THE Irish stout Guinness has used advertising campaigns that industry insiders and the public have acclaimed as some of the best of all time – but the Welsh language adverts it once produced are probably less well known.

The seemingly forgotten printed adverts took marketing lecturer Dr Sara Parry by surprise when she was searching for advertisements produced by commercial firms in Welsh.

The cartoon style ads, with Guinness’ once familiar slogans translated into Welsh, were spotted in a report produced by the charity Alcohol Concern.

It featured the adverts in its report on how the drinks industry aims to create new markets and highlighted the 1950s ads were placed in the popular weekly newspaper Y Cymro and magazine Baner ac Amserau Cymru.

“Guinness sought to increase the market for their beer in a community with a traditional leaning towards temperance, with a series of adverts using Welsh translations of their English catchphrases,” the report stated.

Turning Welsh speakers on to Guinness was possibly so successful the brewer no longer goes to such lengths to target that particular demographic but in 2016 another beer giant created a Welsh language advert.

Budweiser, the American-style beer owned by Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev, used a Twitter advertising campaign to promote a Welsh advert it had produced and also offer a free bottle to everyone aged 18 and over in Wales to celebrate the Welsh football team reaching the semi-finals of the Euro 2016 tournament.

The advert featured the familiar label of a chilled bottle of Bud’ with, in bold type, “Amser Da, Amser Gwael, Amser Ychwanegol” – which translates as “good times, bad times, extra time” and was shared on the firm’s social media accounts via English language tweets in the days leading up to the game.

Dr Parry, who lectures at Bangor University’s business school, says social media has helped make such innovations easier and, crucially, cheaper for firms.

While Budweiser will have likely benefited from increased publicity, and social media interaction, there is also the opportunity to advertise in Welsh on S4C – but the vast majority of advertising on the channel is in English.

The National Wales: The 2016 advert produced by BudweiserThe 2016 advert produced by Budweiser

The channel says during the first three months of this year 59 from a total of 332 advertising campaigns on S4C included a Welsh language advert which works out at 18 per cent. It says that figure has grown every year for past three, jumping from 36 Welsh language campaigns during the first three months of 2019 to 50 for the same period last year.

Popular programmes, like its football show ‘Sgorio’ which is sponsored by building supplies firm Screwfix and uses Welsh language versions of a campaign it runs across various channels showing the sport, attract sponsors willing to use the channel’s broadcast language.

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A spokeswoman for S4C said programme sponsorship "stings" have to be in Welsh and companies are happy to take on the obligation.

She said: "Sponsors are more than happy to create Welsh language sponsorship idents, in order to create an association with the programme.

"Screwfix commissioned separate voice over artists, translated the straplines and a Welsh speaking team based in Cardiff made any graphic changes required. Our advertising sales agents have a Welsh speaking team based in Wales and were on hand to advise, and referred to s4c for further advice where required."

A small number of firms, of various size, also advertise in Welsh including a Volvo dealership in North Wales and the channel offers a production subsidy to new advertisers with a condition of accessing that a Welsh language version is created for use on S4C."

During the pandemic S4C also operated a scheme to allow free charity advertising, which also included a contribution towards production costs of creating new Welsh language advertising.

"Many national brands are keen to show that they are inclusive to all of the UK and advertising or sponsoring in Welsh is part of that. We approach many companies to advertise and we are approached by others who see s4c as a key part of their marketing," said the spokeswoman.

Dr Parry thinks using Welsh is now more about building relationships for firms than practicality such as when the 1950s Guinness adverts were produced: “There was a time when there would have been a lot more Welsh speaking people who didn’t speak, or understand, that much English.

"Now it’s an emotional appeal to either show we are Welsh, or understand our customers are bilingual or they want to be connected with another language.

“It makes me proud if a company makes the effort to use Welsh and they will want to understand how that transfers into sales or enquiries to them,” says Dr Parry, who said she would like the opportunity to conduct an in-depth study of advertising in Welsh.

The latest high-profile firm to make an unexpected use of the Welsh language is biscuit maker Jacob’s. It has branded a limited edition range of its Mini Cheddars cheese snacks as Cheddars Bach – swapping ‘Mini’ for ‘Bach’ the Welsh for small.

The firm has teamed up with cheesemakers from Wales, Scotland and England for the special edition range and Cheddars Bach sit on shelves across the UK with Scottish flavoured Wee Cheddars.

“It’s a great idea that gets positive feedback and response on social media, which is all about branding, and companies don’t need to go down the route of producing a Welsh TV advert which can still cost a lot to produce,” says Dr Parry.

Since launching this spring the Mini Cheddars Twitter account has tweeted in Welsh and even replied and shared tweets from others, postings photographs of the packaging, using Welsh.

Use of the language has paid off for the firm. A tweet it posted stating “Cheddars Back Os Gwelwch yn Dda” was re-tweeted more than 500 times compared to just six reshares for the message “Mini Cheddars Please” posted just over an hour earlier.

The National Wales: The limited edition Cheddars Bach packingThe limited edition Cheddars Bach packing

Mini Cheddars press office said it had no apprehensions about a limited re-branding: “We wanted the packaging to be authentic to each nation, and believed that even if people did not understand ‘bach’, they would recognise the packaging and would be intrigued to find out more.

“We are proud to have Welsh speakers within the business who have been working with us on this limited edition, and helping us to have a bit of fun with our Welsh fans on social media.

“We have been really pleased with how people have responded to us interacting with them in Welsh, and it’s allowed us to have a bit of fun too. Our limited edition Welsh flavour has allowed us to celebrate the Dragon’s Breath Chilli Cheddar of the Blaenafon Cheddar Company and through our interactions in Welsh, celebrate the Welsh language too.”

The Welsh Language Commissioner, the official appointed by the Welsh Government and the Senedd to promote use of the language, regularly conducts research into the value of Welsh to businesses and supports businesses and charities to develop Welsh language services with an accreditation scheme.

The commissioner’s office has welcomed the small gesture from the snack firm: “Jacob’s use of ‘Cheddars Bach’ is a positive way to show the origin of the Welsh flavour, making it something that belongs to Wales and stand out compared to its competitors.

“Most businesses see the Welsh language as a benefit to their business. They find that the Welsh language is a factor that enriches the brand, the value of goods and services. Very few businesses see the Welsh language as a disadvantage.

“We would encourage any company that wishes to work with us and increase their use of Welsh to get in touch.”

Whether other firms will make more use of the Welsh language remains to be seen but Mini Cheddars say they wouldn’t rule it out.

When asked if it might make further use of the language the firm’s press office replied: “Byth dweud byth” (Never say never).