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A great entertaining commercial is as hard to find these days as it was to see a satisfying action movie this summer. While launching this column, I suffered through the CGI-extravaganza that was The Avengers (were the villains gigantic blue whales?), The nine-hour-long Dark Knight, and the new Bourne flick, which is essentially about a junkie looking for a fix. Each film had some okay chases, but nothing very memorable.

When I saw this commercial, my entertainment expectations were at an all-time low after so many blockbuster letdowns. But as it finished I thought, “I’ve just watched the best commercial of 2012.” Since this commercial utilized one of cinema’s greatest high octane techniques – the car chase – I’ve paid homage below to some of my favorite cinematic car chase films while breaking down this ad:

GONE IN 60-ISH SECONDS
Just think for a moment how difficult it must be to create a great commercial. In a very limited amount of time — 30 seconds to two minutes — the ad team is responsible for creating a visual vehicle that delivers a product to the viewer through a memorable message. So many things can go wrong during that process. It’s sort of like casting Nic Cage: sometimes you get a gem with amazing car chases, sometimes you get the Wicker Man.

PRODUCT: A+
WE’RE 400 MILES FROM SYDNEY, WE’VE GOT A BAG OF CASH AND 4 CARLTONS. HIT IT!

The Blues Brothers were on a mission from god, but our heroes seem to be in it just for the money. The ad team behind this commercial has done a brilliant job making the crooks seem loveable, and the ad all about the beer. The criminals pull off a bank robbery and the first thing they want to do is share a round of Carltons to celebrate (they pick the worst bar to do this). And then as we see throughout the commercial, this beer is so good that no one — not the cops or robbers — would dare stop drinking it or risk spilling a drop.

MESSAGING: A+ 
THE “SUBTLE” CONNECTION

While the on-foot version of “cops in pursuit of robbers” theme is a clever nod to all the wreck-’em-up police chases of cinematic lore, what you may not have thought of is that this is the world’s greatest anti–drunk driving campaign. The robbers pause at the car and realize “drinking and driving is wrong,” so they take off on foot. They’d rather drink and risk getting away than put down their beers or drink and drive. They may be bank robbers, but their zeal for safe driving is commendable.

CREATIVITY: A+
BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS, WATCHA GONNA DO?

From the moment the first police crash into the boxes to the hilarious send-up of the sheetglass “crash” to the slow-mo over the hilljump and the barricade with the obligatory cry of “they’re not going to stop!” this commercial has crammed every possible car chase plot device into 90 seconds. It’s fun, catchy and brilliant. So I fully expect Budweiser to steal the idea and butcher it come Super Bowl time.

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