By KAREN YATES, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 26 January 1996 12:00AM
Karen Yates wonders why Guinness is making Arks fight for its creative
Anybody returning from a long trip to the Antarctic may have missed
Guinness’s famous commercial, ‘anticipation’, where a bloke dances
quirkily - and lengthily - around his pint while he waits for it to
It was the ad that tempted hardened couch potatoes up on to their feet,
to boogie around their beers in pubs across the nation, and saw the
sound track - Guaglione by Perez Prado - in the charts both here and in
Ireland, where the film was made.
So why then, when half of the adult population on both sides of the
Irish Sea have instant recall of the commercial, is the account up for
review? Why is Arks-Lopex, the Dublin-based agency that produced the
commercial, going head to head with Ogilvy and Mather London just to
hang on to the business (Campaign, last week)?
It is a subject which has ignited patriotic passion among the Irish.
‘Ireland not good enough for Guinness,’ boomed the Sunday Business Post,
one of Ireland’s premier business papers. Dublin is being forced to
deliver yet another of its cherished national symbols into the hands of
the English, warn those who are outraged by the pitch.
The pro-Irish lobby points to Arks’ 20-year tenure of the account and
asks why, when its recent ads have been so successful, should the
account be in danger of moving at all? Is it, they ask disingenuously,
because two of Guinness’s seven-strong executive group are English? Or
perhaps, they note, Guinness has been unnerved by the controversy
surrounding the ad, since the director, Mehdi Norowzian, began claiming
that the idea for the film came from him, not the agency.
All these theories are shot down in flames by Guinness itself, which,
predictably enough, dismisses the pitch as part of an ‘on-going review’
of the brand.
Meanwhile, the pro-English lobby points to Guinness sales, which have
been steadily declining, even during the blaze of publicity surrounding
However, the most telling comment has come from Norman Barry, editor of
the Irish Marketing Journal, Campaign’s equivalent in Ireland. He
acknowledges, with just the right amount of regret, that Guinness looks
likely to move to England as part of the increasing globalisation of
brands. O&M already has the brand in Africa, parts of the Asia/Pacific
and the UK. But it would be a pity, he says, for the account to move
But if it does, perhaps the Irish will take solace in the fact that the
media buying - by far the largest money maker - will remain in the
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk