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In recent years Guinness and rugby have become synonymous. From the sponsoring of events and leagues, to pop up tents selling the black stuff outside stadiums. Our game has even started to spill over into their advertising campaigns.
Now, ahead of the autumn internationals, Guinness have produced four 75 second long adverts telling some of the greatest rugby tales of each of the home nations in their Made of More campaign.
For Scotland it's the tale of the late, great Bill McLaren in The Irrepressible Spirit. The advert plays more like miniature documentary detailing McLaren's heart breaking news of illness before he was due to take his bow for Scotland and how it led to him becoming rugby's most recognisable voice.
Strangely, most of England's advert is spent abroad in the sunnier climbs of the South of France and is called Merci. The whole advert is incredibly Gallic, winding it's way amongst boules, berets and Bernard Laporte; it is a flurry of red and black without a glimpse of a white jersey or red rose. It is of course a tribute to one of England's finest, Johnny Wilkinson. The problem is it feels more like an advert for Toulon fans than an English ones.
Guinness have moved into provincial rugby for the advert of their homeland. David and Goliath is the fantastic tale of the Munster team who beat the All Blacks on Halloween 1978. Thormond Park was full to bursting; the victory in Limerick lifted not just the 12,000 the ground held, but the whole nation at a time when it was badly needed. That day, more than any other, the Munstermen were heroes and the advert captures that perfectly. Munster walked away 12-0 victors and New Zealand winger Stu Wilson said, "We were lucky to get nil."
Last, but by no means least is Wales and who better to focus on than the nation's all time leading try scorer, Shane Williams. Mind Over Matter tells the story most of us will know, the rise of Shane from being "too small to play rugby" to the third highest international try scorer in the entire history of the game. Guinness tell the story against the backdrop of Shane's final Welsh cap against Australia. The clips, the commentary, the voice over; as a package the advert is enough to induce goosebumps to both fanatical rugby fans and part time supporters alike. Shane is loved by the Welsh public and Guinness play it perfectly to get us reminiscing again.
Hats off to Guinness, these adverts play out more like trailers for documentaries and if you weren't ready for the Autumn Internationals before hand you should be after watching them.