I really enjoyed this commercial the first time I saw it since it seemed like a short and amusing story about the great lengths one man goes for his whisky. Within thirty one seconds the story focuses on the love of Jameson’s Irish Whisky while providing conflict between the man and the sea (storm and octopus). That Jameson was victorious against either makes the beverage contained in the barrel seem more incredible than gold, which was exactly what the director was hoping for.
The story begins with John Jameson in the storm of 1781, narrated by man with a slight Irish accent (perfect for an Irish whisky ad) while a single violin provides a soundtrack outside the diegesis. The commercial for Jameson’s Irish Whisky tells the imaginary tale of how one man loses a “beloved barrel” overboard (the exposition), jumps in after it on a rescue mission, faces off with a giant octopus (middle and conflict) and his funeral which he attends, victoriously hoisting the wayward barrel on his shoulder (conclusion). The events are all linked by causality.
The scenes were set with period costumes and dull lighting during the storm, rescue and funeral, which added a period affect to the shots. Shot scale varied from shots of Jameson’s barrel of whisky and him bidding farewell to his wife (medium close-up) to the great storm and the fight with the giant octopus (extreme long shot). The positioning of the camera allowed us to see the conflict in the setting while showing the drama and action between characters and establishing the range of emotion (close-up of funeral guests as compared to the extreme long shot of all of Ireland in attendance). Depth of field was important in revealing Jameson’s successful retrieval of the lost barrel; the subject was blurred in the distance with the attendants of the funeral in focus and made clear when the crowd realized he had not perished.