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.

Made to Stick

Made to StickWhen communicating, are your messages getting through to recipients in the intended manner and tone, with the correct understanding?

Communication is one of the most important skills to learn – it is necessary in so many facets of life. Strong relationships with friends and family, as well as with colleagues at work, all depend, to some degree, on effective communication.

In their book Made to Stick, authors (and brothers) Chip and Dan Heath present an overview of six key elements that can make a message “stickier” – that is, more memorable for recipients. Not surprisingly, the elements can be summarized using a simple acronym that is easy to remember, “SUCCES”.

In general, effective messages tend to be at least several of the following:

Simple. They are tangible and can easily be processed and understood.

Unexpected. Think for a moment about some ads that you’ve seen. Have any caught you off guard? As outlined in a recent blog post, a bus shelter ad for the movie District 9 certainly did!

Concrete. Language is abstract, but life is not. When possible, try to be concrete and tangible in messaging. Avoid industry lingo or slang, particularly when communicating with an audience who might not be familiar with the terminology.

Credible. Internal and external credibility are required to get a message across.

Emotional. How can we make people care about our ideas? We need to create empathy and appeal to our audience  – taking into accout who they are.

Stories. Stories stimulate and inspire, and they tend to withstand the test of time.

If you get a chance, I definitely recommend reading the book. Chip and Dan also have a regular column in Fast Company.

Eric