Carlton Draught Big Ad

Carlton Draught, the Australian beer, has hit the screens (computer, television and cinema) with The Big Ad, a larger than life commercial with a larger than life budget. Yellow robed and white robed men run across a New Zealand valley that could have been used for Lord of the Rings. Red robed and blue robed men race towards them. They sing, to the tune of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, beer ad lyrics: It’s a big ad! Very big ad! It’s a big ad we’re in! It’s a big ad! My God it’s big! Can’t believe how big! For Carlton Draught! It’s just so freaking huge! It’s a big ad! Expensive ad! This ad better sell some blooooooody beer! It’s all DownUnder, and all online at

Carlton Draught Big Ad features many men in yellow kaftans


The Big Ad was developed at George Patterson Partners Melbourne, Melbourne, by creative director James McGrath, copywriter Ant Keogh, art director Grant Rutherford, agency producer Pip Heming and group communications director Paul McMillan.

The ad was filmed in a valley near Queenstown, New Zealand, by director Paul Middleditch, via Plaza Films, Sydney, with director of photography Andrew Lesnie and producer Peter Masterton.

Paul Middleditch and Andrew Lesnie superimposed over screen shot from Carlton Draught Big Ad

Paul Middleditch, director, is a Kiwi living in Australia, known for his award winning short films, and two feature films, Terranova (1997) and A Cold Summer (2002). He’s currently working on a new film, The Cowards. Paul’s humorous TV commercials for Hahn Premium Light, Spa Bomb and Beanbag Bomb, won the prize for Outstanding Funny TV Commercial at the 2003 Australian Comedy Awards.

Andrew Lesnie, director of photography, is an Australian known mostly recently for his work in New Zealand with The Lord of the Rings, (2001-2003) which of course won him an award for cinematography. He was director of photography for Babe (1995) its sequel and several other movies between 1983 and 1998. He was a guest director of photography in Dark City. His work for King Kong is now in post production. It’s about time his Wikipedia entry was updated.

Paul Middleditch also directed Budlight ‘Fridge’ & ‘Frisbees’, Big M ‘Piano’, Carlton ‘Canoes’, Diet Coke ‘Pool Boy’ and NEC’s ‘Parabola’.

Editing was done by Peter Whitmore at Winning Post, Sydney (now at The Editors).

Visual effects were mastered by Animal Logic, the company that worked on the Matrix movies. The Animal Logic team included VFX Supervisor Andrew Jackson, senior compositor Angus Wilson and VFX producer Caroline Renshaw.

Massive hand takes massive beer

Animal Logic have revealed the secrets behind the Big Ad visual effects. I’ve been wondering how they managed to get 300 actors to become 3000 actors. As I suspected, 3D computer-generated human extras were used for the large aerial crowd shots, manipulated using Massive software, the software known for its use in Lord of the Rings. Animal Logic also provided matte paintings to enhance the epic mountainous feel of the NZ backgrounds. Kindly the Animal Logic site gives us a 5 MB quicktime version of the Carlton Draught Big Ad, along with comments by Andrew Jackson, VFX Supervisor.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Music was directed by Cezary Skubiszewski the music director for The Rage in Placid Lake, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Chorale.

The Big Ad site says something about being for over 18 year olds. I assume that refers to the beer, not the ad which has been shown on television in Australia. It’s streamed in three different sizes with Vividas Player.

Music for the Carlton Draught Big Ad

The voices we hear on the Big Ad are those of the Melbourne Chorale, accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The lyrics for the Carlton Draught Big Ad are set to the tune of Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna”, from the ‘scenic cantata’, Carmina Burana. It’s the chorus sung at the beginning and end of the work.

Carmina Burana is the name given to a collection of over 1000 poems and songs from the thirteenth century. Most of the poems and songs were satirical in nature, written by students and clergy. The lyrics cover topics such as the fickleness of fortune, the shortness of life, and the pleasures of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.

Download the original song, “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana from iTunes – features André Previn, Gerald English, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Sheila Armstrong & Thomas Allen.

André Previn, Gerald English, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Sheila Armstrong & Thomas Allen

Carlton Draught Big Ad at Wikipedia

  • Anonymous

    What a fantastic advertisement. Is it going to be played on TV as I haven’t seen it yet?

  • Anonymous

    SMH said it will be on tv around August 7.

  • FIN-visitor

    As a non-pro, how to download this fabulous ad ?

  • Viewer

    The Quicktime video can be downloaded easily if you have Quicktime Pro installed.

  • Of course the quicktime version can be seen at Plaza Film, by clicking on Paul Middleditch. I don’t usually give the direct url for online advert files as I believe film production companies deserve a visit from the viewers. Besides, there are many other gems to be seen at Plaza Film.

  • Anonymous

    Liked it the first time I saw it…when it was an ad for British Airways. Are ad agencies eating their own now?

  • In an email to Ant Keogh, the senior writer for the Big Ad, I asked:
    Where did you get the idea for The Big Ad from? Were you inspired by any other ads? The British Airways ad? The ad reminds me of lots of things – Braveheart and Lord of the Rings. And a condom ad I saw once with hundreds of men in white suits running together.

    Ant’s reply:
    Yes, British Airways, Qantas and every epic film we’ve been bombarded with lately.

