The black stuff

When it comes to advertising, this is a product without compare. The simple slogan "Guinness is good for you" has survived as a well-known phrase even though it has not officially been used for decades. In recent years, too, Guinness's TV advertisements - the swimmer, the snail race, the stallions in the churning surf - have been widely acclaimed.

When it comes to advertising, this is a product without compare. The simple slogan "Guinness is good for you" has survived as a well-known phrase even though it has not officially been used for decades. In recent years, too, Guinness's TV advertisements - the swimmer, the snail race, the stallions in the churning surf - have been widely acclaimed.

Acclaim is one thing. Taking any notice of the adverts is, however, a different bottle of stout. Sales in the Irish Republic have dropped; in the UK, the number of landlords choosing Guinness as one of their preferred drinks is down, too.

Still, all is not lost. Guinness, known since time immemorial as a component of ye-olde Irish postcards (old man sits with a dog at his feet and a pint of the black stuff in his hand), was reinvented some years ago as a drink for go-getters. If it can be reinvented once, why not a second time? Marketing tricks know no limits: who could have guessed that a mediocre Mexican beer could find a mass market (as Sol did) merely by serving it with a slice of lime?

In short, the brewers only need a new gimmick to rescue their froth. In the non-heat of a British summer, who's for black and white Guinness ice-cream?

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