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The Hidden Controversy Behind the Guinness Wheelchair Commercial
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The Hidden Controversy Behind the Guinness Wheelchair Commercial

A few months ago, Guinness, the popular beer brand, aired a commercial that has some people arguing in what has been a relatively quiet controversy. For those that have not yet seen the commercial, it shows a game of wheelchair basketball.

This is not typical game; the men playing are colliding with one another and being extremely competitive. Just watching makes you want to sweat.

In the end, we find that all of the men are able to get up from their wheelchairs and walk without any hindrance—all except one man.

The story here, of course, is that these stand-up guys were doing what they could to spend time with their handicapped friend. The clip really is touching at sweet at first glance. However, there is a bit of confusion when the viewer finds out that the commercial was for beer.

This has many people wondering if Guinness is really just using people the handicaps of others to promote their product. Perhaps, this side argues, Guinness wants to establish itself as a classy beer—the beer that is drank by men that have a bigger heart than those that are drinking its competition.

With so many organizations keeping an eye out for the rights of particular groups, a commercial like this is bound to raise some eyebrows. It really all comes down to the context of it. Simply placing your brand name at the end of such a powerful commercial is seen as some as cheap and exploitive.

Of course, without the Guinness logo and branding at the end, the commercial is a perfect representation of friendship. It was such a powerful and popular commercial that it went viral online very quickly and was even featured on The Huffington Post.

So what do you think? Are some people right to be upset by the structure and approach of the commercial or is this becoming a big deal based on a company’s efforts to make a touching commercial with an important message?



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Leave a Comment

  1. Scott Daravanis
    Scott Daravanis
    I have absolutely no problem with the commercial. Of course, Guinness' name is going to be on the end - Guinness is promoting, advertising and trying to sell its product. If this commercial was done by a wheelchair company or Nike, would we think any different? The tremendously more important part is the storyline of friends making a huge adjustment to include their disabled friend in an activity the men enjoy. They played hard just as they would have if all of them we able-bodied. And at the end, they look forward to doing it all again next week. And just like all friends, they go out for a beer afterwards. I play sled hockey (same thing just different sport) and we get beers afterward, too. If you have not attempted wheelchair basketball, it's much harder than it looks, which gives even more importance to the able-bodied players making the adjustment to include their friend.
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  2. Mficarra315
    I'm in a chair & also enjoy the occasional Guinness. I liked the commercial and think that people complain about just about everything. Guinness isn't exploiting us chair users, it's using an example of friendship and compassion to help market their product. Well done
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    1. AdrianaM
      Agreed! I too am a wheelchair user and have no problem w/the commercial. People have nothing better to do and need to cause controversy just for the hell of it. I do have to admit that the first thought that came to mind was that their target audience was/is wounded vets.
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      1. AdrianaM
        So, I couldn't have been more right regarding vets! Recently, I met someone who was part of the production of the commercial. It was inspired by real people. A military man and his friends had a ritual of playing basketball together and then go out to have a beer. When the man was injured in the line of duty, instead of stopping their ritual, his friends decided to learn how to play wheelchair basketball!
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  3. LowPro
    "Are some people right to be upset by the structure and approach of the commercial or is this becoming a big deal based on a company’s efforts to make a touching commercial with an important message?" I'd have to know who the people are that are upset about the structure and approach, before I could post an opinion as to whether I think they're right. My gut feeling is that this is just another "politically-correct" effort by someone that doesn't have a clue. I don't need someone out there protecting my sensitivities...because I'm not sensitive! I've been in a chair for 35 years, and I haven't made it this far by whining & moaning. Life is hard...adapt, overcome, move on...and play hard! I'm an avid outdoorsman (who da' thunk?!). I have friends that have worked just as hard as I have, to assist me in achieving my goals. That's exactly what I get from this commercial...brothers being brothers...nothing more. As for my opinion, I applaud Guinness' efforts...because they nailed it!
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  4. Lonewheeler
    They are using the Disabled community no more than Budweiser uses the Clydesdale Owners community and no more than any other company uses Beach Bon Fire parties etc etc... I have seen so many commercials that show friends getting together and enjoying each others company with no "controversy" raised. To be honest I have been a little put back that there is not more representation of the disabled community in commercials, TV programs, movies etc. This ad showed that his friends see him as an equal and not someone they should feel sorry for, rather they got together and did something he loves on an even playing field and got a feel for what he deals with when he participates in what he loves. I play pool competitively and not just against other wheelchair users. Many times I have had a friend ask me to get an extra chair so they could see what I see when approaching the table and selecting shots. They don't do it out of pity they do it to discover something new (about themselves and about the game) and no offense is meant or taken from. It is actually quite funny watching some of them try and they understand why I shoot a different shot than they would take or see something in the layout of the table they wouldn't have seen before. We need more like this rather than less.
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  5. Adam Chippindall
    A new commercial of the Guinness Wheelchair has a hidden controversy behind this it was good to have this. If you want to watch this commercial you can watch this on it this was the link of production that shoot this commercial.
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  6. melissa123
    I have some questions about marketing I need some suggestions about marketing strategy, please advise me.
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  7. JamesWilliam
    I Found the write place after lot of search on google i am in write place where i can get an informative thing. Thank you for posting this amazing post and trick and keep continue writing these amazing tricky informative blog.
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  8. Delmer
    I work at as a Digital Marketing Expert.
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  9. sandra
    I believe your closest buddy requires some rest; maintaining a seat isn't simple, but if you work hard at it, it will become second nature, and it will be thrilling.
    Log in to reply.

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