A Toast to Guinness & AMV BBDO: On the Right Path.
by Jeff Finkle
Céad Míle Fáilte. It’s St. Patrick’s Day which makes us thirsty for Guinness and AdForum would like to thank Michael Pring, Managing Partner AMV BBDO, Global Lead, Diageo, BBDO for taking the time to talk about AMV BBDO’s work for the Guinness brand.
AdForum: What is the biggest challenge in continuing to raise the bar and create new and engaging ads for the Guinness brand that has such a loyal following?
Michael: There is certainly a sense of responsibility and expectation when you work on a brand like Guinness with such a rich and iconic advertising heritage. But Guinness is a forward-looking brand and always has been. We find that incredibly energizing and set out to create work that “only Guinness could and only Guinness would” do. Work that’s fresh, relevant and always true to the brand’s DNA.
AdForum: Is the goal when working with Guinness to remind the audience of why they already connect with what the brand stands for with its “Made of More” tag line, as opposed to some beer brands that try and sell the audience on what drinking their beer is going to do for them?
Michael: Guinness isn’t a superficial brand and as a beer is more distinctive and characterful than many others. It’s a purpose driven brand that has a point of view on beer and the world which we want to make relevant, interesting and meaningful for all beer drinkers and in wider culture. That doesn’t mean being worthy though, it’s still a beer after all.
AdForum: Last August, Guinness extended its title sponsorship of the Pro12 Championship. Why do you think Guinness' Rugby association seems like such a natural fit for the brand? What do you think it is about Gareth Thomas’ story and his bond with his teammates that resonates so strongly with people watching the moving ad titled “Never Alone”?
Michael: Guinness has a longstanding connection with rugby including international rugby and the home nations of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. This connection isn’t built by chance – it’s a deep association based on shared values. Guinness’ core values of power, goodness and communion are reflected in the sport’s ability to bring people together and this makes rugby a strong fit for Guinness. The Gareth story is an inspiring one, not just because of his courage, but because of the support his teammates gave him. That message of supporting others is something we can all relate to.
AdForum: AMV BBDO launched a beautifully executed campaign titled “Alive Inside” last summer to promote the new Guinness Africa Special. What was the inspiration for the non-stop, kinetic dance of the artists in the ad that sets it apart as being uniquely African?
Michael: Modern Africa is filled with an unprecedented energy and creativity with a new generation forging their own paths and identities and they were the inspiration for Guinness Africa Special and ‘Alive Inside’. The film features a wide array of incredible African talent - dancers, models, musicians, DJs and artists, from Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. Some well-known, others unearthed, each performing their unique skills. The soundtrack was a collaborative remix of a Kuduro style track by Buraka Som Sistema created by up and coming producers including Spellz from Nigeria and Jaaz Odongo from Kenya.
AdForum: I’m a huge fan of your “St. Patrick’s Day” ad from 2012 that had a Monty Python feel to it. Can you tell us how that idea came about to parody competitive sheep herding? Were there any on-location issues with wrangling the dogs that may have delayed production?
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Michael: I’m glad you like it. It’s a really fun piece of work that shows the lighter side of Guinness. It’s built off a simple insight that there’s always someone in a group who suggests where to go and what to do. Then it’s a simple flip from that to sheepdogs and rounding up your mates to go for a Guinness on St Pats. Everyone was well behaved, including the dogs.
AdForum: Finally, where and with whom will you be spending St. Patrick’s Day and will you be enjoying a pint of Guinness?
Michael: I’ll be with the Guinness team of course, in a pub in Borough Market round the corner from the agency, most definitely enjoying a pint of Guinness!