The 1978 All Black Take Down. Graded.

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The Spot

The ad begins with a black and white shot of a crowd walking down a wide street with the words “Limerick City” across the screen. Then we hear the voice of a narrator. He begins by saying “one team dominates the game of rugby” and then proceeds throughout the ad to introduce the intimidating New Zealand All Blacks as the camera shows black and white footage of the October 31 1978 game played by the unbeatable All Blacks and the Ireland Munster’s. The footage jumps around between crowd shots and field shots as it chronologically depicts the events that unfolded that fateful day. Beginning with the arrival of the players, the traditional Haka, and then following game footage and then finally the Irish fans racing onto the field as their team is victorious in the 12-0 win over the feared and all mighty All Blacks. The ad ends with “31 October 1978. The day 15 brave Munster men beat the unbeatable.” Then a final cut to the Guinness logo and that they are a proud partner of Home Nation’s rugby.

The Challenge

Guinness and Rugby go together like peanut butter and jelly. That is just the way it is. It is no surprise that Guinness launched a European campaign that advertises their sponsorship of the Home Nation’s.  The challenge for Guinness is to bring a sense of humility to rugby that people who haven’t played or who don’t understand the game will not see while still showing their support for the game.

The Idea

Whoever came up with this campaign should be given an honorary triple crown. Its genius. Get the rugby fans more excited about the upcoming season and then throw your branding out there. Remind people about the human side of the game. About the time the Irish stood tall and proud against a team that’s reputation scared competitors right off the field and remind them about the time the whole country stood behind 15 men and said collectively “not in our house”.

Execution of the Idea

By taking the viewer through the story and history behind that historic game and giving them an underdog to cheer for there is an emotional bond created there. Having the branding at the end reminding people that yes we do sponsor the national pride and joy will make them think twice about what drink to order at the local pub the next time they are out watching a game.

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What Works? Why?

The emotion. It gives you an underdog to cheer for. I had chills watching this. I may be biased slightly because rugby is my addiction. But the line “and every Irishman grew 12 feet taller” is irresistible.  By the end of the ad all you want to do is watch a rugby match and that is perfect timing for Guinness to throw their branding out there and be like “hey while you are watching that match remember who supports your favourite team”. Its solid gold.

What doesn’t work? Why?

Honestly, everything works here. The target is sports fans and we are all rather simply minded. The ad is great. Maybe a little more branding but even that doesn’t really need to be changed as it would take away from the magnitude of the tale.

The Grade: A+

This ad does what it needs too; get people super pumped about the upcoming season and remind them of the long standing history of the beautiful game and their hero’s.  Then once they are super jacked remind them who helps to make this league possible and if they are a beer league player; who makes the post-game stiffness bearable. Trust me there is not a thing better than a nice cold Guinness after a tough match.



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