What Does the World’s Favorite Guinness Commercial Say About Horses and Summer? Everything.

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Surfers wait for that one wave. Guinness drinkers wait for their pints (they take a long time to draw). And around here, we wait a long time for summer to come around again, but it has finally arrived. Has it ever!

The Jurga Report figures we all could stand to celebrate something so let’s celebrate summer and horses with a little bit of vintage video, courtesy of our friends at Guinness.

This commercial is perennially called one of the best television commercials ever made, if not the best.. It’s labeled “iconic”.? Recently the British newspaper The Telegraph crowned the horses in this commercial #1 on their list of best horses on screen of all time.

I don’t think this commercial ever aired in the United States, but it is very well known in Great Britain, Ireland and Australia.

If you think those are Lipizzaners frolicking in the surf, you’re right. They were body-painted to give their muscles more definition. It took three days to shoot the horses. Remember, this commercial was made before the advanced computer-aided editing we have now, which makes it all the more amazing.

I’ve watched it online for years, and I still can’t really tell you what’s going on. But I also think that might be the point. Director Jonathan Glazer’s script is a deliberately obscure mashup of references to and from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and James Joyce’s Ulysses and Portrait of the Artist. An English major could probably get a PhD by analyzing it, word by word.

It’s like summer. It might not always make sense if you analyze it, but it works.? Just sit back and take this minute of entertainment and these hot sunny days at face value.

I hope you agree that this video is a fitting salute to the joy of summer…and one of the most creative uses of horses in a commercial, ever!

By the way, the inspiration for this commercial was the painting, Neptune’s Horses by the famous children’s book illustrator Water Crane. Neptune, ?of course, was the ruler of the sea and in his second? and lesser-known identity, as Neptune Equester, he served as the patron saint of horses in Roman mythology. He was supposed to protect all the horses in the chariot races. (Perhaps the Calgary Stampede should consider building a Neptune statue?) I’ve always loved this painting.

Neptune’s chariot was pulled through the sea by a team of white horses. Since Roman times, mariners have called the white foam at the zenith of a wave “Neptune’s horses”. In legend, Neptune and his white horses would rise from the sea at the crest of a wave. Indeed, the ancients annually sacrificed fully harnessed teams of horses to the sea to satisfy their god and calm the waters for mariners.

Of course, these days when you’re an icon, you’ll surely attract spoofers instead of sacrifices. I think that the horse world could make some great spoofs on this commercial!

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And finally:

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And don’t worry, Captain Ahab, we’re living the dream.

(Technical note about the YouTube video: If you have a slower connection or older computer and you’re having trouble seeing any horses in the Guinness commercial, try toggling the stop and play button, and leave the screen alone for a while to see if perhaps YouTube needs to buffer the file. You can also click on the lower right of the YouTube screen on the blog and the video will open in YouTube and it might play at a better resolution. This video was made in the last century so it is not HD.)




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