Coronavirus crisis; how brands are successfully addressing it

Coronavirus crisis; how brands are successfully addressing it

I know we’re all sick of hearing about Covid-19; I won’t bore you with statistics or point out your wrongdoings. Instead I wanted to share my fascination with the way in which brands, big and small, have reacted to the global crisis. Not only is it worth taking note of their crisis management but also their crisis communication and marketing. Sparks of creativity and brilliance were keeping us sane as organisations developed impactful ways to demonstrate how much they cared. They’ve been addressing customer concerns, trying to unearth solutions and attempting to create solidarity whilst promoting a physical separation. Others just graced us with humour during some of the dimmest days.  

Many would argue that brands were faced with a sink or swim dilemma. The options were to think on their feet; either physically changing the product or the service they provide, remaining relevant through crisis marketing or suffer irretrievable losses.

  1. Addressing customer concerns

By early March it became apparent that this virus was here to stay. Every day we were faced with unprecedented decisions taken by the government, impacting on every aspect of our lives and rapidly heightening our stress levels. Companies were keen to express empathy, acknowledging the impact Covid was having on so many. Stockpiling became a daily ritual for those fortunate enough to do so. Toilet paper became a hot commodity; I’m still unsure why. Panic buying led to stretched supply chains and the resultant shortages meant brands were faced with backlash from the self-same panic buying consumers. Cottonelle, one of the leading toilet paper brands, developed a campaign encouraging consumers to “stock up on generosity” and #shareasquare.     

2. Finding solutions

Companies quickly responded to the urgent requirement for medical equipment and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). The demand was for hand sanitiser, ventilators, scrubs and masks. Large brands, such as Smiths Group, LVMH and Brewdog, were in a strong position to pivot their manufacturing in order to develop prototypes or products. Smiths Group worked with the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium securing a contract to produce 10,000 ventilators for the UK. Additionally, world renowned company LVMH converted their perfume factories to produce hand sanitiser. LVMH are famed for their high-end luxury products, however, we all learnt very quickly what the real luxury in life was; our health.

Closer to home, we experienced similar adaptations. Groups were popping up everywhere producing thousands of scrubs and other PPE. In fact, I do recall chuckling at the sight of doctors or consultants working in princess-themed scrubs made from children’s bedsheets. With regards to businesses adapting to the new normal and providing a new service, I am sure the majority of us jumped at the opportunity to pick up a takeaway from our local restaurant. For many restaurants this was a completely new experience and hiccups in services were inevitable. But let’s face it, at this point we had the time to wait for our dinner. Restaurants such as Shu in Belfast created an online menu of recipes and ingredients which customers could choose from, collect and cook at home. This ensured that they still managed to stay afloat in uncertain times and continue to provide a product and service to their loyal customers.

3. Sense of solidarity

Brands and organisations took responsibility for spreading awareness and encouraging people to observe social distancing. Brands wanted to demonstrate their understanding of our wish to remain united despite the physical barrier between us all. Coca Cola placed a billboard in Times Square which read “Staying apart is the best way to stay united”. Nike also jumped on the bandwagon, generating a catchy slogan “play for the world, play inside”. Portraying the world as a smaller place with a shared identity, and striving to engender a kindred spirit, became a common theme. The most touching one for me was the St Patrick’s Day Guinness advert. Despite gatherings and celebrations being slightly different this year, Guinness found a way to intensify our sense of camaraderie, yanking on the strings of our national identity.

4. Humour

Humour effectively executed can reap excellent rewards for brands. It creates emotional arousal and promotes the release of anxiety or worry through amusement. Through efficacious humour, organisations can take important rules and regulations set by higher powers, make light of them but also inform their customers. When brands allow us to see their ‘funny side’ we open up more to them and, on occasion, their marketing ploys can become the most memorable to us. In keeping with Covid-19 guidelines, KFC removed the “finger lickin’” part of their famous slogan “it’s finger linkin’ good”, much to my amusement. Another which caught my eye was Connswater Shopping Centre’s sign, making light of the fact they were insisting on customers wearing a face covering.  

