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Guinness and BBDO’s Inspiring Partnership 

For over two decades Advertising Agency AMV BBDO, has brought the Guinness Company’s worldview philosophy and altruism to engaging life. 

They have conceived and produced, a diversity of remarkable brand campaigns and commercials, covering numerous themes, and engaging storylines, that have often been groundbreaking. 

A Dark Ale and Gold Harp

In 1759 Arthur Guinness started brewing his dark ale in Dublin, Ireland, and in 1862, formally registered a symbol of a gold Irish harp, as a Guinness trademark. 

And according to the Irish Times, a similar harp icon, facing the other way, became the national symbol of Ireland a few years later.

From the start he pledged that any successes his enterprise may achieve, would be devoted to improving the lives of communities and citizens across the world, and true to his word, established ‘The Arthur Guinness Foundation’.

The Guinness Company has sustained their founder’s passionate commitment to philanthropic initiatives over many years, at home and abroad, and continue to support socio-economic initiatives, that serve to uplift communities.

1. Guinness, Surfer

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Referring to the slow-pouring necessary for a perfect pint of Guinness with a creamy white top, the “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait” brand signature, is a cleverly penned consumer promise with a broad smile, that became a memorable advertising theme.   

Filmmaker and director Jonathan Glazer’s famous ‘Guinness Surfer’ commercial, about a Polynesian surfer waiting for that perfect wave, was voted the best of all time, in a public poll, conducted by Britain’s Channel 4, and The Sunday Times in In 2002.

Filmed on location in Hawaii over nine days, the monochromatic, multi award-winning, commercial, features spectacular images of white horses with their flowing manes, cresting rolling waves.

The music soundtrack, was specially composed for the commercial by ‘Leftfield’, an electronic-music duo from Bath in England, who later included the track as “Phat Planet” on their ‘Rhythm and Stealth’ album.

2. Guinness, Round Up Your Mates On St Patrick’s Day

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London

Celebrating Ireland’s Patron Saint on St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th of March, has become a popular calendar event of festivities in many cities across the world, and it has become traditional to raise a glass of Guinness, or two on the day, to the Patron Saint of Irish Beer, Arthur Guinness.

Directed by filmmaker Kevin Thomas, this is a very entertaining and clever parody of the Sheepdog Trials, that have been a celebrated tradition in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, since 1876.

The commercial featuring trainer Gareth Longrass, and the impressive abilities of his border-collie sheepdog Roy, has become an all-time favourite St. Patrick’s Day classic.

3. Guinness, noituloveE

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

The strange title of the commercial comes from the word ‘Evolution’ being written backwards, and as the commercial reveals, it is an amusingly apt name.

Directed by filmmaker Daniel Kleinman, with the collaboration of visual effects company Framestore in London, the commercial was at the time, the most-awarded commercial in the world, having received over 30 International Advertising awards, and a Film Grand Prix at Cannes.

Perhaps more importantly, the commercial was a great success for Guinness, boosting their volume and value shares, to the highest level ever achieved.

4. Guinness, Tipping Point

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

Filmed in the remote Argentinian village of Iruna, this famous Guinness ‘Tipping Point’ commercial, in celebration of community, was directed by filmmaker Nicolai Fuglsig, with the enthusiastic participation its 3,000 inhabitants.

The villagers not only performed as the film’s cast, they also helped mightily in building the elaborate constructions that would cause ‘domino-like’ chain reactions, that were crucial to the success of the commercial.

As a build up to the launch of the commercial, a visual puzzle was creatively conceived for an online competition.  

Edited, short-film segments, of the chain reactions were revealed, for viewers to figure out how they would link consecutively in the final commercial.

Tens of thousands rose to the challenge for the winning prize of a solid gold domino set, and spent long hours exchanging hints and tips on social media.

5. Guinness, Wheelchair Basketball

Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA

Directed by filmmaker Noam Murro, this emotively powerful tribute to loyalty and friendship, features an insightful scenario, about how the true nature of one’s character is revealed, by the choices one makes.

The first commercial of the Guinness ‘Made of More’ series, was described by the Huffington Post as “breathtaking”; a sentiment that was globally shared by millions of viewers. 

6. Guinness, Sapeurs

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK

The semi-documentary ‘Guinness Sapeurs’ scenario, was directed by filmmaker Nicolai Fuglsig, and conceived by Copywriter Nicholas Hulley, and Art Director Nadja Lossgott, a South African advertising team based in London.

‘Sapeurs’ are members of The Society of ‘Ambiance-ists’ and, The ‘Sape’ People of Elegance Society. 

They follow a tradition unique to Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire, and neighbouring Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, of stylishly wearing formal  male attire from Europe, that include Scottish dress-kilts.

A tradition, that renowned Afro-Rock musician Papa Wemba, once described as ‘making an art of clothes invented by white people’.

Sapeurs’ however, aren’t just elegantly dressed, working-class men, parading their freedom of expression. They follow strict codes that demand high standards of personal cleanliness, hygiene, and behaving like a gentleman.

They have earned a highly respected status in society of exemplary behaviour and decorum, and for Guinness, they embody an important life lesson, of not allowing your circumstances to define who you are.

The soundtrack features “What Makes a Good Man” by the English Rock Band, ’The Heavy’.

7. Guinness, Africa Special

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London and Africa

Directed by filmmaker Kibwe Tavares, the Nigerian ‘Africa Special’ commercial, celebrates the Guinness Company’s first ever brand extension, consisting of a Guinness blended with natural African extracts.

The distinctively vibrant ‘alive-inside’ flavour of Guinness Africa Special, is expressively characterised by a popular Angolan genre of music and dance, called ‘Kuduro’, with an eclectic mix of young African performance-artists, dancers, and musicians.

8. Guinness, LA’s Compton Cowboys

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London

The story of the ‘Compton Cowboys’ forms part of the celebrated Guinness ‘Made of More’ series of commercials.

Filmmaker and director Henry-Alex Rubin, brings his distinctive actuality treatment, to this compelling scenario narrative, about young men, who made the bold choice to break away from a life of gang related crime and fear, to serve as inspirational examples of hope within their local community.

Filmed on location in South Central Los Angeles, the story reveals how they found a new direction and added meaning to their lives, through their passionate devotion to the caring of horses, and their support of each other.

 9. The Compton Horses

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London

Filmmaker Henry-Alex Rubin also directed this scenario about the Compton horses rescued from slaughterhouses.

The story provides emotive depth of how, the caring and nursing of these horses back to health, enabled the Compton Cowboys, who grew up in a tough neighbourhood, and difficult social circumstances, to find a new sense of purpose in life and personal fulfilment.