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Guinness Company’s Applied Marketing Strategy

Guinness is a well-known brand of alcoholic drink which was created in Ireland. Its origin dates back to 1759, when it was first manufactured at the brewing company of Arthur Guinness. The latter signed a lease agreement for his corporation at 34, where he sublet for approximately nine thousand years at an annual rate of 45 sterling pounds (Guinness, 2017). When Guinness, the founder, died in 1803, he had established a flourishing brewing company with a successful export trade. Moreover, with the advent of the 20th century, the Irish brand developed to become a global marque and a massive brewery worldwide. When British people think of this product, they often visualize a beverage mainly enjoyed by the Irish residents and consider the iconic black and white beer renowned for its two-part pour (Guinness, 2017). The corporation conducted a marketing campaign, “Guinness made of more,” marketing initiative that was internationally recognized and delivered a consistent return on investment (ROI).

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Difference Between Brand and Activation Marketing

Brand marketing is a promotional activity that involves informing the consumer segment about a corporation’s products and services in a way that emphasizes the entire company’s image. Over the past decades, branding referred to placing a label on a commodity or an organization’s asset to indicate that it belongs to a particular firm (Steenkamp, 2020, p. 13). For example, Guinness, one of the world’s renowned brands, was among the first corporations to trademark a representation, the harp, in 1876 (Guinness, 2017). The business realized that embellishing their alcoholic drinks with this image creates trust and recognition around their product. In contemporary society, branding still emanates from an organization’s logo and identity; however, it has grown to become dynamic and multifaceted (Steenkamp, 2020, p. 13). Therefore, the potency of a brand emanates from a personality that resonates with its consumer segment in a coordinated way across all platforms such as social media, billboards, and its packaging. Therefore, branding can be described as the art of signifying an organization’s name, level of quality, and reputation.

Sales activation is alternatively referred to as conversion, and it happens when a potential buyer decides to purchase a product or service. In the marketing funnel, this process often occurs at the bottom when the consumer is in the decision-making phase, thinking about their preferences and choosing if what they are offering will satisfy their requirements (Malek, Sarin, and Jaworski, 2018, p. 30). Sales activation exertions comprise promotional campaigns fine-tuned toward in-market purchasers. These activities are developed to focus on securing existing demand from individuals who are actively intending to buy a product or service offered through specific marketing initiatives (Paul, 2019, p. 299). Les Binet and Peter Field have been analyzing the effectiveness of marketing, and their findings have influenced the way individuals think about marketing accountability (Fulgoni, 2018). The two researchers also attempted to distinguish between brand marketing and activation effects. Therefore, the differences between the two concepts are highlighted in table 1 below.

Table 1. Differences Between Brand Marketing and Sales Activation.

Brand marketing Sales activation
Long term Short term
Extended reach Specifically targeted
Impacts future sales Immediate sales
Establishes mental brand equity Utilizes psychological brand equity
Emotional priming Influential messages

The Guinness “made of more” campaign was one of the most successful marketing initiatives in the world. The project was recognized as the winner of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) effectiveness (Guinness, 2017). Therefore, in establishing a long-term approach and developing its international creative platform, Guinness delivered considerable returns and increased ROI. Moreover, the paradigm split between activation and brand marketing often delivers maximum effectiveness. In the contemporary world, brand building is vital in the digital realm as compared to ancient times. Therefore, marketing is effective when making digital activation work by sustaining it with an extended reach, accompanied by emotional branding (Deepak and Jeyakumar, 2019). As such, the ideal 60/40 rule suggests businesses should allocate approximately 60% of their budget on marketing their brand and 40% on activation to gain maximum effectiveness (Deepak and Jeyakumar, 2019). Therefore, a corporation can observe the above postulation to realize exceptional marketing results.

The key performance indicators used in the “Guinness made of more” campaign were primarily revenue and price metric tools. For example, the revenue return on investment was approximately £19.90 for every £1.00 spent (Guinness, 2017). In particular, the total profit for ROI of the company was nearly £3.88 for every £1 spent (Guinness, 2017). The brand witnessed a reduction in price sensitivity accompanied by an upsurge in awareness which continued to develop. In addition, Guinness continued to work steadily to improve its creative process, which brought significant results for the brand.