We will never forget the year 2020, each of us for slightly different reasons. Despite the difficult times we’ve faced, I know I’d be speaking on behalf of so many when I say it’s been a hugely insightful time. Particularly for me as I begin my career in communication and public relations. I have been inspired by so many organisations, watching as they harness their creativity in every aspect of business life. Learn from them, take chances, be bold, and prosper.

Lydia Killen is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter

How To Market the C-Word

If there’s anything I love more than a salted chilli chicken snack box, it’s a good old piece of reactive marketing.

Brands use reactive marketing as a way of engaging their audience with spur of the moment content and advertisements responding to real-time events, news, topics, TV shows, hashtags and threads. It’s a way to appear relevant, relatable and humorous. Although generally successful in getting people talking and your brand noticed, it’s a tricky business in terms of having a limited time to create the content before its irrelevant, and the risk of offending the generation of snowflakes, whom I refuse to identify with. The fallout from a bad piece of reactive marketing can cause a lot of damage to a brand’s reputation and often they would have been better of just remaining silent… but that’s no craic. We all love a bit of controversy.

It’s no shock that the only real-time event that most brands are responding to right now is COVID-19. As the pandemic, unfortunately, continues to spread brands are thinking of creative ways to encourage us to partake in social distancing, stay indoors and wash our hands, MORE OFTEN! Please don’t tell me you ever ever ever need to be reminded to wash your hands, you detty pig. Here are a few of my faves.

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Netflix #YouShouldveStayedAtHome

A reactive marketing masterpiece if you ask me. I found this piece as I was scrolling through twitter a few weeks ago and it was a breath of fresh air amongst upsetting coronavirus updates, pessimistic tweets *unfollow* and reminders that there are still people who think it’s okay to bounce around households and see their friends. Did ye not hear what Boris said.

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The campaign had the aim to encourage people to stay at home by creating Billboards and Adshels with spoilers from Netflix shows including Money Heist, Love is Blind and Stranger Things with the tag line “You Should’ve Stayed at Home.” I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t actually real and was actually an idea by a duo from an advertising school in Miami who created the concept as a marketing suggestion for Netflix. I did see some comments where people were infuriated at the thought of seeing a spoiler for their favourite Netflix show when they were on their way to essential work or to get essential supplies. Which is a fair point. But how amazing if those who are not following guidelines, acting like they are above the law and are single handily decreasing the chances of us seeing our loved ones, or having pints with our mates anytime soon had their favourite binge of the moment ruined. Karma. SPOILER ALERT: if you have a life and didn’t binge Love is Blind in 3 days please look away now.

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Guinness #StayAtHome

Copywriter Luke O’Reillys created this piece of advertising as part of a One Minute brief challenge and Guinness loved it. They’ve fully credited the creator Luke and have used it as their way of encouraging people to stay at home during this time. I love the simplicity of it. Guinness also created a pretty emotional video in light of St. Patrick’s celebrations being cancelled across the world. Anyone else still pure devastated about this btw?

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The Guinness team collected clips of Guinness and St. Patricks day celebrations over the years and told us all that although we can’t celebrate together this year, we must stick together during this pretty tough time and, “Don’t worry, we’ll march again.” How emotional. I don’t even drink Guinness but I want a Guinness.

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Coke and McDonald’s response to the pandemic was spacing out their lettering to encourage social distances, whilst Burger King rejigged their tagline “home of the whopper.” to “Stay home.”

Contrary to popular belief there are other things we can talk about aside the Coronavirus. Can someone remind my Mum of this, please? So here are just a few honourable mentions I want to include from some of my favourite reactive marketing of all time.

#Sainsbey

When Beyonce dropped her latest Ivy Park collection we couldn’t help but die at the fact we could all go to a fancy dress party as a Sainsbury employee if we bought this particular piece. The memes came in almost instantly and soon went viral with the hashtag #SainsBey. Later that day Sainsbury were absolute legends in the field of reactive marketing and came out with this. Bravo Sainsbury.

