- Agency: Abott Mead Vickers, BBDO, London
- Creative Director: Peter Souter
- Copywriter: Tom Carty
- Art Director: Walter Campbell
- Budget - £6million
- Release: 17th March 1999
Semiotics is the study or signs and visual communication through signification. The practice is often seen to be anthropological because it works with and for social values.
Often, the signs involved play on myths well known to a society. This enforces the ideas that there is some truth in what is being shown and it conjures up images in the consumers head.
'Surfer' is an advertising campaign launched in 1999 to promote Guinness draught stout. The commercial shows a Hawaiian surfer's face to start. The look in his eyes is the aspect that draws the viewer in, and the music starts. Music by Leftfield, song Phat Planet. The group of surfers are waiting for the perfect wave. The slow, heartbeat-like music adds to the tension. The narrator refers to timing "tick to the tock to the tick..." exaggerating the space in between each second of anticipation. As it arrives, the crashing waves of power and strength turn into actual horses. One by one, a surfer is engulfed, leaving only one, who manages to conquer the wave. The others join him as they celebrate on the shore.
The advert was in reference to Walter Crane's 1893 painting "Neptune's Horses", a well known myth that society knows.