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30 October 2013

Jonathan Ross and Guinness ad experiment fails


Jonathan Ross ed

Last weekend we saw another awkward media campaign and this time it came from the popular alcohol brand Guinness.

Jonathan Ross is recognised for his cheeky and sometimes even cringe-worthy behaviour whilst interviewing celebrities on the popular UK Saturday night television program, “The Jonathan Ross Show.” To give Guinness some credit, it is easy to see why you would choose a man like Ross to advertise such a product if this “blokey” image is the look that they were going for (which is partly what contributed to the Twitter outrage, as will be discussed later.)

Who could be better at advertising a stout beer than a man in his fifties who makes his living being a grown up “lad”, living every man’s dream of male banter with the likes of Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Carr and Robbie Williams. Unfortunately, the idea didn’t quite go to plan.

The Guinness ad campaign, which saw the Diageo alcohol brand take over all three ad breaks on Saturday night’s (26th October 2013) episode of “The Jonathon Ross Show”, ended up being greatly criticised by the viewers, with some of them using its #RoundUpYourMates hashtag on Twitter to label the campaign as “drivel” (see the favourites below.)

Guinness 1ed


The ad spots were filled with Jonathan Ross interviewing author Danny Wallace and Oxford University professor Robin Dunbar, who were discussing the findings of a research paper on male bonding, commissioned by Guinness. The interview was also supported on Guinness Europe’s YouTube channel, with videos starring Wallace, and on the GuinnessGB Twitter account.

Unfortunately, the #RoundUpYourMates hashtag was swiftly hijacked by viewers as the ads aired. The hashtag generated more than 2,000 tweets (source:Topsy) but the vast majority of them were negative.

Guardian journalist Stuart Heritage tweeted: “Genuinely thought that #RoundUpYourMates would be a Ghostwatch-style spoof. Nope. Just the single worst ad I have ever seen.”

Jon Weedon, internal communications manager at PokerStars.com, tweeted: “#RoundUpYourMates The wonderfully rich heritage of Guinness TV advertising just died tonight #ShameOnYou.”

So why did this campaign turn out to be such a disaster? The words creativity and authenticity are mentioned a lot in the criticisms voiced over Twitter.

Guinness as a brand is built around its creativity and inventiveness. They had high expectations to meet which in this case, they didn’t. For example, the Guinness horse surfer ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcdDg30VBgo), it was an artistic and memorable advert. This new #RoundUpYourMates idea however, just doesn’t cut it with the fans (something that should have maybe been left to Carlsberg.)

They next problem is authenticity. It felt unnatural and patronizing. The science (if you can really call it that) was somewhat shallow, and it looks as if the audience saw straight through it.

The worst part about the campaign? Guinness responded over Twitter, with silence.

To view the advert click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E39fvn6O0JA

By Laura Bracher


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The introduction of psuedo- science is what horrified me the most. Casually justifying the entire advert by using a 'study' they themselves have funded. Jonathan Ross stumbling through his script and saying "I like to think that we’re now part of some new cultural, sort of social movement" made me cringe. Dunbar must have been worried about his christmas spending to whore himself and the social sciences out like that.

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