Most of the inhabitants of Iruya, the remote Argentinean village where the hit Guinness ‘Tipping Point’ advert was filmed, have never even tasted the black stuff – and those that have don’t even like it. One local said he’d never heard of Guinness before the film crew showed up last year - apparently his fellow residents prefer to drink local lagers like Quilmes or Salta.
‘Tipping Point’ is the one where loads of dominos topple through the tiny village, culminating in a huge sculpture of black and white books that turn over to create the image of a giant pint of the black stuff. The ad featured over 6,000 dominos and cost a whopping £10m to film, but it’s been hugely successful for Guinness – in fact, the drinks brand recently credited it with reviving its fortunes in its home market, with sales up 6% in the UK and Ireland as a result.
During the making of the advert, hundreds of villagers were roped in to cheer and look excited as the domino run surges through the streets before reaching its climax in the main square. However, this is about as close to a pint of Guinness as most of them are ever likely to come.
Iruya’s location high up in the Andes means that it’s logistically difficult to get Guinness up there – which has come as rather a disappointment to the British tourists who have started trekking up to the village. Many have made the pilgrimage in the hope of enjoying a pint of Guinness on location, only to find that there isn’t a single bar in town that serves it. As local café owner César Luis Arturo put it, ‘We had great fun when it was filmed, but now we are famous for something we don’t have’. Let’s hope he made the point that good things don’t necessarily come to those who wait.
Arthur Shand, the man whose job was to travel the world checking the availability and quality of bottled Guinness over a hundred years ago, will no doubt be spinning in his grave. And generally speaking, it’s a bit embarrassing if the stars of your advertising campaigns make absolutely no effort to endorse your product. But we’re guessing Guinness won’t lose too much sleep over this – as long as people buy more of the black stuff on this side of the Atlantic, they won’t mind a few disappointed punters in the Andes.
And the locals should count themselves lucky they got away as lightly as they did – if they’re not careful they could end up having their village turned into a Guinness theme park...