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What Makes Guinness Campaigns So Effective?

With the global spread of the coronavirus continuing to have an impact on our lives, this year’s St Patrick’s Day may feel a little different for many of us around the world who are used to meeting up with friends, joining parades and partying down the pub.

With this in mind Guinness, the drink of St Patrick’s Day, released a video a few days ago to encourage people to enjoy the day responsibly in light of the current epidemic with the message, ‘We’ll Walk Again’.

Guinness is renowned for its marketing efforts, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. Who can forget its Facebook campaign that set the record for the largest-ever St Patrick’s Day Party. Or its ‘Guinness Is Good For You’ slogan, still regarded as one of the most famous ad campaigns of all time, even though it’s over 90 years old. Even the Guinness Book Of Records, set up as a marketing stunt back in 1955, is still going!

Guinness’ advertising remains strong to this day, and this was recently reflected in the success of its ‘Made Of More’ campaign, which helped the brand through a tough period following the rise in popularity of independent breweries in the UK.

According to WARC, the campaign even helped the trade value of the Guinness brand grow by 8% in Great Britain, with an estimated £4.30 profit for every £1 invested.

So to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we’ve tested four video ads from this recent well-known campaign using our emotional testing tool, UnrulyEQ, to see what made the campaign so effective.


1.Compton Cowboys

This ad tells the story of the Compton Cowboys, a group of men living in Compton who have chosen to follow their passion for caring for horses, avoiding the gang life that has become synonymous with this city in LA.

The top five emotions that people felt when watching this ad were inspiration, happiness, warmth, pride and amazement. All these positive emotions are down to the narrative of the ad and the inspiring story of the extraordinary group who have fought against the status quo to follow their passion.

Over two-thirds of viewers said they remembered Guinness was the brand behind this ad, which is likely down to the brand being featured prominently throughout the last 20 seconds of the ad.

Surprisingly, when we look at the key business metrics, the ad attracted a pretty average score across the board. Purchase intent, brand favourability and find out more all scored close to the UK norm, making it the least effective ad out of the four we tested.

2. Liberty Fields

This spot – launched ahead of last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan – tells the inspirational story of a Japanese women’s rugby team, Liberty Fields, that stood together in 1989, in the face of societal pressure, to pursue their passion for the sport.

Again, the top five emotions people felt when watching this ad were inspiration, happiness, warmth, pride and amazement.

Although this ad is set in a completely different part of the world and focuses on a different set of people than the Compton Cowboys, the campaign’s message of fighting against the status quo to follow your passion remains, which is likely why it evokes the same pattern of emotions.

However, this spot performed better across all its key metrics, scoring above average for purchase intent, favourability and find out more. Interestingly, it also scored highly for confusion (18% against a 12% UK norm). This ad was tested in the UK and it could be down to UK audiences simply not being familiar with Japan society during the 1980s.

3. Made Of More

Arguably the most well-known ad in this lineup, and one of the first ads from the ‘Made For More’ campaign, it focuses on a group of friends playing wheelchair basketball.

Towards the end of the ad, you discover that only one of the group is wheelchair-bound, and his friends all play in them so he can join in, making it a fair game.

As you can imagine, this ad scored very high levels of warmth (13% versus a 6% UK norm), and again, like the previous two ads, the top five emotions were amazement, pride, happiness, inspiration and warmth.

It scored above average for most key metrics. However, interestingly, find out more scored below average (26% versus a 31% UK norm). This could be down to the story being wrapped up before the end of the ad, combined with people knowing about the Guinness brand and not feeling like they need to find out about it.


This ad tells the story of how pro surfer Luke Landrigan turned his home in a small Philippines fishing village in San Juan into a surfers’ paradise.

The narrative follows the same structure we’ve seen from the other ads of going against the grain to follow your passion.

The top five emotions evoked in this ad are the same as the others bar one, warmth, which has been replaced with exhilaration in this case. This is likely due to the ad being more faced-paced than the others and featuring some incredible surfing shots.

Find out more about the advantages that testing your ads with UnrulyEQ can have on your ad campaigns.