The Story Behind 'That' Carslberg Ad

The Story Behind 'That' Carslberg Ad
By Eoin Lyons
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Is it weird to be nostalgic for an advertisement? Carlsberg's 2002 advert, which showed Jason McAteer's dream of winning the World Cup in South Korea, is one of the few times an advertisement has really struck a chord with its audience.

Of course Ireland would fall to Spain in the round of 16 after a valiant effort, but the remnants of the advert still bubble up when I think of Ireland's exploits in the World Cup.

The lines "they said it was impossible, but no one told Jason McAteer" have been etched onto the public's conscience as a result of the promo, but a little known fact is that the man behind of one of Ireland's most loved ads is Oscar winning director Lenny Abrahamson.

Thanks to CR Vaults, we have an insight into the genesis of the ad,  who uploaded an interview with Abrahamson in which the film maker discusses how the idea came about:

The task we set ourselves was okay imagine if some editor in RTÉ sports department was given the job after Ireland really won the World Cup of cutting together 60 seconds of the most... ace footage that they had from all possible sources, from TV interviews, with punters on the street, to soccer footage, to cameras set up in people's canteens, what would that 60 seconds be like? Let's make it as if it really happened.

Abrahamson went on to explain, how he managed to rouse the crowd for Ireland's artificial World Cup triumph:


I sat in front of this whole room of people, the front row of which were actors, the rest were extras and people we just drafted in. I'd talk through a move like I was a commentator and I'd try to whip them up into a frenzy.


I can only hope Abrahamson's histrionics were similar to that of Jack Nicholson's in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest:


One of the best shots of the 60 second spot was undoubtedly the reaction of a certain Ireland fan as Ireland 'won' the World Cup final, as Abrahamson explains in the interview:

There's a shot of a guy getting up from his seat and he's sort of wobbling with almost orgasmic excitement, I knew he was really good so I was in on a close up of him.

It was like he was having some sort of minor heart attack or something.

The casting of the 'guy wobbling with orgasmic excitement' a.k.a. Tom Murphy, proved to be a serendipitous one, as the actor would go on to star in Abrahamson's cult classic Adam & Paul, a tragic comedy about two junkies traversing Dublin in search of their next hit.

But tragedy would hit Murphy for real in 2007, when the actor died after a short battle with lymphatic cancer aged just 39, but his face will always be associated with a nation's hope, and although we haven't been on the World stage since South Korea, it's still nice to dream.


H/T: CR Vaults

See Also: Harry Redknapp And Gianluca Vialli To Manage GAA Teams

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