How grand to be a Toucan

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We all know the saying:


"If he can say as you can

Guinness is good for you,

How grand to be a Toucan,

Just think what Toucan do."


So yesterday my friend calls and asks me "What is the origin of the Guinness toucan?".


Well here it is folks:


In 1928 the advertising agency John Gilroy worked for won the Guinness advertising account. Gilroy's first known Guinness poster was produced in 1930. He created posters featuring the girder carrier and the wood cutter from the Guinness for Strength campaigns of the early 1930s and for the Guinness animals. The animals, including a lion, toucan, gnu and kangaroo, along with their long-suffering zookeeper, appeared all over.


The Toucan first appeared as a Guinness character in 1935. The truth be told however he really started out as a pelican. The ad went something like this:


"A wonderful bird is the pelican,

Its bill can hold more than its belly can.

It can hold in its beak

Enough for a week

I simply don't know how the hell he can."


The writer Dorothy L Sayers who worked for the same advertising agency as John Gilroy was asked to come up with something less offensive. Hence the Toucan saying. So goes the origin of the Toucan. In 1982, Guinness changed advertising agencies and the Toucan was officially retired. He lives on however on many a pub wall. (and some living room walls too!)


Would you like to know more about John Gilroy? Check out the GuinnessĀ® Collectors Club

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This page contains a single entry by Brewmaster published on April 3, 2006 3:07 PM.

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