Top Spot of the Week: Director David Shane, Publicis Dublin Team On A Stout, "Less Bitter" Spot For Heineken


Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022


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Irish people love the idea of drinking stout, but they don’t always love the taste of it. The most common complaint is that it can be too bitter. So Heineken Ireland decided to create a stout that is simply less bitter. They called it Island’s Edge.

Twelve months since its launch, Island’s Edge has released its latest campaign with Publicis Dublin: “It’s better, less bitter”.

The campaign salutes those who let go of their bitterness and share the belief that life, much like stout, is better less bitter.  Directed by David Shane and produced by O Positive Films, this spot is set in a cozy Irish pub and shows how one customer overhearing that Island’s Edge is “just less bitter” quickly turns into customers from every corner of the pub stepping forward with announcements that show they are less bitter too. 

Ger Roe, board creative director at Publicis Dublin, said, “While Ireland is often recognized as being one of the friendliest countries in the world we do tend to hold onto our hurts for a time. The key thing that makes Irish people different from others is that we’re pretty good at laughing at them too.”

Roe said with this campaign, they needed to “be authentic but do it with a bit of personality. With a key product differentiator of ‘less bitterness’ it gave us a brilliant jumping off point. It also allowed us to leverage that emotional truth about Irish people while giving us an opportunity to differentiate with our brand personality too. We loved the idea of people trying to move on or hide their bitterness. David Shane is a master at getting authentic comedic performances out of actors and totally got what we were trying to do. Because much like Island’s Edge Irish stout, the clever and entertaining part is hiding the bitterness. It’s still there, just a bit less of it.”

Shane shared, “There’s nothing more interesting to me than people trying not to reveal what they’re really thinking. There were so many slights and resentments under the surface of this smart hilarious script. It has everything I’m always looking for in an ad and rarely see.”


Client Heineken Ireland Agency Publicis Dublin Ger Roe, board creative director; Peter Dobbyn, creative director; Paul O’Loughlin, sr. copywriter; Chloe Hanratty, head of strategic planning; Denisse Achata, strategic planning director; Niamh Skelly, head of production; Claire Boylan, content producer; Philip Byrne, content director. Production Company O Positive David Shane, director; Ralph Laucella, Marc Grill, exec producers; Nell Jordan, producer; Sebastian Blenkov, DP; Michael Clancy, director asst. Editorial Assembly Rooms Adam Spivey, editor. ProductionService Company Saturday Films. Sound Design Folding Waves. Media Agency Dentsu Research MCCP Kay McCarthy, managing director; Mary Sheahan, insight director

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