The evolution of an ad campaign

There's nothing like (a) Guinness. Since the first brewery opened in Dublin in 1759, Guinness has grown to become one of the key players in the global drinks market, becoming one of the most recognised and best-loved brands along the way. More so than any of its rivals, Guinness has assumed a kind of mythic status. From the distinctive blond-on-black look of the drink itself and its rich Irish associations (including the harp of Brian Boru adopted as a logo in 1862), through to the many slogans and graphics employed to advertise the product, the iconography of Guinness has entered the public consciousness to a degree somewhat disproportionate to the popularity of the drink itself. As advertising veteran Peter York has said: "Guinness has survived as a brand as well as a product, and that's what's enabled it to stay afloat when lots of its peers absolutely drowned."

It was an era of innocent advertising slogans that proclaimed the benefits of products - even when the products in question were alcohol or tobacco-based - when the Guinness account was handed to advertising agency S H Benson (later to become Ogilvy & Mather) in 1929. At S H Benson, Robert Gilroy became the artist responsible for most of the ad designs, the RCA graduate working alongside copywriters including Ronald Barton, Robert Bevan and author Dorothy L Sayers. Two key campaigns emerged, with both eventually running for almost 30 years each.

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