A Study On Guinness Greatness Campaign Management Essay

Guinness is a very prominent account that has been handled by the best advertising agencies in the advertising industry like Ogilvy & Mather, J Walter Thomson and SH Benson amongst others. They have in their different ways contributed to the production and advertising of the various campaigns for the Guinness account that have been very captivating engaging and successful in their own different ways.

‘Guinness first started advertising in 1928, using the simple slogan ‘Guinness is good for you’ …’Guinness is good for you’ remained the dominant theme of Guinness advertising for the next 40 years with famous artists and writers like John Gilroy, Rex Whistler, Hoffnung, Bateman and Dorothy L Sayers contributing words and pictures. The appearance of commercial TV in 1955 demanded a more sophisticated approach to advertising, which started with an animated version of the Gilroy commercials.

By 1969, Guinness advertising was a series of strikingly simple radio and TV commercials, including the talking toucan reinforcing the product’s uniqueness. After the Toucan advertisements, Allen Brady and Marsh produced the ‘Guinnless’ campaign

which first appeared in 1983. Within three months the Guinnless campaign had achieved 87% awareness amongst all adults.'(PR NEWSWIRE EUROPE LIMITED 2009)

“Amongst the brand’s advertising campaigns and well known tag lines are the artist John Gilroy’s menagerie of animals, including the popular Toucan, Sea Lion and Ostrich characters, the 1930’s ‘GUINNESS for Strength’ adverts, ‘My Goodness My Guinness’ (1935), Pure Genius

(1985), ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Wait, ‘Guinness is Good for You’, ‘Not Everything in Black And White Makes Sense’ and ‘It’s Alive Inside’. As the Guinness Company expanded into new markets, hugely successful advertising campaigns also reached out to new consumers such as with the ‘Brilliant’ campaign in the US and the ‘Michael Power’ campaign in Africa”(Ivan,2009).

Guinness in Africa

Guinness is associated with an Africa bird called the Toucan, it is a Global brand that was set up in Ireland and has found its way into the African market and can be rated as one of the leading beer brands in Africa. However, Guinness has a long history with Africa which is only known by a few people.

‘The following timeline outlines Guinness’ history in Africa:

1827: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout first sold in Africa (Sierra Leone). Foreign Extra Stout still represents the majority of Guinness sold in Africa with sales 50 percent stronger than Draught Guinness.

1962: Guinness first brewed in Africa (Nigeria). As Mark Griffith reports in “Guinness is Guinness” this means that, “In Nigeria, Guinness is Nigerian; just try telling them otherwise. For a start, it’s brewed there by Nigerians, and has been for decades.” And Guinness in Nigeria tastes different. Brewed with sorghum as opposed to barley, it has a bitter flavor loved by Nigerians’ (The Global brands, 2008)

In 1999, Saatchi and Saatchi worldwide was faced with the responsibility to transform Guinness in Africa into a brand that “enjoys loyalty beyond reasons” from consumers in the words of Roberts, Kevin, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, quoted in Gibbons. For a brand with a bitter taste that is acquired overtime, this must have proved to be a very difficult task.

The sale of Guinness in the African markets was nose diving and the goal for Saatchi & Saatchi’s was to create good communication materials to advertise Guinness to the entire Africa market to help in achieving the company’s target of doubling the sales of Guinness by the year 2005.

In carrying out the task, the Saatchi & Saatchi team decided to iconize the brand and by doing this they employed the services of an young male actor, a fictional character to star as “Michael Power”, a hero of short adventures who by his creativity and strong masculinity helps in rescuing himself and others from lurking dangers in any scenario he happens to find himself. These rather unusually long adverts running from three to five minutes long were aired both on television and also on the radio.

As a result of the success of this particular campaign, other adverts were produced starring Michael power in rather different scenarios. According to Obot and Akan as cited in the free encyclopedia (2009) “his catch phrase “Guinness brings out the power in you” casts the beer in the same positive light as the strong, virile, triumphant hero”.

The campaign was a success as it ran for a period of ten years; it helped in achieving the sales goal two years before time and fostered brand recognition.

Following this huge and successful campaign, Guinness needed a new communication material that will help achieve the aim of local identification in Africa, to optimise penetration and distribution especially in the urban segment and thus was to come up with a new idea. This new idea had to be bigger than the Michael Power campaign and as big as the Michael Power idea when it was launched.

