The Evolution of Guinness Advertising

F. G. Wigglesworth

The pre-television era

The Guinness enterprise was just 170 years old when the decision to advertise through the national media of Great Britain was made. In spite of extensive searches no information about the discussions that took place leading up to the decision has been found. There can be no doubt that the decision must have been a painful one to many members of the Board, and particularly to members of the Guinness family on that Board. As a test advertising campaign was carried out in Scotland as early as 1928, it is clear that the subject must have been actively discussed in the lifetime of the 1st Earl of Iveagh; but with his death in 1927 it was to be under the second Earl, Rupert Guinness, that the new policy was put into execution.

For most of its history the Guinness Company was content to do one thing supremely wellbrew stout. The very success of this policy bred an innate conservatism. And the policy produced rich dividends. It is not surprising, therefore, that there should be strong resistance to any change, any innovation, when the company could demonstrate that their success had been achieved with no outside aid and entirely through its mastery of the art of brewing.