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Monday, 17 August 2009 01:00

Guiness Shoots 250th Anniversary Commercial in South America

Written by  Karen Watts
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The commercial starts simply; two Irish pub patrons raise their glasses to toast the 250-year legacy of Guinness founder, Arthur Guinness. Their toast, “To Arthur!” is picked up by a nearby crowd standing slightly out of hearing range, who echo the sentiments earnestly shouting “To Martha!” The mistaken toast continues...

The commercial starts simply; two Irish pub patrons raise their glasses to toast the 250-year legacy of Guinness founder, Arthur Guinness. Their toast, “To Arthur!” is picked up by a nearby crowd standing slightly out of hearing range, who echo the sentiments earnestly shouting “To Martha!” The mistaken toast continues, as a group of farmers raise their glasses proclaiming “To Farmers!” This chain reaction gains momentum as it spreads first around Ireland, and then around the world. In the process, with comic simplicity, the toast changes from “farmers” to “barbers” to “llamas” to “parsnips” and finally to “Martians” as the camera pulls back until, in the final shot, it looks down on our planet from outer space.

Filmed on location in Ireland, Brazil and Chile, the stunning backdrops and spot-on casting blend seamlessly to create a spot that’s both real and funny. Saatchi and Saatchi, London and Partizan, UK wanted the authentic feel of an international cast and worldwide locations, so they turned mostly to South America. Sao Paulo and the mountains of Chile were ideal backdrops for the global settings and provided solutions for the international casting challenges. Paradiso Films, based in Sao Paulo, served as producer for the scenes in South America.

James Lloyd, producer with Paradiso Films, explained, “There were some interesting challenges in casting, which needed to be done in Mandarin, Quechua, and several African dialects to satisfy the client’s demands for authenticity.” The casting was part of a two-month preparation window, with every extra having to be approved by the international clients.

Lloyd continues, “Sao Paulo was able to offer 3 ethnic groups and provide the backdrop for locations ranging from Africa, to China, to Russia, as well as a varied international metropolis. Filming took place in a shanty town with 75 Africans who recently arrived in Brazil and didn’t speak Portuguese, in a wide downtown square with a Chinese group of 75 extras who spoke exclusively Mandarin, and in the financial district with 300 extras from all corners of the world.”

Before shooting the big generic city scenes in Sao Paulo, the crew had traveled to Chile and spent a few days in the mountains near Santiago to recreate a scene from Peru. They worked with the local Alto Plano Indians who were recruited from nearby farms in the Maipo valley.  The stunning locations featured the backdrop of the snow-covered Andes Mountains.

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