Guinness taps its dark Celtic roots

Guinness taps its dark Celtic roots

Diageo’s ‘Darkness Reigns’ campaign is aimed at turning Halloween, one of the biggest drinking holidays in Canada, into an occasion for Guinness. ‘Guinness feels that the brand is a natural fit with Halloween, as the beer and the holiday share Celtic roots,’ explains Diageo spokesperson Alanna Stone.

To forge the connection, a Halloween-inspired drink called Black n’ Blood – a Guinness with a shot of blackcurrant cordial – was promoted in 250 pubs and restaurants across Canada, accompanied by signage declaring it the ‘True brew of Halloween.’ For those heading home for a pint instead, Toronto’s Yonge/Eglinton subway stop was dominated by Guinness branding in mid-October, replete with makeshift cobblestone and a mural giving the impression of being outdoors on an eerie, stormy night. To reach everyone else, Guinness ‘Darkness Reigns’ newspaper wraps appeared in Metro editions in major cities a few days before Halloween.

The campaign included a unique effort in Toronto – ‘Let the Darkness drive you’ – that took beer drinkers to local pubs in Guinness-branded limos. Black-clad ‘Guinness girls’ staked out 27 sporting events and concerts for recruits. Upon arrival, they were offered a pint of Guinness and given a cab coupon for the ride home. Craig Hamm of Motomedia, which executed the initiative, estimated that roughly 160 people participated, adding that it also encouraged separating drinking and driving to reinforce Guinness as a socially responsible brand.
Starcom MediaVest did the media buys and The Marketing Store helmed creative. The campaign wraps in early November.