Guinness creates short film 'The Sapeurs'

by The One Centre

15

January, 2014

15th January 2014

Guinness has turned storyteller, with a colour soaked campaign bursting with charm personality and a good dose of fashion.

The latest installment of the brand’s ‘Made of More’ campaign, which aims to showcase inspirational individuals, sees the brand roll out a TV ad and online documentary film featuring a Congolese fashion cult The Sapeurs.

Play video

A 1 minute 40 second advert introduces us to The Sapeurs, otherwise known as the Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo, a group of working class men who are devoted to dressing up in dapper clothing – think bowler hats, cravets, pocket squares and brightly coloured suits.

The documentary ‘The Men Inside The Suits’ presents an insight into the Sapeurs society in Brazzaville and showcases these inspirational individuals.

The Sapeur, whose name is derived from the French slang for dressing with class, are a society of men united by respect, good manners, a peaceful attitude and a belief that “It’s not the cost of the suit that counts, it’s the worth of the man inside it.

“Guinness follows the Sapeurs whose way of life is a testament to the belief of putting more in, to get more out. Their life is not defined by occupation or wealth, but by respect, a moral code and an inspirational display of flair and creativity. This is demonstrated through their love of stylish dressing; but it is not the fabric or cost of the suit that counts, it is the worth of the man inside it.”

Stephen O’Kelly, Guinness marketing director for Western Europe, said: “What we love about the Sapeurs and drew us to them was not only the vibrancy and colour, but at its core, their story is one of dignity and self -expression.

“In the spirit of ‘Made of More’ we wanted to capture the story of a group of men whose integrity and character shone through despite the challenges they face. Dressing well, can symbolise many things, but for the Sapeurs, fine clothes stand for peace, integrity and honour.”

“They are a truly inspiring and unique group of men.”

Review

Rich with colour, life, pride and creativity, these films are as charming as the men they celebrate.

The raw, thrilling advert is pulsing with attitude. The music choice is excellent and the gravelly, deep voice over perfectly positions this colour-filled explosion of life.

In the advert we follow the journey of men working in Congo’s sugar cane fields through their transformation into The Sapeurs, as they get ready to head out to a local bar. All the while accompanied by the thumping thrilling track ‘What makes a Good Man’ by UK band The Heavy.

The voiceover tells us that “with every brace and every cufflink we say ‘I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.’”

Yes, this advert is going to win awards. Lots and lots of shiny awards.

The advert is a wonderful piece of entertainment and accompanied by the documentary, Guinness reveals a desire to show depth and add weight to its brand commercial.

‘The Men Inside The Suits’ is a charming and inspiring documentary which provides a glimpse into the life of the Sapeur and the story behind these proud and elegant men.

While it does not go deeply into the politics surrounding this cultural movement, glossing over the years of civil war, which in many ways is a shame there is a sheer defiance in the Sapeur’s defiance of the aggression and violence that have scarred the country’s past and their embrace of the morals.

A wonderful article in The Telegraph said: “The Sapeurs’ cultivated code of conduct, gentility and sense of propriety is a rejection of the more brutal aspects of Congolese life. When so much of the West’s idea of Africa comes from what we’ve seen in the media, there’s a sense that the Sapeurs are striking out as rainbow-hued, vibrant individuals in a world that’s been painted in broad brushstrokes.”

This is about empowerment and the strength that comes from within, the campaign is underpinned by the idea that “In life you cannot always choose what you do, but you can always choose who you are.”

This is an inspiring message, tied to a remarkable group of people, I cannot fault this, except that I’m not entirely sure why I am getting this message from Guinness?

To my mind this is an unexpected project from Guinness and while it makes for a wonderful surprise, it is a slightly mystifying direction for the brand.

This campaign builds on the ‘Made of More’ campaign, which has previously delivered ads about clouds, which defy their circumstances and drift wherever they wish, A clock which changes time to suit the lives of the people in the town.

The most recent execution featured a group of men playing an intense game of wheelchair basketball, with the reveal that only one of the men is disabled.

