Whitbread is raising the stakes in its challenge to Guinness with a
new campaign for Murphy’s Irish Stout, which breaks on 7 March.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty has drafted in Declan Lowney, the director of
Father Ted, the hit Channel 4 sitcom about Irish priests, to direct the
three TV spots.
Lowney, working through Lambie-Nairn Directors, injects a slightly more
manic style of humour into the long-running series, in a bid to
reinforce Murphy’s positioning as the Irish Stout that is not
Each ad, set in an idealised vision of Ireland, features an eccentric
Irish character ranting about life’s everyday mishaps, such as losing at
darts, getting caught in the rain and buying a dud car.
The complainant’s angst is contrasted with the reflective approach of
the Murphy-drinking character, played, as usual, by Gerard Rooney.
In each film, after the angry outburst, Rooney is shown calmly drinking
a pint of Murphy’s and smiling wryly to camera as he observes: ’Unlike
the Murphy’s, he’s very bitter.’ The endline is: ’Murphy’s. It’s stout
but not bitter.’
’Rain’, ’used car’ and ’darts’ were art directed by Russell Ramsey,
written by John O’Keefe and filmed on location in Kilarney, Ireland, in
real pubs and using local actors. Media is handled by Motive.
The spots are the latest in the series made famous by the film director,
Alan Parker. Parker was enticed to make his first commercial in ten
years for the brand in 1993 and the first ads took their cue from
Parker’s movie, The Commitments.