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The Guinness Influence

Dublin, Ireland, 1759

That was the year Arthur Guinness started brewing his dark ale and pledged that any successes his enterprise may achieve would be devoted to the cause of improving the lives of communities and citizens across the world.

He delivered on his promise and established ‘The Arthur Guinness Foundation’. He was passionately dedicated to the foundation’s many philanthropic initiatives at home and abroad. Celebratory social upliftment themes still play a prominent role in Guinness’s Advertising, and are part of the brand’s worldwide persona.

And it has become a tradition to raise a glass of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day to the Patron Saint of Ireland, and another to Arthur Guinness, the Patron Saint of Irish Beer.

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

Advertising Agency: Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, London

Directed by 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, went viral instantly and racked up one and half million YouTube views in a single day.

2. Guinness, Wheelchair Basketball

Advertising Agency: BBDO, New York, USA

Directed by Noam Murro, this emotively powerful tribute to loyalty and friendship is reinforced by the insightful line of a human truth that “the choices we make reveal the true nature of our character”.

The commercial, the first of the ‘Made of More’ series, was described by the Huffington Post as “breathtaking”, a sentiment shared by millions of viewers globally. YouTube recorded 3.5 million views even before the commercial was officially released.

Guinness In Africa

After Europe, the second largest Guinness market is Africa.

The Congolese ‘Sapeurs’ follow a tradition unique to Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire (formerly the Democratic Republic of Congo) and neighbouring Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo.

The Story of Papa Wemba and The Stylish ‘Sapeurs’

Shortly after The Democratic Republic of the Congo became independent, the country was renamed Zaire and a strict non-Western dress code was implemented.

Papa Wemba, also known as ‘The King of Rumba Rock” and one of the most popular singers and musicians at the time in Africa, wanted to challenge the status quo visually.

He became the leader of the ‘Sape’ (Society of Ambiance-ists and People of Elegance), and whose members, the ‘Sapeurs’, were known for their elegant style of dress.

He popularised the ‘Sape’ look and style through his musical group ‘Viva La Musica’ with whom he performed on stages throughout the world and is quoted as saying; “White people invented the clothes, but we make an art of it”.

The ‘Sapeur’ Code

The ‘Sapeur’ cult however, isn’t just about elegantly dressed working-class men parading their freedom of expression, it also promotes high standards of personal cleanliness, hygiene and a strict code of behaving like a gentleman.

3. Guinness, The ‘Sapeurs’ of The Congo

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London

The ‘Sapeurs’ have earned a prominent status in Congolese popular culture and for Guinness they embody an important life lesson of not allowing your circumstances to define who you are.

Copywriter Nicholas Hulley and Art Director Nadja Lossgott, a South African duo based in London, conceptualised the commercial.

Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, and featuring a soundtrack by The Heavy of “What Makes a Good Man”, the documentary style commercial is part of the tribute paying Guinness ‘Made Of More’ campaign.

4. Guinness, Kenya’s Tabitha Wambui

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London and Africa

The story of Tabitha Wambui, who after her husband’s death overcame her grief by becoming the only FIFA accredited female referee in Kenya, is part of the Guinness ‘Made of Black’ series of commercials about the Pan- African world of football.

The Cannes Gold Lion campaign pays tribute to those true stories of courageous individuals who overcame tragedy and misfortune in their lives to inspire those around them.

Directed by documentary makers Wilkens & Maguire at production company Stink Films, the series was filmed by Oscar-nominated James Laxton.

5. Guinness, Alive Inside Africa Special

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London and Africa

Directed by Kibwe Tavares, the commercial celebrates the launch in Nigeria of Guinness’s new stout containing a blend of natural African extracts.

The distinctively vibrant flavour of Guinness Africa Special is entertainingly echoed and expressed with a popular Angolan style of dance music called ‘Kuduro’ and with an eclectic mix of young African artists and musicians making up the soundtrack.

Guinness USA                                                                                                

The United States is the third largest Guinness market in the world.

6. 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.

Director Henry-Alex Rubin brings his distinctive filmic style to this expertly crafted story 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.


7. Guinness, The Compton Horses

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London

Henry-Alex Rubin also directed this sequel to the previous commercial about the Compton horses, most of whom have been rescued from slaugterhouses.

The story provides emotive depth to how the caring and nursing of these horses back to health enabled the Compton Cowboys to find a sense of purpose in life and personal fulfillment, in spite of growing up in a tough neighbourhood and difficult social circumstances, that even might have involved serving some jail time in the past.