It’s……….Innocent Smoothies

Coolen Rooney’s outstanding piece of cryptic literature in 2019 is the best thing I’ve read since the Great Gatsby. The suspense throughout had my heart in my mouth. I still can’t believe It’s……….Rebekah Vardy’s account. The dispute took the Twittersphere by storm and if any brand had any wits about them they would have taken every opportunity to use it for some quality reactive marketing. And Innocent Smoothie was soon to score with their newest “bolt from blue” drink saying it was “THE ONLY THING JUICIER THAN COLEEN V REBEKAH.” Must be pretty damn juicy.

“I’ve had te go te Burger King.”

Remember in 2018 when KFC ran out of Chicken and it was the WORST THING THAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN and people were literally claiming it to be a national emergency. We really didn’t know what 2020 had in store, did we? Anyway, I have the utmost respect for KFC staying cool, calm and collected and rejigging their branding to read FCK. Reassuring to know even Colonel Sanders fcks up sometimes.

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So they’re just a few of my favourite reactive marketing campaigns over the past year or so. Over the past month, I have loved seeing the biggest brands ditch their product placements and USP ploys and simply encourage us to stick together and beat this virus.

Stay safe & healthy everyone and whilst the NHS work endlessly to protect us (ye legends) please protect them by staying at home.

Catherine Maguire is a final year year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

261 years into a 9,000-year lease

If you have been in Dublin for a day trip or a weekend before then I’m sure the Guinness Storehouse and infamous St. James gate was high on your to do list, for that must have Instagram snap or just to visit the home of the most famous thing to come out of Ireland since Westlife.

In 1759, 261 years ago, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for the old abandoned St. James brewery and generations of the Guinness family have been brewing Guinness there ever since. It’s long been a part of Irish history and a key feature in Dublin’s tourism industry with total visitors of around 18 million people since it opened to the public in 2000, and just a tiny €361.2 million economic contribution in 2017, according to the Journal.ie.

On a typical wet Sunday afternoon in Dublin, I finally got the chance to go see the home of Guinness for myself. Even though I don’t actually like the drink (I’m more of a cider girl myself, sorry Guinness!) the Storehouse was always somewhere I wanted to visit. Not because of the free pint at the end but because besides being famous for the drinks, Guinness’ marketing and ads have given the brand a place in the history books and it has a floor in the Storehouse dedicated to ‘The world of advertising’.

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In this section of the Storehouse you can see the first newspaper advertisement for Guinness ever published in a newspaper (pictured below) which came out in 1929. You can see larger than life characters from some of the best ads from throughout the years, for example, a kangaroo, a seal, a tortoise and a fish on a bicycle.

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In this post I thought I’d run you through my top 5 favourite Guinness tv ads – some old, some new but all pretty legendary tv adverts.

 

  1. Tipping point

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Tipping point first graced our TV screens in November 2007 and was dubbed the most expensive ad in history. This tv ad was based in Argentina showcasing the most usual game of dominos ever witnessed. It begins with 6,000 dominos which leads onto paint, cars, books and tyres leading up to a column of books which open to resemble a pint of Guinness. The fall of the dominos takes about a minute and a half and ends in the slogan “Good things come to those who wait” because it takes around 119 seconds to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, which is a fairly long wait for a pint I suppose. This one takes 5th place for me due to its artistry and the effort that must have gone into making it.

 

  1. Surfer

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“Tik followed tok, followed tik followed tok” began the ad that was to be voted the best tv ad of all time. This ad again signifies the phrase “good things come to those who wait” and follows the story of surfers waiting for the prefect wave that they have waited their whole lives to ride. Launched in 1999 it was the first of a new trend in ads for Guinness. It wasn’t popular with research audiences at the beginning but the brand director and the director of the ad agency responsible for the idea both knew they were on to a winner. I put this surfer as 4th place on my list of favourites.

