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Guinness ads from years gone by

Guinness is an acquired taste, and in my younger youth I’d opt for a fizzy beer. Nowadays, I’m more partial to a pint of black. Here are videos showing 10 Guinness ads from years gone by.

1. Guinness Dreamer

2. Guinness Surfer

3. Guinness Tipping Point

This Guinness ad, named ‘tipping point’, is reported to have cost the stout manufacturer a mere £10,000,000 to produce (USD $15M). Created by AMV BBDO, it drew a lot of comparisons to the more impressive Honda ‘cog’ ad.

4. Guinness Evolution

Cannes Grand Prix TVC winner.

5. Guinness Hands

A short film called hands.

6. Guinness Swimblack

“As a young man Marco won a medal in the Olympics and now each year the villagers gather to watch him race against the pint. It takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint of GUINNESS® Draught so that’s how long he’s got to swim from a buoy far out in the bay back to shore and sprint to the bar.

“The ad — known as ‘Swimblack’ — was shot on the remote Italian village of Monopoli and used local villagers for the crowd shots. It won the Creative Circle Gold (1999) for Best Editing and a gold in the British Television Advertising Awards (1999) among others.”

7. Guinness Dancing Man

8. Guinness Hurling

“Just one minute of injury time left in a knife-edge hurling match in Ireland and a vicous foul creates a chance. Over the bar and the game is tied, but into the goal and the game is won…”

9. Guinness Tom Crean

10. Guinness Snail Race

“In this lighter execution from the ‘Good Things Come to Those who Wait’ campaign, the snails demonstrate that speed isn’t everything. There’s enjoyment in anticipation.”

Music from Babarabateri / Beny More (with Perez Prado and his orchestra). Agency: AMV BBDO

Guinness facts

Pint-for-pint, Guinness Draught actually has fewer calories than most other premium beers and lagers.

  • Guinness Draught – 196 calories per pint
  • Semi-skimmed milk – 260 calories per pint
  • Orange juice – 220 calories per pint

Although Guinness may appear to be black, it is officially a very dark shade of ruby.

Guinness may be unsuitable for a vegetarian diet, as the production process involves the use of isinglass, made from fish. It is used as a fining agent for settling out suspended matter in the vat. The isinglass is retained in the floor of the vat but it is possible that minute quantities might be carried over into the beer.

10 million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed every single day around the world, and 1,883,200,000 pints are sold every year — 1.8 billion!

TV ad quotes and FAQs can be found on the Guinness website.

What’s your favourite Guinness ad? The Surfer, Dreamer, and Swimblack ads are superb, and I don’t consider it a coincidence that all three were directed by Jonathan Glazer — who has also directed music videos for Massive Attack, UNKLE, Blur, Radiohead, and Jamiroquai.

Update: 25 May 2009
Here’s a nice collection of Guinness print ads.

My second book on Amazon

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24 comments about “Guinness ads from years gone by”

  1. nice find!

  2. Ha. These are great! I especially like Hands and Dreamer. Guiness has always had awesome marketing campaigns in my opinion.

  3. * Guinness Draught – 196 calories per pint
    * Semi-skimmed milk – 260 calories per pint

    Clearly I’ve been wasting my time buying semi-skimmed milk for all these years. From now on, I’m having my Corn Flakes with Guinness!

  4. Hi David,

    I’ve spent the last 90 minutes sorting an error on my blog. However, I’ve just checked my Live Bookmarks and seen your new post — which has now cheered me up a bit and de-stressed me.

    I’ve always loved the Guinness adds, with the surfer one being my favourite also, simply because its iconic memorability and soundtrack provided Drum and Bass Duo, Leftfield, with the track “Phat Planet”.

    I saw the new one on Sky the other day. It’s good to see the advertises of Guinness are moving with the times.

    PS, I wondered how long it would take for you to write a post on your national-drink David ;)

  5. Great post David! Being a sporting man, Swimblack is my favorite, but it was great to watch some of the older adverts I’d forgotten about too.

    I usually have a couple of pints of the black stuff on the eve of a marathon. Not exactly textbook preparation, but it works for me!

    Cheers!

    –Steve

  6. @David. Great Einstein post, I don’t think I read your blog back then, lol.

  7. I agree, Mark. Some of the campaigns are classic.

    Keith, you’ve clearly been wasting your time! Be sure to set your alarm two minutes earlier to allow for the double pour.

