By now, you’ve most likely seen the latest Guinness ad. If not, crawl out from under that rock and take a look here.
‘Spine tingling’ it’s been called. Not many ads bring about that kind of bodily response, and most of the ones that do have also been made by AMV BBDO for the black stuff. “I cried, I effing cried” one sensitive soul wrote under the YouTube video.
This visceral and emotional reaction to an advert is what we advertisers DREAM of inducing; the heightened emotional state becoming cerebrally associated with the brand.
Why is this spot so powerful? Is it the courage of the disabled man in overcoming his barriers and succeeding in a challenging sport? Is it the camaraderie between him and his friends? Is it the kindness of his friends for donning their own wheelchairs and joining him, rather than watching from the sidelines, hence earning the label ‘made of more’? For many, the answer is yes to all the above.
Yet merely reading this, dear visitor, would mean you miss the slight cynical tonality in which I wrote it. Like when I pronounce the word cola ‘cola’ but my boyfriend pronounces it ‘cola’. Subtle, but important differences.
Take, for example, another comment left on the YouTube page, and you might start to see the ad from a different perspective: “It makes it seem like the other guys are heroes or something. Having your friends join in is not the problem, in fact it’s actually very common. The way they put the message across in the ad makes it a bit demeaning”.
Oof. Good point sir. Hadn’t thought of it like that.
Unlike the much-loved Channel 4 Paralympic ad ‘Meet The Superhumans’ which despite its best intentions still depicts those with disabilities as ‘the other’, this ad does well to portray inclusivity. However, it seems to me that Guinness are using a handicapped character as leverage to make his ‘normal mates’ look like superstars, and I’m not sure that’s ok.
Words by Jo Birch