David Ogilvy once called Guinness ads "part of the warp and woof of English life." Today, 80 years after John Gilroy first sketched his pint-balancing toucan, Guinness advertising is a global phenomenon. To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Unruly Media has put together a chart of the 20 most-viral Guinness commercials of all time—i.e., the ones that have been shared the most online. We've posted the top 10 below. Clearly, this favors more recent spots—and in fact, the No. 1 spot is the hilarious sheepdog ad just released this year. But there are some other classics in here, including my personal favorite, "Surfer." Enjoy them all. Cheers!
- Some Are Made of More (2011)
In most beer commercials, it's women who do the rolling around in the mud. This epic spot, created for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, gave dudes the same opportunity. Agency: AMV BBDO, London.
- Hands (2007)
A nice little stop-motion film with a pair of hands patiently (or not) waiting for a Guinness. Agency: AMV BBDO, London.
- Penguins (2006)
Penguins mate for life. And they're also mates for life—preferably while sharing a Guinness. Agency: Irish International BBDO, Dublin.
- Anticipation (1994)
Classic ad with Irish actor Joe McKinney as the "Dancing Man" who can't keep still as his Guinness is being poured. Part of the "No time like Guinness Time" campaign. Ad agency: Arks, Dublin.
- White Christmas (2003)
Snow is general all over Ireland in this Christmas spot, evoking James Joyce's "The Dead," which has aired in Ireland every holiday since 2003. Agency: Irish International BBDO, Dublin.
- Surfer (1999)
One of the great ads of all time, this ad—filmed in the pounding winter swells of Hawaii and inspired by Herman Melville's Moby Dick and Walter Crane's 1893 painting Neptune's Horses—likened waiting for a Guinness to waiting for the perfect wave. Agency: AMV BBDO, London.
- Bring It to Life (2009)
Guinness plays God in this lavish spot, with a bunch of men bringing a new world into existence. The brand got army assistance to film the grass-hauling shots at an old bombing range and hired the set designer from the third Lord of the Rings film to pull it all together. Agency: AMV BBDO, London.
- St. Patrick's Day Morning (2004)
Men wake up and run downstairs, excited as kids on Christmas morning, to find a keg-tree surrounded by green gift-wrapped Guinness six-packs and cases in this U.S. spot. "Treat St. Patrick's Day like a real holiday," says the copy. Agency: BBDO, New York.
- Noitulove (2005)
Winner of the Film Grand Prix at Cannes, this wonderful spot shows three mates drinking Guinness in a London pub—then furiously races back in time, all the way back millions of years ago, to when the three are just mudskippers lapping up disgusting pond water. The grandest execution of the "Good things come to those who wait" line. (The title of the spot is the word "evolution" backwards.) Agency: AMV BBDO, London.
- Round Up Your Mates (2012)
This year's St. Patrick's Day spot from Guinness has been a runaway success, with Roy, a border-collie sheepdog, rounding up a bunch of would-be Guinness drinkers into a makeshift pub on the verdant rolling hills of Yorkshire. A great new entry in a great old campaign.