Even seasoned business development managers would be hard-pressed to guess the true source of the haunting new ad for Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey. An ad that looks so, well, Irish, just had to have been conceived on the Emerald Isle itself, right? Wrong. It was filmed there, true, in County Wicklow to be precise. But every line of dialogue, every nuance of the story, every feature of the ad, was crafted in New York’s rising boutique agency, Opperman Weiss (or OW).
Depicting four young men walking through the rain in the bleakly beautiful Wicklow landscape, it tells the story of an impending farewell, where one of them will leave the group forever. The poignancy of youthful friendships coming to an end will bring a tear to the eye of even the most hard-boiled business development manager. But then the emotions morph into melancholy-tinged joy – sitting on a stone wall outside an ancient church sharing a parting shot of whiskey, it transpires that one of them is actually about to marry his beautiful young fiancée.
So how did a New York agency create such an authentically Irish ad, right down to the poetically haunting folk song sung by the four young men as they await the loosening of the bonds of friendship between them? As most business development managers might observe, Chinatown and Wicklow aren’t an obvious match.
In an interview with Fast Company, OW’s co-founder and creative director, Paul Opperman (who launched the agency in 2012 with his colleague Jeff Weiss) explains that the ad, entitled “A Parting Glass”, was the shop’s second for Tullamore Dew’s “Irish True” campaign.
Authenticity from afar
He and Weiss both made it their mission to gen up on everything Irish, from James Joyce to rural Irish pubs. Opperman says, “For us to be able to do this work properly, we have to know more than anybody about Irish culture.”
He adds, “We wanted it to be so infallibly ‘Irish True’ that there was no possible way to question it. We wanted the Irish newspapers to write editorials about it, so it had to be filled with what you see, which is the spirit of what Ireland really is.”
And they’ve succeeded. A Parting Glass is probably the most beautiful and memorable booze ad you’ll see this year.