Irish bar’s $900 ad shot on a phone goes viral with real holiday message
Maybe I’ve been chopping too many onions, or maybe I’ve just watched this ultra-low-budget advertisement for a Northern Irish bar that went viral over the holidays. Nope, I’m definitely not crying, just some dust in my eye.
Charlie’s Bar, a small family-run pub in Enniskillen, released their own Christmas advert to rival those of Disney and huge chain stores with their own beautiful message. And they’ve basically won the internet and proven again that a good story beats gear every time.
The advert opens with an elderly man putting flowers on a grave. He then walks through a busy high street, passing people doing their last-minute Christmas shopping. He enters the pub and then sits alone, nursing a pint.
A dog joins him, and after noticing him alone, a couple go and ask to sit beside the man and all of them introduce each other and appear to alleviate the old man’s loneliness. The camera fades out, and we are left with the quote by poet W.B. Yeats: “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met.”
It’s all very heartwarming and lovely. It was shot on an iPhone for just £700 ($880) by content creator Aoife Teague. The old man is a local amateur actor, and the couple and dog are also regulars at the bar.
Unusually it was filmed in a vertical orientation, presumably so it could be posted straight to TikTok or Instagram.
“It was about spreading love and being aware that there are people out there who are on their own at Christmas time that don’t find it a magical time of the year and find it quite lonely … It’s about being a friend and the dog sort of represents a person making the first move to go over to speak to somebody and the impact that can make to their day,” Teague told CNN.
After the bar’s owner and Teague story-boarded the ad on a piece of paper, the whole thing was filmed in just three hours. It’s not a big-budget production with no lights or anything fancy. However, the story is concise, and the addition of the song makes it even more poignant.
Clearly, the story struck a chord with viewers, some of whom have allegedly even donated money to the bar to buy pints for lonely customers during the holiday season.
It just goes to show the story is always more important than the equipment used. So if Santa didn’t bring you new camera gear this year, don’t worry. Go out with what you have and create magic anyway.
[Image credit: McElwaine / Charlie’s Bar, Enniskillen by Kenneth Allen, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons]
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe