Official Guinness Merchandise
The Story of the Guinness Menagerie
In the early 1930s, the Guinness artist John Gilroy visited Bertram Mills’ Circus, and while watching a performing sea-lion it occurred to him that the animal was probably smart enough to balance a glass of Guinness on his nose. It was an idea that would inspire one of the advertising’s longest-running – and most memorable campaigns.
The sea-lion was followed by a host of other animal characters; the pelican, ostrich, tortoise even a gnu – all represented different human types and were brought together under the care of the anxious little zoo-keeper, who was a caricature of Gilroy himself.
In 1935 the toucan joined the troop and soon became a favorite, remaining as the central character, symbolizing the brand until the present time.
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