Guinness Clear was treated exactly like a new product launch and therefore had all the 360 degree trappings of one. It started with a glossy television ad. Social films explained the new product. There was print in national newspapers. Guinness’s Six Nation’s sponsorship was leveraged to support the campaign – with stadium sampling, and using the digital hoardings and big screens. We used influencers, celebrity chefs, in-bar promotions, branded content podcasts and celebrity endorsements to drive the message home.
Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK. Almost 30% of all British drinkers binge drink on heavy nights.
Guinness Clear is a responsible drinking campaign trying to drive real behaviour change
Describe the creative idea
Nobody wants to order water in a pub.
People know it’s good for them, but they think it’s deeply uncool.
They’d much rather drink beer.
So, to encourage behaviour change and responsible drinking, we rebranded boring old tap water - as something people would actually want to order.
A brand new kind of Guinness.
Guinness Clear. Made from 100% H20.
We promoted it just like a genuine Guinness product.
With everything you’d expect from a Guinness launch.
All the reverence, all the beery clichés, all the high production values, all the familiar Guinness tropes.
From letting it ‘settle’ before you drink it, to the trademark Guinness 45 degree pour. We got celebrities and influencers to talk about it as if it was a new product at every stage of the campaign.
And, sure enough, it became a “beer” people talked about, joked about, and crucially - ordered.
Describe the strategy
Irresponsible binge drinking is a very real problem in the United Kingdom.
However, most beer advertisers do the bare minimum to promote responsible drinking.
They simply add a title to the end of their ads: Please drink responsibly.
Guinness wanted to do more.
They wanted to encourage real behavior change by giving consumers practical, useful advice about how to drink responsibly.
Water is a great way can help you moderate your drinking.
But we knew that people in the UK didn’t like ordering water in a pub.
Beer-drinking culture is strong and people feel embarrassed asking for uncool water in front of their friends.
We needed to take something people hated doing, and turn it into something they might like.
So - we turned water into something people would be happy to order.
A cool new product.
By making it light-hearted people took it seriously.
Describe the execution
The UK’s biggest Guinness drinking event is the Rugby Six Nations which lasts for six weeks.
This year, Guinness sponsored the entire tournament.
And, on day one we held a press conference to officially unveil this new product: Guinness Clear. Team captains and legendary rugby figures endorsed it. In partnership with the UK’s most popular newspaperit, The Sun, they took part in taste tests - staying straight faced throughout.
Earnestly pretending that Guinness Clear was a real beer.
Glossy product films and serving suggestions appeared in prime-time TV spots
and took over social feeds.
Michelin-star chefs cooked with it. And Six Nations commentators were filmed constantly sipping it.
Guinness Clear was advertised in national newspapers and at national stadiums. Hydration stations and mobile sampling enabled fans to get their much-anticipated first taste.
And of course, bars happily joined in with the joke, including Dublin’s famous Guinness Brewery & Storehouse.
List the results
There are no sales figures for tap water.
But we didn’t need sales figures to know our campaign was a success.
After six weeks you could walk into any pub in the UK and ask for a Guinness Clear – and get served a glass of water.
Positive sentiment increased by a massive 47% during the six weeks of the campaign.
And we observed a huge positive reaction on social.
People tweeted that Guinness Clear was being ordered and served in their local pub. People started using the product name for anything water-related.
Rain, tears - even sweat.
Guinness Clear had entered the culture.
It turns out that the way to get people to drink less Guinness, is to get them to drink more of it.