Guinness Jonathan Ross ad experiment backfires

A Guinness ad campaign, which saw the Diageo alcohol brand take over all three ad breaks during Saturday night’s (26 October) episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, was roundly criticised by viewers, with some using its corresponding #RoundUpYourMates hashtag on Twitter to call out the activity for being “painful” and even sexist.

The ad spots were set up as a Jonathan Ross interview with author Danny Wallace and Oxford University professor Robin Dunbar, discussing the findings of a research paper, commissioned by Guinness, on male bonding.

The TV media buy was also supported on Guinness Europe’s YouTube channel, with videos starring Wallace, and on the GuinnessGB Twitter account.

The #RoundUpYourMates hashtag was quickly hijacked by viewers as the ads aired (see the pick of the tweets below). The hashtag has garnered more than 2,000 tweets, according to analysis tool Topsy, but the vast majority of them were negative.

Guardian journalist Stuart Heritage tweeted: “Genuinely thought that #RoundUpYourMates would be a Ghostwatch-style spoof. Nope. Just the single worst ad I have ever seen.”

Jon Weedon, internal communications manager at, tweeted: “#RoundUpYourMates The wonderfully rich heritage of Guinness TV advertising just died tonight #ShameOnYou”.

Click here to read Diageo’s response to the campaign’s reception.

The pick of the #RoundUpYourMates tweets

@ItsMrsNeal Wow, #RoundUpYourMates is just excruciating. And yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity. This.

@ThePaulSutton The problem with #roundupyourmates? It lacks authenticity. Lack of brand relevance makes it feel contrived. Oh, and the canned laughter.

@Jack_Ashman Only just caught Guinness’ CAR CRASH of an ad takeover on Jonathan Ross … #roundupyourmates #cringe

@leemcewan Interrupting a TV show with a worse version of the same TV show devalued the TV show itself … #roundupyourmates

@RebeccaZoe Err. Guinness ad. Kind of sexist?! #RoundUpYourMates #butonlyiftheyreBLOKES

@brandnatter A legacy of brilliant #guinness adverts just gone down the drain with #RoundUpYourMates

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