This shot shows the distinctive black and white stock and the metaphor of "white horses" illustrating the power of the wave.
|Agency||Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London|
|Running time||60 seconds|
|Release date(s)||17 March 1999 (television)|
|Directed by||Jonathan Glazer|
|Music by||"Phat Planet" by Leftfield|
|Academy Commercials, London|
|Produced by||Nick Morris
Yvonne Chalkley (agency producer)
|Budget||£6 million (campaign)|
|Followed by||Bet on Black|
Surfer is a critically acclaimed integrated advertising campaign launched in 1999 by Diageo to promote Guinness-brand draught stout in the United Kingdom. The cornerstone of the campaign is a television commercial, originally 60 seconds long, which centred around a Polynesian surfer successfully taking on a gigantic wave. Shot in Hawaii over a nine-day period and directed by Jonathan Glazer, the piece went on to win more awards than any other commercial in 1999 (Clio Awards, D&AD Awards, Cannes Lions), and in 2002 was voted the "Best ad of all time" in a poll conducted by Channel 4 and The Sunday Times.
The plot centers around a group of surfers, waiting for the perfect wave. As it arrives, the crashing 'white horses' turn into actual horses. One by one, a surfer 'crashes out', leaving only one, who manages to conquer the wave. The others join him as they celebrate on the shore.
The advert was inspired by Walter Crane's 1893 painting "Neptune's Horses". The text also draws inspiration from Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, including the line "Ahab says, 'I don't care who you are, here's to your dream.'" (which does not actually appear in the novel).
An extended 90-second version is available on the 2005 DVD The Work of Director Jonathan Glazer.
|Channel 4 and The Sunday Times||United Kingdom||The 100 Greatest TV Adverts||2000||1|
|ITV||United Kingdom||ITV'S Best Ever Ads||2005||6|
- Account Executive: Gavin Thompson
- Creative Director: David Abbott
- Copywriter: Tom Carty
- Art Director: Walter Campbell
- Directors of Photography: Ivan Bird, Don King (water), Lee Allison (aerial)
- Production Designer: Ben Myhill
- Editor: Sam Sneade, Sam Sneade Editing, London
- Sound Design / Music Production Company: Wave Studios, London
- Sound Designer: Johnnie Burn 
- VFX: The Computer Film Company, London
- VFX Designers: Dan Glass / Adrian de Wet / Paddy Eason / Tom Debenham
- VFX Artists: Gavin Toomey / Alex Payman / Joe Pavlo
- VFX 3D Supervisor: Dominic Parker
- Yates, Karen (2 June 2000). "AMV wins agency of the year and golds for Guinness at Clios". PR Week. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "The 100 Greatest TV Adverts". Channel 4. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2011.