 

  1. The Purse

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This adorable little ad came out earlier this year and ran throughout the six nations. It was based on a true story of two Welsh brothers who had recently lost their mother, but her dying wish was that they spend all that was left of her money on the six nations as she was such a fan of the tournament. The ad shows them honouring her wishes and her life by following their beloved Welsh team around Europe for matches and of course, using the same purse that she used as a kitty on match days, they enjoy a pint of Guinness. This makes it onto 3rd place on my list as I just think the story is so heart-warming with a little bit of humour thrown in there too.

 

  1. Congo’s Sapeaurs

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This ad is based on the Society of Elegent Persons of the Congo, better known as the Sapeurs and sheds light on a different side of African culture. It came out in 2014 and was praised for being hugely realistic and true to life. The people in the ad aren’t actors but actually real sapeaurs who believe in the power of dressing your best and showing your true style, flair and creativity. This ad stands for more than trying to sell a few more pints, but highlights the work these sapeurs do in their community, helping each other and their families and getting people back on track, symbolising their stand for peace, integrity and honour. The flair of the people, the music and the true to life setting are why I think this is my 2nd favourite ad.

 

  1. Even at the home of the black stuff, they dream of a white one

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Awarded the title of “Probably the best Christmas ad ever” by me, I think it’s fair to say a lot of people would agree. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve seen the Guinness Christmas ad of 2011 and as that time of year is approaching once again I don’t think anything else could possibly have been at the top of my list. The fact that is ad is nearly 10 years old and is still shown every year shows that its up there with the best Christmas ads of all time. It’s an iconic ad, filmed in spots all over Ireland at the minute Christmas starts and the snow begins to fall.

 

Shannon Walsh is a final year BSc in Communications Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on twitter at @997_shannon or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-walsh-8a3b08172/

Guinness officially done with the colour black?

Disclaimer- I’m neither a Rugby nor Guinness fan but I recently feel like Guinness have been taking a slightly different but great approach to some of their campaigns during Rugby tournaments.

Unlike me, you may have watched Ireland disappointing exit from the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup in October, but did you see this tweet from one of team’s main sponsors?

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Guinness Ireland took to twitter urging fans to have a pint of Carlsberg if they are looking to drown their sorrows after Ireland’s 46-14 loss against the New Zealand ‘All blacks’.  It could be just me, but it does seem odd a brand urging their online audience to drink another beverage let alone a rival beer, however this isn’t the first time this year Guinness have suggested consumers not to drink a pint of the black stuff.

Guinness Clear

In 2019, Guinness took over as the main sponsor for the Six Nations and in the lead up, they launched their “new product” Guinness Clear.

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Initially I actually thought it was a new alcoholic drink because of all the TV advertising, the social media campaign and the media attention, but turns out its just water.

The reasoning behind ‘Guinness Clear’ was part of the brands responsible drinking campaign to encourage moderation to all the fans watching the rugby. They took into consideration that some people don’t feel comfortable ordering water in a pub, so now they don’t have too! Guinness ‘re-branded’ water so fans could stick to their favourite brand of refreshment while also being drink aware. Guinness Clear had a large presence at the Six Nations and continues to have a presence throughout rugby stadiums with branded water fonts and sampling teams. On this occasion, Guinness successfully used their Six Nations platform to raise awareness and encourage this audience to be drink aware but what reasoning could Guinness have to want their consumers to drink Carlsberg?

Guinness Ireland has been one of IRFU’s main sponsors for years, as well as being brewed in Ireland it only seems right they show their support and respect for the local team and this is how they did it, they told their social media audience not to drink a pint of the black stuff because of the associated colour with the winning New Zealand team.

Why Carlsberg?

It would make more sense if Guinness had of suggested having a pint of Hop House 13 as they brew this lager, but they considered the colours of the branding of these beers in support for the Irish team. Guinness is known for its black consistently with its white head, the same colours as the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ kit, while Carlsberg is known for its green and white branding, same as the Ireland kit. Hop house however is red, white and black, so it wouldn’t make as much sense.
As well as taking into consideration the colours ,Guinness strategically picked Carlsberg. Carlsberg is brewed and marketed under license by the same company that own Guinness, Diageo.

