Behind Guinness’ 6 Nations Led Strategy To Become The World’s Number One Rugby Brand

When Guinness announced its title sponsorship of the 6 Nations at the end of 2018 it said that its top line, umbrella objective was to use the partnership as a spearhead to become ‘the world’s number one rugby brand’.


From the H20 led #GuinnessClear responsible drinking initiative and ‘The Purse’ shared values supporter spot, to local market OOH ads, Guinness Villages, on-trade experiences and pub kits, plus and on-pack and in-store initiatives (often linked to authentic rugby stories), an avalanche of brand identity activations in and around the stadiums (including pint glasses and beer mats, pitch logos, goal post, banner and screen branding, as well as hydration stations), vouchers, tickets, competitions and hospitality, plus Women’s 6 Nations work and overseas rivalry campaigns with an eye on the World Cup, the combination of brand campaigns, exposure and experiences ensured Guinness engagement shot through the traditional ‘rule of seven’ tournament touch points per fan.


Thed core objective behind Guinness’s Six Nations title partnership is to consolidate and expand its existing excellent relationship with rugby fans (it is their number one beer/cider choice), but results from the brand’s activation around the 2019 tournament suggests its marketing reached beyond the rugby fan segment into the general public.


YouGov stats shoe that awareness of Guinness’ rugby ads among the wider UK population is up more than 50% since the tournament began.


As the black stuff is currently the UK’s 6th favourite beer/cider, it will be hoping that this increase in ad audience will see it move further up the customer metric rankings.


It just might even pave the way for further brand growth in the USA too: which seems surprising considering rugby’s low awareness stateside.


The US has an established appetite for collision sports and has been repeatedly been talked of as the ‘next big rugby market’.


Again YouGov has been tracking the Six Nations in the US and, while awareness of the tournament is fairly low among the general public (like the Cricket World Cup), but in terms of the organisation;s Reputation metric (which specifically asks about the prestige of properties) the Six Nations climbs significantly – finding itself among the NBA G League and the FA Cup for company.


If you filter to include only those people who are aware of the property, the Six Nations climbs to a surprising 14th position: a decent foundation for a rights-holder and its title sponsor to build on.


We showcase the activation strands from this year’s tournament that show how the Diageo stout brand is setting about achieving its aim to be the world’s number one rugby brand.


1: #GuinnessClear & #ThePurse
2: ‘Sisters’ Women’s 6 Nations
3: ‘St Patrick’s Day’ NZ OOH


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