Can Guinness Save The Pub?

Can Guinness Save The Pub?


Guinness was one of the first brands to make a great ad at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic – its powerful “We’ll March Again” in March 2020. The brand has kept its finger on the pulse of the public mood ever since, and now the UK is reopening again Guinness has stepped up its commercial activity.

Inevitably, a lot of it is focused on the pub. One often-quoted statistic is that 1 in every 10 pints poured in the UK is a Guinness, and it dominates the market for stout. The pub and Guinness depend on one another and the health of the pub industry is a major concern for the brand.

So it’s not surprising that Guinness is turning its attention to getting pubs back on their feet with the ‘Raising The Bar’ campaign, and investing millions of pounds in the nation’s pubs and bars. It’s also not surprising that Guinness wants to celebrate its generosity and make sure people know about it. As we’ve talked about for other ads though, there’s a careful balance to be struck between talking about your charity work and making it the focus of an ad at the expense of your actual brand.

Guinness walks that line very well. Most of this ad isn’t directly about the campaign at all – it’s a misty-eyed monologue about the pub, delivered by rising star Irish actor Barry Keoghan. Keoghan’s warm brogue puts the viewer at ease, and the film shows happy drinkers returning to the pubs and meeting one another once again. It’s not an exciting ad, but it is a reassuring one – things are getting back to normal and Guinness will make sure they stay that way.

Alongside last month’s delightfully creative “Looks Like Guinness” ad, it’s another in a streak of effective commercials which have helped Guinness navigate these particularly tricky times. The ad scored a very strong 4.6 Stars – excellent for its category – and also gained an Exceptional short-term Spike score, suggesting the branding was strong enough to keep Guinness the focus and that the cause is one that people sympathise with. Once again, Guinness catches the mood.

Creative agency credit: Wilson Hartnell