The Guinness Archive has partnered with the Irish Film Institute's (IFI's) Irish Film Archive to catalog, digitize, and preserve a collection of more than 500 16mm and 35mm advertisements, making it the largest publicly available collection of brand advertising in Ireland and the UK.

The entirety of the Guinness brand’s advertising legacy - 548 ads spanning 40 years from 1955 to 1995 - has been cataloged, digitally preserved, and made available to the public for the first time.

Of the 548 ads that will be available on the Guinness Storehouse website, a curated selection reflecting key influential historical and cultural themes spanning the 40 years will be available, free-to-view worldwide, on the IFI Archive Player.

Inspired by the success of the Irish Adverts Project in 2016, the project is supported by a grant from Coimisiún na Meán’s Archiving Funding Scheme.

Created to advertise Guinness to Irish and UK television audiences, the collection of adverts features a wealth of talent both behind and in front of the camera, with directors including Alan Parker, Tony and Ridley Scott; music from artists Elkie Brooks, Clannad and the Chieftains; and a host of well-known faces such as Pete Postlethwaite, Bill Nighy, Robert Lindsay, and Jon Pertwee.

In addition to their ability to evoke nostalgia, the collection of Guinness commercials captures moments in cultural and social history spanning a 50-year period that offers a fascinating insight into changing representations of Irishness both at home and overseas, evolving gender roles, and the ever–changing role of the pub in Irish society.

Guinness adverts have changed over the years and they are continually evolving to take into account changing society and advertising rules.

Both Guinness and the IFI note that these adverts may contain historical product claims that are not now endorsed by Diageo, parent company of Guinness. In making these adverts available, it is not the intention to promote benefits of drinking but to show historical Guinness advertising in its original context.

In celebration of the unveiling of the Guinness Adverts Project, the Irish Film Institute has kindly shared the following two Guinness Adverts, both from the 1970s, with IrishCentral:

Forgery (1970s, 41 seconds): 

Island (1970s, 1 min 2 sec):

Guinness Archives Award

Coinciding with the unveiling of the new collection, Guinness is calling creatives, filmmakers, content creators, and budding advertisers in Ireland to enter the inaugural Guinness Archives Award to reinterpret and reimagine their 1970’s creative brief ‘An expression of Irishness’ through the lens of 2024, with Guinness 0.0 as the hero product. 

One award will be granted to individual creatives or creative groups for projects submitted during the application window in 2024 that align best with the reinterpretation of ‘An expression of Irishness’, with Guinness 0.0 the hero product, through any content medium including video, social media, out of home, display and or other innovative formats. 

The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from Guinness and The Irish Film Institute, critiqued through the lens of the original interpretation of the brief, creative delivery, Diageo marketing code guidelines, Guinness 0.0, and responsible drinking guidance. These all form part of Diageo’s Society 2030 ambition.

The application window for the Guinness Archives Award opens on February 19, 2024, at 9 am and closes on April 5, 2024, at 5 pm. More information can be found online here.

Kasandra O'Connell, Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive, said: “The 40 years of content that has been digitised as part of the Guinness Adverts Project contains a variety of famous and important ads, and we are delighted to partner with Guinness on the project, and to now make a curated selection available to be enjoyed on the IFI Archive Player.

"Looking into our past is important as it offers real context to our present and just how far culturally, we have progressed during that time.”

Ross Keane, IFI Director/CEO said: “In partnership with Guinness, we are excited to present this culturally and historically important collection of ads, which are free-to-view worldwide on the IFI Archive Player, and to put the call out to the creative talent of Ireland and see their modern interpretation of ‘An expression of Irishness’ as part of the Guinness Archives Award 2024.”

Eibhlin Colgan, Guinness Archive Manager, said: “We are thrilled to partner with the IFI & Coimisiún na Meán to bring our archived and digitized collection of 40 years of Guinness television advertising to life for everyone to enjoy.

Colgan added: "The role Guinness played and continues to play in culture is pivotal, and it’s incredibly exciting to see what Irish creatives will develop in response to the inaugural Guinness Archives Award legacy brief.”