Carling: "Space" and "Out"

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Life is fraught with decisions. Stay or go. Walk or ride. 360 or Wii. To be or not to be. But you don't have to choose daily whether to be the first human to meet intelligent life in space, or to leave your campsite for barren arctic wastes, now do you? The little choices we all make in the process of carousing are contrasted with the once-in-a-lifetime ones in the latest round from Carling out of Beattie McGuinness Bungay, directed by the ever-entertaining Fredrik Bond.

What helps these big decisions be small and manageable? Your mates. The first spot, "Space," dropped early last week and introduces the squad—five normal, scruffy dudes gaping in awe at a radiant being outside their spacecraft. "Do you seek the truth?" it booms, and asks the brave group to come forward. "Hang on, are those trainers?" Mission cancelled. The Supreme Being's got a dress code he has to uphold, and low tops with pink laces aren't pulling the same weight everyone else's space booties are. "Every time," one of the group groans, and despite the offender's insistence on them being "quite smart" it's time to part ways. But no! The music swells, the boys show solidarity and try somewhere down the street. It's all right, they figure—like in Swingers, this place is dead anyway.

"Out," the better of the two companion spots, came on Friday, a foreboding warning to New York City's first sub-freezing weekend. In a scene that would have been right at home in Simon Pegg's British sitcom Spaced, a group of polar explorers, beards encrusted in ice, loses their radio and low, mourning horns compete with the wind whipping through their thin tent. "Are we going out, then?" Dan asks. "Go out there, in the freezing wastes?" his mate responds. It might be a good night to stay in. "We have to go out," Dan counters. "It's my birthday." It is his birthday! Optimistic about dress code ("Is it smart? Smart casual, probably") the decision to go out is made; they're going to give Dan the best birthday he'll ever remember. As the spot cuts to a shot of an arctic camp beset with howling wind and snow, another mate pokes his head out of the tent and looks up. "It's brightening up!" Cut to the tagline, You Know Who Your Mates Are, and a pint of Carling with "Belong" in the logo.

Great acting, tight writing and fantastic timing make these spots what they are—fine testaments to the solidarity of a group, and a smart brand association with the stick-up-for-each-other mentality millions of drinkers carry with them when they're out in the universe, be it on an ice floe at the very bottom, orbiting near some strange space essence or cruising for adventure on a Saturday, out on the town.

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