The strategy behind ‘Made of More’ is clearly to showcase the ways that things / people/clouds and clocks, can defy their circumstances and inspire and affect others.

The creatives behind the campaign, copywriter Nicholas Hulley and art director Nadja Lossgott, told CoCreate the aim was to “demonstrate Guinness’s brand values such as power, communion, and goodness by finding a powerful human story that would embody both.”

Guinness have certainly nailed that and in the process they have created an outstanding advert and superb piece of branded entertainment. This is an outstanding achievement. But, I’m not sure people outside of the ad industry will remember that the campaign with those well dressed men from Africa, was by Guinness.

The artistry is superb and the strategy is bang on with its intentions, cut-through it will but I wonder if the visceral nature of this ad and the story it tells overtakes the brand.

Is this story too good, too authentic and too entertaining? While the hook is too cerebral and too far from the message we really want from an alcoholic beverage?  I worry this campaign could suffer from the “Great ad, but what was it selling?” effect.

Here’s the thing though, it doesn’t stop it being an outstanding ad for me. I love it and I absolutely adore the documentary, if anything I wanted more. I’d happily watch a 30 minute or even an hour long piece to learn the history, how it started, what happened during the war, and more on how the community views the Sapeurs.

Although I suspect as this campaign goes viral, there will be a lot more about these extraordinary men – who incidentally have also appeared in a Solange Knowles film clip, yep you read that right.

Verdict

Guinness have created an extraordinary campaign bursting with colour and life and a fascinating story, that is guaranteed to be a hit.

Credits

Article By: The One Centre
Ideas and innovation company
Twitter @onecentregroup

Share

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share via Email

Related Stories

Environments

Gentle Monster aliens take on London

News

The One Centre presents the brands disrupting the world at ONEtalks

Technology

Uber has a better way to map data – and anyone can use it

Products

Forget ‘stoner’ – MedMen is taking marijuana mainstream

News

Four pillars of brand success – John Ford writes for Startup Daily

Collaborations

Virtual celebrity Lil Miquela partners with Japanese label Ambush

Content

Oakley’s ode to obsession

Advertising

"Will finds a way" with Under Armour

Environments

Kengo Kuma is purifying the air at Milan Design Week

Architecture

Facebook is building Willow Village. Would you live there?

Advertising

Apple recruits Spike Jonze to welcome you home

Products

Dot Watch is disrupting the Braille market

Architecture

Is Hyundai Pavilion the darkest building on earth?

News

The One Centre presents ‘Disruption Needs Construction’ at Sydney Design Festival 2018

Environments

Nissan brings its tech to life with self-driving slippers

Content

Outdoor apparel brand Patagonia to sue the Trump administration

News

The One Centre is hiring creative directors. Here’s our manifesto.

Environments

Tiffany & Co brings Breakfast at Tiffany’s to life with luxury collection

Music

Behind the scenes of OK Go’s ‘Obsession’

