Guinness Is Hoping To Score Off Of Their Partnerships With Notre Dame And Navy.

Food & Drink

When the Notre Dame and Navy football teams take to the field on August 26 in Dublin, Ireland, they will officially kick off a new college football season. One that will see 254 top-tier football programs nationwide focused on bringing home glory to their respective campuses. While the end results of their campaigns won’t be known for several more months, one team will already have emerged as a champion. That would be Guinness.

When Guinness announced in the summer of 2020 that they had signed a seven-year partnership with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Alumni, it seemed like a match made in heaven. With one of the most loyal fan bases in college sports, the teaming of the two Irish legends would instantly connect Guinness with its 40 million alums and fans.

To further cement the connection, Guinness also announced that Notre Dame legend Joe Montana would become their National Ambassador for the partnership. Plus, Notre Dame was scheduled that same year to play their longtime rival Navy, in Dublin, for the third time in their almost 100-year history following games between the two in 1996 and 2012. Expectations were high at the brewery, especially since it would be their most significant foray into college football ever.

Then covid hit and scuttled all their carefully laid out plans, including the game’s postponement. As a brand famous for its iconic draft beers, the closure of pubs, bars, and restaurants across the globe hit Guinness hard. The brand reported record declines.

Well, instead of retreating, Guinness dug in deeper. They reached a partnership agreement with Navy Athletics in 2022. Then they brought NFL star QB Joe Burrow on board, pairing him with Montana to promote their recently launched Guinness 0, a non-alcoholic beer.

“Football has been a priority for us in the United States over the last several years. We recognized that the fans who watch a game are the same ones that would appreciate a well-crafted beer,” says Mark Phillips, Guinness brand director. “We wanted to link our brand with these two programs because they share many of the same values we do as a brewery community, connection, and charity. This weekend’s game is the exclamation point we envisioned when we first signed jumped into football and is only a sign of things to come.”

Their efforts will cumulate in a beer-soaked weekend in Dublin. That’s where Guinness is pulling out all the stops to hammer home the message that their beer is just as good for sipping on during a football game as lighter lagers that have long been identified with tailgating and game time.

For the last eighteen months, the brand has been working with Notre Dame and Navy to ensure its presence is felt inside and outside Aviva Stadium, located in the heart of the historic city. When the cameras from NBC pan the stadium, the Guinness brand will be prominently displayed, along with the numerous commercial cutaways sure to feature the photogenic brewery. Guinness is also concurrently pushing their Guinness 0 ad campaign across all social media channels.

The estimated 40,000+ fans descending upon the city will be flooding the numerous pubs Dublin is famous for and paying a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. The immersive brewery experience, which already is one of Dublins most popular tourist attractions, is expecting to see thousands of football fans visit each day. The overwhelming number of Guinness-themed social media posts that will hit over the weekend will further extend the brand’s message.

They also are bringing over a host of distributor partners, customers, and other key players in the American beer market to immerse them in the culture surrounding their 264-year-old brand. The goal is to send them back charged to sell more of their beer into the US market.

On top of that, there will be numerous activations throughout the city by the brand, along with Montana being at the game. If all goes according to plan, the event will only add to the highly positive momentum they recently reported. Especially when those drinkers return home and start snapping up the limited Notre Dame 8-Pack packages just dropped in retail.

In fiscal year 2022-2023, Guinness had its best year ever. They saw growth in all regions led by double‐digit growth in Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and high‐ single-digit growth in North America and Africa. They accomplished that by focusing on driving premiumization with solid revenue growth management initiatives. They also have been focusing on increasing penetration supported by innovation (Guinness 0) and consistent marketing investment.

When the football recedes into the background, and the fans file back onto their flights home after cheering on their teams in Dublin, they should have fond memories of the game and its host city. Many will start planning to travel to New York City in 2024, where the game will be hosted. After the haze clears and they get back into the swing of things back home, chances are good they will search out their new favorite beer, Guinness, the real winner.

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