How a pint of Guinness... holds the key to the perfect PR campaign

4 March 2022 | 3 min read | PR
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

Guinness is famous for its TV campaigns. Remember the one from 1999 with a mature surfer waiting patiently for the perfect wave to come? He is staring at the sea; he knows it’s coming. He has no idea when, but when it does, he will be ready.

‘Tick followed tock, followed tick’ hauntingly fills the air, and as the drum beat gathers pace and intensity, the wait is finally over. His dream has been realised and the advert ends with the words, ‘Here’s to waiting.’

At 1 min 40 seconds, it remains one of the longest TV adverts in history, and arguably one of the finest ever made. If ever there was a metaphor for PR, it is this advert.

Patient PR makes brands contagious

A recent report showed that three-quarters (73 per cent) of marketers are finding it much harder to capture the attention of their target audience today compared to 12 months ago. I believe this is because businesses are too impatient.

We live in an age of hyer-connectivity where there is a wealth of choice, and the speed of technology can enable us to open a bank account faster than the time it takes to order a taxi. It is a ‘now’ society, where customers can access what they want when they want it.

Many businesses have that same sense of expectation – a demand for instantaneous results from their PR and marketing campaigns.

But if you want to sway opinion in your favour and position your organisation as the product or service provider of choice for your target market, you need to exercise patience.

Addressing customer challenges in your PR will put you front of mind

Guinness’s challenge was not a lack of brand awareness. Nor was it a lack of appreciation among their target audience as to the quality of their product. The challenge lay with consumers themselves.

While Guinness was their preferred tiple, stout drinkers didn’t want to stand at a packed bar on a Friday night and wait the 119.5 seconds it takes to pour a perfect pint of the black stuff. That is 10-times longer than other stouts.

So, Guinness create the advert above to a) educate consumers that the perfect pint is worth the wait, and b) create an emotional attachment with the brand. The ad was repeated over and over again. It became memorable, ‘sticky’, and front of mind for stout consumers.

This gave Guinness (1) influence over customer purchasing decisions. It gave them (2) impact in a highly competitive marketplace. And it gave them a positive hit on their (3) bottom line.

If you’re looking to increase your organisation’s impact, influence, and bottom line in 2022, drop me a quick email and we can get the ball rolling for you. I’m at, on Twitter @PaulMacKenzie_C, and LinkedIn .