By Mia Wallace
May 23, 2016
Guinness is to Ireland what Chipotle is to me…well not entirely but to say the country doesn’t love their black brew is a vicious lie. Guinness has shaped Ireland’s history and country in such a fundamental way that they both share the iconic harp symbol (only Guinness’ faces the opposite direction). After visiting the Guinness museum and learning a bit about their history, I decided to do some research of my own. What I found out was very intriguing.
Apparently, Arthur Guinness the founder of the brewery in 1759, was a known unionist and opponent of Irish nationalism. Pretty surprising for the founder of a drink that today partially represents Ireland and is a national symbol for the country. He was also accused of being a British spy. His descendants were also fervently opposed to the independence of Ireland and before the 1916 uprising, he gave what is today equivalent to nearly £1 million to the Ulster Volunteer Force. Guinness even considered changing its marketing to no longer being an Irish beer but a British beer in the 80s during The Troubles. They reopened the Dublin Guinness Storehouse as a museum in the early 2000s to promote tourism. While I love Guinness and I love what they have done for the community as a whole, I’m unamused by their aim to brand themselves as a truly Irish beer and hide their origins in what I can only assume to be an attempt to boost their profits.
The marketing that goes behind this — while deceiving — is ingenious, to say the least. As an advertising major, our occupation gets looked down on quite a bit for being unethical and lacking a moral code. I see some of that going on with Guinness trying to hide their true origins to boost their sales.
But while they are being purposely ambiguous about their companies origins, I really love their slogan and the message behind their brand. Their commercials tend to aim more towards the bringing together of people from different backgrounds and helping them find a common ground. Whether that be age, gender, race or nationality, the ads seem to tell the story that Guinness helps to fill in the cracks. Guinness is a company built on a colorful history with a few controversies here and there, with a bit of a disingenuous identity but to be fair what company isn’t ¯_(ツ)_/¯
To learn more about Arthur Guinness, click here!