"Liquid Modernity" and Irish Identity: Irishness in Guinness, Jameson, and Ballygowan Advertisements
Abstract

Abstract:

Advertisements tap into collective representations or shared cultural values regarding identity, community, and authenticity. In this paper, we will examine representations of Irish identity in advertising campaigns for Guinness Stout, Ballygowan Water, and Jameson Whiskey, all of which reflect Ireland's experience of "liquid modernity" and occupy different places on the spectrum of two conflicting representations of Irishness apparent in Ireland today. On one side, these brands appeal to a pre-modern Celtic culture or traditional solidarity, but on the other, they aspire to and exhibit a postmodern, hybridized, and aspirational cosmopolitanism, though to differing degrees. Ad campaigns for Ballygowan Water (which formerly had used a slogan, "the power of purity," as well as Celtic mythology) now represent Irishness through exuberant young street dancers and a diverse urban culture. On the other hand, the Guinness ad campaign's "knowing what matters" paradoxically appeals to a traditional version of Irish community despite the fact that Guinness is now owned by Diageo, a multinational corporation. These diverse representations of Irishness reflect the cultural ambivalence and contradictory effects of various cultural collisions that have resulted from the processes of globalization/accelerated modernization in Ireland.