Guinness Anticipation

Another great Guinness commercial – what do you do while your waiting for that perfect pint of Guinness to be poured? Why not dance around to Perez Prado?

Anticipation is an award-winning Irish advertisement launched by Diageo in 1994 to promote Guinness-brand draught stout. The advert, which appeared in print, posters, and cinema and television spots, was produced by Irish advertising agency Arks, was directed by Richie Smyth and starred the relatively unknown Irish actor Joe McKinney. It was the final part of the “Guinness Time” advertising campaign, which had been running in Ireland since the late 1980s.

The piece was hugely successful, increasing Guinness’ sales, market share and brand awareness figures. However, controversy arose following claims of plagiarism raised by British director Mehdi Norowzian, who launched an unsuccessful lawsuit in 1998 seeking remuneration for the use of techniques and style from his 1992 short film Joy.


The low-budget ad featured only two characters: a patron of an unidentified pub and the barman serving him. The patron (McKinney) orders a pint of Guinness stout and, while waiting for the pint to be poured, carries out a series of quirky dancing movements with the settling pint in the foreground, to the bemusement of the barman. The piece ends with the patron taking his first sip of the freshly-poured pint overlaid by the Guinness advertising slogan “No time like Guinness Time”. The advert is set to Guaglione by Perez Prado, and makes heavy use of jump cutting from a static camera to allow the dancer to make a series of movements that could not be achieved in reality.


The distinctive jump cut editing techniques of Anticipation won the commercial a degree of critical acclaim and several awards from within the advertising industry, including the 1995 Institute of Creative Advertising & Design award for editing, and a Golden Shark award at the Kinsale International Advertising Festival.

The success of the campaign led Diageo to re-broadcast it in the United Kingdom in 1995, as a transition between the “The Man With the Guinness” campaign, which had just concluded with Chain, and its new “Black and White” campaign, still in development.

As a result of its featuring in the spot, Perez Prado’s Guaglione reached the Number 1 spot in the Irish music charts, and Number 2 in the British Top 40. McKinney blamed the advertisement for making him such a familiar face within Ireland that no-one was willing to offer him further acting jobs, leading him to ultimately leave the country to seek work elsewhere.


In 1992, British director Mehdi Norowzian submitted a show reel containing a number of short examples of his work to several prospective employers, including the Irish advertising agency Arks Ltd., in the hopes of being taken on to direct one or more of their commercials. Included on the reel was a short piece entitled Joy, which was shot using a static camera on a London rooftop and comprised a jump cut sequence of a man performing an extended dance of exuberation against a plain canvas background.

Arks Ltd. were contracted by Guinness to produce an advertisement to run in Ireland. Among the ideas proposed was one based on a scene from the cinematic version of Roddy Doyle’s novel, The Snapper, where a man rushes into a pub to celebrate the birth of his grandson with a pint of Guinness. The artistic director at Arks, thinking on possible ways to build on the concept, recalled Norowzian’s submitted reel and came up with a script and storyboard based on Joy to present to Guinness. The idea was accepted, and Arks approached Norowzian to direct the commercial. Norowzian refused, as he was unwilling to simply “commercialise” an old idea, and wanted to create something new. Rebuffed, the agency then took on Richard Smyth as director, urging him to create something “with an atmosphere broadly similar to that portrayed in Joy“. Feeling that the original storyboard was too close to Joy, a new one was prepared. The result was Anticipation.

Following the broadcast of the television spot in 1994, Norowzian lodged a complaint and ultimately a lawsuit against Arks Ltd. and Guinness, claiming that Anticipation breached his copyrights and accusing the agency of passing off. The plaintiff’s claim for copyright infringement were based on a passage in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defining a dramatic work as including “recordings of a work of dance or mime”, and that Anticipation was, or included, a copy of a substantial part of Joy. The case reached the High Court in 1997, where the claim of passing off was dropped. On July 17, 1998, Justice Rattee rendered his judgment that the jump cutting techniques used in Joy produced something qualitatively different from a recording of a dance or mime routine and that, as such, Joy was not in itself a dramatic work. It was therefore defined as an entrepreneurial work, a status which confers protection over only the physical recording of a work rather than the work itself. He also ruled that Anticipation did not reproduce either the whole or part of Joy.

The decision was appealed, but while the Court of Appeal unanimously held that the content of a film (including the use of film and editing techniques) could enjoy copyright protection as a dramatic work, the presiding Justices ruled that Anticipation did not significantly copy any portion of Joy and dismissed the case.

Info taken from Wikipedia

Guinness History Snippet

Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland is inextricably linked to the world famous Guinness Brewery.  People usually think that the first Guinness was brewed in St. James Gate Dublin but in fact back in the 1740’s Richard Guinis, father of Arthur, provided the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly with his own stout whiched he brewed in the now Cashel Palace Hotel, “the Wine of Ireland”.  The descendants of Richard Guinis’ hop plants are still tended in the gardens of the Palace gardens.

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