AMV BBDO, Guinness Prepare for Rugby World Cup

By Erik Oster 

With the Rugby World Cup set to kick off next Friday, London’s AMV BBDO launched several spots for Guinness as part of its larger “Made of More” campaign.

A pair of online videos tell the stories of rugby legends Gareth Thomas and Ashwin Willemse.

In “Gareth’s Story,” Thomas talks about the pressures of being a star rugby player while keeping his sexual orientation a secret. “The battle I was going through personally, compared to the battles on the field, [was] probably ten times worse,” Thomas says in the spot, adding, “To hide that secret from the team was horrible.” Worried that “everyone would turn their back on me,” when he finally opened up to the team, he found instead, an “overwhelming protection from everybody.” 

Willemse‘s account is equally engrossing, documenting the star’s struggles to escape the gang filled streets of South Africa, and the eventual salvation he found in rugby. He calls the sport “a gift” which provided “a positive environment” away from his life as a gang member. If not for rugby, he guesses, he would have ended up “either in prison or in a coffin six feet under.”

Both ads are expertly shot by director John Hillcoat. Their pacing and interesting subject matter allows them to manage a run time of over three minutes without seeming to overstay their welcome. The subjects were perfectly selected, as well, as their stories have broad appeal beyond those interested in professional rugby. Both ads also appear, in edited versions, as 60-second broadcast spots, which we’ve included, along with the full “Ashwin’s Story” below.