Collecting Articles and Features

Guinness Posters of John Gilroy

John Gilroy’s iconic artwork, designs and influence for the Guinness advertising campaigns, from 1928 to the 1960s, are still current today and the original Guinness posters are very collectable. John Gilroy was responsible for some of the most famous advertising campaigns in history and helped turn around the fortunes of Guinness in the late 1920s where a worldwide depression had seen flattening sales and a urgent need to reach new markets and increase sales.

The Guinness company engaged S.H. Benson’s advertising agency, and artist John Gilroy was assigned to the account. The rest is advertising history.  John Gilroy’s creative and colourful artwork and memorable taglines were responsible for Guinness advertising campaigns such as “Guinness for Strength,” “Guinness is Good For You” and “My Goodness, My Guinness.” The Guinness poster was created and ‘that fans still adorn their walls with this poster today is a testament to the creative relationship between Gilroy and Guinness.’

One of the most memorable was born of his creative interpretation of a performing sea lion that caught his eye at the zoo. That animal, Gilroy mused, would be smart enough to balance a glass of Guinness on its nose. The Official Guinness website.

Lovely Day for a Guinness with seals and zoo keepers poster john gilroy
Lovely Day for a Guinness Poster John Gilroy
Zookeeper and Sealions
Sold for £280 at Mallams, March 2016.

Gilroy’s indelible designs and campaigns included: a hapless zookeeper in situations with various animals such as a lion, kangaroo and a sea-lion (My Goodness, My Guinness campaign); men performing feats of strength powered by Guinness such lifting carts and girders (Guinness For Strength campaign); and the famous Guinness toucan.

The hapless zookeeper, a caricature of Gilroy himself, presented the family of unruly animals. From an ostrich swallowing a Guinness, glass and all, to a pelican with a beak full of bottles. A bounding lion, a thieving bear. A crocodile, kangaroo, and penguin. And, of course, most famous of all, the toucan. This evolved, via the toucan, into the “Guinness-a-day” campaign. The Official Guinness website.

There is a growing market for Guinness posters in a premium condition.