Carlsberg is the new black

22 October 2019 | Lloyd Hughes

It’s not often that brands endorse their rivals.

Understandably so, really.

I mean why would you tell people to turn to a competitor? You wouldn’t, of course.

Unless, perhaps, you’re Guinness and you’re done with black; the colour most associated with your brand.

This was a take the brand opted for over the weekend via its social media channels, flying in the face of conventional marketing wisdom.

"Conventional marketing wisdom"

So, what did it do and why?

Well, it was a huge weekend of rugby, with the first fixture of the four World Cup quarter finals seeing England crush old rivals Australia 40-16.

As an England fan, it was a cracking start to the weekend.

Based on that game and the manner in which England won, most fans would be forgiven for having more than just a flicker of hope, perhaps even a full-on bonfire of anticipation, that perhaps, just perhaps, England are coming into their groove at exactly the right time.

40 points on the board in a World Cup knockout game is impressive in anyone’s book, especially against the Wallabies.

"Marketing Hook"

The very next quarter final though poured some cold water over that flame of hope for England and full on extinguished the embers of any Irish expectation. And it was this fixture that Guinness used as its marketing hook.

Ireland versus New Zealand looked set to be a real battle. Not only have Ireland beaten the All Blacks twice in recent times, but New Zealand have been in questionable form of late, losing to Australia 47-26 in August, with South Africa emerging as the overall victors in the Rugby Championship.

Based on this recent form, was there a chink in the All Blacks’ intimidating, seemingly impenetrable armour?

Well, no. Not if Saturday was anything to go by. England’s hope looks very slim indeed.

The game versus Ireland was pretty much men against boys. The ABs tend to turn up when the chips are down (back-to-back World Cup wins pay testament to that), and they rocked up and played on a different level here, strolling out as 46-14 winners with 7 tries, no less.

"Played on a different level"

It was only in September that Ireland were briefly ranked as the number one rugby side in the world. This game certainly belied that stat though. Ireland have never gone beyond the quarter finals of a World Cup – a surprising statistic given their status in the game – and this year, the quarters curse was back for the seventh time.

The defeat to Japan in the pool stage was an ominous sign. No team has ever gone on to win the World Cup having lost a game in the pool stage, and Ireland are now the latest side to uphold that theme.

"A crushing blow"

Given the optimism going into the World Cup – that surely, surely, this Ireland team would get beyond the quarters – the defeat has come as a crushing blow for Ireland rugby fans...and Guinness is amongst them.

The brand tapped in to the sentiment of despair in the wake of defeat via its Guinness Ireland Twitter account, posting an image to sum up fans’ feelings. Opting for white text emblazoned over a black background, two sentences simply said: “Have a pint of Carlsberg. We’re officially done with the colour black today.”

Garnering almost 20,000 likes and over 5,500 retweets, it clearly resonated with the brand’s social following and indeed beyond.

"Off the cuff social post"

I love this kind of ‘off the cuff’ social post. One the face of it, it’s an agile retort, which looks like it was done in the spur of the moment. Of course though, this will have been planned in advance with alternative options available for an Ireland win. Fair play to the Guinness social team though for 1) coming up with it and 2) posting it.

It’s a rare day when you give the nod to a rival, but it’s safe to say Guinness is likely happy to pass a few pints the way of Carlsberg if it helps to get its own brand out there in a suitably witty and engaging way.

Here’s to you then, Guinness! And here’s to an England WC win, too!