“Never give up on your dreams, be your own inspiration, a beacon of self belief,” says UFC superstar Conor McGregor as he wanders through inner city Dublin.
As he turns the corner on his local estate, his surroundings change, the sky becomes brighter, and the sun glares on him like a spotlight, demonstrating McGregor’s ascendancy and the beginning of his American dream.
This Budweiser advertisement is iconic, but for all the wrong reasons as it broke the advertising rules, and was banned for “promoting underage drinking”, according to RTE.
However, in actual fact, the ad promoted a ‘Dream Big’ competition that encouraged young and talented individuals to follow their dreams, and grab the opportunity should it ever materialise.
While it graced television screens nationwide for months (after the watershed, of course ), and served as McGregor’s onscreen debut, one Galwayman entered the competition, and was plotting his own rise to the top.
Claregalway’s Eugene Horan battled his way through a series of competitive interviews and stages before being crowned winner of Budweiser’s Dream Big competition last week, and believes that much of his success in the competition is due to the influence of ‘The Notorious One’.
“I think Conor McGregor brainwashed me into entering the competition,” admitted Mr Horan, after seeing his fellow Irishman’s face on billboards and in magazines.
“He is such a big inspiration to all Irish people, and he has shown that we really can do it, if we follow our dreams.”
A budding actor, Mr Horan’s dream is to realise his potential, and make a name for himself on the big screen.
In typical McGregor fashion, he fought off strong competition from more than 4,000 entrants, before eventually being named the winner by a public vote.
A prize fund of €50,000 will be awarded to the Galway native, allowing him to follow his Hollywood dreams, and travel to the US for an action-packed summer.
“Since winning the competition, it’s been manic, we are trying to plan everything now with Budweiser, and it’s just been crazy.”
“The prize money will fund different experiences towards me achieving my dreams, but I always said that whether I won or not, I was never going to give up, but this money will hopefully speed up the process.”
However, Mr Horan has already been making waves in the film industry, and will feature in two productions to be released later this year.
Stuart Brennan’s zombie thriller Plan Z is highly acclaimed, and won Best Foreign Film at 2016 Canada International Film Festival, and Tomorrow, which enlisted Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, will be a feast for war film fanatics.
In Tomorrow, Mr Horan plays Danny, a British soldier during the Afghanistan war, and working alongside the acclaimed director represented a milestone in his acting career.
“To think that Scorsese was sitting down, and watching my scenes was incredible,” he said about being picked for the role, and confessed that he was even more ecstatic after initially hearing through the grapevine, that the production team “liked what they saw”.
With two future blockbusters in the pipeline, an unrivalled enthusiasm for film, and a zealous approach to following his dreams at all costs, Budweiser was more than happy to add Mr Horan to the list of winners.
“We were delighted to announce Eugene as the winner,” said Muna Nageh, marketing director at Budweiser, “Eugene captured the essence of this competition, showcasing his passion, and putting 110 per cent into making his dream come true.”
If a McGregor biopic, documenting the rise of the fighting Irishman, ever presented itself, Mr Horan claimed that would really be his dream come true.
“I have been asked this question loads of times, but the answer is always the same, I would love to play Conor McGregor,” said Mr Horan.
“I think it comes from growing up with the Rocky movies.
“I’m the same height, and the same weight, I might be a bit softer than McGregor at the minute, but it would definitely be a dream of mine.”
Mr Horan was presented with the winning prize by actress Rosario Dawson on July 4, to find out more about the competition and winner, visit www.BudDreamBig.ie