MobiAD Archives

Guinness Connects With Rugby Fans
Via Innovative Mobile Tournament Guide

The Hong Kong Sevens is a 3-day rugby tournament that takes place each year. Guinness is a major sponsor of the tournament, and they were looking for a way to extend the consumers engagement with the brand beyond the time in the stadium.

The result was the innovative mobile marketing application Guinness Passport to Greatness, that won the 2008 MMA award for “Best Use of Mobile Marketing”. It featured an interactive guide to the tournament, plus information about Hong Kong nightlife, and could even speak Cantonese!

‘We were looking for something that took our sponsorship of the event outside the norm, got people talking and enhanced the overall experience for rugby fans visiting or living in Hong Kong,” said David Bage, Commercial Manager at Diageo Greater China (owner of Guinness).

Guinness realized that most of the 20,000 people that come to Hong Kong for the tournament have very little idea about what to do in the city after the matches are over each day, and that not speaking Cantonese is a big barrier for most visitors.

The objective was to offer visitors an original and entertaining guide that would be with them throughout the tournament and beyond, thereby creating a lasting connection between the brand and the tournament.

The team that put together the campaign included Diageo, OgilvyOne (marketing campaign and localization), X2STheWorld (application development and web distribution), and The Hyperfactory (distribution).

Here is a video overview of the application and the campaign that also gives you some of the flavor of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament.

Uploaded by mobiadvideo

The Interactive Guide

Interactive guides that are downloaded onto mobile devices are proving to be very popular and well received by consumers. They can provide a valuable service to the user, and the presence of a branded application on the phone keeps the advertiser name in mind.

guinness_menu.gifThe Guinness Passport to Greatness first of all provided information about the rugby tournament, including:

  • Daily match schedules
  • Team pool information
  • Stadium information, including transport schedules

The second major purpose of the application was to provide a city guide so that visitors would enjoy their time in Hong Kong.

Of course a key component was to facilitate the traditional after match drink, so the application provided a bar finder with a list of all the best places in Hong Kong to have a Guinness. The bars were organized by neighborhood, and the application provided not only a description of each bar, but also location, phone number, and a map.



But most interestingly, the application also could speak the name of the bar in Cantonese, so that it would be easy to communicate to a taxi driver. Click here to see hear about Carnegie’s bar in Cantonese!

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="340" height="285" wmode="transparent" /]

Similarly, a city guide provided information about shopping areas, tourist sites, restaurants, clubs, etc, all with Cantonese phrases included.

Fun and Flirt

To make the application even more fun, Guinness added hundreds of other Cantonese phrases that visitors would find useful. Some of these were normal tourist phrases, but some were very specific to the situation, including some that we can only guess are standard rugby pickup lines such as “do you want to tackle me?” or “you’re as beautiful as a Guinness“.



Distribution is always a very important part of any application based mobile marketing campaign.

In this case the application was developed to be compatible with most JAVA, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices. It was publicized and distributed in several ways:

  • through dedicated email blasts,
  • from the Guinness website,
  • from a dedicated WAP site,
  • as part of a contest to win tickets to the Hong Kong Sevens tournament,
  • with a short code advertised at the event.


Online download site


Stadium billboard with shortcode

The results

The application had 1000’s of downloads during the week-long event, and became a hot topic of conversation at the tournament. Also the campaign boosted Guinness sales by 30% year-on-year.

Sean Rach, Managing Director at OgilvyOne in Hong Kong said “The Passport to Greatness delivered a Guinness branded mobile application that allowed visitors (and residents) to better enjoy the spectacle of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and Hong Kong. It was very well received by users and the campaign contributed to great sales of Guinness at the events and at bars around town.”

“We believe that the Guinness application is a perfect example of how a brand can offer a mobile service that is fun and useful,” said Sander Munsterman, CEO of developer XS2TheWorld. “The exposure of a TV ad is usually 30 seconds, but once a mobile application is on the phone, it usually stays there. This way Guinness will stay in the pocket of their customers, and in terms of brand awareness, that’s a great place to be!”

David Bage of Diageo concluded, “Passport to Greatness has been a fantastic success in every sense.”

For more about using applications for mobile marketing, read this MobiAD article: Mobile Applications: The Next Big Thing In Mobile Marketing?

03.02.2009    Tags: , , ,
Interested in Mobile Marketing and Mobile Commerce?
Subscribe to MobiAD News
Get the newsletter!

Subscribe to MobiAD