Guinness set for new rugby partnership

Diageo is looking to continue to use rugby union to market the Guinness brand despite ending its five-year sponsorship of the Guinness Premiership.

Guinness ad starring Lewis Moody
Guinness ad starring Lewis Moody

Financial services company Aviva will take over as title sponsor from the Diageo-owned brand from next season after agreeing a deal with Premier Rugby worth £20m over four-years. The league will be renamed Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Lee Bailey, senior sponsorship and events manager at Diageo, told Marketing Week that despite the switch, the drinks maker is “hoping to continue our association with rugby”, adding that it was in “discussions” with Premier Rugby “about how we maintain our very successful partnership”.

Bailey claims the sponsorship has helped “strengthen” the Guinness brand. Diageo will be keen to have some association with sport to back its “Bring it to Life” positioning. The campaign pushes the drink as one to be enjoyed on social occasions, including rugby and football matches, with friends.

Guinness launched a campaign in January using thje positioning to mark the start of the international rugby season, while football-themed press ads have run during the world cup

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