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Welcome to Campaign of the Week, where we explore some of the freshest and most exciting campaigns from the brands that are engaging their Gen Z audience and catching our attention every week. Today we’re looking at Guinness’ campaign from May 2021, Welcome Back.
Everyone knows what Guinness is, but some might not see it as your average Gen Z drink. But believe it or not, the alcoholic beverage really is a hit with the generation (I, a just-about Gen Zer, have seen many of my friends enjoying a Guinness or two at the pub). The ‘Baby Guinness’, a tasty mixture of coffee liqueur and Baileys, is also a massive hit with the over-18s. So when the brand’s ad graced ours screens last summer, it was always bound to be a hit. But what was ‘Welcome Back’ about, and how well did it actually do?
What’s the campaign about?
Watching this ad might bring back a few feelings that you haven’t felt since the peak of the pandemic – namely an emptiness and eeriness… you’ve been warned! With empty telephone booths, half-painted and abandoned painting projects and two women chatting at a safe two metre distance, the beginning of this ad is set back when lockdown measures were at their strongest. But the ad is ultimately a celeration of the reopening of pubs in May 2021, contrasting the bleak and depressing lockdown shots with the joyous return of joining friends and family in the pub (and in this case, sharing a Guinness).
In a subtle ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ Easter egg, each shot of this ad resembles a Guiness, with ‘the many images in the film [sharing] a black-and-white thematic look, which call to mind the black-and-white contrast of a Guinness stout topped with a frothy, white head.’ This symbolism is a clever way of conveying the sense of missing something but it always being on your mind (credit also goes to the audio of ‘Always On My Mind’, covered by Jack Savoretti, playing in the background). Or, as Neil Shah, Head of Guinness Great Britain puts it: “The campaign was inspired by that all-too-familiar experience of seeing something we miss everywhere we look – in this case, a pint of Guinness, in a pub, with our mates.”
As well as the small screens, the ad was also shared on socials, video on demand, print and digital out-of-home. The accompanying hashtag #LooksLikeGuinness, which encouraged drinkers to post images of their own pints online, helped the campaign to become a huge success. So much so that, according to Marketing Weekly, Guinness became the number one talked about brand on social media and ‘the campaign itself saw the brand achieve an engagement rate 3.5 times higher than the industry benchmarks across social.’ In other words, it was a huge success. The ad was created by the agency AMV BBDO.
Why do we love it?
This timely campaign tells the perfect story, and one that everyone in the country can/could relate to. It celebrates the moments that we were all missing so much, and when you combine that with the cracking social media campaign, it’s a recipe for success. It’s proof again that brands need to be reactive and engage with the social climate in order to heighten engagement and gain some all-important customer loyalty.
Check out the full campaign below:
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[Cover image 📷: Screenshot from Welcome Back campaign]