THE INTERACTIVE QUESTIONNAIRE IN ASSOCIATION WITH: What surprises does this year hold in store? Those in the know have varying ideas Mairi Clark reports.

What’s going to be the success story of 1998?

What’s going to be the success story of 1998?

Personally, I haven’t got a clue what is going to be the new success

story of 1998. But I know what isn’t: big companies chucking hundreds of

thousands of pounds at a medium that no-one uses unless they get it for

free is a waste of time. Complicated plug-ins and ’clever clever’

technology that no-one without a top-grade machine can use are a waste

of time. Letting site content be determined by the lumpen nerd hordes or

parasitic advertising people is a waste of time. Perhaps if these

sub-Homers approached this type of publishing with a degree of

enthusiasm rather than the desire to make money, they might achieve

something. But that’s not very likely is it? Uploaded is done by three

people who work on Windows 3.1 and have Netscape 2 and is the UK’s most

popular non-directory or newspaper site. See what you can do with some

chutzpah! We are great and the rest of the UK sites can suck us any


Adam Porter

managing editor, Loaded, and editor of its Website, Uploaded

The success story for 1998 in the UK will be online transactions. With

the pace being set in the US, by next Christmas the UK shopper will be

well and truly buying online. With only 342 shopping days left until

Christmas, I can’t wait. The Gap’s outlet online could be leading the

way. Its Website is set to overtake its flagship New York store in sales

volume terms within the next few months. As far as new technologies like

digital television and set-top boxes go, I think their effect will be

minimal this year, but their arrival will set the scene for real growth

in 1999.

Mike Crossman

managing director,

Bates Interactive


This will be a year for consolidation as well as development. It will

undoubtedly see the onset of digital television - although distribution

will most likely be limited to a niche group for some time. This will

aid the development of the Net while the issue of speed will vanish;

digital interactivity will become a way of life among a wider audience

and distribution will be possible and hassle-free through a consumer’s

television set. Ultimately, the success of digital television, the Net,

etc, will depend on four key elements - speed, cost, convenience and

content. Content will play an incredibly important role - consumers will

become more demanding in their tastes and viewing habits as the choices

available to them increase.

Nancy Cruickshank

commercial director, Conde Nast Online

Simplicity. Throughout 1998, Websites and Net software got increasingly

bloated and ever more baffling, yet users’ requirements remained

resolutely humble. My experience is that .net readers primarily want

information from the Net, and they want it fast - sites and software

that enable them to get it will do well, those that don’t won’t.

Richard Longhurst

editor, .net magazine

The Internet is already competitive, through reduced production costs,

distribution costs, and low cost per acquisition. In some industry

categories, I can see a time when their use of conventional media will

exist solely to support their Website. For marketers, the challenge is

to produce a presence of quality and apply it to all business processes.

Internet access on digital TV will, in all likelihood, be closed, not

open like the PC.

It’s the year of audience consolidation, with synchronised programming

across all media.

Jane Ostler

director, MindShare Digital


CAM # 23:01:97

Guinness: The O&M years - During its 12-year relationship with

Guinness, O&M has delivered truly memorable work. Caroline Marshall

celebrates an era of pure genius





Photographs (omitted)

Guinness and Ogilvy & Mather - once the closest of advertising

couples - are to split just after their 12th anniversary. Yet even their

very public divorce two weeks ago cannot overshadow a marriage that has,

at times, been the envy of the industry, provoking outsiders to wonder

how it produced such memorable and enigmatic work.

For Tom Bury, O&M’s chief executive and a veteran of the shop’s Guinness

team, several ingredients have contributed to this vintage stream of

alcohol ads: leading-edge consumer thinking; research used as ’an aid to

creative development, not an exam’; a passionate belief in the brand on

the agency’s part; a relentless use of varied media and a partnership

which, until recently, was strong enough to weather disagreements. ’It

could stand fights,’ says Bury. ’But perhaps we had one fight too


’Having Guinness also attracted the best people to work on the brand,’

Bury reports. ’The brand is an icon, it was our responsibility to keep

it on its pedestal.’

