261 years into a 9,000-year lease

If you have been in Dublin for a day trip or a weekend before then I’m sure the Guinness Storehouse and infamous St. James gate was high on your to do list, for that must have Instagram snap or just to visit the home of the most famous thing to come out of Ireland since Westlife.

In 1759, 261 years ago, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for the old abandoned St. James brewery and generations of the Guinness family have been brewing Guinness there ever since. It’s long been a part of Irish history and a key feature in Dublin’s tourism industry with total visitors of around 18 million people since it opened to the public in 2000, and just a tiny €361.2 million economic contribution in 2017, according to the Journal.ie.

On a typical wet Sunday afternoon in Dublin, I finally got the chance to go see the home of Guinness for myself. Even though I don’t actually like the drink (I’m more of a cider girl myself, sorry Guinness!) the Storehouse was always somewhere I wanted to visit. Not because of the free pint at the end but because besides being famous for the drinks, Guinness’ marketing and ads have given the brand a place in the history books and it has a floor in the Storehouse dedicated to ‘The world of advertising’.

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In this section of the Storehouse you can see the first newspaper advertisement for Guinness ever published in a newspaper (pictured below) which came out in 1929. You can see larger than life characters from some of the best ads from throughout the years, for example, a kangaroo, a seal, a tortoise and a fish on a bicycle.

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In this post I thought I’d run you through my top 5 favourite Guinness tv ads – some old, some new but all pretty legendary tv adverts.

 

  1. Tipping point

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Tipping point first graced our TV screens in November 2007 and was dubbed the most expensive ad in history. This tv ad was based in Argentina showcasing the most usual game of dominos ever witnessed. It begins with 6,000 dominos which leads onto paint, cars, books and tyres leading up to a column of books which open to resemble a pint of Guinness. The fall of the dominos takes about a minute and a half and ends in the slogan “Good things come to those who wait” because it takes around 119 seconds to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, which is a fairly long wait for a pint I suppose. This one takes 5th place for me due to its artistry and the effort that must have gone into making it.

 

  1. Surfer

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“Tik followed tok, followed tik followed tok” began the ad that was to be voted the best tv ad of all time. This ad again signifies the phrase “good things come to those who wait” and follows the story of surfers waiting for the prefect wave that they have waited their whole lives to ride. Launched in 1999 it was the first of a new trend in ads for Guinness. It wasn’t popular with research audiences at the beginning but the brand director and the director of the ad agency responsible for the idea both knew they were on to a winner. I put this surfer as 4th place on my list of favourites.

 

  1. The Purse

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This adorable little ad came out earlier this year and ran throughout the six nations. It was based on a true story of two Welsh brothers who had recently lost their mother, but her dying wish was that they spend all that was left of her money on the six nations as she was such a fan of the tournament. The ad shows them honouring her wishes and her life by following their beloved Welsh team around Europe for matches and of course, using the same purse that she used as a kitty on match days, they enjoy a pint of Guinness. This makes it onto 3rd place on my list as I just think the story is so heart-warming with a little bit of humour thrown in there too.

 

  1. Congo’s Sapeaurs

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This ad is based on the Society of Elegent Persons of the Congo, better known as the Sapeurs and sheds light on a different side of African culture. It came out in 2014 and was praised for being hugely realistic and true to life. The people in the ad aren’t actors but actually real sapeaurs who believe in the power of dressing your best and showing your true style, flair and creativity. This ad stands for more than trying to sell a few more pints, but highlights the work these sapeurs do in their community, helping each other and their families and getting people back on track, symbolising their stand for peace, integrity and honour. The flair of the people, the music and the true to life setting are why I think this is my 2nd favourite ad.

 

  1. Even at the home of the black stuff, they dream of a white one

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Awarded the title of “Probably the best Christmas ad ever” by me, I think it’s fair to say a lot of people would agree. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve seen the Guinness Christmas ad of 2011 and as that time of year is approaching once again I don’t think anything else could possibly have been at the top of my list. The fact that is ad is nearly 10 years old and is still shown every year shows that its up there with the best Christmas ads of all time. It’s an iconic ad, filmed in spots all over Ireland at the minute Christmas starts and the snow begins to fall.

 

Shannon Walsh is a final year BSc in Communications Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on twitter at @997_shannon or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-walsh-8a3b08172/