Garfield's AdReview

By Published on .

We are once again reminded, with the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court of the United States, that there are millions of Americans who take the Bible literally. Noah's Ark. Adam and Eve. Creation in six days. The whole megillah.

Which just goes to show you don't need to be a Muslim jihadist to be a religious fanatic utterly divorced from demonstrable reality. Such as about 40 million years worth of fossil evidence.

Yeah, evolution is "just a theory." So is relativity. Ask the Japanese how theoretical they think that is.

It's simply hard to believe this is an ongoing issue, yet theocratic crackpots on school boards around the country continue to agitate for teaching evolution as an unanswered question. That's just fine with President Bush, who thinks science is a liberal conspiracy. To him, global warming is lefty propaganda and gravity is a rumor.

So thank Darwin the issue is finally closed. The surprise is where the argument ended: advertising! Who'da thunk that evolution would be finally proven in a commercial? Dang, the theory must be correct, because we see it, in progress, right there on the TV!

The ad, from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London, is for Guinness draught. It starts with three young men, in a pub, sipping their creamy pints. Then the film starts going in reverse-out of the pub, onto the street, into prehistory, dinosaur life and all the way back to primordial slime. All this to Sammy Davis Jr., swingin', daddio:

The Rhythm of Life is a powerful beat, puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet. Rhythm in your bedroom, rhythm in the street. Yes, The Rhythm of Life is a powerful beat.

Flip your wings and fly to your Daddy.

Take a dive and swim to your Daddy,

Hit the floor and crawl to Daddy,

Daddy we got The Rhythm of Life, of life, of life, of life!

Eventually the three blokes have been devolved into a crude species of prehistoric mudskipper, just crawling out of the seas, and the familiar tagline: "Good things come to those who wait."

Boy, you can say that again. This is the sort of commercial that makes us wonder what the pitch sounded like-because so much rides on the taste, the ear, the timing of the creators. Sure, it's an imaginative premise, but "We want to animate three beer drinkers going back in evolutionary time" doesn't begin to convey the magic of the viewing experience. For one thing, the evolutionary flashback has been done before. For another, absent the absolutely undivided attention of the audience, the idea of evolution as the ultimate slow pour would be utterly lost.

The missing link, one might say.

But the link turns out not to be missing. It makes perfect sense, because you spend every second watching this spot, your lower jaw slightly agape, waiting to see where they're going with it. What really makes the thing is the song, "Rhythm of Life," the Dorothy Fields number from the 1969 movie "Sweet Charity." It's so dated and goofy, in a hep-cat sort of way, yet also completely irresistible.

Did they play it at the client meeting? One wonders. One needn't wonder, however, about how events will evolve. It all leads to next summer and a Cannes-tastic showdown between Guinness and Carlton Draft, the hilarious Australian spoof of advertising spectacle in general and British Airways in particular.

Actually, come to think of it, maybe the crackpots aren't entirely wrong. What are these commercials examples of, after all, if it isn't Intelligent Design?

Review: 4 stars

Ad: Guinness

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Location: London

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