Guinness explode on the African continents market with this ad, that features talent from Lagos, Accra and Cape Town all the way to Nairobi, Gaborone and Johannesburg picked to express what "made of black" means. It's funny that a European aired Guinness effort, showing the Sapeurs / Elegant Persons in Congo felt more African than this does. On paper, I get it: "Black is not a colour. Black is an attitude. It’s a mindset, it’s a way of life. Black represents the best of Africa. People who are Made of Black are people who are Made of More." And visually, it's stunning with the vivid colours, the gravity-defying dance-moves, the edit and avant garde font.
But, honestly now, this feels like a bunch of westerners somewhere in a rainy city trying to express "African" with the help of an American hip-hop song. I mean, Kanye is the soundtrack - a man living in Hollywood hills, what does he know about Africa? What's the matter, were Spoek Mathambo, Just a Band, Muthoni The Drummer Queen and countless other talents on the massive continent busy? I'm not African, but I've at least been there (and my family has lived in west Africa), and I know that attempting to speak to an entire continent with vastly different nationalities, is going to be hard. But boiling it down to the old "dancing black man" and bright colours routine also made it a tad insulting - which is all that we see in this edit.
Made of black has to be more than just your standard surface, because just like Africa, Guinness itself runs deeper and more complex than just the colour of the stout.

Conclusion, pretty as hell, but vapid and pandering. Sheesh, you chose Kanye? What were you thinking? Black says why not? Did this just turn into a Diesel ad?

See the creative people that are #madefromblack DJ Steloo, Bee Diamondhead, the pantsula dancers, the Botswana bikers.

Client: Guinness Africa Agency: AMV BBDO, London Creative Director: Mike Schalit Creatives: Mike Sutherland, Antony Nelson Production Company: Rogue Films Director: Sam Brown Postproduction: The Mill Editorial: Final Cut Editor: Amanda James

Comments (2)

  • Evelyn's picture
    Evelyn (not verified)

    Guinness, this is absolutely horrible. Way to be offensive and one note definers of black people. Perhaps next time hire a director and creative team that has any semblance of cultural sensitivity.

    Sep 06, 2014
  • Dabitch's picture

    The short clips of the artists, dancers, subculture celebs are FAR more interesting than the main edit of the ad. The interactive "upload your selfies & show us what your made of" is the usual blaha, and so far I see only one actual person has uploaded their selfie. The Hashtag #MadeofBlack however, is crowded by people declaring their pride, shouting out to their favorit artists and just randomly tweeting. At least 50% of the tag is coming from people who are on the continent of Africa too, it trended in Ghana for two days straight.

    Sep 07, 2014

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.