A television advertisement for Guinness opens with a man cycling through Dublin. He arrives at the Guinness brewery in St. James's Gates.
A male voiceover states:
“We’ve travelled to nearly every corner on the earth. Commissioned our own fleet of ships. And even built our own railway. Because we believed in the beer we brewed and we wanted everyone to taste it.”
The next scene takes place in the brewery where the colour and smell of the stout which flows through the pipes is being tested. The barley is also tested for texture and smell. We then see a farmer in his field sifting the barley in the palm of his hand. The brewery is then featured again where the barley is being roasted, a worker removes a grain to sample it for taste. We are then provided with images of the farmer who supplies the barley and the various workers who work in the brewery. We are also shown hops being added to the mix for brewing. The final scene features a worker holding a half pint of Guinness in a Guinness glass up to the light
While the above scenes are played out the voiceover states:
“Guinness has always been about beer and people. We have bonds with Irish farmers that span generations. Every day we roast our own barley into a black state of perfection. And we’re proud to say that many of us have entered these gates in the footsteps of our parents and our grandparents. We’re only 255 years into a 9000 year lease. We have a lot more beer to make.”
The onscreen text states “Guinness In Pursuit of More”. The Drinkaware logo and text also features.
The final onscreen text which is accompanied by the Guinness harp reads “Guinness made of more ESTd 1759. Find out more at pursuitofmore.com. The Drinkaware logo and text is once again featured.
The complainant said the advertisement was misleading in that it demonstrated Guinness using whole hops in their beer, when in fact, in his opinion, Guinness did not use whole hops in their brewery. He said the imagery used depicted Guinness being produced in a wholesome manner. He considered this not to be the case and said that Guinness was brewed on a commercial basis using chemicals in the production process. He said to only feature fresh ingredients being used in the brewing process misrepresented the production of the product to consumers and was an attempt to create confusion with craft beers. He said that craft beers were creating a resurgence of interest in beers and beer production. He also said that the footage shown was taken from inside Guinness' small pilot brewery, which operated very different production values to their main brewery where the processes in place were more industrial like.
In reply Diageo stated that the advertisement was part of the “Pursuit of More” series from the Guinness brand team. They said that advertisement and the series sought to give the consumer a deeper understanding of the inner workings of their world famous brewery at St. James’s Gate. They stated that it was a celebration of their brewery, their history and its champions, the generations of craft and craftsmanship that goes into creating all of their beers that they produce at St. James’s Gate.
They said that the advertisement was all about the people behind the beer, the farmers, brewers, scientists and engineers. They said that many of their staff were third, fourth and even fifth generation and the advertisement highlighted and celebrated how the history and heritage of the St. James’s Gate brewery and the Guinness brand was interconnected with the history and heritage of their people. They said that there were no actors in the advertisement, all featured were real people finding ways to do what they do better, i.e. experimenting with various ingredients and processes to create new flavours and ways to improve their products.
The stated that the advertisement included rare footage from Guinness’ smaller Pilot Brewery, where a small group of experimental brewers, create small batches of beer, singlehandedly exploring new beers, flavours and processes, one iteration at a time.
They said that it was important to point out that the advertisement was for the brand “Guinness” which gives its name to many different types of beers that they produce at St. James’s Gate and this was the reason they did not feature a product shot of Guinness draught at the end of the advertisement.
They referred to the narration of the advertisement and stated that this, combined with the look, sound and feel were all about the people behind the beer, their innovation, skills and craftsmanship, and that the brewing process was incidental to the story.
In regards to the Pilot Brewery featured in the advert, they said that it uses ingredients as depicted in the advertisement and that their newest Guinness products, Guinness West Indies Porter and Guinness Dublin Porter, were both developed in the Pilot Brewery.
They referred to the use of whole hops, stating that they were featured in the advertisement as they are used in their Pilot Brewery and because they believed that this would most clearly illustrate the ingredient in a manner that would be easily understood by the general public, their consumers and non-brewing experts.
They said that like all modern brewers, they have been at the leading edge of their use of technology in brewing for many years, thus ensuring the great taste and consistency their customers come to expect. They stated that brewing was a complex process and they were not suggesting, nor did their consumers believe, that they brew Guinness in the same way they did in 1759, however, they said that Guinness, and all of the products that bear that name, retain four core ingredients of water, yeast, barley and female hops, which had been the foundation of their beers since 1759.
Complaint not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted the questions raised by the complainant in regards to the use of whole hops and fresh ingredients. The Committee examined the advertisement and noted that the scenes featured images from the Guinness Pilot Brewery in which whole hops are used to brew two Guinness products. The Committee did not consider that the advertisement was solely advertising the Guinness draught product as they considered that it was referring to the heritage of the brewery and the expertise of its staff. In the circumstances the Committee did not consider that the advertising was misleading or in breach of the Code.
No further action required.