When I arrived in Dublin, Ireland, I knew I needed to take my husband to the Guinness Storehouse. I had visited the famous landmark on a previous trip and thought my husband would like learning about the Company’s history. Plus, I knew he’d enjoy a pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar that offers a breathtaking 360 degree view of Dublin and beyond.

During the tour, I found myself spending a lot of time in the advertising memorabilia section which contains stories of popular Guinness icons, memorable print ads, and famous television advertisements. In particular, two print ads from the 1920’s that promote “Guinness Is Good For You” caught my eye. I wondered how Guinness developed the campaign and could make such a claim. I love drinking beer, but did Guinness really give consumers strength and power?

The original campaign stemmed from market research when a focus group told the Company that they felt good after drinking a pint of Guinness. Post-operative patients used to be given Guinness, as were blood donors, based on the belief that it was high in iron. Even pregnant women and nursing mothers were at one point advised to drink Guinness.

A few days later, I found myself in a small pub in Portaferry. When I asked for a pint of Carlsburg, an older gentleman at the bar told me I should have a pint of Guinness instead because it’s good for me. At that moment, it all came full circle and I was amazed at what Guinness was able to create.

They found a way to become woven into the fabric of people’s daily lives. Guinness gave consumers a way to justify their habits. That time at the pub? Yes, it was spent wisely. After all, drinking a pint of Guinness is good for you.

It also made me reflect on people’s buying habits. Overall, consumers want to feel good about their choices even if they might not be the healthiest. If we try hard enough, we can always find a way to validate our selections.

However, there’s some truth in their advertising. After a bit of research, I found that Guinness does contain a few health benefits. According to a study from the University of Wisconsin, Guinness has fewer calories than other beers. It can also work as well as a low dose of aspirin for preventing heart clots. Similar to those benefits found in certain fruits and vegetables, Guinness can slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.

However, at the end of the day, drinking a pint of Guinness is not nearly as healthy as not drinking a pint of Guinness.

 Guinness glass photo credit, Charles Lemieux, Flickr

Poster photo credit, Stuart Pinfold, Flickr