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Guinness looking to take mobile pint campaign nationwide

Irish brewer Guinness has wrapped up The Great Guinness Pint Contest, an interactive mobile program meant to engage consumers with the brand.

The program asked consumers at participating businesses to rate their pint of Guinness via their mobile phone. Each time consumers rated their pint they were entered into a sweepstakes in which five winners received a trip for two to the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, during the company's 250th anniversary.

"Guinness is really big on quality in terms of its beer and the way that it is served," said John Lim, CEO of Mobile Card Cast, Tarrytown, NY. "Guinness believes that raising the quality of its product will ultimately mean more sales."

Mobile Card Cast powered the Guinness program.

Consumers were asked to text in, give their age, the bar where they were at the time and to rate how good their pint of Guinness was.

The mobile program ran for 61 days, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008.

"If you count the hours that bars are actually open, 12 noon to 2 a.m., we had 1.46 pints rated via text message every single minute of the campaign," Mr. Lim said.

"If you count from the start of happy hour at 5 till closing time at 2, we had 2.27 pints rated per minute, and that includes all 61 days, even though there was no business on Thanksgiving or Christmas," he said.

The target demographic for the mobile campaign was Guinness drinkers ages 21-35.

"The concept was to build loyalty and educate the consumer about the quality of Guinness," Mr. Lim said. "They have a whole formula listing what makes Guinness great."

The mobile campaign was rolled out in 17 states in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast regions of the U.S.

"Guinness is looking to roll out this program on a national level for the 2009 holiday season," Mr. Lim said. "We've had preliminary talks, but nothing's set in stone."

Rewarding bars with highest ratings
The top performing accounts -- bars or restaurants serving Guinness -- in each market received a celebration party.

"We did 195 celebration parties in the Northeast region alone," Mr. Lim said. "We gave out a plaque and presentation as a thank you to the participating accounts and their patrons.

There was a countdown clock showing the time till the prize drawing at the mobile site.

"This is great fun for an establishment's patrons," said Seth Kaplan, managing partner of Mobile Real Estate ID, Tarrytown, NY.

"They get to interact with the product and service they're receiving, give immediate feedback to the bar, and, oh yeah, they have a chance to win a trip," he said.

On Jan. 30, live drawings were held on the television sets in each of the participating establishments for the trips to Dublin.

Five people who texted in to participate in the promotion won a trip to Dublin with airfare and a hotel room for two, a tour of the Guinness brewery and food included.

A plaque was presented to the highest-rated bars for serving one of the "Greatest Pints of Guinness in America," as voted by the consumers.

The night culminated with a toast to the account for its accomplishment.

This program is part of a bigger mobile effort built off the pride of Guinness and its loyal consumers.

The Guinness Quality Mobile Program is the first of its kind.

This program allows consumers in a non-invasive way to tell the bar or restaurant how much they enjoyed or disliked their pint.

While the consumer rates the pint, the bar or restaurant is now measured against its peers.

Also, the program creates a competition within markets and amongst establishments that serve Guinness.

10-pint scale
Consumers were asked to rate their pint on a scale from one to 10 via text message. They were asked to text "GREAT" to the short code 88500 for a chance to win the trip to Dublin.

Table tents, coasters and posters within participating bars and restaurants promoted the program.

Additionally, a tip card was available to patrons to give them tips on how to rate a pint of Guinness.

"I think Guinness chose mobile because, No. 1, it is the most popular form of communication these days, especially SMS," Mr. Kaplan said.

"It is pretty much guaranteed that everyone who walks into a participating bar or restaurant has a cell phone and can interact with the program, without ever having to fill anything out," he said.