Sunday, November 17, 2013

Friends that Drink Together Stay Together? Or was that a Slap in the Face from Guinness?

 by Jordan Sudermann

Check out the recently launched Guinness communication.

The commercial goes squarely for the heart with an emotional appeal.

Here's the idea:  Get the viewer to admire the wheel chair athletes who are engaged in a pick-up game of basketball. These basket ball athletes are playing every bit as grittily and determined as any physically-abled, group of friend, and it's a pretty inviting proposition.

Then, twist the story.

At the end of the game all of the guys, but one, stand up from their wheelchairs and walk off the court.  A voice over talks about authentic loyalty and true friendship. These values are celebrated  by sharing a pint of Guinness beer in a bar.

This is where I am torn. One one hand, this message is showing  how great of friends behave and that Guinness is a catalyst and reinforcer of important ideals (authentic friendship and loyalty). That's inspiring. If I feel good about the piece and link it to the brand, the net impact is I'll like the brand more.  That's good for the brand.

On the other hand, I can't escape the feeling that this is somewhat of a public service announcement declaring how ignorant we are about disabilities- and the needs of peoples with disabilities-  and we need a beer company set us straight. In other words, I feel a little bit tricked which makes me like the ad less- and therefore brand less.
For me, then, this ad is not a clear winner.

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