoff got half the cash for doing the flipside and was thus the only single person involved in make any money out of a record that sold millions of copies worldwide.

Now, wouldn't THAT story make a great commercial for something....