Guinness celebrates the spirit of rugby in new ad campaign

With the eyes of the world shortly turning to England for “seven weeks of sporting history”, Guinness today (September 7) launches a brand new campaign, celebrating stories of strength of character and integrity from the world of rugby. Rather than focus on physical attributes of what makes a rugby player, this campaign looks to inner qualities like courage, empathy and resilience, according to Guinness maker Diageo. 

Gareth Thomas: Never Alone tells the story of how the former Wales captain’s greatest fear wasn’t the opposition he faced on the pitch, but the fear of rejection from everything he had known, because of his sexuality. The film celebrates both his courage and the empathy shown by his teammates when he came out, showing that even when he felt he was on his own and at his lowest point, he was always part of a team.

Ashwin Willemse: The Right Path tells the story of a man (Ashwin, pictured) who chose rugby over a life of crime in his native Cape Town. The film celebrates the choice that he made to defy his circumstances, and with the encouragement of those around him, he became who he really wanted to be, eventually winning 19 caps for his country and becoming a World Champion in 2007.

Along with the two ads, Guiness is also releasing two short documentaries, which explore Gareth and Ashwin’s stories in more detail.

Nick Britton, marketing manager for Guinness Western Europe said: “These films perfectly demonstrate the values of integrity and character that are both core to the sport of rugby. The courage that Gareth and Ashwin both showed, and the incredible empathy and support they received from their team, are remarkable stories that we are proud to celebrate.”

Guinness has been involved with rugby for over forty years, and is a  Partner of the four Home Nations – England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The new films join the suite of rugby content that were launched last year for the Autumn Internationals, and can be viewed at

In addition Guinness aims to recruit 500,000 on-trade consumers over the next five months with the introduction of the Guinness Lineout, a new mechanic to drive rate of sale and help outlets maximise sales opportunities during the upcoming months of rugby.

The  Lineout will provide a means for consumers to buy a round of the black stuff for their friends, while maintaining quality and ensuring a great tasting serve. As well as this, Guinness will help licensees maximise sales opportunities with PoS kits in over 10,000 outlets. For  larger pubs, the kits will include large visibility items, such as inflatable rugby posts and outdoor flags. Guinness will also work closely with 100 ‘shrine’ outlets – the best rugby pubs in the UK and their licensees – to provide them with bespoke visibility items and solutions to drive speed of serve and hopefully increase sales for the total beer category.

The brand will also drive association with rugby in the off-trade with its biggest physical availability drive within stores, across wholesale, convenience and multiples. This will be led by the launch of new collectable limited edition glassware, with 300,000 glassware packs available to stores throughout the off trade.

There will be six glasses to collect, each with a unique name associated with rugby, and the limited-edition glass promotion will sit within special 10 packs of Guinness and will be available from various accounts across the off trade.

The Gareth film can be seen here:

And the Ashwin film here:

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