To those who would dismiss his words as so much spiel, Bury need only

point to a body of commercials, print work and new-media campaigns that

runs from 1985 to 1997. Here is almost 13 years of work that has defined

a company whose advertising is as much a part of the British

establishment as the pubs in which it is sold.

The ways in which this quality has been demonstrated are multifarious:

the first ’good for you’ posters in 1927, Dorothy Sayers’ Toucan poem,

HM Bateman’s war-time cartoons, J. Walter Thompson’s talking toucan and

Allen Brady & Marsh’s ’friends of the Guinnless’.

A ’best of’ reel would open with O&M’s ’natural genius’ and ’pure

genius’ spots from 1985 and 1986. The successor to ABM’s matey

’Guinnless’ campaign, which had reversed a decline in stout sales, the

work was intended to be extended to all facets of the brand, functioning

as a generic campaign, for Draught Guinness and for Extra Stout.

It fell to the then O&M team of Mark Wnek and Chris Monge to interpret a

complex brief that took the Guinness team, led by the marketing

director, Gary Luddington, three months to research and write. The brief

told agencies to visualise Guinness as an egg - with the yolk suggesting

the brewery, embodying the emotional reasons why consumers drink the

brand and the shell representing its more social values.

From this rather lofty and romantic premise, Wnek and Monge came up with

one pitch-winning word: Genius, subsequently extending it into the

memorable line, ’Guinness. Pure Genius.’

’Natural genius’, O&M’s first film, revolved around the manufacture of

the product and was full of vivid images hinting at the cycle of


The second commercial, ’pure genius’, saw Guinness taking an

uncharacteristically serious view of itself: it showed a sci-fi world

with Guinness as a regenerative force: as a glass of the drink is

knocked over and the liquid runs out, the ’life’ of a community begins

slowly to die. As the glass is slowly refilled, everything begins to

reawaken, lights come on again, animals stir and conversation is


Also from that year, the ’best of’ reel would include ’armadillo’ and

’cocktail shaker’. These ads introduced humour and presented Guinness

drinkers as the wickedly clever, but down-to-earth types they knew

themselves to be.

The reel would enter 1987 with the brand’s ever so slightly menacing new

spokesman in full view. Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor who made his name

as a homicidal replicant in Ridley Scott’s cult movie, Bladerunner, was

to feature in 27 spots for the brand. Thanks to his and O&M’s efforts,

Guinness has a current market share by volume of 5.3 per cent, its

highest for 20 years or more. Penetration rises after the age of 22, and

by 30/31 it is the number one brand at 13.8 per cent. How did the early

ads work?

’The work allows consumers to make their own judgment as to what it

means,’ said Brian Pate, when general manager of marketing. ’The ads

become easier to understand the more you are exposed to them, like an

upward spiral.’

Fast forward to 1994 and the ’chain’ commercial with its Louis Armstrong

soundtrack. The following year, O&M created a screensaver based on Arks’

’anticipation’ commercial, which showed a manic Joe McKinney dancing

around his pint as he waited for it to settle. ’Anticipation’ ran in the

UK as, ominously, O&M’s work was not ready for screening. ’When we ran

’anticipation’ we suffered from a massive attack of ’not invented here’,

but it was extremely successful,’ admits Bury.

The ’black and white’ campaign finally kicked off in 1996 with the Tony

Kaye-directed ’fishing’, ’old man’ and ’bike’. But an event the previous

year - the leaking of a script (concerning a ’gay’ storyline) from the

Guinness marketing department to the trade press - marked what Bury

calls the low point of O&M’s relationship with Guinness, with the brewer

denying the film’s existence.

The client’s confidence in its agency’s judgment cannot have been helped

by two other controversies. First, an ad ran in FHM depicting a

sado-masochistic Tory supporter hanging from a ceiling. The fact that it

contained a reference to the sexual experiment which led to the death of

the Tory MP, Stephen Milligan, suggested to many that the agency had

underestimated the sensitivities of its client, not to mention senior

Tories. ’I never noticed the oranges on the table,’ admits Bury, adding

that the ad should never have run.

