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Guinness at Home: How Guinness Thrived While Socially Distanced

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Shane Grogan, senior licensing manager, Diageo, highlights how the company pivoted in 2020 to bring the magic of a Guinness to consumers spending more time at home.

Some of the best places in the world to have a drink were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As people around the world were asked to stick closer to home, bars and restaurants were shuttered as we adjusted to a “new normal.” Yet, despite social distancing precautions, people around the world found novel ways to connect while apart.

One great example of the unique ways people stay connected in 2020 came from Diageo and Guinness. The beloved drink brand launched its Guinness at Home social media campaign this year as a way to let consumers have a drink together from their own homes. Guinness’s campaign featured signature licensed merchandise for the brand and encouraged consumers to bring the bar into their own homes.

License Global recently spoke with Shane Grogan, senior licensing manager, Diageo, to learn more about the campaign and highlight the unique digital offering. Grogan shed light on how everything came together and how the Guinness brand has been able to manage during this unprecedented time.

Get in on the fun with Diageo, who will host two mixology courses at Licensing Leadership Summit. Register now here.

License Global: What is the Guinness At Home campaign?

Grogan: The Guinness At Home social media campaign inspires consumers to live the magic of having a beautiful Guinness from the comfort of their own homes. Featuring signature Guinness glassware, barware accessories, home décor accessories and bar furniture, this campaign encourages consumers to ‘bring the pub home’ during a time when many bars and restaurants have been closed due to the current crisis.

How did the campaign come about?

As with countless ideas of late, this campaign was born as a response to shifting consumer behaviors. St. Patrick’s Day 2020 coincided directly with the early stages of at-home mandates and shutdowns across the globe. For the first time in generations, we were unable to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the bar with friends and family.

The acclaimed Guinness "We’ll March Again" commercial served as the inspiration for the campaign. Featuring a powerful message of care and resilience, this heartfelt video showcases footage from St. Patrick’s Days past and reassures fans that Guinness will still be there for them through these unprecedented times. The pride, heritage and positivity encompassed in this commercial provided the perfect platform to present the collection of Guinness licensed products to help consumers feel just that bit closer to the bar, from the comfort of home.

What licensed product does the campaign feature?

GUINNESS_Perfect Pint.jpgThis campaign is centered around the idea of recreating the bar experience at home and within that setting, proposes several opportunities for many product categories across hundreds of products.

One of the most successful programs within the portfolio of licensed products is the Guinness-branded personalized glassware. The range includes the popular “Gravity Glass” as well as multi-packs, mugs and tankards. Consumers love the option to customize product and make it their own. No two Guinness lovers are the same, so why should the glass they drink out of be? The campaign features bright, cheerful imagery showcasing some of the best-sellers.

2008_GUINNESS_SOCIAL0355.jpgIn addition to glassware, the campaign also includes several decorative bar signs that set the stage for recreating one’s very own pub and adding a celebratory atmosphere to the home. Authentic, stylish and made to last, the range of wall art includes metal, wood and canvas options, as well as illuminated choices to give add some cheerful warmth and light to the space.

Lastly, the campaign includes functional bar tools and equipment for those looking to add a touch of magic to their favorite gathering. This includes bottle openers, cap catchers, bar towels, mats and coasters.

The options to bring the pub home are endless and cater to a wide variety of consumers. However big or small their spaces may be, there is truly something for everyone!

What are some other ways Diageo has shifted the overall licensing strategy in response to the evolution of retail and consumer behaviors?

While the focus on ecommerce is not a new phenomenon, 2020 is the year that has forced brands and retailers alike to devote enormous time and effort not only to expanding digital presence but also establishing deeper connections with consumers. Content is king and part of the Guinness licensing strategy is finding new and innovative ways to engage with consumers. The Guinness At Home campaign has already seen success, boasting over one million impressions in the first two weeks, as well as seeing a tremendous lift in traffic and conversion. Aside from concentrating on the GUINNESS webstore business and aligning the world of Guinness online, licensees are also exploring new ways to grow in existing trending categories, like food and baking. Looking forward to the 2020 holiday season and St. Patrick’s Day 2021, we anticipate the launch of new product, as well as elevated and interactive marketing campaigns to support distribution, grow brand awareness and of course, drive sales.

Do you envision the increase in at home cocktail making during the pandemic will carry over even when bars begin to open back up?

GUINNESS Bottle_.jpgAlthough we can’t wait to enjoy each other’s company safely in restaurants and bars, we believe that the current issues have shifted consumer behavior for the foreseeable future. In a troubling time when people had nothing to rely on but the comfort of their own homes, the importance of a cultivated, authentic and relaxing space is paramount. We expect to see the trends of at home experiences (cooking, baking, entertaining, drinking, redecorating and renovating) all continue to grow within the next few years. In true Guinness spirit, we intend to look at the glass half-full and echo sentiments of gratitude and positivity in the licensing program and coinciding marketing efforts.

Cheers.

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