How Guinness attracted 1.5 million customers in under a year

Determined to engage a new generation of drinkers across a vibrant and rapidly evolving continent, Guinness opted for a blend of TV sponsorship, experiential, influencer marketing and outdoor to achieve its goals.

Diageo Guinness MW Awards
Source: Guinness

Despite having built a distinctive brand across Africa since the 19th century, Guinness needed to raise its game in 2021 – especially among younger consumers.

Working with agency AMV BBDO, the brand set out to add 1 million new drinkers across the continent, focusing on under-35s and women. The plan? Challenge perceptions and increase relevance, building an optimistic and inclusive brand.

The teams immersed themselves in the ‘new Africa’, using expert interviews and semiotic cultural analysis to dig into consumer attitudes. The research helped inform new creative platform ‘Black Shines Brightest’, developed in tandem with the Guinness Creative Council of influencers.

The platform went live across Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana simultaneously in August 2021.

Sponsorship of TV coverage of Premier League fixtures and Big Brother Nigeria – the latter which reached 34 million households – was supported by an outdoor campaign and branded ‘Bright Houses’, interactive spaces for creatives to share a pint and swap ideas. Nigerian rapper Fireboy DML and Tanzanian singer Nandy created content on the Black Shines Brightest theme, using social media to extend the campaign reach.

As a result, Guinness grew customers across its five key African markets by 10.9%, adding 1.5 million drinkers. Spontaneous brand awareness rose by more than four percentage points, while the brand’s net sales value increased 19% versus 2020 levels. Paid media alone reached over 100 million consumers in the first six months.

The campaign impact was four times higher than norms across all KPIs (salience, positioning, campaign statements and conversion to trial) in Nigeria alone, results which helped Guinness win the Marketing Week Award for Multichannel Marketing.