DIARY: Dense, heavy and that is only Guinness' ads

Do you remember those Guinness executions that featured Blade Runner's Rutger Hauer? They were so complicated that the company eventually dropped them, amid fears that they were confusing potential customers.

It makes you wonder why Guinness ads are so obscure. Well, the latest edition of the WPP company magazine Atticus (a snip at £50 per copy) may hold the key.

Apparently, Guinness marketers all over the world deploy a system entitled the Competitor Advertising Decoding Kit, which enables them to unravel the semiotics of their rivals' advertising.

Sound simple? It isn't. According to Added Value's Dr Malcolm Evans, the kit shows how "innovative thinking and good client/ agency communication can turn perspectives drawn from an unconventional knowledge domain to real competitive advantage".

Got that? Good. What happens is that after scrutinising the TV reel of a rival brand, an analyst then makes "a hypothetical assessment of core consumer take-out from each brand's advertising before translating this into the language of advertising propositions, incorporating the relative weighting in the ads of three key benefits sources". All this kerfuffle just to sell a pint of beer.

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