Saatchi and Saatchi London, the advertising agency again was saddled with this responsibility to manage transition from the brand ambassador, brand icon, coach/endorser to a new character, hence the Guinness Greatness idea which was to reinforce commitment by gaining back affinity and popularity by leveraging on the brand image.

‘Guinness is about Greatness and our long heritage, the consistent quality of our brands and the drinking experience that our consumers share are all evidence of this impressive pedigree. ‘ (Guinness Annual Report & Financial Statements 2007)

According to Kevin Sugrue (2007),

‘The idea is also rooted in a desire to build frequency of experience, as there is a sense that the “Drop of Greatness” is not aspired to once in a lifetime, but is the kind of inspirational behavior we all should reach for everyday. What a nice way to think of encouraging you to drink a bottle or two regularly.’

Baker Magunda, the Uganda Breweries boss as cited by Kevin Sugrue (2007) said: ‘Guinness has always been about Greatness. The new campaign is simply a natural evolution of the Michael Power campaign, which has been with us for many years. It is time to move the campaign from being about the Greatness of one man, to being about the Greatness in every man.’

The Guinness Greatness campaign was a PAN African campaign that ran in six African countries including Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana aimed at persuading the public especially Guinness consumers to make an effort in achieving Greatness for themselves in their everyday life.

According to a press release from Guinness, as cited in Joe Dinga Pefok, 2006, “GREATNESS is a real way of life that promotes the intrinsic value of the individual…but more than a simple marketing campaign, the business is using GREATNESS as a new way of working that allows us to celebrate all that is great, inspirational and unique in every man.”


On the 1st of January 2007, the Guinness Greatness campaign teaser which was used to create a buzz in the country was launched with wrap around on the front pages of all National dailies in Nigeria with ‘Greatness’ communication.

Radio DJ hypes and radio campaigns, promoting ‘Greatness’ in every Nigerian was also another route for the campaign teaser. Web and sms drive were also used to create curiosity in the minds of the audience for the ‘Guinness Greatness’ campaign. These ran for a period of 10 days before the proper launch of the Greatness campaign. The teaser was used to sensitize the public.


The main objective of the campaign is to maintain current brand loyalists known to Guinness as the “adorers”. To drive significant shifts in attitude and usage for Guinness across Africa in order to return the brand to sustainable growth, specifically, to grow the number of ‘adorers’ and share of repertoire amongst current adorers. The campaign sets out to reassure the consumers of Guinness Extra stout that they have made the right choice in joining the Guinness bandwagon. Even though they are aware of the fact that Guinness has a bitter taste, drinking a bottle or two a day will takes them a step closer to their dream.

The advert plays on the psyche of the consumers aiming to establish the identity of the brand as the true brand leader in the alcoholic beverage category so that consumers see Guinness as a truly distinctive and great product. The campaign also aims at instilling in the minds of the consumers that Guinness is a drink for every man with the potential for greatness. Put in other words, they want consumers to accept Guinness as a brand for them.


The communication material was very much in line with the target audience as it captured every aspect of their day to day activities. The advert communicates to their consumers as if on a one on one basis.

Target focus for the campaign is predominantly male Guinness drinkers, aged 25-34 who are at a critical stage in their adulthood as they are shaping their own futures. They have great ambitions and increasing responsibilities and they are confident, modern African men, who are in tune with today’s world and choose brands that demonstrate this. They like to socialise and drink beer mostly with their friends.

To understand the target consumer better we have to look at them in terms of:

ATTITUDE – They are independent and self-confident and they aspire to be successful black role models in their own country. They are Self-assured, Sociable, value friends and family.

LIFESTYLE – They are mature, in control and intelligent. They need to work hard to earn money and get on in life. They are Interested in the trappings of affluence (e.g. cars, mobile phones, etc.) and it is very Important for them to provide for extended family. These men highly value friendships and are either married, unmarried or in relationship.

NEEDS AND MOTIVATION – Primary Motivation: Confidence. They want to be admired, seen as successful, strong, confident and masculine. Getting the best out of life is of utmost importance to them and they want to be able to voice their own opinions while projecting an aura of confidence. They want to be respected by peers and elders, Comfortable with the opposite sex, and maintaining networks and connections. They are stylish and want to be seen as such, contemporary and are always in control and able to keep their cool.

CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR – They drink at Bars, Club, Parties and Home mainly during the weekend but for some, also after a hard day’s work. They drink with friends and colleagues. Most drink Guinness occasionally for functional reasons (Health, Sex, and Strength)

CONNECTION MOMENTS – They drink Guinness on the way home after work, at the end of the week, networking meetings, special occasions (e.g. birthdays, job promotions, bachelor nights, etc)

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRAND – They see the brand as a close friend and the leader of the group. Can be a bit overpowering for some people (but they can handle it). Someone they look up to for their strong character

MEDIA HABITS – They watch television mainly for news and sports and read the papers daily to keep up to date especially the business section. They buy foreign magazines to keep abreast of trends and current affairs and claim not to be really interested or stimulated by advertising except when interesting, engaging or different. They are interested in outdoor ads especially those that related to them and their wants.


The Guinness Greatness campaign’s integrated approach required a combination of TV, Radio, Print, Web, Sms and Outdoor advertising. The campaign gulped over three hundred million naira and over 60% went into television and the rest spread over radio, print, web and outdoor.

The lead medium for the campaign was television and a 60′ television commercial (which is the main focus of this analysis) was produced which is the most efficient time length to air a television commercial. Print ads where more copy led which only emphasised more on the message of the campaign which is greatness in every man. Full page materials were used for all print ads. Depending on the location, outdoor required multiple sizes, including portrait and landscape. The outdoor materials were also adapted to the different locations they were placed. Examples are copies like ”Allen Avenue, Greatness Avenue”, “Ikeja, home of Greatness” and “Lekki, Greatness in all its phases” amongst others. The radio commercials were also produced with efficient localisation options as different language and style of various locations was taken into consideration.

Mode of Execution

This analysis is going to focus on the first execution of the campaign which is the television commercial produced by Saatchi and Saatchi in South Africa and was labeled “Sky”. Making use of a combination of strategic storytelling and slice of life advertising, the commercial tells a story of how a young man achieves greatness in the pursuit of his “dream” which was later realized through his steadfastness and passion of becoming a pilot. Within a time frame of one minute, the ad passes a message which is sometimes difficult to explain and cannot ordinarily be told in such a short time. The main character of the commercial that is very much in the same group as the target audience is shown drinking a glass of Guinness in the last scene of the commercial.

The storyline captures a young single man, about 35 years of age in the line of duty and in time of leisure. It takes us through his start of the day showing us his various activities through the course of the day. In the background, a narrator who refers to “Udeme”, the main character in the commercial as “my friend” tells us about udeme’s dreams of becoming a pilot.

With much Zeal and determination, Udeme realizes his dream of becoming a pilot. He is shown delivering supplies and to the rural community who are happy and excited to see and listen to him. As He soars up in the skies, we see the natural resources of the location, the brown field and ample skies which depict the localization and indigenization incorporated into the commercial to make it very African.

Very contented with his job and dedicated to what he does, Udeme is portrayed to be a friendly, likeable and down to earth man. His friends are proud of him and are happy to be associated with him. He ends the day as night falls with friends, colleagues and villagers at the local bar all enjoying a dream and several bottles of Guinness extra stout in a relaxed atmosphere while reflecting on the day’s activities.


The main message of the campaign is

“Greatness in every bottle” which translates to “a drop of greatness in everyman” All the communication materials that were developed conveyed this message in different ways.

For the television ads, the message was left till the end of the commercial unlike the billboard and print ads that had the message boldly written in large typefaces with the billboard message being adapted to the characteristics of different locations.


On the 1st January 2007, the campaign teaser in Nigeria started with wrap around on the front pages of all National dailies with the ‘Greatness’ communication.

Radio DJ hyped the “Greatness” message applying it to several categories of Nigerian. Radio jingles were also aired on the radio stations that the target audience will be more than likely to tune to. Web and sms drive were also used to create awareness for ‘Greatness’.

This was to stimulate the consumer and to give them a feeling of anticipation as to what was coming next. The teaser ran for a period of 10 days before the proper launch of the campaign.

The Greatness campaign proper was launched on the 12th of January 2007, using Television as its lead medium with a schedule mix of news, lifestyle and hospitality programmes. The schedule incorporated prime time belts on national and regional television stations as well as other selected television stations.

‘Following the launch of the ‘Greatness’ Campaign, a wide range of activities supported the communication. Some of these include a new TV commercial which has continued to receive widespread endorsements from consumers and a reality TV concept titled “Tales of Greatness” which ran weekly on network television throughout Nigeria. The programme celebrated greatness in consumers and encouraged them to highlight everyday experiences where

Greatness was demonstrated. The goal was to inspire other citizens to reach within themselves and live out their moments of greatness in line with the campaign message: “There is a drop of Greatness in every man”’ (Guinness Annual Report & Financial Statements 2007)

Outdoor was also used to exhibit the Guinness brand, its logo and different ‘Greatness” messages were placed in strategic locations all over the country.

