Ad of the Day: Newcastle Brown Ale

Drinker looks on the bright side in darkly comic spot

You can often work out the geographical origin of any beer commercial pretty accurately. Frat boy humor tends to place it firmly in North America. Grand, comedic enterprises tend to emanate from Australia. And serialized character studies tend to be from the U.K. This new spot for Newcastle Brown Ale, called "Prison," from ad agency Vitro, sits somewhere between the British and Australian models—though it's actually the brand's first U.S. TV advertising. The spot, filmed in a real British pub that was kept open for business throughout the shoot, advertises a distinctly British beer, so it deliberately takes place in surroundings familiar to anyone who has had a drink on that side of the pond. The humor stems entirely from the characters involved, and the spot is part of a series (there are two other spots, "Doctor" and "Goon") that hews closely to a single theme—excruciatingly bad news delivered to an innocent beer drinker who somehow manages to see the bright side of some limited good news, which is served up alongside a pint of the beer. In "Prison," the drinker learns that he has been found guilty of a crime in court but ends with a smile when his lawyer, who is clearly utterly incompetent, offers to reduce his fee. A more repeatable tagline might have worked better than "The lighter side of dark," but that's the basis of the whole approach and doesn't detract from the achievement of these ads—quintessential Britishness with some Aussie snark, captured nicely by an agency with offices in San Diego and Los Angeles.



Agency: Vitro

Executive Creative Director: John Vitro

Creative Director: Kent Thayer

Copywriter: Kent Thayer

Agency Producer: Mickey Strider

Director: Harold Einstein

Production Company: Station Film, New York

Editorial: HutchCo Technologies

Editor: James Hutchins