A brand dilemma for Guinness

What do you do when you find some user-generated content in which your brand has a starring role that’s being talked about in various places online – a viral effect – yet gives you a bit of a dilemma in how that content portrays your brand?

This is a dilemma facing drinks conglomerate Diageo in the form of this video on YouTube about Guinness (potentially NSFW depending on your workplace: think before clicking):

As reported in BrandRepublic, Diageo said:

Guinness is in no way associated with this video, and approached YouTube to have it removed. We are proud of our brands, and our commitment to responsible marketing, and this is not how we want our brand portrayed.

A bit of a pompous statement in my view, but a predictable traditional reaction.

Judging by many of the comments to the video on YouTube and in the BrandRepublic story, the video is how those watching it like to see the brand portrayed.

Hmm, that’s not to say you’d just accept that view. Some people will regard the video as offensive (at worst) or in poor taste (at best, and no pun intended) which may well influential their perceptions of the Guinness brand. Conceivably, it may affect their purchasing decisions about Guinness.

On the other hand, the video could positively influence that as well (as one tongue-in-cheek Twitterer commented).

So what do you do? Send take-down notices to YouTube, as Diageo has apparently done (and to no effect so far as the video is still there)? Maybe engage with commenters to try and put your point of view across (no evidence of that so far)? Reach out to the video maker (ditto)?

What would you do if you were Diageo’s brand manager for Guinness?