November 21, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

In an integrated multi-media campaign that ran across television, in newspapers and online, Guinness recently raised a toast to its founder. From Ireland – where it all began – to New York, Nigeria and Malaysia, cries of “To Arthur!” could be heard: “To Arthur Guinness, 250 remarkable years!”

Two hundred and fifty years ago – in 1759 -- Arthur Guinness signed a lease on St. James Gate in Dublin, the site of Guinness' first brewery. The stout is still brewed there today.

To celebrate, Guinness put on concerts in four continents. And to drive people to the event in Kuala Lumpur, where the Black Eyed Peas would perform, the brewery ran mobile ads on the BuzzCity Network.
The campaign objectives were clear:
  • raise awareness of the event and
  • encourage fans to sign up online and attend.
Guinness created a single graphic banner and a text banner to run on Malayian mobile websites.

 Users who clicked on the banner were taken to Guinness' mobile portal, where they could learn more about the festival, take part in an online contest and even locate nearby pubs. 

The click-through rate for the banners was 0.5%. 

What sets the Guinness campaign apart is that they set up 10 campaigns -- five for the graphic banner and five for the text ad – each with a different bid rate.

As regular readers know, mobile advertisers place auction-style bids for how much they will pay per impression. The BuzzCity advertising platform provides a recommended bid for each geographic market, based on the current supply (of mobile real estate where ads can appear) and demand (by advertisers). But advertisers are free to bid above or below this rate.

The advantage of selecting multiple price levels is that an ad will likely appear more frequently and across more publisher sites.

In Guinness' case, they bid from 3 to 9 US cents per impression. They started with 2 graphic and 2 text campaigns, but then added more campaigns to keep people interested.

The impact of setting multiple bid rates is clear:
  • Over two months, the Guinness campaign generated over 12 million impressions.
  • Similar advertisers, running fewer campaigns, average 1 – 2 million impressions per month.
All of Guinness' bids, though, were below the Malaysian network average. The campaign could have done even better had some of the bid rates been set at or above the recommended bid rate.

There are a couple other ways in which Guinness could have improved the campaign as well.

One, from the banners, users were taken to the main Guinness mobile property. It would have been better to direct users instead to the Arthur's Day event website. From there, if they wanted, users could still loop back to the general portal.

Two, create multiple styles of banners. Michael de Souza wrote about this recently - response rates are just about always higher when there is a variety of creatives.

I would actually recommend running a branding campaign in parallel to the event-driven ads. Out of the 10 campaigns, let's say that 3 connected users to the main Guinness mobile property and 7 would be linked to the event page. Of course, the branding creatives linking to the general mobile website need to be different than the event/concert ads.

Overall, though, this Guinness case study highlights how advertisers can use mobile ads to drive consumers to an event as well as the importance of thinking creatively to get the most out of the medium.