Harp Logo

Since the inception of the world’s famous drink, Guinness, the brand’s primary color has consistently been black over the years. In addition, the harp logo has also been constant throughout the trademark’s marketing efforts. The symbol serves as the Guinness emblem and is based on a popular 14th century Irish harmonic referred to as the “O’Neill,” which is well-maintained in the Library of Trinity College Dublin (Guinness, 2017). The harp element has been tantamount to Guinness since 1862 when it was utilized as a representation on the first bottle label. Moreover, the emblem was registered as the marque for the alcoholic beverage in 1876 (Guinness, 2017). Throughout the years, the brand has witnessed and conducted multiple marketing projects, but its iconic logo, the harp, is one of the significant components that comprise the Guinness livery (Guinness, 2017). There have significant alterations to the design of the harmonic over the decades, including a minimization in the number of strings indicated. Currently, the harp was launched in 2005 when a new brand livery was introduced.

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Similarly, the harp is also the authorized national emblem of Ireland and can be found on the country’s currency. However, there is a distinction between the Irish regime and Guinness harmonic. The company manufacturing the alcoholic brand had patented the harp symbol in 1976, and the government of Ireland had to modify their symbol in an attempt to distinguish itself (Guinness, 2017). The differentiating feature between the two harmonicas is that the Guinness logo has a straight edge and the government harp has a straight edge to the right.

Arthur’s Guinness Signature

Another significant element of brand continuity for Guinness is the founder’s famous signature. This well-known sign first appeared in the center of the initial marque issued in 1862 (Guinness, 2017). It was based on the initials that Arthur Guinness designed on the lease of the Brewery in 1759 (Guinness, 2017). Similarly, the sign has also been modified like the harp element, becoming a more precise representation of the initial signature on the lease. The color of the sign has also been transformed as it originally appeared in black on the marque label but also altered to red in 1953 together with a remake of the brand label (Guinness, 2017). The sign appears in black on a vignetted backdrop as a secondary illustration for product packaging in the company’s most recent visual merchandising redesign (Guinness, 2017). In essence, the signature has played a vital role in the branding and marketing initiatives adopted by the company since its inception.

Guinness Word

The Guinness word has been a consistent brand continuity element in the history of the Irish beverage. The term of a critical feature of the initial trademark label. It was not only the identity of the product but also the name of the family who managed the corporation. The Guinness marque was broadly used by the establishment at the St. James’ Gate Brewing firm, including on wooden barrels, horse-drawn carriages, tugboats, and even the gates of the Brewery (Guinness, 2017). When the first authorized typography for the Guinness word was implemented in the 1960s, the variation in style was eliminated.

The Black Color

Guinness is famously known for its black color in almost all markets it operates. The drink itself is black or can also be described as dark ruby red. It is a stout pint implying that it was created using roasted malted barley, similar to how coffee beans are prepared. The extreme heating technique combines amino acids, sugars, and grains, resulting in dark colors (Guinness, 2017). Therefore, the brand’s color has been consistent since its inception has played a vital role in emotional branding.

Guinness Tagline

Since the invention of the alcoholic brand, the manufacturer has consistently used various slogans in its marketing campaigns. The product has been marketed on different occasions by developing unique taglines for the promotional acts. For example, one of the brand’s earliest and most impressive advertisements assumed the slogan, “Guinness is good for you” (Guinness, 2017). The catchphrase was feasible because some practitioners prescribed a pint of beer to new mothers following childbirth, referring to the iron content of the beer as effective in the healing process (Guinness, 2017). Since its inception, the brand has flourished on using various catchphrases in various advertising campaigns, such as the “Guinness refreshes your spirit” marketing initiative specifically developed for the United States consumers.

Corporate Marketing Connection to the Guinness Brand

Today, multinational corporations have become successful because their brands have personalities. As such, organizations have developed a specific character, mostly stipulated in their mission, vision, core values, and corporate social responsibility. The Guinness brand is one of the most prosperous trademarks ever to exist, and it has manifested its brand personality in various real-life situations. Therefore, this section highlights and analyzes some of the scenarios that the Irish brand demonstrated in its brand attributes, values, and philosophies.

Barnes Sisters Ethical and Integral Behavior

Today, organizations have to demonstrate the concept of ethics and integral behavior in their initiatives. In Guinness’s case, the brand showcased an act of morality and uprightness as seen in its advertisement featuring the Barnes Sisters. In particular, the marketing project represented an act of character and integrity, as seen in Tracy Barnes’ case when she sacrificed her spot so that her sister can participate in the competition (Bamforth, 2020, p. 47). The Guinness brand utilized this story to inform and inspire the world to do the same, especially when friends and siblings are in need. The Barnes Sisters’ story is also an excellent narrative to reinforce the true personality as exhibited by the Irish pint brand.

