It only takes one taste to know that Guinness is a great stout beer. But a great 'anything' isn’t going to be successful if no one knows it exists. After all, Van Gogh, as talented as he was, never sold a painting in his lifetime. Ouch!
Well, Guinness of Irish fame decided long ago not to go down that weary path of should-have-beens. Guinness has always understood the vital importance of marketing through the use of image but not just any old picture would do. Their hallmark images had to catch the feeling of the times, position their beer within everyday patterns of enjoyment and values and still be absolutely unforgettable.
Beginning in the 1930s John Gilroy, who was then employed by Benson’s Advertising, created a series of distinctive Guinness posters featuring kangaroos, ostriches, seals, lions and most notably a big billed toucan bird all enjoying life and, of course, Guinness beer.
Each poster and ad was matched with a simple four or five word statement that expressed humor and always the word “Guinness” as the must-have beer. Some of the crisp copy was even written by the famous mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers, creator of bon vivant detective Lord Peter Wimsey.
Guinness’ unique combination of carefree animals and positive text capture the hearts and smiles of a world weary from war and depression. In pub after pub and in endless magazine and newspaper ads, Guinness’ light-hearted animals made beer purchasable fun in hard times. They also made Guinness a very successful brand.
That success, supported by innovative advertising, continues to this day at Guinness. Stunning YouTube videos have replaced the older pub posters as the modern beer drinker now has an iPad and a fully app-ed mobile phone.
Whether it is “Noitulove” (evolution spelled backwards), the stunning “Surfer" with charging wild horses made of foam and fury or “Tipping Point” shot in a remote Argentine mountain village, each new ad piece tells a story that matches the concerns of modern drinkers and links their value commitment to the Guinness brand.
There’s an old Irish saying that a good friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find but wonderful to have. The same could be said of a great beer. But thanks to Guinness and half century of creative advertising, one has only to say “Guinness, Please!” and every day can be St Patrick’s Day, filled with friends, laughter and all that’s memorable in life! Enjoy!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011