29 Sep 2014
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Guinness shows its attitude with Made Of Black campaign

Guinness has launched a bold new branded entertainment platform as it looks to dominate the African market. Using the tagline ‘Made of Black’, the campaign aims to celebrate the attitude and expression of Africa, featuring real talent from Lagos, Accra, Cape Town, Nairobi, Gaborone and Johnannesburg. 
 
Kicking off via a four-hour takeover of MTV, the campaign launched with a dazzling and energetic two-minute film, starring African performers and artists set to Kanye West’s pumping track ‘Black Skinhead’. 
 
The film is supported by a selection of shorter films and content clips, which aim to bring to life Guinness’ Made of Black tagline. The short films feature artists and performers sharing their Made of Black stories and sharing insights into their unique creativity and expression. 
 
Mark Sandys, Guinness global brand director, told AdWeek: "This campaign is a celebration of an attitude that epitomizes individuals who aren't afraid to truly express themselves. With Made Of Black, we will provide a stage for those who are an inspiration to others, as they carve their own path with confidence, flair and boldness."
 
A press statement said the campaign aimed to “shine a light on a movement being created by a new generation of Africans whose boldness cannot be contained and who are fuelling a new, progressive spirit of Africa.” 
 
REVIEW 
 
This campaign is an explosion of creativity and expression, from the thumping launch film to the short films it is brimming with ambition and energy. 
 
The strategy here is to align the unique qualities of Guinness with the unique qualities of young people across Africa, and tap into their attitude and artistic spirit. 
 
"Guinness is a uniquely black beer and proud of the fact that it's different. Guinness drinkers also see themselves as different. They're creative, inventive and imaginative and want to stand out from the crowd. The idea behind the 'Made Of Black' campaign is to celebrate the confidence and attitude that Guinness shares with the people who drink it, an attitude that we've called 'Black'. 'Made Of Black' is not about colour. Its focus is on celebrating those that exhibit this Black attitude." 
 
Guinness is looking to position its brand as the drink of choice for young Africans. It's a bold move and a very strong statement of intent from Guinness, most of all it is very surprising and a change in style from the brand. 
 
'Made of Black' fits into Guinness' global 'Made of More' positioning but stylistically this is a significant departure from the work we've come to expect from Guinness: think Cloud or Basketball
 
It's not just a new look and feel for Guinness but the strategy is different too. The tone and style is more punchy and in your face than previous Guinness ads. Traditionally Guinness has been more reserved in promoting the brand, it's favoured artistry, symbolism and humour as well as relying on the brands status and iconic history to do a lot of the work.
 
However this is clearly not going to cut it in the African market. Already this year, Guinness showed a major change in tact with it's award winning Sapeurs campaign.
 
The campaign celebrated the Congolese fashion cult, The Sapeurs, otherwise known as the Society of Elegent Persons of the Congo, a group of working class men who are devoted to dresssing up in dapper clothing. The brand created an online documentary flm 'The Men Inside The Suits' to provide an insight into this group of men and clearly something struck a chord. 
 
The African market is a significant and important market for the brand and its parent company Diageo. Africa’s alcoholic drinks market is forecast to grow by 56% to $61.2 billion in 2018 – up from $39.3 billion in 2013, according to reports. The growth of this market is predicted to be driven by “a large young population”. 
 
Guinness is looking to embed its brand in the hearts and minds of this young and increasingly urbanized population that are seeking out brands and consumer goods. 
 
It needs to as well. The brand's sales took a major hit across Africa - in Nigeria profits dropped 19% last year. This campaign represents a major play by Guinness to win over its target audience and it's not pulling any punches. 
 
By tapping into the attitude and creativity of Africa’s young, Guinness hopes to align its brand with this emerging spirit and bolster its presence, and of course sales. 
 
I'm a big fan of this campaign, I like the way its taking an iconic brand such as Guinness and injecting it with relevance and attitude for a new and different market. It's in your face, unashamedly full of attitude and seemingly authentic. It really works. 
 
It’s a really interesting strategy and a pretty major play from a brand like Guinness. It will be interesting to see how the investment pays off. 
 
VERDICT 
A strong branded entertainment campaign from a brand that continues to evolve and adapt for new audiences and new markets. I give it 4 stars. 

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