Whether you’re hunting for four-leaf clovers and digging into corned beef and cabbage or staying far, far away from your local pub, you can’t deny the enthusiasm that surrounds St. Patrick’s Day. And on this day, the only thing more festive than dyeing a river green and putting on a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” T-shirt is sipping the Emerald Isle’s most celebrated beverage: Guinness.
In the spirit of the season, we took a look at the iconic stout’s marketing throughout the years to learn how the brand has evolved from decade to decade. Lá Shona Fhéile Pádraig!
Guinness Sea Lion, 1955
We all have to start somewhere. And in Guinness’ case, they decided to bring the successful Sea Lion print campaign to life for the brand’s very first television spot in 1955. My goodness! My Guinness!
Guinness Black Pot, 1976
A new chapter of Guinness advertising began in 1969, when the company moved its account to global ad agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT). Reliant on wit and simplicity, JWT’s “Black Pot” campaign aimed to elevate the Guinness brand and separate it from competitors by highlighting its definitively dark appearance. This 1976 ad is one of the brand’s most iconic from this time.
Guinness Surfer, 1999
Fast forward to the 1990s. Critics had started to ding Guinness about the time it takes to correctly pour a pint of the product (119.5 seconds, to be exact). Looking to regain control of the conversation, they turned to a new agency. AMV–BBDO won the account on the back of a new slogan—“good things come to those who wait.” A few years later, the Surfer ad would debut and go on to become one of the most successful installments of this campaign.
Guinness noitulovE, 2005
You could say that this ad was 500,000,000 years in the making. Looking for a fresh approach to the “Good Things” slogan, AMV-BBDO answered with the “noitulovE” commercial. This spot, which features three Guinness drinkers moving backwards and devolving through time, would win more awards than any other ad in the world in 2006, positioning Guinness as the market leader for beer in the United Kingdom.
Guinness Wheelchair Basketball commercial, 2013
In 2013, Guinness proved it wasn’t afraid to tug at our heartstrings with its “Wheelchair Basketball” commercial. This poignant piece offered a thoughtful departure from the stereotypical beer commercial by showing viewers that it’s not just about what you drink—it’s about who you drink it with.