Guinness maker Diageo said it had stemmed falling sales of the iconic pint in the UK and Ireland helped by the most expensive advert in the brand's history.
The company said yesterday that a 20 per cent boost in marketing costs enabled the drink to increase its popularity in the two countries despite declining beer markets - cementing Guinness as the UK's third biggest beer brand.
In November, Diageo launched its Tipping Point advert as part of a £10 million Guinness campaign, featuring a giant domino rally in an Argentinian mountain village.
The advert, which includes a cascade of cars, fridges and even flaming hay bales, helped return UK sales to first-half growth for the first time since 2005, as European sales volumes rose three per cent.
Guinness is renowned for its high-profile advertising, such as its "horses and surfers" campaign featuring horses galloping through a wave with surfers, widely acclaimed as one of the best television adverts ever.
Diageo is currently trialling a lighter, sweeter version of the drink - Guinness Red - across 500 pubs and bars in central England.
Alongside the UK and Ireland, there was even greater popularity for the black stuff in Africa, where sales grew 13 per cent.
Guinness was a sponsor of this year's African Nations Cup in Ghana, while Diageo has also promoted the drink across the continent with its "Guinness Greatness" campaign. Nigeria is the brand's biggest African market.
A strong performance from spirits such as Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka helped the group lift pre-tax profits to £1.37 billion in the six months to December 31 - five per cent ahead of the previous year and in line with market expectations.
The company also shrugged off fears over potential headwinds from a US slowdown and the UK smoking ban by maintaining profits forecasts for the full year.
Chief executive Paul Walsh said: "While we continue to watch for any impact that recent financial market volatility may have on broader trading conditions, we are maintaining our guidance for the current year."
Diageo said Baileys and Smirnoff had benefited alongside Guinness from increased marketing spending and a new Christmas pricing strategy.
The company is also pushing key brands in other fast-growing markets including Eastern Europe and Russia, offsetting weaker sales in Spain and Greece.
In the US, a weaker dollar against the pound hit the business, although underlying operating profits were seven per cent higher at £491 million after raising the prices of its spirits, which also include Captain Morgan rum.
The company hopes its geographical spread will protect it from any potential slowdown. As well as the growing African beer market, Diageo highlighted higher scotch sales in Latin America and the Middle East, and new Asian markets including Vietnam.
It is also looking to protect itself from declining beer markets in the UK by increasing its range of "super-premium" products, such as last week's deal to buy a 50 per cent stake in Dutch vodka brand Ketel One.
Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst Keith Bowman called Diageo's results "reassuring". He said: "The important North American market is still progressing, whilst the push into emerging markets continues to build."
Shares closed up 47p at 1081p.