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The Immortal Awards

My Most Immortal Ad: Nicholas Hulley on Guinness 'Swim Black'

The Immortal Awards juror and AMV BBDO executive creative director on a rich, simple story that's ultimately an entertaining product demo

My Most Immortal Ad: Nicholas Hulley on Guinness 'Swim Black'

With just a few weeks to go until this year's Immortal Awards deadline, our jurors have been taking it in turns to select the ads and campaigns that are most immortal to them, revealing the reasons why they've stayed with them until this day.

Up next is Nicholas Hulley, executive creative director at AMV BBDO, who explores the perfectly crafted story of two old brothers and a swimming race...

The deadline for this year's Immortal Awards is Friday 10th September. More information on how to enter can be found at the bottom of the article.


Guinness 'Swim Black' (1998)


Swim Black.

There are lots of ads that are beautifully crafted. Lots that are beautiful stories. And lots that are beautiful product demos.

But how many can say they are all three?

And that each part is not just great but immortal?

Guinness 'Swim Black' can claim this.

From the casting, the portraiture (the old man shaving his chest), the writing (my brother’s a hero), the cinematography, and whole chunks of backstory jammed into a minute while never losing the clarity of the plot, the craft is perfect.

The story, too, is rich but simple. Two old brothers - one who came fourth in the Olympics - race each other in a mythical Mediterranean town. It’s entertaining as hell with the story building to a wonderful punchline (every year the brother fires the starting gun a little later). 

And of course it is at its heart a product demo. The race is as long as it takes to pour a perfect pint, with the action cutting between the swimmer and the filling pint. It’s a product story that isn’t contrived and works perfectly to the line “good things come to those who wait.” It, for me, is immortal.


Credits
ADVERTISER: Guinness
AD: Swim Black
CREATIVE AGENCY: AMV BBDO
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Peter Souter
COPYWRITER: Tom Carty
ART DIRECTOR: Walter Campbell
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Academy Films
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Glazer
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ivan Bird
EDITOR: Rick Lawley
MUSIC PRODUCTION COMPANY: Air-Edel Associates
MUSIC ARRANGER: Graham Preskett
ONLINE: Smoke & Mirrors


Entries to The Immortal Awards are now open and Little Black Book members can make their submissions here today. 

Entries into The Immortal Awards will be accepted until September 10th 2021. All entries must be made for a commissioning client, and must have first aired, broadcast, displayed, launched or published between 1st September 2020 and 31st August 2021.  

Every member of LBB is entitled to up to five entries, depending on their membership tier. This year, Bronze members receive one entry, Silver members will receive two entries and Gold members will receive five entries. The full list of rules, including eligibility dates, can be found here.

If you’d like to enter the Immortal Awards but you’re not yet a member of LBB, sign up here today. If you’re already a member and would like to increase your number of entries, you can upgrade your membership here.


Featured Companies: AMV BBDO

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