Choosing horses over gangs: Compton Cowboys shine in new Guinness advert

A short film has shone the spotlight on a group of men who have chosen to follow their passion for horses in a city often known for its gangs and violence.

Guinness’ latest advertising campaign portrays the story of “The Compton Cowboys”.

It is part of the drinks company’s “Made of More” series, which champions real people who have shown “unexpected character to enrich the world around them”.

Credit: Stefan Kocev

“We are proud to celebrate the ‘Compton Cowboys’ in our new campaign, a group of people who have made a bold and unexpected choice to live a different life,” said Guinness’ marketing director Duncan Elliott.

“Their love and devotion to their horses and each other, they are a source of inspiration and a cause for hope within their local community.”

Many of the horses have been rescued from auction houses, where they would have been sold for slaughter.

“By saving these horses, nursing them, caring for them and bringing them back to life, the Cowboys find a sense of purpose and confidence that enriches both their lives and those of the people living in the community around them,” said a statement from Guinness.

“Despite growing up in difficult circumstances, which for some has even resulted in jail time, the ‘Compton Cowboys’ have had the strength of character to re-focus their lives in a positive way.

“Together, they serve as an example to others that by making bold decisions and following your own path in life, you can find peace and personal fulfillment, regardless of circumstance.”

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When the land was donated to form Compton City, Los Angeles County 1888, a stipulation was made that a portion of it remained agricultural.

Richlands Farm is the legacy of this stipulation — it is made up of around 50 small ranches where people care for horses and farm animals.

Keenan Abercrombie, who was born and raised in Compton, is one of those who appears in the film.

“Growing up in Compton is pretty hit and miss,” he said. “You take the good path or the bad path.

“A lot of kids wanted to be gangsters — but me, I wanted to be a cowboy.

“When people think of Compton they think of gang violence and destruction.

“But in those 10 square miles you have at least 50 farms. You can literally peek over somebody’s fence and see paradise — just like a hidden world.”

He added: “When you make a relationship with a horse, it gets deeper. If you can love them unconditionally, eventually they will love you back.”

Kenneth Atkins adds that when he is on his horse it is “total freedom”.

Credit: Stefan Kocev

“I don’t think about no problems — it is just me and my baby rolling in our own little peaceful bubble.”

The Compton Cowboys campaign was created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO advertising agency and directed by Henry Alex Rubin.

It aired for the first time on British television on Monday (18 September).

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