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Social Responsibilities

The success of the Guinness brand is evaluated by its positive contribution to society, communities, and the environment. Its sustainability philosophies are stipulated in Diageo’s global strategy and reinforced by three significant pillars; minimizing environmental impact, leadership in alcohol in society, and building prosperous communities (Bamforth, 2020, p. 47). In the Barnes Sisters’ case, the company reflected these social aspects in advertising to the masses. For example, Tracy Barnes demonstrated an act of togetherness, collaboration, and compassion by allowing her sister to participate in sports events irrespective of her conditions (Hernandez-Fernandez et al., 2019, p. 222). As such, the masses were informed and learned that people should live with kindness and always help others who are in need. Guinness capitalized on this exceptional narrative to not only promote their brand but to showcase what is stipulated in their corporate social responsibility.

Alignment with the Organization’s Objectives and Core Values

As an international brand, the Guinness Brewery exhibits standards of integrity in its operations. Its engagement with key stakeholders is motivated by values, philosophies, and principles. Moreover, the company has various stipulations reinforcing its dedication to exceptional corporate governance, ethical standards, and values of transparency, equality, and integrity. In its advertising campaign featuring the Barnes Sisters, Guinness reflected its core values in the marketing process (Bamforth, 2020, p. 47). For example, while the purpose of the promotional act was to reinforce its brand entirely, the Guinness Brewery not only improved its profitability but also highlighted various social incidents to showcase its commitment to the good of society. The main themes in the advertisement campaign were collaboration, prosperity, and compassion, which are significant aspects for both ethical and integral benefit for the society.

Moreover, the Guinness Brewery also embraces diversity and inclusion as significant facilitators of business growth. Therefore, the company’s commitments to its values, purpose, and standards have been seen in its advertising campaign featuring the Barnes Sisters, which sets the conditions for the brand to respect the distinguished contribution each individual brings (Portal et al., 2019). In essence, the story of the biathlon sisters was an exceptional example of a narrative that reinforced Guinness’s brand while also inspiring and empowering the masses to inculcate ethical and integral behaviors in their endeavors.

“Made of Black” Ethical and Integral Behavior

The Guinness brand also reinforced its core values using the “Made of Black” campaign, which was specifically developed to market the Irish pint in Africa. The project was launched in 2014 by Abbott Mead Vickers, an advertising firm, and its tagline was primarily focused on “connecting a brave, confident generation with a positive beer” (Callejo et al., 2019). Guinness is renowned for its black color in all markets in the world. Of all the other pints available from other companies, the Irish beverage is a unique product because no other pint exhibits the same characteristics. Moreover, at the time when a majority of black Africans are seeking ways to express themselves, the Guinness brewing company identified blackness as a distinct and shared mindset (Connolly, 2017, p. 61). In essence, it is an attitude that holds that individuals who are self-assured can carve their course in life and share their ideas and creativity with others.

Therefore, from an ethical and integral perspective, the Irish brand was not only engaged in marketing their product to the masses but also highlighting various aspects of society that can inspire moral behavior. The catchphrase “Made of Black” is a type of expression, that according to history, connoted segregation (Bamforth, 2020, p. 47). In essence, specific groups of people have felt discriminated against or abuse because of their black color. In particular, Africans have had a long history of origin which incorporates various trials and tribulations in the face of racial discrimination. As such, at the time when a majority of black Africans are seeking ways to express themselves, the Guinness brewing company identified blackness as a distinct and shared mindset (Connolly, 2017, p. 61). Therefore, the Guinness brand primarily advocated for diversity and inclusion in the “Made of Black” campaign. St. James Gate Brewery has placed precedence on integrity while also adhering to its values, beliefs, and philosophies. These factors were also reflected in the “Made of Black” campaign, which inspired the world to embrace unity, diversity, and collaboration irrespective of the differences that exist today.

Social Responsibilities

Guinness is famously known for its contribution to environmental wellness, as exhibited by the black color of its pint, symbolizing the acceptance of black people in all places in the world. The brand’s sustainability principles are specified in its parent organization’s code of conduct which involves establishing successful communities (Bamforth, 2020, p. 47). In its marketing campaign, “Made of Black,” the brand has continuously stressed that the world should not view black as a color. This statement has several meanings and has a powerful message that urges the world not to depict people based on their color and origin but by their mindset and attitude (Hernandez-Fernandez et al., 2019, p. 222). In particular, the Irish pint stands for diversity and inclusiveness, and it means that the Guinness beer is for everyone. In essence, the significant point of the project was particularly based on stressing the fact that black is a mentality and an attitude, with the aim of addressing the injustices of racial discrimination (Portal et al., 2019). Therefore, the Irish brand did an exceptional job in promoting social responsibilities using the “Made of Black” campaign.

