Brewed in about 50 countries, Guinness – an Irish dry stout -is one of the most successful beer brands across the globe. It’s distinctive “burnt” flavor is a result of roasted, unmalted barley, it’s creamy head a result from mixing the beer with nitrogen when poured.
In the 1930s, the company began advertising the beer using unique and artistic posters. Some were interspersed with propaganda, like “Guinness is Good For You”. (Today the company says it does not endorse the slogan, but still embraces the rich history of the designs.)
The “My Goodness… My Guinness” line of advertising featured a zoo keeper named Gilroy, who often was being chased by, or having his beers stolen from, various animals – like a sea lion, an ostrich and a group of toucans.
Gilroy also appeared in the first Guinness television commercial. Portrayed by comic Charlie Naughton, the zoo keeper wrestles with a sea lion to recreate one of the original posters. The commercial, which aired September 22, 1955, was the first evening any advertising appeared on TV in the UK.
Another campaign, “Guinnes for Strength” was used on advertising posters. Characters were seen using immense strength – such as carrying a girder with one hand, lugging a horse in a cart, and hauling huge crops of vegetables by oneself. Reproduction tin signs of the classic ads now bear the slogan, “Lovely day for a GUINNESS”.
By the early 1960s, the company changed it’s line of advertising, removing unproven claims of it’s “health” benefits. The original designs, though, are prime selections for display in home bars, man caves and workshops.
As popular as it is to drink Guinness is to collect and decorate with the beer’s vintage advertising and gadgets. An entire line of reproduction tin signs, linens, glasses and barware is available the Guinness lover.
Are you a Guinness lover? Do you remember the retro advertising efforts of this long-running popular brand of beer?