Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch: Guinness Flexes Muscle for Rugby World Cup Ad

Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch: Guinness Flexes Muscle for Rugby World Cup Ad

Article excerpt

Diageo brand scores without looking like it's trying too hard to ride the tournament hype.

Ahh Guinness. Who doesn't love Guinness? It's one of those glorious brands we all dream of working on someday - so renowned that, even after 16 years, 'Surfer' still tops 'best ad ever made' polls.

But today's world feels a very different place. Higher expectations, smaller budgets, shorter time frames, and more complex media choices need to be made.

Taking on the mantle of delivering the next world-class Guinness spot must feel like something of a poisoned chalice. How do you surpass your previous best, when it's still the best?

On the face of it, not with Guinness' latest spot, which features celebrated Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas. This is a lovely piece of film, but is, arguably, a little formulaic. Culturally salient issue engineered to maximise earned media. Check. Stirring montage of crunching rugby tackles. Check. Moody shots of Gareth walking alone in crepuscular darkness. Check. Sorrowful twinkly piano soundtrack. Check. Symbolic roof-opening-to-let-in-the-sunlight shot. Check.

So far, so ordinary? Well, no, actually. This ad may not be as audacious as we might hope, but it's undeniably solid, and much more substantial. And you know what? That's exactly as it should be. With 'Made of more', Guinness is building on a solid strategic foundation - one that's more in sync with the brand and product truth than 'Surfer' ever really was. With this ad, the more you look, the more you see there is to love.

Not until the 59th second does the brand feel the need to tell viewers they're enjoying a Guinness commercial, and even then it lets the power of its logo and super do the talking. This shows great confidence, and it takes a seasoned marketer to appreciate the power and value of restraint in their brand's communications.

The ad demonstrates huge respect for its audience, too, by starting with the question 'What might people like to watch?' rather than with 'What stories do we need to tell?' The connective tissue here isn't some hastily applied hashtag desperately seeking viewer participation, but instead is located in the brand's values and branding cues deftly pulled through not just this ad, but every single film in an expertly researched and curated series. …

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