I’m Irish and I don’t like Guinness. It’s a sentence many find weird to hear as if the two are somehow correlated. However, whilst I don’t like Guinness, I love their adverts. A few years back, they produced a series of one-minute adverts. It was based on the motto of Guinness – “Made of more”, and talked about people who surpassed expectations and were made of character.
The ‘Made of more’ campaign produced 4 equally brilliant and motivational adverts. However, one of the most powerful adverts they produced was about Jonny Wilkinson (if you don’t know him, he’s a rugby player who won England the rugby world cup back in 2003). It features a variety of warm praise from fans of the last club (Toulon in France) that Wilkinson played for as well as French opponents he faced off against.
The use of various people who speak the praise of Wilkinson in a minute space is also effective. It shows a unanimous agreement about Wilkinson, the talk about different aspects of him – how he can bounce back from injury, how he upheld his beliefs no matter what. This is social proof (Cialdini, 1993), where the wide variety of people reflect what is assumed to be the correct knowledge about Wilkinson.
The use of social proof creates a liking of Wilkinson, which Cialdini claims will improve compliance. This ad uses Wilkinson (and the others of the campaign) as models that represent Guinness, again this is social proof but in a different way. Using famous faces of the sport as a way to highlight how the Guinness is a good product which great men and women drink is a different form of social proof that increases the chances of you or I drinking Guinness. This is particularly common now, with a variety of brands using the famous to market their products. George Clooney with Nespresso is a recent one that comes to mind. However, Wilkinson doesn’t come out at the end and say the catchphrase “made of more”. It’s implied. The advert allows you to make a subtle connection between the type of person everyone adores and respects, and by drinking Guinness, a drink that aims to exude such qualities, you are in turn a person of such character. Although, if someone hasn't seen the ad, they may just think you're a drunk, rather than a well-principled and universally loved person
Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: The psychology of persuasian. New York: Morrow