The lead medium for the campaign was television and a 60′ television commercial was produced which is the most efficient time length to air a television commercial. Print ads where mostly full page ads with much focus on the copy. Depending on the location, outdoor required multiple sizes, including portrait and landscape. The outdoor materials were also adapted to the different locations they were placed. Examples are copies like Allen Avenue, Greatness Avenue, Ikeja, home of greatness and Lekki, greatness in all its phases amongst others. The radio commercials were also produced with efficient localisation options depending on the locations taken into considered.


The Guinness Greatness campaign takes advantage of the brand heritage and brand image being a strong character and a leader in the alcoholic beverage sector in Africa. According to O’Shaughnessy (1995), ‘the purpose of promoting brand image is to associate the brand with desirable qualities and give the brand a distinctive, likeable, memorable identity. The function of brand image in the communication mix is to provide an informational anchor that conceptualizes the brand as being one which people like those in the target audience would or should prefer’

In this campaign, the brand is being associated with Greatness which every African man wants to be associated with. In this execution of the campaign, the main character goes about his job with so much passion and is happy to deliver supplies to villages and pass messages across to loved ones. People looked at him with so much respect and admiration as he went about his daily activities. Udeme can do all these great things and still have the time to drink a glass of his favorite beer which means Guinness is not just for the “alcoholics” but also for the serious minded; the Great.

The creative idea behind this is that it puts emphasis on aspirational hope and makes Udeme an aspirational character, he is “the target audience”, he helps the target self-categorize themselves, and he makes the target desire to be better than where they are by playing on their fantasy.


‘The psychoanalytical approach to persuasion is associated with the unconscious meanings attached to products so that the advertiser can design appeals that tap the most basic motivations’. (O’Shaughnessy 1995)

As stated earlier, Guinness is all about Greatness, a way of life of the brand and its consumers. Saatchi and Saatchi’s team with an insight into the psyche of the Guinness adorers successfully develops an ad that allows the target want to be in the same position as the main character of the advert. Just like every typical African man, the Guinness drinker cannot be restricted to the background, he wants to be the leader of his group, he wants to talk and he heard which is clearly displayed in this particular advert.

‘According to Harvard professor Harvey C Mansfield (2006), as cited in MarketingWeb 2008,’ the receptiveness of male audiences in East and West African markets to the menaissance on a marketing front, the virtues of masculinity were the creative thrust in Guinness’ “There’s a drop of Greatness in every man” campaign, conceived by Saatchi and Saatchi.

For African males, it’s also about strength from within and male camaraderie or actions of other males that inspire. The menaissance in Africa seems to be more rooted on intellectual masculinity, and is based on virtues of courage, perseverance, loyalty and inventiveness,’ comments Graham Cruikshanks, Saatchi deputy MD as cited in MarketingWeb 2008.


‘Africa accounts for nearly a third of Diageo’s net sales of beer globally and nearly half of total beer volume. Guinness performed strongly in Africa this year (2007). Nigeria is now the second best-selling market and the brand grew consistently throughout most of the hub. In fact, five of Guinness’ top 10 markets were in Africa.

This growth was due in part to the introduction of a new advertising and marketing campaign called ‘Guinness Greatness’. The campaign was more than just advertising, it was a philosophy that touched everyone. It was about celebrating everyday moments of inspirational behavior – the drop of greatness in each of us. The campaign was introduced in Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya and Nigeria’. (Diageo Annual Review 2007)

It worked emotionally because of the humility and the naturalness of the execution. Every African man wanted to be referred to as ‘Udeme’, who was the main character in the commercial. African men want to be associated with strength, courage, creativeness which the advert tapes into and is one other reason that accounts for the advert being a success especially with its male target. After watching this advert men go into bars and when placing their orders ask for an “Udeme”. As stated earlier Udeme is the name of the lead character in the advert but to the African man Udeme is a chilled bottle of stout. Friends also refer to each other as ‘udeme’ and to this category of consumers; Udeme to them is a friend.

Different meanings were assimilated from the advert of which most were positive which helped in realizing the aim of the campaign.

