Benjamin Li
Sep 13, 2013

Guinness tunes into folk music for brand awareness in China

SHANGHAI - Iconic dry Irish stout Guinness is using folk music to promote its brand in China with the launch of its first annual China-focused music campaign, 'Guinness More Music', in Shanghai last week.

Guinness tunes into folk music for brand awareness in China

The campaign is an initiative to raise brand awareness while simultaneously supporting the growing contemporary folk music genre in China.

Jon Good, GM of Diageo China and GM of Guinness Greater China, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that Guinness has been in the China market for more than 20 years.

“Previously Guinness focused on niche distribution, targeting the small group of western and Asian expatriates and western bars in China," he said. "But two years ago we changed our direction and started to expand and explore the local Chinese market, with the demographic between 25 to 35, both male and female consumers."

Good said that like many beer and alcohol brands, Guinness has used music as an annual marketing platform for four years in cities like Dublin, London, Kuala Lumpur, and many others, getting world class bands and singer-songwriters like Snow Patrol and David Garrett to perform in intimate venues.

Good explained that there is a growing audience for the contemporary Chinese folk music genre in China. Folk music fits the brand's unique character and origins.

“Guinness embraces what is different by making bold decisions," Good said. "Also it is rooted in Ireland, where there is a strong folk music tradition.”

Red Bridge Communications has been the lead communications agency for Guinness in the China market for more than two years, and is responsible for content development for this new campaign in Shanghai. In addition the agency will also be enhancing consumer engagement both online and offline by creatively using social and mobile channels. 

Jessica Li, consultant of the agency acknowledges that there is a recognition that Guinness, or folk music, may not be for everyone. "But the beer, and the artists we're featuring, bask in that difference," she said. "Neither ventures to be anything other than what it is.”

Guinness brand awareness in China is "admittedly low", she added. "This is something we are hoping to change through the 'More Music' campaign, ultimately driving brand education through the music side, and providing opportunities for trial on the product side.”

Over the course of the next eight months, Guinness will present a series of concerts, as well as an weekend festival, featuring both local and international artists.

The brand also hopes to expand the campaign from Shanghai to other Chinese cities in the coming years. 

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