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Viral Review: Guinness Proves It’s ‘Made of More’

This article originally appeared in Campaign

Guinness continues its aspirational ‘Made of More’ campaign with a new video spot called ‘Comptown Cowboys’.

The long-awaited sequel to the brand’s joyous short documentary on the ‘Sapeurs’ of Congo, this new ad explores yet another underseen subculture with sensitivity and a sense of adventure.

This time around, Guinness and agency AMV BBDO takes us to the streets of Compton, in South Central LA.

Though the neighbourhood is probably best known for its musical output, from NWA to Kendrick Lamar, the area is similarly infamous for high levels of gang violence.

Over the years, films like ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and ‘Training Day’ have helped to cement this reputation, but this is not the only story to be told about Compton.

In ‘Compton Cowboys’, we see an entirely different side of life than the cliches presented through TV and film.

The spot centres around an initiative to keep young Compton residents away from criminal activity by focusing their energies elsewhere; in this case, raising and riding horses. In the opening shot, we see a young, heavily-tattooed man riding his horse down the middle of a Los Angeles street as everyday traffic passes by. His voiceover intones: “In Compton, you join a gang or you find another way to survive”.

Though it’s a surreal image – reminiscent of a kind of metropolitan western – the spot is deeply rooted in reality. We watch our lead join up with his fellow Compton Cowboys, as they parade through the streets together, drawing the attention of their neighbours. The voiceover informs us that their horses have passed through many hands and some were intended for the slaughterhouse.

The tone is quiet, thoughtful and unobtrusive. With ‘Compton Cowboys’, Guinness isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel or blow viewers’ minds, but simply engage our interest in a fascinating world for a minute and a half.

‘Sapeurs’ was a success for Guinness because of its affirming energy and the surprising contradiction of its subject matter. ‘Compton Cowboys’ certainly has the latter, and the thumbnail of young shirtless men riding horses down LA streets could well be enough to inspire engagement online.

In general, Guinness seems to have taken a leaf out of VICE’s book, whose short slice-of-life documentaries have changed the way we consume non-fictional content online.

It’s certainly not a bad tactic for a brand looking to show its viewers the world, and we’re looking forward to seeing where Guinness and AMV BBDO take their cameras next.