• 01.25.13

Behind Guinness’ Latest Big Production, “Clock”

A clock decides it’s “made of more” in the latest from Guinness.

Behind Guinness’ Latest Big Production, “Clock”

The clues are there. A speaking clock that decides to be “more than just a tick-tock kind of clock” by making time that drags fly, fleeting moments last longer and offers second chances by spinning backwards. Character-ful, rather than picture perfect actors. And a filmic production shot in black and white.


It’s the new Guinness ad, part of a new £5.5m marketing push–the brand’s biggest to date Diageo claims–which broke on British TV January 24. And though a stylistic departure from its predecessor “Cloud,” “Clock” is closely in step with the brand’s “made of more” campaign theme say its creators at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO London.

“Made of more is all about not settling for the ordinary–behavior shared by Guinness’ target audience,” claims Tom White, the agency’s board account director for Guinness. “Though the brand has used it as a line for some time, ‘Cloud’ (in which a cloud refuses to settle for being an ordinary cloud) was the first articulation of what it means. ‘Clock’ continues the theme.”

Guinness is famous for its TV advertising, of course, and getting its commercials just right remains an important focus.

Shot in Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, the commercial, which is set in the 1890s, was directed by Peter Thwaites, whose past credits include high-profile ads for AT&T, Martina and Barclaycard’s “Waterslide.” 160 actors were needed to tell the story, which revolves around the residents of a town in Bohemia.

Though the thinking behind “Clock” remains true to the “made of more” strategy, the creative execution is intentionally different. “The unique pressure of a brand like Guinness is its advertising legacy,” White observes. “Research shows consumers don’t think in terms of a ‘typical Guinness ad’ when it comes to look or style. Each is unexpected, and people like that.”

As in many previous ads, however, black and white is a visual representation of the product itself. In the closing shot of “Clock,” the clock’s face merges into a pint of Guinness.

About the author

Meg Carter is a UK-based freelance journalist who has written widely on all aspects of branding, media, marketing & creativity for a wide range of outlets including The Independent, Financial Times and Guardian newspapers, New Media Age and Wired.