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Fans were quick to praise Guinness for their response to the loss. The tweet seen 5,536 retweets and 20,160 likes on twitter and on Instagram it has received 16,211 likes, a 493% increase in likes from their previous post. As well as creating talk on social media, this stunt also created a lot of positivity for the brand as well as the Irish Rugby team.

So how can Guinness afford to be so risky with their campaigns?

Guinness has been around since 1759 and over the years they have created a well-established brand. Their popularity has given them opportunities to get creative with their campaigns and continue to be one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world.

Jenna Sloan is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. You can find her on – Twitter: @jennaaaaa_ and LinkedIn: Jenna Sloan 

Christmas Ad Mad

‘Holiday’s are coming’ Instantly your first thought is without a doubt, the Coca-Cola Christmas lorries, along with soft jingles and choir music starting up. That’s when I believe you know Christmas is truly approaching.

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Christmas ads on our TV screens are extremely popular throughout the whole of UK and Ireland. Now with social media, and the likes of YouTube thrown into the mix, it’s impossible to not be inundated with them and their catchy music, you either love them or hate them.

home aloneSpending on Christmas ads are rising each year with this year (Advertising Association, 2018) 6 ½ billion pounds were spent on seasonal advertising, beating last years record by 5%.

 

 

Each year the ‘main’ brands such as, Aldi, Coca-Cola, Debenhams, H&M, John Lewis, Lidl and Marks & Spencer, bring out their eagerly anticipated Christmas ad as a now fully cemented tradition which viewers enthusiastically critique.

What’s Christmas Ads without the music?

Music is a big part of Christmas, this year Elton John and Take that were a few to star in some on the main Christmas ads, but Coca-Cola outshines every year with ‘Holidays are coming’ being chosen as the favourite song to feature in a Christmas ad. (Advertising Association, 2018).

Is social media changing the game?

YouTube has over a billion users and people are turning to the site to instantly watch the best new Christmas ads of the year

Making a list of this, from the video stats from last year,

  • Number 5 –Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert 2014 – Christmas is for sharing

(19 million views)

  • Number 4 –John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 – #BusterTheBoxer

(25 million views)

  • Number 3 –John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 #MontyThePenguin

(26 million views)

  • Number 2 – John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 – #ManOnTheMoon

(28 million views)

  • Number 1 – Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert 2015 – Mog’s Christmas Calamity – #ChristmasIsForSharing

(37 million views)

(Barnes: Nov, 2017)

The Worlds Number 1…

The German supermarket chain, Edeka. It’s tear jerker is number one around the world, online with its sentimental advert below.

 

This heart warming ad captures many hearts, but as the world’s number 1 ‘online’ doesn’t really make it the number 1 of all time?

What about the classics?

It’s hard to compare new advertisements of today that have so much social media backing surrounding them, compared to old masterpieces that were around before the world wide web even existed. For Example, The Kelloggs Christmas advert from 1991 with the little girl finding Santa and saying her cute little ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ or the Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are coming’ ad from 1995 would surely be great contenders.maxresdefault

My Number 1;

Like the Classics, my number 1 has been around for 14 years, yet it is still played without fail on TV every Christmas.

When thinking about Christmas, the sentimental aspect always comes out on top for me, that’s why my favourite advert of all time is without a doubt,

The Guinness Christmas Ad

The quietness of Christmas Eve, and the chiming of the church bells as it turns midnight onto the 25th of December on the old gentleman’s watch. The picturesque scenes with the soft snow and the quiet city scenes from all over Ireland from Galway to Dublin and Belfast. The music of the soft flute at the beginning, building up a quiet symphony with violins more towards the end accurately bring that homely feeling.

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Of course the best Christmas ads can’t be determined with how many times it has been shown on tv, how many YouTube likes and views it has received or how many times you have cried watching them. Purely opinion, sentimentally and nostalgically grounded.

What would your favourite of all time be?

