One of the best known LGB TV commercials in UK advertising history never actually aired. This ad for Guinness was directed by Tony Kaye for Ogilvy & Mathe back in 1995 as part of the brand’s £12m ‘Not everything in black and white makes sense’ campaign.
When the tabloid press heard about the ad they were suitably outraged and horrified, and Guinness dithered over whether or not to use the campaign throughout 1996. Eventually it went ahead without this ad - though that didn’t stop them courting controversy.
In November 1997 Marketing Week described the current situation:
Before the present campaign even began, Guinness faced a furore over leaked plans to show a gay kiss. This month, Guinness chairman Tony Greener was forced to issue an apology to John Robb, chairman of British Energy, over ads showing a two-headed fish, alongside a quote saying nuclear power was safe.
In between it faced accusations of making an unsubtle reference to the death of Conservative MP Stephen Milligan with an ad depicting a leather-clad man engaged in a sado-masochistic act.
Throughout Guinness has stood by its agency, and says O&M may yet retain the account. Guinness states that Black & White achieved its highest advertising awareness scores to date, and has aided Guinness’ climb to its highest share of the beer market, with a five per cent share.