’Good things come to those who wait,’ Guinness says in its new
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO-spawned endline, neatly reflecting the ad
industry’s bated breath over what will come next in Guinness’s history
of seminal advertising.
But what we are seeing this time is not an enigmatic vignette depicting
the darker side of life in the spirit of the old Rutger Hauer ads.
Instead, we are treated to an old-fashioned story. In the 60-second ad,
an elderly former swimming champion takes part in an annual race in
which he attempts to cross the village bay before a pint of Guinness,
poured by his brother, has settled. Due to the swimmer’s advancing
years, his brother delays pouring the pint for long enough to ensure
that the race is won, to the delight of the crowd (Campaign, last
As the endline suggests, the ’anticipation’ strategy is back, last seen
in the dancing man spot created by the Irish agency, Arks, in 1995. But
weren’t we promised cutting-edge work from Abbott Mead when the account
In a bid to take Guinness advertising back to basics and appeal to a
wider audience, Abbott Mead has moved away from the stylish ’black and
white’ campaign by Ogilvy & Mather. The figures for the brand read well
but there is room for improvement - people drink one or two pints of
Guinness then move on.
Hugh Derrick, AMV’s account director on Guinness, says: ’The connection
between the brand and its advertising was being broken; lots of people
loved that ads but didn’t buy Guinness. These ads open up the old
territory to more people by putting the pint at the centre of the
Campaign asked three creative directors to give their opinion of the new
In a bid appeal to a wider audience, Guinness has moved away from the
enigmatic ’black and white’ campaign run by Ogilvy & Mather. The figures
for Guinness consumption read well, but there is room for
As the son of an Irishman, the thing I like most about this commercial
is its lack of Irishness. I’m heartily pig-sick of the inexorable rise
of Plastic Paddydom in this country. (O’Neill’s, Caffrey’s, Shane
McGowan et al.) Guinness has a lot more going for it than being Irish.
This is a genuinely international film.
As an occasional Guinness drinker, the thing I like most is the loving
way the ’settling’ sequence is woven throughout the film.
As someone who works in advertising, I can’t help but detect the ghost
of Volvo’s stunt-driver lurking in every nook and cranny.
As a bloke who loves ideas, I love the idea that ’good things come to
those who wait’ because they do. And they will to this campaign.
As one of those old-fashioned souls who finds the sight of sweaty,
semi-naked, sinewy, wizened old Italians less than appetising, I find
the sight of the sweaty, semi-naked, sinewy, wizened old Italian less
As a big fan of Tom & Walt, I’m certain this is the start of something
very large indeed. And while I just can’t wait for the next five
commercials, I guess I’ll have to. Good things come, and all that.
Trevor Beattie is creative director of GGT
Glazer, Tom & Walt, Guinness, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. Is this an
unbeatable combination? Sadly not.
Why was I so disappointed? Was it because the hype behind this campaign
has been so enormous? Or was it the inappropriateness of setting the ad
in sunbaked Italy?
I liked the fact that the agency bravely went for dubbed sound, giving
the ad an authentic feel. But I hated the fact that it meant I couldn’t
quite make out the words.
It feels like ad number five in a long-running campaign. A launch ad it
Dramatising the ’wait’ is a strong idea, no question. It is rooted in
the experience of Guinness drinking. But a swimming competition? Where
are the lyrical qualities that are integral to the product?
When do athletics and Guinness go together?
I’m sure someone, somewhere, decided that the brand needed to be a
global one, full of energetic values. The words ’baby’ and ’bathwater’
spring to mind.
I have a great deal of fondness for all the names at the top of this
piece. So I’m sorry. This is beautiful beyond belief. What it has to do
with Guinness is beyond me.
Larry Barker is creative director of BMP DDB
Every now and then a piece of philosophy combined with basic truth,
wrapped in human observation, distilled in a few words, results in a
great advertising line.
So it was with ’Guinness - I’ve never tried it because I don’t like
It confronted my prejudice, intrigued my palate and celebrated the
quirky spirit of the drink.
But now they’ve woven a wonderful story around a product attribute. And
isn’t that what advertising is supposed to do?
The notion that Guinness takes a long time to pour is now accepted as a
beneficial element in its eccentricity and in retrospect it seems
obvious that a Guinness campaign could consist of what might be achieved
while the glass is filling. This storyline is delightful and the ad is
superbly made with a terrific twist - and there’s the snag.
I didn’t spot the deceit in the plot. Neither did all but one of the 12
people I showed it to, even when prompted where to look.
Maybe those who made it prefer that obliqueness and, given Guinness has
a tradition of enigmatic advertising, they may have a point. But it
isn’t one I’d accept because when you understand the story in full, a
superb ad becomes brilliant.
Andrew Cracknell is chairman of Ammirati Puris Lintas
It’s against that I’ve judged all subsequent Guinness advertising and
found it wanting.