Alignment with the Organization’s Objectives and Core Values

The Guinness brand is guided by various core values to improve its operations and positively impact society. For example, the company is committed to corporate governance while instilling integrity and transparency in its business. In its promotional campaign “Made of Black,” the brand reflected its values in advocating for diversity and inclusion of the black race in Africa (Portal et al., 2019). The Guinness “Made of Black” commercial played a vital role in society as it reflected the corporation’s commitment towards creating a better world for everyone. At the core of the advertisement, it defined the essence of black as a color and also as a psychological standpoint that inspires everyone (Callejo et al., 2019). In essence, this advertising campaign exceptionally aligned with Guinness’s core values.

Wheelchair Basketball Television Advertisement Ethical and Integral Behavior

Guinness developed a unique advertising campaign involving several people playing basketball with one individual with a disability. This project did an exceptional job in reinforcing both ethical and integral behavior as stipulated in the Guinness Brewery core values. The promotional act begins with six middle-aged individuals in wheelchairs competing in an intense game of basketball (Guinness, 2017). Therefore, the primary messages conveyed by the Guinness brand in this campaign was the element of compassion, helping others, and togetherness, as demonstrated by the five individuals who helped the disabled person.

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Social Responsibilities

The Guinness brand is a trademark that stands for everyone and promotes diversity and inclusion. As such, the wheelchair basketball TV advertisement was a perfect example of a narrative that reinforced these elements as stipulated in the Guinness Brewery corporate social responsibility. In essence, this campaign advocated for society and community that promotes dedication, friendship, and loyalty (Portal et al., 2019). Therefore, the Irish brand did an exceptional job by utilizing this video to inspire society to always incorporate the above elements for their long-term wellbeing.

Alignment with the Organization’s Objectives and Core Values

This advertisement was an excellent representation of Guinness’s core values and objectives because it demonstrated three significant virtues: dedication, loyalty, and friendship. The Irish brand has several core values, such as creating mutually satisfying relationships and partnerships, acting with integrity and social responsibility, and the freedom to succeed. Therefore, while the advertising campaign was particularly promoting the brand of the product, it did an exceptional job in ensuring that society is aware of the virtues that constitute humanity and how people can coexist in the world.

The Success or Failure of the Creative Platform, “Made of More” Marketing

The Guinness “Made of More” was a success since it was able to develop a platform for completing the objectives and addressing the challenges in specific markets. For example, the advertising campaign realized an increase in sales in Western Europe. Moreover, according to its statistics, the impact of the commercial witnessed a 47 percent increase in positive feeling towards the Guinness pint, along with a 23% upsurge in trialists (Watamura et al., 2019, p. 1). The marketing campaign also played a vital role in Africa, especially in regions outside of Nigeria, where the company saw an increase in sales volume (Moreno, Jones, and Quinn, 2019, p. 1714). While the brewing corporation had not implemented any promotional act in Asia, the brand witnessed significant growth in Korea, where the project was incorporated.

Another success factor associated with the commercial is achieving more significant economies of scale. For example, the company was able to bring five distinct websites into one unified global hub. It also created and distributed social media content allowing the corporation to combine budgets to make considerable and exceptional content for commercials. Moreover, the advertising project successfully delivered brand fame, cultural power, and creative brilliance (Watamura et al., 2019, p. 1). For example, the Guinness brand was recognized by several organizations, having won over 50 awards internationally, such as the Clio Grand Pix and Cannes Lions (Connolly, 2017, p. 1876). Moreover, other trademarks have developed parody commercials, such as the “Made of White” campaign, which a soap brand created in Africa.


This paper has analyzed the world’s renowned marketing campaign featuring Guinness, a famous Irish pint developed by St. James Gate Brewery. The “Made of More” platform was an idea that advocates for individuals who have the certainty to create their path. Guinness crafted work that can be shared in multiple markets across borders, which has contributed to improved efficiencies and had an overall influence on the quality of work. Therefore, the effectiveness of marketing depends on the branding efforts incorporated in the process to ensure that the customers are aware of products and services. The Irish brand of a pint has been a success since its inception because of its brand identity, personality, and emotional advertising elements incorporated in the act.

Reference List

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