Rutger Hauer’s 8 best Guinness ads, ranked
The late ‘Blade Runner’ actor frequently lent his on-screen talents to the Irish brewer
The late "Blade Runner" actor starred in more than a dozen TV spots for Guinness over the years.
Rutger Hauer died Monday at the age of 75 after a film and television career that included roles in the original “Blade Runner,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Batman Begins” and “Escape from Sobibor,” for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, in addition to his notable cinematic roles, Hauer also appeared in a few TV commercials, often to hock Guinness beer, in more than a dozen ads that range from funny to thoughtful to dramatic to downright bizarre as part of the Irish brewer’s long-running “Pure Genius” campaign.
In recognition of his contributions to late 20th century beer marketing, Ad Age has sifted through a heap of vintage Guinness ads to identify and rank Hauer’s top eight spots:
In one of Pure Genius’ most memorable ads, Hauer has a secret, but he’s shy and can’t just tell anyone. In a barber’s chair with a hot towel pulled from his face, he insists you’ll only be able to hear his message if you’re telepathic. Then, for no less than seven seconds, Hauer takes a long sip of his Guinness while silently staring into the camera. No words are exchanged until, with his secret “revealed,” he says, “Thank you for listening.” A classic.
'You Can't Tell Us Apart'
While this wasn’t the only commercial featuring Hauer playing both himself and his identical twin brother, this one may be the most iconic. “We sound different,” Hauer says as his twin approaches—though they seem to sound the same, one quick knock on his counterpart’s head reveals a metallic thud. “I see what you mean,” the brother says. The product? Guinness in cans.
'Nipples Like Bullets'
Yes, you read that right. In one of his few post-"Pure Genius" ads, Hauer takes a seat in the middle of a park to remind viewers about Guinness’ ice-cold properties. And what happens when you and your beer are extra chilly? Well...
In front of a mirror, Hauer plays up his reputation as a no-nonsense film actor who was often cast in villainous roles, saying he’s been accused of taking himself too seriously—a fact aided by the ad’s dark, cavernous setting. Then, taking a swig of Guinness and with beer foam on his nose, he declares himself “not guilty.”
'University of Life'
Tossing out the need for “conventional wisdom,” Professor Hauer takes center stage at the so-called University of Life, which offers a course, entitled “Who Am I?” Cautioning you, the viewer, that he may be asking questions, Hauer wraps the spot by sipping a pint of Guinness as a rather puzzling piece of music plays him off.
In what appears to be a full suit, Hauer can be found lying on the floor of a steamy sauna with a pint of Guinness. “Chilly, isn’t it?” he asks, referring to the beer’s temperature as beads of sweat drip down the camera’s lens. Chilly indeed, Mr. Hauer.
In this rather dated ad, Hauer declares Mars to be a paradise with no fast cars, no noisy discos and only one sex (to avoid “emotional problems,” of course). Despite touting the Red Planet’s equality and long lifespans, though, Hauer says he “sold up” and moved to Earth as he sips a Guinness, once again inexplicably sitting in a recliner in the middle of a park.
'It’s Not Easy Being a Dolphin'
We're not even sure where to begin with this one, quite possibly the most bizarre Guinness ads ever produced.