 

Alexandra McEvoy is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @alexmcevoy_ ; Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-mcevoy-111ba5171/

Sources from;

https://econsultancy.com/the-top-10-most-shared-christmas-ads-of-all-time/ https://www.digital22.com/insights/10-most-viewed-christmas-adverts-of-all-timehttps://www.extreme-creations.co.uk/blog/the-marketing-stats-behind-2016-christmas-ads/

The Guinness Goddess

Guinness, a pint of plain, Irish champagne, the black stuff: its iconic. For a 22 year old girl I usually get a lot of stick and raised eyebrows when I order a pint of stout in a bar, however I would have to admit that I am quite the Guinness Connoisseur “an expert judge in matters of taste.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the emerald isle’s best brew about.

Guinness lingo:

The art of the G: How to pour a pint of Guinness

Bishops Collar: a head that’s just too big

Cream leak: whenever some cream dribbles down the glass of an untouched head; a major leak may suggest a watery pint but a small slow dribble suggests a healthy one.

G-man/ G-woman/ G-punter: Guinness lover

G-tache: The Guinness moustache created from a decent, creamy pint. All good pints will give you one. A watery one will not give you a G-tache

Priests’ collar: The creamy, post-settlement head on a lovely pint of Guinness.

The Birth of Guinness:

Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease in 1759 on a tiny abandoned warehouse in the very heart of Dublin and completely transformed St. James gate into a brewery, and Guinness was born. By the time Arthur died in 1803 he had built his empire and passed his business on to his son Arthur II, a successful brewery with promising export trade.

Guinness is good for you:
The famous slogan and one of the most iconic advertisements of all time first appeared in televised adverts in the late 1920’s claiming the beverage to be more nourishing for you than milk. The quote is not around anymore but still remains true as a pint only contains 125 calories – less than a pint of semi-skimmed milk!See the source image

The Guinness book of records:

The modern Guinness World Records has its origins at the Guinness brewery. In the 1950s, after an argument with friends over which was the fastest game bird in Europe (failing to find an answer in any reference book) Sir Hugh Beaver (an industrialist/engineer) decided to create the now iconic book that would settle all common pub disputes.

See the source image

The Art of Pulling the Pint
There’s good reason for that finger-tapping wait for your pint. Over 119.5 seconds, the Guinness glass is three-quarters filled, rested until the nitrogen bubbles have risen (this creates the dark colour and velvety head), before being filled to the top. In my own experience patience is key in these situations, (good things come to those who wait.)See the source image
Guinness Today

Fast-forward a couple of centuries, and Arthur’s beer is now famous worldwide. Now brewed in 49 countries around the world, and served in 150, he has certainly made his mark. Surprisingly though, the largest annual consumption of Guinness is not in Ireland, but in Nigeria (hard to believe I know!).

See the source image

The perfect pint

Establishing whether or not you have been poured a cracking pint or a mediocre one is a procedure that I have been using for a few years and it all starts with the wobble test. A little shake of a fresh pint being ever so careful not to spill any – that can let on if its a watery one! Obviously the creamier the head is, the less chance of a spill there is. This step is then followed by observing the head, if its been poured correctly you should have a lovely thick and creamy finish, however if your bar man was in a rush you may have been served a pint of black watery muck with suds on top.

Where to get the perfect pint in Belfast

In my experience I have come to know that any bars that seem crowded or particularly busy will not serve a perfect pint of Guinness, however that is a broad statement and some establishments make the cut! It is often the smaller pubs that tend to be filled with old men watching the horses that do the best pints, these are the guys with the knowledge and expertise, these are the real Guinness Connoisseurs!

However, I am only a cub at 22 years of age I don’t especially like to go to the local pub on a Saturday night and would much rather be surrounded by folk my own age that equally enjoy a pint of plain, therefore I have chosen my two favourite venues that can accommodate a girl my age whilst also serving me a cracking pint.

The Duke of York: The best pint you’ll ever taste. The bar men know their stuff in this place, they don’t rush the art of pouring. Better yet (better yet) they freeze their pint glasses which I think is a beautiful touch and the reason I keep going back!

