Ryder Cup ad banks on epic scenes to get the pulse racing


It's billed as Epic. And with a €5 million budget, AIB's latest Ryder Cup television commercial featuring locations in Dublin, Kerry, Wicklow and New York certainly encapsulates the "Clash of the Titans" theme which the bank aimed to get across in the run-up to September's showdown.

The 60-second advert hit our screens last Friday, and no expense was spared for what has turned out to be a slick production which will spearhead the bank's marketing campaign from now until the first tee-shot is hit at the K Club on September 22nd.

As one of the title sponsors of this year's Ryder Cup, AIB called on the services of McConnells advertising agency to develop the concept. They, in turn, brought in Donegal's Enda McCallion to direct the advert.

McCallion, who has lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, is more accustomed to directing music videos for bands such as heavy rock group Nine Inch Nails. But his clever use of key locations around Ireland and New York, combined with dramatic music and a simple, yet strong script makes for an effective ad.

The music is a full orchestral version of Clint Mansell's Summer Overture from the film Requiem for a Dream, arranged by Fiachra Trench.

Filming in Ireland took six days and began last September. To obtain the desired effect, the creative team even had O'Connell Street in Dublin closed early one Sunday morning. The makers of the film 28 Days Later managed a similar feat when they closed the city centre of London to gain their dramatic opening shot of deserted streets. This time, with the aid of computer-generated graphics, the ad shows throngs of people downing tools and making their way across O'Connell Bridge in anticipation of the biggest team event in golf.

The common image running through the ad shows Patrick Geraghty, a professional at Glen of the Downs and Seafield, teeing it up at locations such as Lugala in Wicklow, Slea Head in Kerry and off the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

"We sat down with our agency last year and tried to figure out what angle we were going to take," said Jim Kelly from AIB. "After numerous storyboards and footage, we realised this is much more than just a game of golf. For Ireland as a nation this is huge. Then, when someone around the table mentioned the word 'epic', we said that's exactly what the Ryder Cup is in a nutshell.

"For us it also meant an epic budget," quipped Kelly, before adding that, "staging the Ryder Cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity, particularly for the bank to promote Ireland so well instead of simply flogging a product".

The ad shows thousands of sports fans gearing up for the event, but Kelly said there were only 120 extras used during filming in Ireland. After that, high-tech effects, like those used in blockbusters such as Alexander, were used to "capture the pre-event feelings of thousands of Irish people".

The bank were also keen to avoid references to battle, especially after unsporting scenes at Kiawah Island in 1991 and Brookline in 1999. Instead, the bank believe the Titans concept is more apt.

The script reads: "This will be where the Titans clash . . . This will be where the world is watching . . . This will be the sound of half a billion people holding their breath . . . This will be the Ryder Cup . . . This will be Epic."

The ad will air on all terrestrial stations and numerous satellite channels until proceedings get under way in September.