News Irish News

Saturday 24 March 2018

Wanted: Sweden's Museum of Failure is appealing to people of Ireland to track down a 'Guinness Light' bottle

At the Guinness Theatre in St. James's Gate Brewery, Guinness launch 'Guinness Light', a new, lighter version of its world famous stout. 26/06/1979
At the Guinness Theatre in St. James's Gate Brewery, Guinness launch 'Guinness Light', a new, lighter version of its world famous stout. 26/06/1979
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The curator of the new ‘Museum of Failure’ is asking the people of Ireland to help him track down an elusive Irish item for his exhibition: Guinness Light.

The brew infamously launched in 1979 with two hubris-infused catchphrases.

One was, “They said it couldn’t be done” which proved prescient.

The other featured footage of the first moon landing, with the not so modest claim that “What one small step did for mankind, we’ve done for beer.”

But despite a heavy PR push — which saw women dressed like Barbarella descend from a giant silver space ship at St James’ Gate — Guinness Light died a death.

However, it wasn’t a complete loss of time and money as now Dr Samuel West, curator of the Museum of Failure in Sweden, wants to add a bottle of the black stuff to his exhibition.

The museum houses 51 items that tanked spectacularly including Colgate toothpaste’s decision to launch a line of frozen beef lasagne ready-made meals and Harley Davidson’s bold marketing ploy to unveil a line of perfume — because who doesn’t want to smell like gasoline, sweat and regret?

Bic’s ‘For Her’ pens (pink pens specially created for lady hands), Coke BlaK (coffee-flavoured cola), Lego Fibre Optics, and Trump: The Board Game which failed to sell well back in 1989 (but may do better these days) are also on display.

According to West, tracking down the items has been nothing short of a “complete f**king nightmare”. Turns out brands are not that keen to recall their biggest disasters — funny that.

“So I am still on the hunt for a bottle of Guinness Light,” Dr West said.

“Anyone who sends me one can come visit the museum and I promise to buy them a very expensive Swedish beer in exchange.”

While the beer may be the item that West is most interested in — there is a cornucopia of Irish catastrophes and cock-ups that could fill the museum; Dustin the Turkey’s failed Eurovision entry, a brief history of Irish Water, the short-lived Aran trouser, and Garda Síochána’s Segway patrol.

“Like in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop?” Dr West asks incredulously.

“Yes,” I reply. “Exactly like Paul Blart — but less threatening.”

“But that would be so ineffectual.” Not much gets past the Swedes.

Another contender for the museum would have to be Bertie’s e-voting machines that cost us €54m, and were never used. Michael Noonan said they should be shoved in the corner of a themed Oirish bars but they weren’t even afforded that fate, and ultimately 7,500 bulky machine were tossed in a junkyard heap.

It’s sad to think that there are none of them knocking about these days.

After all, didn’t Sam Beckett tell us all to “fail, fail again, fail better”?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be quite so quick to sweep all our national mishaps under the rug, and smudge them out of history.

“Innovation requires failure,” Dr West said. “Learning is the only process that turns failure into success,” he says.

So if anyone has a bottle of the Guinness Light knocking about their potting shed — do get in touch — you never know it could end up sitting pride of place beside the Apple Pippin, a pair of Google Glasses or a Orbitoclast Lobotomy.

Oh, and you’ll get a crisp refreshing pint of Närke Kaggen Stormaktsporter Börb’nåhallon to sweeten the deal.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News