Sunday, January 10, 2010

Guinness: “Fortune Favors the Bold” Ad Not Bold at All.

Compared to some vodka ads, the new Guinness stout TV campaign by BBDO is limp-wristed and derivative.

A story about the new Guinness campaign is still appearing in AdWeek online under “New Advertising Campaigns.” (I don’t expect news to be a month-and-a-half…old.) The campaign began in November and supposed to run on networks including ESPN, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel and FX, in November, December and March – the brand’s traditional St Patrick’s Day push. Facebook is included, too, though it hasn't shown up yet.

Its new theme is, “Fortune favors the bold.” Unfortunately, the campaign misses bold and that is the least of its problems. Hey! It’s an opinion, right?

So – no bold. The spot takes far too much time with its Rube Goldberg beer-traveling gig, with a cheesy music track that is more boring than brave. The young businessman asking for a raise for his team – the spot’s joke – is an afterthought. This Guinness-hoister is not bold, he’s smug, the product of entitlement. It’s like there are (at least) two different commercials going on here.

Is this particular Guinness spot purely for the US market, where there’re certain formulaic demands? Because otherwise, Guinness has a fine record of “big” spots – world-record-styling commercials involving entire villages, or parodic overblown spots like “Bring this place to life.”

It gets worse. Put the “Bold” spot up against Budweiser’s “All together now” Chicago commercial, released this past summer; the Guinness TV fails on yet another count – a second major indictment being, perhaps, lack of ambition.

The three beer spots mentioned here fall into the journey category rather than the in-the-moment category. For Guinness this time around, both the journey and the joke are trivial.


Graham Rust said...

Hello from Prague! I don't like Guinness, but I do love it, thanks to its gigantic heritage of superlative advertising. So what happened here? There is a new European spot which appears to have lost its marbles, but at least it is breaking new ground. This US spot is not just poor, it is an insult to the memory of Swee'pea who did this sort of thing so much better, in black and white! Na zdravi! Graham

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Thanks for the feedback, Graham - I knew with your category experience you'd have an insight or two.

The first spot you reference ("lost its marbles") is the same one I mentioned in the post, "Bring this place to life." It's weird but big - a large, brawny statement characteristic (IMHO) of Guinness. As you note, the US spot...ain't.