Quick! Come Cry Over This Guinness Olympic Athletes Ad Before It Disappears Forever

Normally we wouldn’t drag you all the way over here for a Guinness beer advertisement — oh, who are we kidding? Of course we would! — but this one is all tearjerkish and has to disappear at midnight thanks to Olympic Martial Law or something like that, so you have to watch it right away. Who knew?

[T]he ad must be pulled soon to comply with U.S. Olympic Committee rules that generally prohibit marketers who are not official sponsors from featuring Olympic competitors, according to Guinness. This year’s ad blackout runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 26, according to rules posted on TeamUSA.org.

Technically, all competitors appearing in ads must get permission from the IOC executive board. But waivers for USOC sponsors “will nearly always be granted,” while permission “will not be granted to companies that compete with USOC sponsors,” according to the rules.

Diageo-owned Guinness is not an Olympic sponsor but competing brand Budweiser is an official Team USA sponsor. So Guinness wanted to take advantage of the short window it had by making a one-day media buy, including TV, YouTube and print ads in daily newspapers.

We just knew that the IOC was basically the Illuminati of advertising and that somehow there would be Byzantine rules that require you to make burnt offerings to the gods or some such in order to be able to have athletes in your ads during the Olympics, but we didn’t actually know that they could stop those ads before the Olympics even start. Turns out they can! Also turns out that companies will always find a way to leverage that restriction into a golden opportunity by doing an enormous ad buy and announcing that the clock is tick tick ticking away so come quick. Naw mang, says Guinness, they’re doing it for the story.

“We are not doing this as a guerilla marketing tactic to ride the wave of the Olympics,” said Diageo spokesman Jim Sias. “This is just a really powerful, inspirational story that we think really aligns with the DNA of what the Guinness brand is,” he added. “We really wanted to celebrate it and make this story more known and recognize it.”

We just happened to decide that we really needed to make this powerful story about two Olympic competitors known right before the Olympics and market it in a sort of faux-viral way but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the Olympics, silly, and oh heavens no, it is not guerilla marketing.

Seriously, we can’t even hate, because the ad is a total cry-fest. We’re not going to stomp on the point of it by telling you what the twist is, so just watch it already. You can spare 60 seconds out of your day.

[Ad Age]

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  • Ambignostic

    Sister power!

  • FeloniousMonk

    To my surprise, I cried. That is, I laughed till I cried. The Guiness logo, with the cheesy slogan, coming up at the end is so disconnected from what’s gone before, so inappropriate, it’s hilarious.

  • Farb

    Too bad the IOC feels it has to manhandle the athletes. It’s not much more to them than a gargantuan reality program. Follow the money. [ Interesting story in the advertisement. Good sentiment. Unusual sponsor for such a bit. ]