Diageo: ‘Guinness Jonathan Ross tie-up missed the mark'

Diageo has admitted a recent Guinness ad campaign, which saw it take over all three ad breaks during Saturday night’s (26 October) Jonathan Ross Show, failed to live up to the brand’s legacy of iconic marketing after it was criticised by viewers for being “painful” and “contrived”.

The media buy, a first for the brand, used the #RoundUpYourMates hashtag to encourage fans to show their support for spots on male bonding - a key pillar of the Guinness brand’s multimillion “Made of More” marketing strategy. The hashtag was quickly hijacked by viewers, however, who used it to call out the brand for the campaign’s perceived lack of credibility.

Ed Pilkington, marketing and innovation director for Western Europe, told Marketing Week the campaign had not resonated with viewers in the way it had hoped, adding the brand had shot for a 10 in terms of creative execution but “missed”. The thinking stems from Diageo’s “more magic, less logic” approach to marketing, which encourages marketers to take creative risks and additional responsibilities.

Pilkington adds: “We realise the campaign hasn’t worked in the way that we wanted it to and that’s something we’re addressing at the moment. It didn’t have the same tone of voice in the way recent ‘Made of More’ campaigns like the wheelchair ad was able to resonate with people. We’ve only just started assessing why people reacted to it in the way that we did, but we’ll take those learnings on board with the exciting content-based work we’ve got coming up for the brand.

“We encourage our marketing teams, creative partners and media agencies to be innovative and that means shoot for 10. You might not always get that target but that shouldn’t prevent you from trying new things and pushing the boundaries.”

Guinness is gearing up for further content-based activations in the coming months as part of wider efforts to court younger drinkers and kickstart sales

Readers' comments (3)

  • I think the campaign was not enough marketing/advertising but more like a short TV feature. It was something that should have been on a programme that already had its viewers and are expecting quirky information.
    For this reason I think it missed the mark. Wasn't enough one or the other.
    Also showing the graph of two simple columns could have gone a miss as it made it look rather weak. If there had been graphs of elctricity flowing through the body and that was way more intence after cheering each other from a match than playing a video game - then this would grab the eye and imagination than a simple graph most people associate with meetings and targets...
    I am no scientist but thought it worth adding my opinion.

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  • This was cringeworthy corporate nonsense. But credit to Diageo for trying something new and admitting they got it wrong.

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  • Is it any wonder MD's and FD's have serious doubts about marketing when they see huge sums of money like this being frittered away and the only response given is a sort of shrug of the shoulders "oh well, we tried but fell a bit short". This idea shouldn't have got past the storyboard.

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