Disclaimer- I’m neither a Rugby nor Guinness fan but I recently feel like Guinness have been taking a slightly different but great approach to some of their campaigns during Rugby tournaments.
Unlike me, you may have watched Ireland disappointing exit from the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup in October, but did you see this tweet from one of team’s main sponsors?
Guinness Ireland took to twitter urging fans to have a pint of Carlsberg if they are looking to drown their sorrows after Ireland’s 46-14 loss against the New Zealand ‘All blacks’. It could be just me, but it does seem odd a brand urging their online audience to drink another beverage let alone a rival beer, however this isn’t the first time this year Guinness have suggested consumers not to drink a pint of the black stuff.
In 2019, Guinness took over as the main sponsor for the Six Nations and in the lead up, they launched their “new product” Guinness Clear.
Initially I actually thought it was a new alcoholic drink because of all the TV advertising, the social media campaign and the media attention, but turns out its just water.
The reasoning behind ‘Guinness Clear’ was part of the brands responsible drinking campaign to encourage moderation to all the fans watching the rugby. They took into consideration that some people don’t feel comfortable ordering water in a pub, so now they don’t have too! Guinness ‘re-branded’ water so fans could stick to their favourite brand of refreshment while also being drink aware. Guinness Clear had a large presence at the Six Nations and continues to have a presence throughout rugby stadiums with branded water fonts and sampling teams. On this occasion, Guinness successfully used their Six Nations platform to raise awareness and encourage this audience to be drink aware but what reasoning could Guinness have to want their consumers to drink Carlsberg?
Guinness Ireland has been one of IRFU’s main sponsors for years, as well as being brewed in Ireland it only seems right they show their support and respect for the local team and this is how they did it, they told their social media audience not to drink a pint of the black stuff because of the associated colour with the winning New Zealand team.
It would make more sense if Guinness had of suggested having a pint of Hop House 13 as they brew this lager, but they considered the colours of the branding of these beers in support for the Irish team. Guinness is known for its black consistently with its white head, the same colours as the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ kit, while Carlsberg is known for its green and white branding, same as the Ireland kit. Hop house however is red, white and black, so it wouldn’t make as much sense.
As well as taking into consideration the colours ,Guinness strategically picked Carlsberg. Carlsberg is brewed and marketed under license by the same company that own Guinness, Diageo.
Fans were quick to praise Guinness for their response to the loss. The tweet seen 5,536 retweets and 20,160 likes on twitter and on Instagram it has received 16,211 likes, a 493% increase in likes from their previous post. As well as creating talk on social media, this stunt also created a lot of positivity for the brand as well as the Irish Rugby team.
So how can Guinness afford to be so risky with their campaigns?
Guinness has been around since 1759 and over the years they have created a well-established brand. Their popularity has given them opportunities to get creative with their campaigns and continue to be one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world.
Jenna Sloan is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. You can find her on – Twitter: @jennaaaaa_ and LinkedIn: Jenna Sloan