Five Points: The atmosphere in this place is second to none, the pints never fail me and are always so refreshing and consistent – not one watery one served in here!

Celine Russell is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn –  https://www.linkedin.com/in/celine-russell-849ba4171/ ; Twitter –  https://twitter.com/celine_russ; Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/celine.russell.7

 

Guinness adverts sell more than a ‘pint of black’

Guinness adverts sell more than a ‘pint of black’

Have you ever been to the Guinness Factory? I can now successfully say I have after convincing the girls into taking a trip down last weekend. (above- the must do Dublin Guinness Factory picture). It was a great day out and of course, we did not pass up the opportunity to go into the city and treat ourselves to dinner and drinks. BUT, the factory itself was, in fact, really interesting and definitely something I would encourage everyone to do. As part of the tour we went into a room with huge screens showing the Guinness adverts playing on repeat. This sparked an interest with me into the Guinness adverts themselves and I soon realised that, despite there being hundreds of diverse adverts, they all have one thing in common… A storytelling technique, which creates an effective emotional appeal.

Take the ‘surfer’ commercial (I’m sure you will immediately visualise this, but if not I have inserted it below) which tells the story of the surfers waiting with anticipation to catch the perfect wave. The surfer waiting symbolises the slow pour of the Guinness pint and how we should feel when we are waiting on the pint. This advert was released in 1998, and really was the first of its kind to UK TV. I remember watching the advert as a kid, completely unaware of the symbolism it carried. I simply just watched the surf and the galloping white horses, no concept of the legacy this PR technique has left, allowing many to become hooked on a ‘pint of black’.

 

 

Another commercial shown, entitled “Empty Chair” caught my attention. This showed a group of young men playing basketball in wheelchairs. This advert adopted an unusual, unique technique as it deliberately withheld information from the audience. The abstract setting of the advertisement initially led me to question: “what has a game of wheelchair basketball got to do with my choice of drink in the pub on a Friday night?” The hidden gem of information in this advertisement was that all but one of the men were actually able-bodied and capable of walking thus capable of playing a game of basketball without the aid of a wheelchair. This was intelligently revealed only at the end when the game drew to a close. The message to this particular story was about friendship and loyalty with the theme of inclusivity also featuring prominently. This further relayed the brand’s key message that Guinness is a drink to be enjoyed by all, regardless of who you are. No matter how many times I watch this advert, I am still filled with a sense of happiness and content as I can appreciate the message being portrayed.

 

 

A final commercial I want to mention is the ‘Sapeurs’ one (again linked below). What I loved most about this advert was the positive message it portrayed about Africa, something which is rarely shown. With most adverts about Africa being those of charities, focussing on pity and promoting a call to action to donate, it was nice to see this was different. The message, however in this advert was this ability to defy your set circumstances and live beyond boundaries. Another dimension to this advert I observed was the focus on globalisation of the Guinness Brand. When someone mentions Guinness, a lot of people immediately and jokingly make reference to leprechauns and pots of gold. However, this advert shows the famous stout being enjoyed in a very contrast setting than to that typically associated with the brand. Again, this highlights the fact that the Guinness brand is recognised and enjoyed by those of various races from many different countries and cultures.

There is also a subtle reference to the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Two lines are quoted from the poem: “I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul”. The title of this poem translated from Latin to English means “unconquerable” or “undefeated”; portraying the lasting legacy of the famous Guinness brand worldwide.

 

 

These three adverts have no direct link. If you removed the Guinness branding and played these adverts you would have no idea that they are from the same company promoting the same product. But, what they all do is tell a story and engage us in feeling something whether it be anticipation, happiness, inspiration or positivity or even all of these things. What they all do is make us emotional and make us feel something. It is these feelings that they want us to associate with Guinness. They want us to believe that waiting the 120 seconds (fact learnt at the factory) to enjoy the perfect pint is worth the wait. Personally, I am yet to become hooked on the Guinness product itself but I do appreciate their creative advertising.

 

Niamh Webb is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @1234niamh, and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/niamh-webb-2b5260107/