Seven classic Guinness ads from across the decades

Guinness: "Made of more"
Guinness: "Made of more"

Guinness' latest ad tells the story of a real-life LA cowboy, but others in the brand's history have starred everything from a surfer and Congolese gentlemen to Michael Fassbender and a manic dancing Irishman.

With this week's launch of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's latest Guinness ad, "Compton cowboys", Campaign revists some of the classic campaigns for the black stuff. In no particular order...


The Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo (or Sapeurs) are the centrepiece of this vibrant 2014 ad for Guinness. These men, who are hardworking manual labourers during the day (the ad conveys the heat and dirt of their work), become sartorially elegant by night.


"Merci" was just one of a series of "Made of more" short TV ads designed to celebrate the character of Rugby Union players. Toulon's love for Jonny Wilkinson is arguably the most touching, not least because the notion of the French adoring a Brit is atypical.


Often topping polls for the "best ad ever made", 1999's "Surfer" carried Guinness' "Good things come to those who wait" message with elan. The Jonathan Glazer-directed miniature epic featured a group of surfers waiting for that perfect wave. When they caught it, the use of groundbreaking CGI created an amazingly visceral effect of actual white horses augmenting the effect of a furious sea.


Starting with three stout-swilling mates in a pub, this ad turns the clock back, quite literally, sending the action to the dawn of time, the dinosaurs, all the way to three fish that have developed rudimentary legs, standing at the water's edge (riffing off the ad's opening image of the three blokes) sipping the water and exclaiming: "Eurgh."


This film stars Michael Fassbender, who pouts and struts his way across the UK before swimming across the Atlantic, storming moodily through New York and into a bar. It looks like he's there to beat up a man he stands and glares at. "Sorry," he says, and the two are reconciled.


Another water-themed Glazer-directed ad, this one was the predecessor to "Surfer", but again features an ageing sportsman. This time it's an old Italian man who takes part in an annual swimming race from an offshore buoy to his brother's waterfront pub.


1994's Irish classic sees a man dancing around in anticipation of his pint glass being slowly filled with draught Guinness. For months afterwards, his dance was much imitated in pubs across Ireland and the UK.

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free