Guinness reverses Evolution

Evolution is panned out backwards in “noitulovE”, the latest television commercial from Guinness. noitulovE starts at the end, as it were, with three men in a bar raising their pints and enjoying their first sip of Guinness. As an orchestral introduction finishes and the song ‘Rhythm of Life’ (from ‘Sweet Charity’) kicks in, the men move in backwards-motion out of the bar and into the street. We follow them a few paces, noticing that their clothing has already become Edwardian, and that the buildings around them appear to be deconstructing themselves. Cutting to a wide shot of a city (London, in fact) shot from above, we see the city itself rapidly disassembling, diminishing to a Saxon settlement in a couple of seconds. Cutting back to our heroes, we find them still walking backwards, clad in Bronze Age garb through a devolving rural landscape. They are swiftly surrounded by a fast-paced glacier, and there is a slight pause as an Ice Age flashes by

Drinkers in Guinness Evolution ad

Primodial drinkers in Guinness Evolution TV ad

As they emerge from the big freeze, our heroes, now moving with a distinctly simian gait, find their clothes whisked off them, leaving animal skin loincloths. A quick glimpse of a Grand Canyon like scene forming itself, and we are back with the guys who have taken to the trees in the form of three chimps. Continuing down the evolutionary chain, the three chimps become, in quick succession, flying squirrels, furry mammals, aquatic mammals, fishes, prehistoric flightless bird creatures, tiny dinosaurs, and – finally – mudskippers. Grouped around a puddle in a primeval mud hole, the three companions take a sip from the puddle – starting back at the taste of it. We conclude with a close-up of one of the mudskippers, registering his feelings about the taste of the available brew with a “Pweugh!” of disgust.”

Click on the image below to play the Guinness Evolution video.


Guinness television commercials are the responsibility of Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO. AMV BBDO‘s agency producer on this spot was Yvonne Chalkley. Creatives were Ian Heartfield and Matt Doman.

Director Daniel Kleinman, of Kleinman Productions, (now Rattling Stick) is known for his earlier commercials, John West Salmon ‘Bear’, Johnny Walker ‘Fish’, Audi, Chrysler ‘Golden Gate’, X Box ‘Champagne’ and Mosquito, and Sony Playstation ‘Golfers’, ‘Athletes’, ‘Traders’ and ‘Porn Stars’. Most of these ads were finished with Framestore CFC.

Kleinman’s producer was Johnnie Frankel. Editor was Steve Gandolfi from Cut ‘n Run. Filming took place in Iceland (with help from Safa Film) and London. Most of the imagery comes from stock footage. I wonder if the scene of ‘flying fish’ comes from the work done on Johnny Walker ‘Fish’.

Sweet Charity Soundtrack 1969 movie starring MacLaine and Davis JrPost production for “noitulovE” was done by Framestore. VFX Supervisor / Lead Inferno Artist was William Bartlett. For a full list of credits see Framestore

“Rhythm of Life” comes from the 1969 soundtrack of Sweet Charity, the Broadway musical, starring Shirley MacLaine and Sammy Davis Jr. The music is by Cy Coleman and lyrics are by Dorothy Fields. The original production in 1966, starred Gwen Verdon, was directed by Bob Fosse who followed it up with the 1969 movie.