Posted by Nick on 16 Mar 2012
Tomorrow (March 17) is St Patrick's Day, and what better way to mark the occasion than by looking at Guinness, a brand that has - and probably always will have - an unmistakable link with the event (and with Ireland itself).
Since its very first ad in 1929, Guinness has had an innate sense of the power of brand awareness. Here we look at 17 great Guinness ads to demonstrate why they lead the way in the brand awareness and advertising stakes.
1 - The Guinness harp: OK, so not technically an advert, but there's no better way to start a list demonstrating their brand awareness than by mentioning their iconic logo. The harp had been used by the drinks manufacturer since 1862, and was trademarked 14 years later.
When the Irish free state wanted to use it as their symbol in 1922, the company refused. The Irish free state had to flip the logo for their own use, leaving Guinness with the original that it has borne ever since. It a fantastic, and very early example, of a company recognising the value of its brand.
2 - The first Guinness ad: Although by no means a classic, the first Guinness ad ended a view prevalent within the company that advertising was a sign of desperation.
Granted, they would probably have ended up advertising sooner or later, but by taking that first step in 1929, the company gave themselves plenty of time to develop the great TV spots we see today.
3 - Guinness is Good For You: A case study in simplicity itself, this ad was the result of agency SH Benson asking people why thy drank Guinness. The eventual strapline was, according to the legend, the answer given by 90% of the black stuff's drinkers.
4 - The ever-popular animal ads: SH Benson eventually asked in-house artist John Gilroy to help out with the Guinness account. Inspired by a sea lion he had seen at the circus, Gilroy produced the famous sea lion balancing a bottle on his nose poster.
This was swiftly followed by the likes of the ostrich and, most famously, the toucan, and were accompanied by well-known straplines like 'My Goodness, My Guinness'.
As well as the strong combination of lighthearted headlines and cartoon animals in absurd scenarios, the other thing that made GIlroy's ads stand out was his use of fonts - while it is now accepted practice that fonts should be used consistently across all collateral, brand guidelines in the 30s were unheard of.
But despite this, Gilroy insisted on using the same typeface across all his work, further increasing the strength of the brand.
5 - Guinness goes abroad: Again, not a specific advert, but more the fact that Guinness, from a very early stage, would change its adverts abroad to ensure the widest appeal - images two and three are the English and African versions of the same campaign, adapted to suit different audiences.
6 - Rutger Hauer: Along with the 'Pure Genius' slogan, Rutger Hauer brought a fresh look to the ads throughout the 80s, as well as heralding in an era when Guinness ads were a bit special.
7 - Good things come to those who wait: The slogan that welcomed a whole raft of new ads that emphasised the two-part pour process. Although future ads were a variation on this theme, most future Guinness TV spots highlighted this particular ritual of drinking the balck stuff.
8-17 - TV spots: While we could pick out the top 10 TV spots for our final slots, countless other sites have already dedicated space to listing the best examples of their work - go here or here for some newer examples.
Which is your favourite Guinness ad? Are you fan of the classic posters or the stylish TV spots? Leave a comment to let us know, or tell us on Twitter.
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