Guinness offers South Koreans a ‘Taste of Black’ With New Ad Campaign

South Korean beer drinkers love their lagers. Guinness is looking to change that.

The world’s most famous stout has quietly been chipping away at the Korean market the past few years, establishing a presence for itself in the minds of Korean beer drinkers, but is still a relatively small player.

Parent company, London-based multinational beverage company, Diageo, has launched the #TasteofBlack campaign to expand the appeal of the Guinness beyond core drinkers in Korea, while at the same time introducing the brew to a younger demographic. To do so Diageo tapped Iris Worldwide to create the first Guinness commercial in Korea.


The glitzy, highly polished spot, which was directed by Korean-American director John S. Park, working with award-winning production company The Sweet Shop, is making the rounds on TV and social networks.

For the Korean market, the creators have not used traditional Guinness themes focused on heritage or taste, but have instead wisely decided to make the campaign all about style.

The #TasteofBlack campaign, including the TV spot, is part of a fully integrated campaign across digital, social media, on and off trade point-of-sale and consumer and trade promotions.

The Guinness push is aimed at those Koreans who have not yet tried Guinness, largely due to the perception that it is an overly strong or challenging taste, provoked by the stout’s trademark black color –or as the beermaker describes it: “the perception of an overly strong or challenging taste”.


A Taste of Black Korea Guiness - Branding in Asia

Rather than drafting a triple-A celebrity to endorse the product, as is the goto method in much of South Korean marketing, Iris and Guinness decided to feature featuring Korean influencers, one being YouTube celebrity “eater” Banzz and popular UK-Korea transplant, the Korean Englishman, who have been signed to talk about the #TasteofBlack experience on their popular YouTube channels. The ad spot also includes art by Mari Kim, who also did work on a video by Kpop group 2NE1.

Here is the main spot directed by Park: (alternative link here)

Perhaps most interesting about this ad is that for the Korean market, the creators have not used traditional Guinness themes focused on heritage or taste, but have instead wisely decided to make the Guinness campaign all about style.

“Over the past five or so years, Diageo Korea has done a great job of ‘seeding’ the Guinness brand at the top end of the beer market in Korea, leading to it becoming one of the most premium positioned and admired international beer brands in the market,” said Dougal McGeorge, marketing and innovation director at Diageo Korea. “Our challenge from this point, is to kick-off the next step of the journey.”

“To do this we needed to make a step-change in the way we communicate about and activate Guinness, and as such we sought a partner who could help us to do this,” added McGeorge.

Guinness Beer Korea

Christopher Lyons, MD of Iris, views the campaign as a “bold ambition to engage consumers, drive participation, and create a platform – not just a campaign – so that consumers could engage with Guinness, participate with the work, and share their experience.”

Here is Korean eating personality Banzz (밴쯔) with his promo for Guinness.

Main Ad Credits:

Shaun Mcilrath – Global Creative Director
Nina Taylor – Creative Director
Laura Stageman – TV Producer
Paul Gage – Strategic Planning Lead
Ross Henderson – Account Director
Mimi Lee – Account Manager
TV Production:
Director – John S. Park
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Executive Producer: Spencer Dodd
Producer: Jason Lee
DP: Sung Ho Jeoun
Editor: Se Jin Yoo
Service Production – Addict Films (Seoul, Korea)


The Staff

The Staff

Gettin' it done, when the done needs gettin'.

Read More

subscribe & get more brand in your diet


get more brand in your diet

We never share your info,
we only share ours