Finlandia Packs 1,000 Years of Offbeat Inspiration Into One Crazy Ad

Combined wisdom from very unlikely endorsers

Finlandia is gunning hard for the title of most inspirational vodka commercial ever.

A new two-and-half-minute ad, "1,000 Years of Less Ordinary Wisdom," features offbeat heroes like a drag wrestler and reindeer racer offering tips on how to make it in the world, like "Be nobody's bitch but your own" and "You're only as fast as your reindeer." In other words, a lot of the advice is, in spirit, not really that different from standard motivational fare, even if it comes from unusual sources and their unconventional contexts (though fashion icon Iris Apfel is not exactly out of the spotlight these days).

As for the title, the 1,000 years refers to the sum of the ages of the people in the commercial. A number of them are long in the tooth, which is cool, because listening to one's elders is generally a good thing—they're often less boring and clueless than young people. But the spot also makes sure to feature more sprightly accomplished types, too, like a prima ballerina and volcanic scientist (because it can't really exclude representing the money demo, too).

Created by Wieden + Kennedy London, the spot relies heavily on a driving (mostly) instrumental version of the song "Undeniable," by Donnie Daydream featuring Richie Sosa. That strings together the disparate footage from director Siri Bunford (though it might be worth mentioning that Adidas also just used the record as a soundtrack for its own sports-themed montage-qua-anthem).

Game of Thrones fans might enjoy that, as Fast Company notes, the strongman—Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson—is also an actor in the show. (He's the latest in a string to play "The Mountain" Gregor Clegane, largely absent this season but for the occasional twitch from under a blanket on a laboratory table, the pseudo-zombie experiment of some sinister wizard. P.S.: If that's where drinking Finlandia leads, no thanks.)

In all seriousness, though, the concept is pretty moving—a nice snapshot of various walks of life, with some clever and charming moments. Overall, it might even be convincing, except what drinking vodka really makes people want to do is drink more vodka and then pass out hard and sleep in the next day—not a great way to tear through that bucket list.


Client: Finlandia

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, London

Creative Directors: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas

Copywriter: Paddy Treacy

Art Director: Mark Shanley

Executive Creative Directors: Tony Davidson, Iain Tait

Executive Producer: Danielle Stewart

Group Account Director: Paulo Salomao

Account Director: Matt Owen

Account Manager: Sophie Lake

Head of Planning: Beth Bentley

Planning Director: Martin Beverley

TV Producer: Michelle Brough

Production Company: Knucklehead

Director: Siri Bunford

Executive Producer: Matthew Brown

Director of Photography: Ben Smithard

Editing Companies: Lucky Cat; Whitehouse Post

Editors: Xavier Perkins, Lucky Cat; Adam Marshall, Whitehouse Post

Post Producer: Anandi Peiris

Visual Effects Company: MPC

Visual Effects Supervisor: Bill McNamara

Flame Artist: Bill McNamara

Visual Effects Producer: Anandi Peiris

Grade: MPC

Colorist: Matthieu Toullet

Titles, Graphics: Ryan Teixeira

Music, Sound Company: Factory

Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Phil Bollard

Song: "Undeniable," Richie Sosa

Interactive Producer: Dom Felton

Director of Relations: Marta Bobic

PR Manager: Charlotte Corbett

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.