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Guinness Sapeurs – Society of Elegant Persons

Contributed by: Rusmir Arnautovic
Date: Monday 03, February 2014
Guinness Sapeurs – Society of Elegant Persons

Guinness has launched “Sapeurs”, a new television commercial featuring the Sapeurs of Brazzaville, Congo. The Societe des Ambianceurs et Personnes Elegantes, (The society of Atmosphere Setters and Elegant People) are ordinary men working in menial jobs, who dress in stylish colourful suits at the end of each day. The aspirational culture of the Sapeurs dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when elegant French colonists arrived in Central Africa. The life of the Sapeurs is not defined by occupation or wealth, but by respect, a moral code and a desire to inspire others through their style and attitude. Their focus isn’t on the fabric or cost of the suit but the worth of the man inside it. The Guinness Sapeurs ad builds on the brand’s platform of celebrating people with extraordinary integrity and character.

The Sapeurs ad opens with a dramatic scene of fields on fire, as the men burn the sugar cane crop, a traditional process in the Congo pre harvest. As the ‘Sapeurs’ wash away the day’s grime and dress in their elegant style we witness their unique transformation. The ad culminates in a brightly coloured and social scene, which sees the community unite and celebrate the bold choice to live a lifestyle that is not only unexpected, but within their local communities is a source of inspiration and positivity. “In life, you cannot always choose what you do, but you can always choose who you are.”


The Sapeurs campaign was developed at AMV BBDO, London, by executive creative director Dave Buchanan, copywriter Nicholas Hulley, art director Nadja Lossgott, planners Tom White, Steve Hopkins, Rory Gallery, accounts team Michael Pring, Tom Bedwell, Amber Glenister, Laura Balfour, Giulia Watson, Oliver Short, agency producer Sara Flood, senior reducer Yvonne Clayton, production assistant Jessica Tranfield.

Media was handled at Carat by media planners Matthew Jacobs and Chris Kelly.

Filming was shot by directors Nicolai Fuglsig (commercial) and Hector Mediavilla (documentary) via MJZ and Stillking with producer Suza Horvat, executive producer Debbie Turner, director of photography Alwin Kuchler, and costume designer Mr Gammon.

Editors were Rick Russell and Russ Clapham at Final Cut with assistant editor Will Howden.

Post product was done at The Mill by executive producer LaRue Anderson (color), producer Natalie Westerfield (colour), VFX producer Rachel Stones, 2D lead artist Neil Davies, 3D lead artist Quentin Sauvinet, 2D artists Alex Candlish and colourist Adam Scott.

Audio post production was done at Wave Studios.

Music is “What Makes a Good Man” by The Heavy.

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