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Post by Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:41 pm

St. Patrick's Day: Blame it on the Alcohol
by Julian Sancton
March 17, 2010, 5:55 PM

I was going to write a St. Patrick’s Day–themed post about three superb movies that have recently come out of Ireland: the Oscar-nominated animation The Secret of Kells; the literate-yet-terrifying ghost story The Eclipse (out March 26); and the upcoming Ondine, an enchanting magical-realist film starring Colin Farrell as a county Cork fisherman who hauls a beautiful fishwoman (not a mermaid but a selke) in his net.

But having just elbowed my way through a hoard of insufferable, green-clad erin-go-bros with little to no traceable Irish heritage in Times Square, I’ve been reminded that March 17 in America has nothing to do with Eire, and everything to do with celebrating potentially offensive stereotypes of hard-drinking Celts.

So I’ve decided instead to focus on my two favorite Irish alcohol ads of recent years, both of which equate booze with seafaring adventure:

1. John Jameson vs. The Octopus (2009)

When a barrel of Jameson whiskey falls overboard during a fierce gale, John Jameson dives after it, only to come face to face with an eight-legged behemoth. A Jules Verne novel packed into 30 seconds, this ad single-handedly got me to switch over from Maker’s Mark. The production quality is superb, reminiscent of Master and Commander. I also love how briefly the monster is shown, which makes it all the more epic and terrifying. The Wolf Man could have learned from this.

Message: If there’s a weird salty taste, don’t complain.

2. Michael Fassbender’s Guinness Ad (2004)

Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) plays an Irishman who dives off a cliff and swims across the Atlantic to Times Square to apologize to a dude (his brother?) over a pint of black-and-white. While Fassbender was introduced to American audiences in HBO’s Band of Brothers, he had never been to New York before filming the ad, the actor recently told me. “I swam all the way,” he said. “Surprsingly quickly.”

Message: Drink Responsibly. Wait at least three hours before swimming back.

I was searching for a third ad to post here, but Bailey’s and Magner’s just don’t have that same gravitas, you know?

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