St. Patrick’s Day on a Monday? Blasphemy!
When in Dublin a few years ago, I visited the Guinness Storehouse and was most impressed by the section dedicated to their advertising archive, most of the second floor.
“Guinness is good for you” was a claim made in the company’s adverts after market research revealed people felt good after a pint. Their classic “Guinness for strength” from the 1920′s included a man carrying a girder with one hand, a man chopping down a tree with one swing of the ax, and a man pulling his horse in a wagon.
Today, the company promotes responsible drinking, but the following ad got them into a little trouble in 2006:
Alcohol industry watchdog the Marin Group had strong words for Diageo, Guinness’ holding company:
The ad unambiguously envokes a child’s delight on Christmas morning. But in place of toys and games, the young men are depicted on their knees before an enormous quantity of beer.
Diageo’s own marketing code says that models must look at least 25 years age and not appear to condone or encourage excessive or irresponsible drinking. The Guinness St. Patrick’s Day campaign also appears to condone irresponsible drinking, in this case large quantities of beer in the morning. It also defies still another provision that says Diageo ads will not use any image or symbol that appeals to underage youth. One can hardly imagine an image with more appeal to youth than the excitement of Christmas morning.
This year, the company fell well short of their goal of getting one million people to sign a petition to have the U.S. Congress declare St. Patrick’s Day a national holiday.
I don’t drink beer often, but when I do, it usually is a Guinness. I wouldn’t go so far to say I’m a fan, but I am a fan of great advertising and branding.
I sure would love to hoist a pint since it’s St. Paddy’s, but I’ll honor your wishes.
Place your vote here, now:
Thanks for your vote, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!