Pour Me a Guinness, Please

For the most part, beer commercials are very formulaic in nature. The recipe tends to be quite simple. Start with some very beautiful women, throw in a wild adventure, and let’s not forget a dramatic voice-over, and then add a product close-up with a tagline that is completely meaningless and unoriginal. And there you have it. Air the spot during a football game, hockey game, or another event that speaks to the young male demographic – and what has really been accomplished? Likely not much.

Then there’s Guinness.

Guinness has a track record of very creative, evocative campaign executions that truly stand out, and one of their latest ads is truly no different.

Hat tip to BBDO New York for this gem. So far the commercial has been viewed over two million times on YouTube since being posted five days ago. I’ve also seen it on my Facebook feed several times, shared by friends who don’t work in marketing or advertising and don’t typically share ads.

Why is this the case? Why has this particular ad drawn so much attention?

There are a few reasons, and lessons for marketers.

It Evokes Emotion

The ad itself is very inspirational in nature. It speaks to wanting to help others, in a manner that brings fun and joy into their lives. It also speaks to everyday people – the ad, in many ways, is grounded in a sense of reality that most beer commercials do not contain.

The Narrative is Simple and Relevant to the Brand

There wasn’t much dialogue needed for this commercial. “The Choices We Make Reveal the True Nature of Our Character”.  Making the choice to drink Guinness truly says something about you and what you stand for. It’s a simple as that.

Production Quality

The commercial itself truly is a work of art. It’s visually appealing. It’s like watching a dramatic, one-minute short story. It provides entertainment value.

Really, it’s another form of Brandtainment. Wouldn’t it be great if more brands took a similar approach to advertising? Imagine people wanting to watch commercials. What a concept.

Every Customer Counts

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of TV commercials, I tend to ignore them. I just don’t feel that most advertisers are creative enough in their messaging, nor are they infusing enough value  – through entertainment or relative, informative engagement – that is worthy of attention.

That said, I would like to applaud a recent ad from Telus. Granted, I did not view it on TV, I caught wind of it on Twitter thanks to Michelle Coates.

Attention companies: I care about how you give back to the community. I care about which charities and initiatives you support.  I care about what your employees do, and how their efforts set you apart.  Sometimes, I care about all of this more than I care about the services you offer and the products you sell. I really like it when companies come across as being … human.

Well done, Telus.

Now, have you considered leveraging social media to build further awareness of your “Telus cares” efforts, as well as solicit input on other charitable initiatives you should consider? I’m sure you have. Perhaps you could create a micro-site or a Facebook Fan Page, through which you could provide regular updates of your community involvement and receive feedback on what you’re doing? How about opening the door to suggestions on programs worthy of your support, and letting people vote on which ones they like the most? You could also make it easy for people to share news of what you’re doing.

You’ll come across as being more human. And in today’s world, that’s a good thing.

Imagine if …

Men were not portrayed as being naive in TV commercials, as they are in so many (sorry, Fountain Tire).

Cheap advertising gimmicks and jingles, and cheesy copy altogether, became relics of an advertising era gone by.

Volume was not raised for commercials, because they’re all compelling and relevant enough to gain our attention anyways.

People stopped fussing about “logo size” in print ads, realizing that logos don’t always need to be increased by 10%.

Celebrities were chosen to endorse brands on the basis of who they are and what they stand for, and not just their star power alone.

More companies introduced campaigns that, as part of driving business, also focussed on giving back to the greater good. Way to go, Pepsi Refresh Project.

Companies like Zappos, Starbucks and Lululemon, building brands and communities that engage, using methods once deemed “non-traditional”, were the norm rather than the exception.