  • Anonymous

    is there anywhere you can download the lyrics for the “big ad”. i really want to put them onto my ipod!

  • Anonymous

    hmm the link dosnt seem to work anymore and i have downloaded it from their before.. its the one at july 30th

  • Anonymous

    this is the best ad ive seen in ages. i laughed so hard the first time i saw it. brilliant.

  • Anonymous

    “this is the best ad ive seen in ages. i laughed so hard the first time i saw it. brilliant.”

    this pretty much sums it up. totally awesome ad. man, if i drank beer i would definitely start drinking carlton draught just because the ad was so funny.

  • Nev Lazenby

    Saw this in australia prior to returning home to England – brilliant reaches the spot other beers fail to reach !!!!!

  • Anonymous

    this is the best ad i have seen for some time!!!! go to

  • Anonymous

    This ad, man, im speechless. I laughed so much the first time i saw the ad a few weeks ago. I had the tune in my head for days afterwards.
    I think its an ad well done. that ad can play on my TV ANY time it wants 😛

  • Anonymous

    This is a dumb arse question….Is it computer generated or is it really a hell of a lo of people in the middle of NZ

  • Animal Logic used computer software, Massive, to generate the aerial shots. About 300 actors were involved.

  • Margot

    Firstly, I don’t even drink alcohol but I felt like running to the nearest supermarket and buying caseloads of the stuff, (Carlton, of course) just for the sheer cleverness and entertainment value of that ad.

    Secondly, what’s the name of the Valley?

  • Anonymous

    All I know is.. I want to drink some Carlton Draught. Not only was the commercial great, but the beer looked even better

  • Anonymous

    this ad is farrrrrrrkn huge mate!!!!

  • Does anybody know which valley the ad is filmed in? It looks as though it could be the Matukituki Valley near Wanaka, or the Dart valley near Glenorchy.

  • Liz

    Thi ad is so cool… it reminds me of of other ads also..but it’s still great.. I’m actually going to scrapbook a page on this ad… it’s brilliant

    300 people you looks way more… the magic you can do with puters …

  • liz

    ok… after reading that only 300 were involved in this add…. and reading the back of a coaster that says… ‘could 25.681 men be wrong’… I’m confused..

  • Animal Logic used the software, Massive, to create the effect of so many people in the aerial shots.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know what the original music is called that is featured in this ad?

  • Anonymous

    the original song is CARMINA BURANA, dunno from who

  • AWED

    I’ve been watching the Carlton Draught BIG AD many times for the last 3 hours and can’t seem to get enough of it. I’ve been emailing my relatives and friends all over the world to watch it. It is GREAT!

  • ala

    last weekend i bought a six pack of this beer just cause of the ad.. tasted like crap but im sure plenty of people are buying it just cause of the ad

  • Anonymous

    i love this add!
    it is the best add i have ever seen and it will be around for years to come!
    it is very very clever how they made it!!

  • Anonymous

    The original song is CARMINA BURANA, from Carl Orff. Its a German composer. The premiere was in 1937. The original text cames from the middle ages. If you can read german here is the link to the facts.
    aka: Gandalf

  • Anonymous

    When I first came upon this ad, I didn’t know it was for beer–I saw the low-quality version, and it was hard to make out the beer glass, much less the label. Only when they mentioned “Carlton Draught” did I realize what I was looking at, and then the shape of the hand and person started to make sense. The finale thusly had me absolutely in stitches, knocking me out of my chair with laughter!

    I watched the ad several times, then I fired the link off to many of my friends and family–not something I do lightly!

    I had Carlton Draught when I was downunder. I might have to hunt some down here and give it another go! 🙂

    –Dave M, Aurora CO, USA

  • Anonymous

    This is such a hoot! well done, have sent the link to my family in the USA and it has appeared on their “blogs’…can it be viewed without the “buffering” effect? (most annoying) how can I view..anyone know???
    Congratulations!! blooooooody great!

  • anonymus

    its a gd ad
    a very gd ad
    for carlton draught

    i hope its played some more cause i havent seen it been played for ages

  • Lisa

    hmm…I don’t see what all the fuss is about here…
    I didn’t see anything special or funny about it at all….if anything it’s tacky.

  • Kc

    does any one know how i can download it onto a dvd, i need to use it for a english assignment yeah i know sounds great huh?

  • Steve Christie

    Great Ad!!! How many people are in the AD???

  • Dave

    6, including the film crew.


    This is an awesum ad and will be be remembered for a long time to come.

  • Marvelous. Thanks, will spread this among my friends!

  • Garyh

    A truly, madly, deeply, bloody marvellous ad, up there with the best eg. the Qantas chorale ‘I still call Australia Home’ and Bushells’ “Is it as good as Bushells” ads. A fun romp through beautiful Aotearoa.

  • reid

    how do i get the add because it the best

  • reid

    is it as good as bushels

  • Bridget

    This is the best ad not only because its classic but that my old friend Grant is one of the main guys in it!! Well done and I like the hand waving on your head towards the end, I am sure I have seen Flynn do that!

  • tony

    looks good,i was riding the horse in the ad and have just seen it now.come back to nz and make some more…and bring some beer