Guinness Increases Sales By 26%

“People enjoy interacting with their favorite beer brand and the numbers prove it.”

Designed to Engage the Crowd

The 2020 pilot objectives were to accurately quantify the impact of bev-top media on wallet share and sales increase for a specific beer brand. The selected brand for the pilot was Guinness.

Guinness first got a taste of customers’ reaction to bev-top media back on St. Patrick’s Day of 2018.  In a local campaign with Ripples, 20% of patrons were eager to try Guinness for the first time just to see their freshly-snapped selfies printed on draft pints of the Irish stout.

Fast-forward two years and over 50,000 personalized pints later, Guinness is serving  pints with Ripples at global locations including the flagship Dublin Storehouse and the new Gatehouse launched in Shanghai last December. The traditional beer brewer is ahead of the curve in offering innovative customer experiences, especially ones rooted in digital technology.

“It has the ability to make people feel special… People wanna start their toast with it, their night with it … it plays into that premium experience…We’re scaling it out as quickly as we can.”

Jay Sethi, CMO of Diageo, on bev-top media

The 2020 bar pilot with Guinness took place over the course of three months between December 2019 and March 2020 and centered around sales performance, measuring total year-over-year sales and share of wallet.

It included five participating on-trade venues: Mike’s Place, O’Sullivan’s, Sar HaMashkaot, Hanasi Pub, and Zafririm. Locations were selected to provide a mix of geographic distribution, as well as audience type and size – from small local pubs to larger venues catering to international tourists.

Ripples provided each of the venues with Ripple Maker PM devices for printing on beer (and cocktails), along with a mix of customized drink designs and access to more trending designs from Ripples dynamic content feed. To increase engagement, patrons were invited to submit user-generated content through the new customer-facing Ripples Web App from their mobile phones.

Examples of crowd-pleasing designs printed by the Guinness Printer throughout the period included:

Branded watermarks featuring the bar logos were added to each of the drink designs created by customers. This was to ensure exposure for the venues on social media when  customers then shared photos of their ‘dressed-up’ drinks on Instagram.

The Results

In line with global beer consumption trends, the local Israeli beer market is characterized by a strong shift toward premiumization, with total sales by volume showing stagnation and total sales by revenue showing moderate growth. The results of the bar pilot were overwhelmingly positive and echo that shift to premiumization, with a strong increase in both total sales and share of wallet for Guinness across all five of the participating venues. While the venues saw a collective 3% drop in total beer sales for all brands during the pilot period between December 2019 and March 2020,  Guinness measured both an average 26% increase in sales and an average 31% increase for share of wallet for the same year-over-year period.

The graph below shows the direct correlation between the number of Guinness pints served with prints and the percent increase in drink sales.

Correlation between percentage of printed drinks and increase in drink sales.

“We have been using Ripples to engage consumers and increase on-trade sales for over two years,” says Sharon Sambira, super premium beers brand manager at Carlsberg IBBL, distributor of Guinness in Israel. “We were the first brand to use this innovative tool globally and have seen great results, so it wasn’t surprising for us to see the results of the latest pilot. People enjoy interacting with their favorite beer brand and the numbers prove it. We will definitely continue engaging our consumers using Ripples in other campaigns and have increased the amount of Ripple Makers in Israel to support that.”

“We will definitely continue engaging our consumers using Ripples in other campaigns”

Sharon Sambira, super premium beers brand manager at Carlsberg IBBL, distributor of Guinness in Israel

Adapting to COVID-19

Since completing the pilot study in March 2020, the local and global markets for beer brands and the on-trade venues they supply have turned upside down. No one fully knows how the new hospitality experience will play out, but it’s certain that Covid-19 has forced a faster evolution of a trend towards digital communication that has been years in the making. Finding new and creative ways of merging digital and physical experiences at multiple touchpoints is key. Social media is an obvious one, but other examples of new digital touchpoints that are gaining momentum with customers include digital menus for pick-up orders, and entertaining web apps while waiting in line.

The results of this pilot highlight the crucial role that bev-top media can play as a tool for boosting consumer engagement and business results in a post Covid-19 world.

Guinness Ripples Bar Pilot
Read the study results