Monday, October 28, 2013
Why the Guinness and Jonathan Ross 'TV advertorial' was just too good


Most people are shocked and appalled at the three agonising minutes of TV that made up Guinness' latest campaign. On paper, however, it does seem like a good idea. For these reasons:

1. Nobody has ever done it.
2. It's branded content. Brands are publishers now, right?
3. Jonathan Ross is a popular TV host.
4. It appeared on a time when lots of people are watching their TVs.
5. There's a hashtag!
So how come it was one of the most cringeworthy things the universe has ever seen?

I blame the execution. There's no humour in it. No self-awareness. No irony. No rough edges. Jonathan Ross and Danny Wallace are both sarcastic presenters who revel in things going wrong, or unexpected mistakes. They are both brilliant at ad-libbing.

When you polish all the imperfections out of the script, add a laughter track, and time the reactions down to the second (and make sure the cameras catch them as exactly the right moment) the whole thing looks fake.
The one thing that we don't want from our advertising - which is a huge irony in itself - is fakeness.

The backlash against this mentioned problems such as the campaign didn't have a decent call to action, or that the site wasn't properly mobile optimised, or that the research wasn't interesting enough. That's all rubbish, and way too deep to explain why this campaign was so awkward to watch.

If content itself had been better, and Jonathan and Danny has been allowed to be themselves and entertain us properly for three and a half minutes, then we wouldn't have cared.