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Courageously Creative

Guinness don’t just brew beers, they are also renowned for their creative marketing campaigns and advertisements.

These campaigns and ads have reflected the true creative side of Guinness and how it has influenced people towards their brand. It has also helped the company to grow their brand trade value and global reach over the years. Guinness on their official website have mentioned that Imagination is not something they are short of and that they will continue to push boundaries to tell their stories to the world. With such a statement comes great responsibility and they have never failed to deliver.

This article will look back at 4 of Guinness’s classic advertisements and creative campaigns in their history. Some of them should be familiar with you or if not, don’t worry we have everything covered for you.

Guinness is Good for you – First Guinness Newspaper Advertisement

It has been over 90 years since the first Guinness advertisement was published in a newspaper. The tagline for this very first advert comes as this “Guinness is good for you”. It appeared in the Daily Mail on the 6th of February 1929 with an apology note stating “This was the first advertisement ever issued in a national paper to advertise Guinness.” This marked the beginning of one of the “courageously creative” advertising campaigns initiated by Guinness over the years.

The fascinating story behind the tagline is something to be aware of. The then Guinness advertising team and creatives went around nearby pubs and asked punters the reason behind them drinking Guinness beers. It was interesting to note that 9 out of 10 answers from people were identical as they said “Guinness is good for you”. This was how the slogan for their first ever newspaper advert was born. This slogan was a hit and is still considered as one of the Guinness classic advertisements ever came out.

Guinness for Strength

This was one of John Gilroy’s classics, a polymoth of the painting world. Gilroy brought life to Guinness campaigns from 1928 to 1960s. Guinness for strength advert campaign was published in 1930 and was one of Gilroy’s masterpieces and his personal favorite.

This famous Girder poster as part of the Guinness for Strength campaign depicted ridiculous strength to men performing high voltage feats of work with the help of Guinness. This campaign was inspiring men to have a pint of Guinness before performing any high intensity work and history says it truly worked out. The campaign showcased Guinness as an energy drink and a strength booster at the same time.

Lovely Day for a Guinness

This was one of the most famous and iconic Guinness ads ever. This also was the first time Guinness introduced the famous Guinness Toucans to the world. Toucans are recognized as synonymous to the Guinness brand just like the harp on its label. A smiling toucan balancing a Guinness pint on its giant beak is a classic Guinness character and loved by Guinness lovers around the globe. This was inspired by this famous ‘lovely day for a Guinness’ campaign where you can see a group of toucans flying past two policemen with 2 Guinness pint glasses perfectly balanced to its beak. This classic avert was another Gilroy masterpiece which was first featured in 1935 from his own zoo animal series.


Surfer was a game changer for Guinness creative advertising. As the name suggests, surfer commercials produced a wave of creativity among the audience and gave a new look into the creative side of Guinness. This was an integrated advertising campaign launched by Guinness in the year of 1999 to promote Guinness-brand draught stout in the UK. This was a 60 seconds long advert that centred on a Polynesian surfer taking on a gigantic wave with ease. AMV BBDO advertising agency created this ingenious advert which was filled with visual effects never seen before on British TV advertising. Filmmaker Jonathan Glazer directed Surfer and for authenticity, Glazer used real-life waves in Hawaii with a local surfer instead of a practiced actor or model.

Surfer was an authentic commercial directed by Glazer for Guinness depicting the story of a man waiting for the perfect wave. It was one of the most talked about commercials during the time and also bagged a Cannes Gold Lion, two gold pencils at the Design of Art Directors Association awards along with several Clio awards.

Curious for more?

If you are curious to know more about the other creative campaigns and advertisements they have done in the past, you can book a Guinness Storehouse tour. This will give you a great opportunity to make a journey through 80 years of groundbreaking creative campaigns. Make sure you read all the covid regulations before booking or visiting the store.

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