Guinness Helping a major beer brand transform its image

The Business Context

Guinness was in a rut. The brand had forever been aligned with Irish heritage – consumption peaked in March along with St. Patrick’s Day but was hardly considered the rest of the year. A radical new approach needed to be considered by their agency, BBDO.

An insight was unearthed: Guinness was for people with character, with dignity, people who were “Made of More”.

BBDO consulted with System1 Research during script development, and ultimately set off to create multiple animatics that would then be progressed through pre-testing.

An insight was unearthed: Guiness was for people with character, with dignity, people who were “Made of More.”

The System1 Research Solution

System1 Research utilized its Ad Testing methodology to efficiently test the early ideas. By focusing on the emotive elements of the story and utilizing the diagnostics, System1 Research was able to provide strategic recommendations concerning which creative direction to pursue and ways to optimize the idea prior to production.

This round of early testing identified “Basketball” as a high 4-star idea, a clear winner relative to the comparative set and a great ad relative to our database.

System1 Research’s ad testing was one of the key catalysts behind Guinness’ hugely successful Basketball commercial. We tested many scripts but this was identified by System1 Research as the 5-Star script worth investing in. They could not have been more right. Within 4 weeks of launch, Basketball had garnered nearly 8 million views, such was its ability to win hearts over minds. In my mind, this is what makes System1 Research’s Ad Testing the creative agency’s pre-test.

  • Gordon McLean
  • EVP Group Director, Behavioural Planning
  • BBDO

The Business Results

BBDO adopted System1 Research’s recommendation and produced Basketball, which aired in August 2013. The ad was an immediate success, garnering 8m+ views of earned media on YouTube.

By September, usage of Guinness grew +60% and continued to climb an additional +12% in October, making total consumption equivalent to Saint Patrick’s Day levels.

  • Usage growth

    60 %
  • Youtube views


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