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10 Greatest Guinness adverts to warm you up for St Patrick's Day


Ah St Patrick’s Day. The day when everyone in the world desperately scans their family tree for a pinch of Irish blood as an excuse to hit the pub and drink a pint of Guinness. Delightful, faithful Guinness. So, in celebration of this day we raise a glass to the finest adverts ever produced by the men behind the black stuff.

Chinese Whispers
Year: 2009

Did you know: This was the first ever global Guinness advert, crossing Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. It was launched to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery. There were two versions of the ad: the one below and a more serious version where the name of Arthur is left unchanged throughout. Since Chinese Whispers never works accurately, we prefer this one…

Reminds us of: A playground game we remember for being less painful than dodgeball.

Year: 2009

Did you know: This was directed by Craig Gillespie, who directed the Ryan Gosling/doll film Lars and The Real Girl and the upcoming remake of Fright Night. It was created by a New York ad agency who also shot it in New York for an American audience. Hence, you know, the American accents and everything.

Reminds us of: A far more successful attempt at sliding a Guinness down a bar than anything we’ve ever tried.

Year: 1999

Did you know: This was voted the best ad of all time by Channel 4 and The Sunday Times. The campaign was budgeted at around £6 million and this ad was directed by Jonathan Glazer, who directed Sexy Beast. The ad used a similar technique to Knightmare where an entirely blue studio was used, parts of blue were de-selected and horses were placed in appropriate areas. Shouting children not included this time.

Reminds us of: The main reason why we’re a little bit secretly scared of surfing.

Giant Domino Village
Year: 2007

Did you know: This ad was filmed in a little town in Argentina, taking over a week to film. It was part of a £10 million campaign shot by the same guy that did that Sony Bravia bouncing balls ad, so you always knew it was going to be good.

Reminds us of: Funnily enough, a massive game of Dominos. Cue us trying to recreate the scene with household paraphernalia: pants, vacuum cleaner etc (no, it didn’t go well).

Best Mates
Year: 2006

Did you know: Directed by Lynn Fox with producer Nick Glendinning, the icy landscapes were created by shooting in Greenland and Mar de la Plata in central Argentina. There were some minor quibbles from animal rights activists when this first came out, as they were concerned about the penguins safety, until it was revealed they were merely CGI (the animals that is, not the activists).

Reminds us of: Any video where animals act like humans. Always a winner in our books.

Bring it to life
Year: 2009

Did you know: This shoot got so cold at one point while shooting the forest scenes in Canada that some of the trees used in the shot snapped in half. It also took 45 women six days to hand stitch the artificial grass (one for the fact fans)

Reminds us of: How amazing the world is. Just ask Professor Brian Cox

Dancing Man
Year: 1994

Did you know: The goon dancing around the pint of the black stuff is Irish actor Joe McKinney who starred in pretty much nothing you’ve heard of. The ad was responsible for the 1995 chart success of its soundtrack Perez Prado's Guaglione. Every silver lining has a cloud then. The ad was such a success that Guinness bought it back in 2009 in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Reminds us of: A summer of watching a World Cup in which none of the home nations were present, so we all became Irish for a month, thanks to the success of The Republic. That, and that god awful song.

noitulovE (That’s evolution backwards. Genius, eh?)
Year: 2005

Did you know: The tu-tu-tu-tuuuune is ‘Rhythm of Life’ (from Sweet Charity) and this ad picked up the gold award for alcoholic drinks ads and silvers in the best 60 seconds or less, best over 60 second and best in cinema categories at the BTAA awards. Caps well and truly doffed.

Reminds us of: Mankind’s 3 billion year wait for the perfect pint. So most Friday nights in Central London.

Year: 2006

Did you know: Guinness went viral with Hands, a short film produced by Michael Schlingmann, registering almost a million views to date. Schlingers (to his mates) worked on Hollywood movies Space Jam, Lost in Space, Corpse Bride and last year’s Alice In Wonderland. The ad bagged loads of awards. Lost in Space didn’t.

Reminds us of: A truly horrendous dream we had when we were seven. Oh god it’s all coming back. MY HAND!

Year: 1998

Did you know: The ad was shot in the remote Italian village of Monopoli and used actual, real local villagers for the crowd scenes. Not fakes! The aim of the campaign was to turn around the negative consumer opinion of the length of time required to correctly pour a pint of Guinness from the tap, usually quoted as 119.5 seconds, and to encourage bartenders to take the time to do so. This work of genius is the second of our Guinness ads to be directed by Sexy Beast helmer Jonathan Glazer who also did Stella Artois’ famous Devil Island ad.

Reminds us of: Not us when we’re 70.



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