    Andrew, I can empathise, so I’m glad your site seems fine now. That Leftfield track is a superb fit. Always liked their music. As for my national drink, two years ago I showed this Einstein drank Guinness poster. It was time I revisited the topic.

    Steve, 21 marathons? Impressive! I stick to the 5-a-side football to keep fit. Great prep by the way.

  8. Since Guinness is not a very popular brand here in Romania (people are more used to our local brands), I didn’t see these ads until now (well maybe except number 4).

    Now I have the whole picture about the Guinness brand and the “Good Things Come to Those who Wait” campaign, I realized two things:

    1. There’s an Irish Pub right across the street from where I live, but I only go there about once every two or three months, for the sole purpose of enjoying a Guinness Draught (or maybe two). So can really relate to the campaign slogan.

    2. I suddenly feel thirsty. I feel like drinking a beer, right now. Any will do! :)

    Thanks for the round up, David! It was great and I really enjoyed the Guinness facts.

  9. The surfer and swim back are my favourites – a great example of how, in some cases, ever constrained guidelines for advertising alcohol can help create masterpieces.

  10. Guiness never seem to put a foot wrong with their advertising, I guess the product and the budgets available make a Guiness contract an advertisers dream (and it is the dreamer which is my favourite). Jonathan Glazer is pure genius you could say.

  11. “Although Guinness may appear to be black, it is officially a very dark shade of ruby.”

    You learn something new every day! Always nice to be able to say “Well, actually…”

    On an unrelated point, have you ever considered linking your feature image so that it links to the full article instead of making a user click “Read the rest of this article”? I always go to click on the image and then realise I can’t.

  12. 1 and 2 are simply brilliant – Surfer is surely one of the most iconic British TV ads ever created.

    Of course there was the some controversy about number 7 the Dancing Man ad which may be of particular interest to the audience of this blog, being as it was all about plagiarism etc. Unfortunately I can’t find the ‘original’ film anywhere online.

    http://www.retrotvads.com/2008/30/09/guinness-anticipation/

  13. @ Andrew Kelsall – I agree, Surfer has the best soundtrack!

    I don’t remember “Hands” or “Tom Crean” – when were they originally broadcast?

  14. Very good! The dancing man’s a classic but my favorite is the evolution.

  15. Andrew, things were quite quiet round these parts back then. You certainly weren’t alone in not reading!

    Adrian, glad you enjoyed. I learnt a thing or two as well.

    Richard, I’d also go so far as to say ‘masterpiece’ in ad terms. A few of these are fantastic. One I forgot about that you may remember is this: We have all the time in the world.

    Neil, I hadn’t considered linking the excerpt image to the post page. Nice suggestion.

    Stuart, how interesting. I’m not familiar with any of that, so appreciate you sharing.

    Adi, Tom Crean was released in 2006, but I’m not sure of the ‘Hands’ date. There’s a little more info on the AMV BBDO website.

    Steve, did you read about the plagiarism lawsuit? Interesting.

  16. I didn’t even know that I like beer until I had my first Guinness 10 years ago. And then, there was Samuel Smiths cider ale from York, England…… OMG!!!!

    I gave my brother SS for a gift this year, the beer was consumed in minutes….. yumm. Thanks for the post!

    Tara * 3 Rexes

  17. that was very entertaining; thanks for putting that together. i had no idea that guinness was making such amazing ads. how come i’ve never seen any of these (and i do have cable….).

    i found the “tipping point” ad to be the most amazing.

  18. @David – ‘all the time in the world’ is another classic; some certainly are masterpieces!

  19. These are really good memories! Thanks for bringing them back to life.

  20. My favourites are “snail” and “evolution”.

    I love the spin-offs they did of the snail one. Brilliant. Ironically, Guinness is rare in Latin America (and if you can find it, it’s incredibly expensive) and I didn’t see it at all in Cuba.

  21. Hello my friend,
    Great web site! Can you do me a favour? I’m desperately looking for a Guinness advertisement that was probably screened on TV between 1970 and 1973.
    The background music was ‘Bringing on back the good times’ by a band called Love Affair. I tried Youtube and can’t find it.
    Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Proinsias

  22. I’m afraid not, Proinsias. Sorry I can’t be of help.

  23. Guinness and advertising are my two true loves (don’t tell my wife), big fan!
    The Guinness Surfer is my personal favorite. Nice work David.

  24. I’ll not say a word, Dennis.

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