But he defends a second controversial ad, which showed a two-headed fish

alongside a quote that nuclear power was safe: ’I think the reaction to

that just dignified people’s paranoia.’

O&M’s last work for Guinness was the ’statistics’ campaign: TV ads and

print work based around a set of plausible but false statistics.

Beautiful films, of course, but for Guinness, seeking yet more drinkers

from a broader, younger audience, it was a disappointment. In fact,

hindsight suggests that O&M never quite got it right on Guinness since

the ’black and white’ campaign succeeded the glory days of Rutger Hauer

and ’the man with the Guinness’.

Following Guinness’s merger last year with Grand Metropolitan to form

Diageo, senior managers have set a target for the brand of 10 per cent

of the beer market by value by 2003. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO is

therefore charged with bringing Guinness off its ’Pure Genius’ pedestal

and communicating to a broader audience that the drink ’recharges body

and soul’. It is a tough challenge, and one that necessitates winning

over even more drinkers of ales and stouts while also attracting lager

drinkers. A less individualistic approach to advertising seems

inevitable. ’There will be a drive towards the younger consumer,’ says a

spokesman for the brewer, Jeremy Probert.

History offers some comfort to O&M at this depressing time. In 1982, a

few months after Guinness left JWT for ABM (without bothering to tell

the losing agency first), JWT announced in Campaign the accounts which

it had won since the departure. Showing an empty bird-cage with an open

door and a few stray black feathers fluttering by, the ad was captioned

with a derivation of the line delivered by JWT’s talking toucan: ’Even

losing Guinness is good for you.’

And the fact that O&M has now followed in the footsteps of S. H. Benson,

JWT and ABM to join the league of the Guinnless does not mean that

brewers are to be forgotten at Canary Wharf. Far from it, according to

Bury’s comment in the internal memo which he swiftly distributed around

the agency on hearing of the loss: ’I’m somewhat stunned but also

philosophical,’ he wrote. ’Life goes on - in our case with another



1985 O&M, which already handles Guinness internationally, wins the

account in a pitch against incumbent Allen Brady & Marsh - creator of

the ’Guinnless’ campaign - and J. Walter Thompson, a previous


Brand share is struggling at 3.4 per cent. The Pure Genius campaign


1987 Four commercials kick off the ’man with a Guinness’ campaign

starring the actor, Rutger Hauer.

1989 Canned Draught Guinness is launched.

1992 Launch of the first of hundreds of black and white ads in the

’fractionals’ campaign: these exploit links with editorial using

extensive copy rotations.

Guinness puts pounds 5 million behind its bottled brand, Guinness

Original: Tim Curry and Gina Bellman enact games describing the taste of

the beer.

1994 The ’man with the Guinness’ series ends after seven years and 27

executions. Rutger Hauer is no longer moving people. ’Chain’, with its

Louis Armstrong soundtrack, wins at D&AD.

1995 O&M creates a screensaver based on Arks’ ’anticipation’ commercial,

which shows Joe McKinney dancing around his pint as he waits for it to

settle. ’Anticipation’ also runs in the UK.

1995 The ’gay kiss’ ad fiasco. Rob MacNevin, Guinness’s marketing

director, denies its existence. Campaign obtains a copy of the finished


1996 Launch of the long-awaited ’not everything in black and white makes

sense’ campaign with posters, press and four spots directed by Tony


O&M also unveils ’the Local’ - an interactive Website. In May, O&M and

its Bell Advertising subsidiary in Dublin is asked to create a summer

campaign for Guinness Ireland, ending Arks’ 25-year tenure of the


However, in August, HHCL & Partners is appointed sole agency for

Guinness Ireland. In June, O&M wins the relaunch of Kaliber, after Euro

RSCG Wnek Gosper resigns the account to work for Bass.

1997 The ’fish on a bike’ screensaver is launched. Brand share hits 5

per cent for the first time, the ’statistics’ spot is released. The

review is called in November.


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