Content

The North Face combines daydreams and free skiing stunts in a mesmerising film

Technology

Nike is fighting bots with augmented reality

News

"The only way is up" - John Ford writes for Mumbrella

Architecture

Fashion house Yves Saint Laurent opens a museum in Marrakech

Content

Volkswagen explores the father/son relationship in an emotional film

Technology

Meet Norman, a WebVR tool for doodling in space

News

“Give Dove a break” - John Ford speaks to CMO magazine

Advertising

Guinness saddles up Compton Cowboys for latest Made of More film

Environments

Minimalist Japanese brand Muji expands empire with fresh food market

Technology

Teenage Engineering

Art & Design

A forest where gods live

Products

Louis Vuitton teams with Supreme for ultimate brand collaboration

Technology

Technological Nature

Technology

Playful Palette

Advertising

Nike creates graphic feast for Air Max

Advertising

Volvo returns to safety positioning in masterpiece film for the new XC6O

Products

Ikea to employ Syrian refugees in social sustainability project

Content

Screens of the future

Architecture

Apple’s extravagant new campus brings brand values to life

Products

Transformative Appetite

Entertainment

Dove launches Real Beauty Productions to tell stories of real women

Technology

Rapid Liquid Printing

Special Review

The brands coming out to support the LGBT community

Entertainment

Abstract. The Art of Design

Advertising

Target creates mini-musical spectacular for Christmas

Art & Design

Nissan creates mobile workspace

Advertising

Lincoln Motor Company taps Annie Leibovitz for campaign

Experiences

Braun creates hypnotic installation for London Design Week

Entertainment

BMW Films returns with an explosive short film

Experiences

Adidas Republic of Sports launches in China

Technology

Convert the world around you to Pantone with the new Pantone App

Experiences

Moleskine opens a cafe for creatives

Advertising

We're the Superhumans: Channel 4 returns with film series

Products

Activewear brand Lululemon expands into beer

Experiences

Tiger Beer launches NYC pop-up store to showcase best of Asia

Advertising

P&G rolls out strong film in ongoing Thank You, Mom campaign

Products

Ikea launches brand collaborations

Products

Adidas creates sustainable shoes made from ocean plastics

Content

Google launches 360-degree interactive animated short film

Music

Coca-Cola makes music with W Hotels

Advertising

Save The Children returns with harrowing refugee film

Art & Design

COS creates "show-stopping" installation

Environments

Uniqlo aims for Utopia with flagship store relaunch

Technology

McDonald's transforms Happy Meal toy into VR experience

Architecture

Samsung launches immersive brand experience store

Entertainment

Lo and Behold: Netscout launches branded film at Sundance Film Festival

Art & Design

Burberry teams with Apple to launch dedicated Music channel

Experiences

Apple Watch creates blooming installation at Selfridges

Experiences

Nike targets women with luxury workout experience

Art & Design

HSBC soars in stunning elevator film

Experiences

The Four Seasons Jet is the ultimate brand experience

Experiences

Savage Beauty: Iconic Alexander McQueen honoured in exhibition

Content

Samsung film is a beautiful tribute to the power of technology

Experiences

Converse creates global exhibition to celebrate iconic shoe

Experiences

Leica and Moncler create Monumental exhibition

Advertising

Wind Mobile celebrates human connections

Products

Lego targets architects with new product range

Products

GE revives iconic Moon Boot to celebrate role

Experiences

Nike's ‘Phenomenal’ World Cup experience

Architecture

Louis Vuitton Museum: a new level of branded art

Experiences

GQ to groom men with branded barbershop

Experiences

BMW's iconic Art Cars Project launches global tour

Art & Design

Chipotle turns to literature in new project

Entertainment

Cornetto spreads the love with film series

Music

Stella hits high note with Chalice Symphony

Experiences

NRMA opens Crashed Car Showroom

Content

Intel urges audiences to 'look inside' in film series

Content

Net-A-Porter launches glossy print magazine

Entertainment

The Lego Movie hits cinemas worldwide

Advertising

Guinness creates short film 'The Sapeurs'

Products

Dom Perignon and Jeff Koons create art

Content

Patagonia film celebrates the stories we wear

Experiences

Louis Vuitton's controversial exhibition

Advertising

Chipotle wages war on Big Food

Content

AT&T's brutal new film to stop texting and driving

Content

BA tugs the heartstrings with Visit Mum film

Advertising

Leave the world behind with Volvo

Content

IBM & The World's Smallest Film

Environments

Burberry merges digital and physical worlds

Advertising

Iconic landmark is on song with The Ship Song

Entertainment

Bond's Skyfall is ultimate branded entertainment

Entertainment

Red Bull goes Stratospheric

Experiences

Audi showcases the future in Spheres

Entertainment

AT&T unveils transmedia experience Daybreak

Experiences

Google experiments with art and science

Experiences

GE asks Australians for Two Words

Music

Coca-Cola Moves to the Beat of London

theONEcentre

Strategy + Artistry

Ground Floor,
71 York St
Sydney NSW 2000
T +61 2 8096 9700
hello@theonecentre.com

for updates on The One Centre Group and our publications.

Back to top

theONEcentre

Strategy + Artistry