Guinness Rugby Players Never Alone

In the build up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Guinness released two commercials revealing the inner strength behind two of the game’s best loved players. The two commercials champion the inner strength of character found in former Welsh captain Gareth Thomas and Springbok Ashwin Willemse as they share the difficult decisions they had to face in the pursuit of their careers. The support of their teams is carried in the title “Never Alone”, while the call for integrity is expressed in the title “The Right Path”.

Guinness Never Alone commercial featuring Gareth Thomas

“Never Alone” has Welsh player Gareth Thomas talking about how he revealed the truth about his sexuality to his teammates. Gareth’s greatest fear wasn’t the opposition he faced on the pitch. This film celebrates the courage of Gareth and support shown by his teammates when he needed them most.

“The Right Path” tells the story of Ashwin Willemse, a man who had a choice of two paths when growing up. One dictated to him by a notorious Cape Town gang, and one he would need to make for himself, to follow a path to the pinnacle of rugby. The film celebrates the choice that he made to defy his circumstances, and with the encouragement of those around him, he became who he really wanted to be, eventually winning 19 caps for his country and becoming a World Champion in 2007.

Gareth Thomas, former Wales captain, said: “I went into battle on the pitch every week, but the battle I was going through personally was ten times worse because I was keeping a secret from the team. That team becomes like your family – the closest thing to you, and to hide that secret from the team was horrible. The support that my teammates showed when I came out was truly remarkable – my sexuality didn’t matter to them at all. I am very proud about my rugby playing career, but I am more proud of the fact that my teammates supported me to play rugby being Gareth Thomas, being the person that I am, 100%.”

Ashwin Willemse, former South Africa rugby player, said: “Me becoming a Springbok was something I never perceived to be possible growing up. I made some wrong decisions when I was younger and fell in with the wrong crowd. But even during that time I always had the gift of rugby. Without rugby, and the incredible support of my teammates and family, I most probably would have ended up either in prison or in a coffin six foot under. What they taught me is that we can defy the odds, we can be better than we ever imagined, all you need in life is just a small little light that can give you a new direction, and that for me was rugby.”


The Guinness Rugby Never Alone and Right Path campaign was developed at AMV BBDO by creative director Dave Buchanan, copywriters Mike Crowe and art director Rob Messeter (Gareth), copywriter Toby Allen and art director Jim Hilson (Ashwin), agency producers Jess Tranfield and Nick Godden, account executives Ben Griffiths, Laura Balfour, Chris Ferguson, Marina Lanaghan, account planner Steve Hopkins, working with Stephen O’Kelly, marketing director for Guinness (Western Europe) at Diageo.

Media was handled at Carat by planner Jackie Lyons.

Filming was shot by director John Hillcoat via Stink with producer Malachy McAnenny. Editing was done at Trim.

The short documentaries were created by Dan and Ben Tubby, of Tubby Brother.

Visual effects were produced at MPC by VFX producer Amy Smith, 2D creative director Bill McNamara, 2D supervisor Jim Radford, VFX Team Daniel Cowley, Grant White, Julia Caram, Lino Khay, Matthew Jackson, and colourist Mark Gethin.

Sound was designed at 750mph. Music by Ludovico Einaudi, Warren Ellis and Nick Cave was supervised at Radford Music.