How worlds collided to create the best surfing ad…ever.
IT was a simpler time. A time before oversized trucker caps, energy drinks, coconut water and Jaeger bombs.
A fast twitch muscle was reserved for the bedroom and the verb rehydrate had yet been born.
It was 1983 and Australia’s sports men and women celebrated a win, loss, draw or even a bye with the nectar of the gods, beer.
And looking to toast our dominance of the international sporting field, beer manufacturer Tooheys jumped on the blower with Sydney ad agency Mojo with the brief of finding the one sports star who encapsulated all that was good for the time.
Enter Austin Robertson Junior. Mojo had reached out to the celebrated AFL player turned manager for assistance, and the former full forward promptly ran his muscular finger down a well worn index of sporting clients and associates pausing briefly at Lillee, D.K, before reaching Richards, Mark.
Richards, already in Hawaii celebrating a fourth world title, recalls being most delighted with the unexpected fringe benefits brought about by his involvement in the iconic ad.
“It was great because I got to stay in Hawaii for another two weeks and go surfing while they filmed,” Richards said.
“That was my acting brief “Go surfing,”. It was a no brainer.”
Meanwhile, back in Sydney, one half of Mojo, Allan “Jo” Johnson sharpens the HB lead pencil and sets to work on the jingle which will soon be etched into the minds of surfers Australia wide.
Johnson and partner Alan “Mo” Morris had already struck gold with previous versions of the “How do you feel?” ads, including the memorable Parramatta Eels versus Manly rugby league scenario and cricketer Mike Whitney (sporting full afro) belting legendary West Indies paceman Joel Garner for a cover drive to save the day.
Former world champion, Barton Lynch was gifted his own Tooheys ad following his dramatic world title win over Tom Carroll and Damien Hardman at Pipeline in 1988.
‘’Back at that point in time, it was looked at as quite a big thing to happen to surfing,’’ recalls Lynch.
People thought it was the first signs of surfing becoming respected and the opportunity for mainstream business to get involved in our sport.”