According to Karen Attwood (2007)… ‘Diageo has “used the new medium of TV to reach them”. The Guinness Greatness campaign has the catchline: “There’s a drop of greatness in every man …” Diageo says there isn’t a particular awareness that Guinness is an Irish drink across the continent. Instead, the campaign taps into a growing sense of cultural pride and confidence in Africa. Across Africa, Guinness volumes increased 13 per cent over the year. In Nigeria, sales increased 18 per cent, while across East Africa sales jumped 32 per cent

In the first three months of the campaign, Guinness enjoyed leadership in share of voice with its advertisement in the media. More than 90% of adverts on television were from the beer industry with Guinness claiming close to 80% as measured by the media monitoring service. Also, the advertising and copy message recall amongst the target audience was also oh the high. People enjoyed talking about the advert, they enjoyed the idea as it was very different to what they had been exposed to for the last ten years (Michael Powers). And by the end of March 2007, Guinness Nigeria had gotten more than 500, 000 hits on their website.


No matter how great and popular a campaign is there must always be one or more critics to it.

According to Chude 2007, referring to the Guinness Greatness advert, ‘the script is fantastic, but the message is wobbly’

Chude is confused as to why Udeme is a great man. ‘Is it because he wanted to be a pilot? If so, what is so great about that? The answer obviously lies in ‘there is a drop of greatness in every man’, but in that case, this ad didn’t do that message justice because it means then that even the narrator himself is a “great man”’.

So if there is a truth in the message then Udeme should not have been singled out since every man is a ‘great man’ so clearly there is conflict between the message and the execution of the advert.

‘If this ad tells me Udeme is a great man because he is a pilot then what about lawyers, Surgeons, Journalists etc, then we might as well assume that Guinness is for pilots. Or maybe he’s a great man because he dreamt of being a pilot and eventually became one?

Fantastic message, but that defeats the entire effect of the ‘greatness in every man’ copy. Let me not ask how comforting it is to see a pilot who obviously loves his bottle, and demonstrates that love on a daily basis, what is the more important issue is the fact that this ad contradicts its own message all the way: is Udeme a great man because he drinks beer or because he is a pilot? And what makes either of that good enough for his friend to wax so poetic about him?’ Chude, 2007


The Guinness greatness campaign in all was a success in Africa as a whole. The campaign message which makes use of Metaphor which generally is usually difficult to understand was very well understood in the African market.

The audience did more than understand the message; they also keyed into it and coined their own meanings to the message of the advert, all working positively for the Initiators of the campaign.

For the African man, this advert relates to them in places where the creators of the advert least expect; to the African man, it is a clear cut case of triumph of adversity as this has always been the case with Africans.


“This Guinness advertising case study shows how a campaign tapped into the idea of traditional masculine virtues” Marketing web: integrity, innovation, interaction, 11th Sep. 2008

http://www.marketingweb.co.za/marketingweb/view/marketingweb/en/page72308?oid=111314&sn=Marketingweb+detail (date assessed 10th Dec 2009)

Chude “Of Great Parties and Great Men” 24th may 2007

http://chudesblog.blogspot.com/2007/05/of-great-parties-and-great-men.html (assessed 9th Dec 2009)

“Guinness comes to those who’ve waited” Pr Newswire Europe Limited, 2009 http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=21223 (assessed 12th Dec 2009)

“Guinness in Africa” The global brand, Millward brown, 2008

http://www.theglobalbrandonline.com/brand-success/brands-grow-over-time/guinness/ (assessed 9th Dec. 2009)

Ivan,”Guinness honored with eurobest’s first advertiser of the year award” Ads of the world, 27 Oct. 2009

http://resources.glos.ac.uk/shareddata/dms/9F4295CDBCD42A0399BA0A2A6E688835.pdf (assessed 9th Dec. 2009)

Joe Dinga Pefok “Campaign for Guinness GREATNESS Brand Launched” up Station Mountain club Publicity, 22nd Dec. 2006

http://www.postnewsline.com/2006/12/publicity_campa.html (assessed 6th Dec. 2009)

Kevin Sugrue “Out of Africa” brand Tao, 24th April 2007

out of africa

Karen Attwood”Guinness sales in Nigeria prove greater than in its Irish home” The Independent 31st August 2007

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/guinness-sales-in-nigeria-prove-greater-than-in-its-irish-home-463715.html (assessed 9th Dec 2009)

“Michael Power” Wikipedia – The free encyclopedia, 7 Sep. 2009

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Power_ (advert) (assessed 8th Dec.2009)

O’Shaughnessy, John “competitive marketing: a strategic approach” NY and London: Routledge, 1995

O’Shaughnessy J. and O’Shaughnessy N. “persuasion In Advertising” NY and London: Routledge, 2004.

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