My Most Immortal Ad: Jose Miguel Sokoloff & Walt Campbell Discuss Guinness 'Surfer'

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The Immortal Awards jurors on the importance of epic, riding the perfect wave, and why you sometimes have to listen to 2000 tracks to find the right one
My Most Immortal Ad: Jose Miguel Sokoloff & Walt Campbell Discuss Guinness 'Surfer'
With this year's Immortal Awards entry system now open, each of our jurors have been taking it in turns to select an ad that’s immortal to them, revealing the reasons why it’s stayed with them until this day.

When we asked Jose Miguel Sokoloff, global president, MullenLowe Group Creative Council and chief creative officer, MullenLowe Group UK, for his contribution to this year's series, he replied almost immediately with an ad that resides near the top of almost all best-ads-of-all-time lists. The ad, created by Immortal Awards judging alumni Walter Campbell, is a Guinness epic and we wanted to find out the story behind it. 

So today, we are super excited to launch our Most Immortal Ad panel series, in which our ad's selectors and their creators will discuss how and why these ads and campaigns came to be - and what makes them such icons to this day. And what better way to kick off series with what many cite as the greatest ad of all time? 

Watch the ad, read Jose's explanation on why he picked it and then delve into a discussion between the two creative legends below...

Guinness 'Surfer' (AMV BBDO, 1999) 


There’s one question people often get asked: ‘If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be?’. For me, it’s the creative of one of my most immortal ads of all time and I got to sit next to him for about an hour onstage (thank you LBB).

A simple story well told.

To me this spot embodies all that’s epic about advertising. It’s a big production and draws inspiration from art, literature and life. The soundtrack and the voice over pull you in while the black and white images and brave directing (by one of the greatest directors of all time, Jonathan Glazer) remind me how powerful 60 seconds of film can be. The spectacular visual effects make the metaphorical white horses real, exhilarating and powerful as the surfers crash out.

I’ve seen this spot on my phone, on my computer screen and on a big screen. It’s screen-size agnostic, as long as you have good sound. 

We don’t do many of these as an industry anymore. But like all optimists and lovers of our profession, I think we might.

As I talked to Walter, I didn’t ask about the ad. I tried to get to know the person behind it. I met someone who loves his craft, has no desire to inhabit the comfort zone and believes everything is possible. Like catching that perfect wave.


The Immortal Awards entry system is now open. Every member of Little Black Book is entitled to up to five entries, depending on their membership tier. This year, Bronze members receive two entries, whilst Silver and Gold members get five entries. The full list of rules, including eligibility dates, can be found here.

If you’d like to enter the Immortal Awards but you’re not yet a member of LBB, sign up here today. If you’re already a member and would like to increase your number of entries, you can upgrade your membership here.



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The Immortal Awards, 27 days ago