Guinness Launch Perfect Ad, Or Do They?

Advertising can be a tough gig at times. But it would seem that the Guinness company has hit a home run with their latest ad campaign. Given the shortage of live sport, that’s much appreciated! The company has created a campaign that encourages people to adhere to the rules of the recent lockdowns due to Coronavirus. Or at least it would appear that way. As it transpires the ad. Has nothing to do with the company.

The poster, which appeared online, takes full advantage of negative space to create the illusion of a pint glass, with the trademark Guinness foam being replaced with a white sofa. Underneath the glass, the slogan reads “stay at home”. The image was knocked together by freelance copywriter Luke O’Reilly and quickly spread over social media.

Well said

O’Reilly who is self-isolating in his native West Cork said, “The comments were just hilarious. “Loads of stuff like: ‘Guinness did it again! Masters of marketing! Guinness is great!’”

It seems however that the Irishman is equivocal about the fact that he isn’t getting credit for his creation. He said, “My mother was going crazy: ‘You need to get the credit for this!’ As I said to her, as long as the message was getting reinforced, I was happy. It didn’t get to me as much as I thought it might. Maybe I knew in my heart people would find out I did it anyway.”


The image was created as part of a challenge called One Minute Briefs. The Uk based challenge encourages freelance advertising gurus and aspiring designers to create and trust their instincts. Encouraging participants to design pub posters that, ironically encourage potential patrons to avoid the pub! The project was set up to help promote a campaign referred to as Staying Inn. A virtual pub that was created by Olivia Downing and Sophie Stevens. The idea is to keep people in quarantine occupied and safe at home.

O’Reilly has been focused on the challenges since going freelance roughly two years ago. He finds himself drawn to them. (Pun intended) he said: “I’ve been moving away from advertising and more into performing, but I keep getting dragged back into it. If there’s no creative output, I start to go a bit mad. That’s why I love One Minute Briefs.”

No finesse

Most of the entrants showed a little lack of finesse in their finished projects. Often showing creative ideas but with poor execution. O’Reilly’s, however, was near perfect. Which may appear surprising seeing as design work isn’t his speciality. After all, he is a copywriter. His friends have given him a hard time for “how shit my scamps are.” And even though he hasn’t got much direct credit for the piece. The praise heaped on it must fill him with a warm glow.

Some of the tweets about the piece have highlighted its brilliance. The CEO of Schwartz commented, “Saw it in my feed and it restored my faith in advertising.” Mark Gallo said, “Even though I share the opinion that brands should lay low with Coronavirus marketing – this is my favourite ad/message”.

All round praise

Praise wasn’t limited to Twitter either with Liverpool agency, Seed to Branch posting: “It was simply a matter of time before Guinness came up with something creative, they always hit the spot!” The agency discovered O’Reilly was responsible and was kind enough to give him the credit for the piece.

Although when quizzed he claims that his favourite compliment was a simple WhatsApp from a close friend who just said, “Well done, you beat the system!” He reckons that that particular comment made him feel like the work was worthwhile. Especially as it came from an unexpected source. He added, “The coronavirus doesn’t care about a system. It’s not advertising through a system that’s going to help stop this. Maybe it’s just an ad from a person.”

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