Seen+Noted: James Squire says ‘Ordinary Be Damned’ in bold new brand campaign

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“Ordinary Be Damned” is the bold new brand platform for Lion’s James Squire, just launched by independent creative company  Milk + Honey United.


The new campaign, featuring voiceover by actor Rory McCann, best known for his portrayal of The Hound in “Game of Thrones”, connects the brand to the modern drinker by injecting the statusful world of premium beer with the authentic swagger of James Squire himself.

James Squire pioneered an extraordinary life. He possessed a chancer’s spirit that carried him from the bowels of a convict ship to the splendour of his own brewery – Australia’s first. He turned adversity into opportunity and broke every rule on his way to the top.

“Ordinary Be Damned” is Lion’s biggest statement for the beer brand to date.  The integrated campaign, running across cinema, TV, social, radio, and out of home establishes James Squire’s audacious philosophy and approach to life.

The campaign includes a cinematic :90 film shot by director Justin McMillan in Tasmania – chosen for its wild, filmic landscapes and historic architecture – and striking photography shot on location by Ian Butterworth. Every element is designed to reflect the brand’s own attention to detail and craft.

“James Squire seemed destined to lead an ordinary life,” begins McCann’s narration.  “He went to church, remembered his manners, respected the law…”  But while the dark and brooding voiceover describes an undistinguished life of a common man of the time, the epic visuals tell a very different story, depicting many of Squire’s actual audacious adventures.

The spot culminates in a single dynamic camera move which takes viewers across the old brewery courtyard and into a banquet hall, where the charismatic chancer is seated at the head of the table.  Closing with the line “James Squire was content just being an ordinary man”, the new “Ordinary Be Damned” brand line — and Squire’s unflinching gaze — say otherwise.

Says Malcolm Eadie, portfolio director at Lion: “Ordinary Be Damned marks a significant part of revitalising James Squire with our first masterbrand campaign. Squire led a bold and intrepid life full of ingenuity, that was anything but ordinary – a spirit that continues to be relevant for consumers today.”

Says Andy DiLallo, cofounder, Milk + Honey United: “James Squire and the entire Lion team will always hold a special place in our hearts and history, as one of our founding clients. We set out to prove what is possible creatively even during a global pandemic and the result, we’re proud to say, is anything but ordinary.”

Says Steve Jackson, co-founder, Milk + Honey United: “Most brands would kill for an origin story like this. But as good as it is, we didn’t want to simply tell his story.  We wanted to create an enduring platform and attitude that allows James Squire, the brand, to think and act like James Squire the man; always turning up in culture just as he turned up in life.”

Client: Lion Australia
Agency: Milk + Honey United, Sydney
Production: Fortress Films
Director: Justin McMillan
Executive Producer: Ian Kenny
Editing Company: The Editors
Editor: Bernard Garry
Post Production: Alt.VFX
VFX Supervisor: Jesse Meha
CGI Supervisor: Andrew Hellen
Executive Producer: Tyrone Estephan
VFX Producer: Martina Joison
Music and Sound – Song Zu
Music Creative Director: Ramesh Sathiah
Composer – Lance Gurisik
Sound Design – Abby Sie
Sound Producer – Meg Drummond
Photography: Ian Butterworth, Louis & Co
Media Agency: Universal McCann

Seen+Noted: James Squire says ‘Ordinary Be Damned’ in bold new brand campaign Seen+Noted: James Squire says ‘Ordinary Be Damned’ in bold new brand campaign Seen+Noted: James Squire says ‘Ordinary Be Damned’ in bold new brand campaign