Guinness - Rugby World Cup


Despite Guinness being a favourite drink of Rugby fans around the world, the Rugby World Cup posed an enormous challenge for the brand. With Heineken having bought the rights to be one of the main six sponsors of the Rugby World Cup, they had secured exclusive pouring rights for all Heineken brands within the stadium. As official sponsor of the Home Nation teams, Guinness had to protect it’s share of mind. We needed to out connect our competitors, not outspend them.

v 47% Of all Irish Adults saw our TV ad on launch night


It’s well known that Guinness always produce fantastic, emotive creative, but cutting through the clutter at Rugby World Cup, where the brand had no official sponsorship, was going to be difficult. We needed to carve out our own launch moment before the tournament began, and stay top of mind right throughout the tournament.


Using unruly data we found that the organic lifespan of a new television ad lasts approximately one week with 42% of social shares occurring in the first three days! Consumers move quicker than advertisers. The corollary of this is that campaigns die faster too as consumers move on to talk about the next big campaign. We knew we had to grab their attention fast, and keep it, right throughout the tournament.


Monday film up-loaded to YouTube InSearch set live making content easily found. We collaborated with our blogger outreach team seeding out to 20 key rugby sites and bloggers who offered a first-look.

Tuesday we amplified through programmatic distributing content across a network of sports sites and Rugby bloggers and later pushed via owned social channels with Search covering every touch-point in the journey.

Wednesday 9th September, 9.15pm: A genuine media first, unrepeated to this day, the first ever cross-market (UK/Ireland) multiscreen roadblock with 37 TV channels (UK), 25 TV Channels (Ireland), Cinema, Social Media and Digital Video all live at a single moment. Our ad was unavoidable. No matter what you watched - tv, online or Cinema – you saw it. On a single moment we reached 47% of the total Irish adult population!

Weeks 2-8: If you’re not a marketer, marketing campaigns become boring, and quickly. To sustain momentum we had to spike interest throughout the tournament. We used social platforms around rugby conversations to promote our content in the run up to match weekends. If we wanted to be part of daily rugby world cup conversations we had to have something topical and timely to say rather than just replay our TVC, we needed to be reactive and present in rugby culture. Through a reactive marketing campaign, we connected with audiences week after week with sharable, emotive content. Not only was our content shared socially, we also made the headlines and were quoted (unpaid) by the Irish Times as “a stunning real time marketing campaign”

v 47% Of all Irish Adults saw our TV ad on launch night
Q No.1 Memorable Guinness Rugby was noted as the ‘Most Memorable Social Media Campaign’ (Source: Onside)
Q No.1 Recognition AV campaign has resulted in being recognised as the ‘Most Memorable TV Ad’ throughout the tournament. (Source: Onside)
w 17% Association YouGov Research shows that Guinness is the top brand associated with Rugby World Cup, at 17%, with official sponsors Heineken following at 16.7%.
U 17% Interest Following Millward Brown research, the amount of people who are interested in Rugby, and drink Guinness has increased from 15% to 17%
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