How Guinness mastered tone of voice with “We’ll March Again” spot during the pandemic

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With the COVID-19 outbreak continuing to cause chaos around the world, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that many marketers are playing safe when it comes to their communications. They need to understand exactly how their audiences are behaving and feeling to avoid an error in messaging judgement that could cause irreversible damage to even the strongest of brands. However, if a brand wants to stay front-of-mind, the show – as they say – must go on when it comes to advertising.

So when Guinness, a brand synonymous with Ireland, released a film entitled ‘We’ll March Again’, following the cancellation of St. Patrick’s Day parades, it tried to find a route to people’s hearts and minds.

The 90-second film was delivered with exactly the right tone of voice. With pubs closed and large celebrations cancelled, Guinness didn’t choose just to disappear into the background.

This was a spot that had to be turned around fast, but it used all the right ingredients and avoided feeling gimmicky. It goes to show how important brand tone is; often over and above channel, format or production cost.

In fact, research and insights agency Cubery analysed the reaction to “We’ll March Again”, using Cint platform’s Insight Exchange, collecting high quality data to give an accurate picture of audience reaction. This research found that the ad elicited an intensely positive emotional response from viewers, thanks to its empathetic tone; one which acknowledged the current state of affairs yet provided a hopeful and optimistic view for the future.

The subject matter may have been bleak, but the content and the message was, nevertheless, enjoyable. Respondents found it calming and reassuring, thanks to a galvanising message around unity, resilience and the strength of the human spirit and connection, which was also perfectly on brand.

While a very small portion of Cint’s sample reported some concern around the suggestion of gathering together physically, the majority appreciated the uplifting message. The inclusion of a message about a charitable donation from the brand helped the positive appeal, indicating that the Guinness Give Back fund had committed $500,0000 to help communities.

Cubery discovered that audiences appreciated the ‘caring’ and ‘inspiring’ message, with the Irish associations in the ad successfully fleshing out and building on Guinness’ long-standing heritage. Humans have a primal need for connection and community, which the brand tapped into, successfully fostering a sense of working together with its call-to-arms, despite the fact it was navigating a delicate topic. The research also found that this activity should predispose people to the brand long after the pandemic is over.

For more on the results of the Guinness study, powered by Cint, you can view the article here.

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