Guinness celebrates the man who opened ears to jazz and eyes to prejudice
2 February 2016
Image from new GUINNESS ad celebrating John Hammond, an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things.
Click here to view the ad
Latest ad in the Made of More campaign tells the story of John Hammond – an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things.
A new GUINNESS ad entitled ‘Intolerant Champion’, the next chapter in the much loved Made of More campaign, will air for the first time in Ireland and the UK on Wednesday 3 February 2016.
The ad, which is filmed entirely in black and white, transports viewers back to 1930s’ New York and tells the story of John Hammond who was born in turn-of-the-century Manhattan – before civil rights, and when racial disharmony prevailed.
Black and white musicians rarely played together in ‘30s New York and many music venues permitted white audiences only. Despite this, from an early age John Hammond developed a burning passion for music of black origin – Jazz, The Blues, Big Band and Gospel. He would travel the clubs and bars of Harlem seeking raw, undiscovered musical talent for his radio show and he would often be the only white man in the room. Undeterred, he went on to become a remarkable talent scout and was responsible for discovering musicians like Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Aretha Franklin.
He signed them to Columbia Records, giving them an incredible platform to be heard – not only by black audiences, but by music lovers across America and the world over. Hammond stood almost alone in championing the potential of black and white musicians working together – and fighting this cause gave him a platform to make a difference.
In his memoirs he reflects, ‘I heard no colour line in the music…’.
Hammond described himself as, “the sometimes intolerant champion of tolerance”. Others described him simply as, “the world’s greatest talent scout”. He went on to sign legends like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to Columbia, but it was his pivotal role in bringing together black and white musicians that is his most lasting legacy.
With voiceover by Danny Glover, US actor, producer and humanitarian, the ad offers viewers a window into the world of Hammond. Dazzling scenes from across the city show music lovers of all backgrounds, united together, enjoying and celebrating the great sounds playing out over the airwaves.
Guinness has never been afraid to make brave decisions whether pushing the boundaries in brewing great beer, innovation, or celebrating those who are Made Of More. Stephen O’Kelly, Marketing Director, Guinness said, “‘John Hammond’ continues a series of stories from GUINNESS that feature ordinary people achieving extraordinary things. John Hammond, in his search for great music, brought black and white musicians together, over-coming divides and creating a fantastic music and social legacy that continues to this day.”
The music in the ad is a remix of ‘Sing Sing Sing’ from the Swings Kids film score by James Horner. The song was originally made famous by the Benny Goodman Trio – the first major mixed race band in American. Hammond was instrumental in bringing the band members together.
Grammy nominated Lianne La Havas, who features in the ad, has referenced Hammond artists such as Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan as influences on her music.
The ad was directed by Jake Nava, a top music video and film director, whose portfolio includes videos for Adele, Beyoncé and Artic Monkeys.
Director, Jake Nava said, “It’s fair to say that John Hammond is an unsung hero and his lasting legacy on the world of music is a story that has been largely untold. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to tell an aspect of it in a way that I believe authentically captures the significance of what he achieved.”