SBD/March 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Brilliant Idea: Guinness Rolling Out Soccer-Themed Game Show In Africa

Guinness got five million texts from 350,000 people during first Kenya season
Guinness is "rolling out a soccer-themed game show across Africa, as it looks to lift sales in the continent's crucial markets," according to Paul Sonne of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The Guinness Football Challenge, a TV game show that "has launched in Kenya and is arriving soon in Ghana and Cameroon, is part of a broader effort to channel the continent's obsession with soccer into a greater love for the famous stout." The Kenya version of the show ended in December, but Guinness parent Diageo is "planning a second season." The Cameroonian version starts on March 28, and the Ghanaian version launches April 14. The show has a "viewer-participation element, as a way to make contact with individual consumers." A few weeks before the "first 10-episode season launched in Kenya last fall, Diageo rolled out Guinness bottles with codes under the caps." Drinkers texted those codes "at the end of each episode for chances to win one million Kenyan shillings ($11,655)." Guinness received five million texts from 350,000 people over 14 weeks. Sonne notes the project is an "indication of how Diageo, the world's biggest spirits company by volume, is increasingly comfortable jumping into TV shows, which can be a cost-effective marketing tool." The networks are "happy to show the content for free or little cost, so a brand like Guinness can get extended air time for the price of producing a show." It is "often more effective than paying for commercial time" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/16).
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