Guinness Brings ‘Surge’ Experience to Bars

CHICAGO One facet of modern marketing is to create an experience for the consumer. So Diageo will marry its new “Alive Inside” advertising message about the Guinness pour with a plate-shaped device called the “Surger.”

Guinness wholesalers are on the verge of placing the $25 unit into bars that serve the import from the bottle or can rather than from the tap. After Guinness is poured into a glass, the pint is placed on the Surger. The bartender pushes a button to activate sound waves, which course through the liquid creating gas bubbles and ultimately the familiar cascading effect typical of a Guinness pint poured from draught.

Although one Eastern wholesaler complained that his Surger orders have been delayed, he likes the idea and foresees the device eventually becoming available to consumers so they can drink a draught-like Guinness at home.

“It gives me a new talking point that I can bring to my customers, which is good for us,” he said.

Guinness has long secured tap handles in the bars of major urban markets but has been trying to lift its packaged-beer sales. Efforts have included the 2001 introduction of Guinness Draught in a bottle, nicknamed in the trade as the $13 million bottle. The figure referred to the research, development and testing expense behind the Rocket Widget that released nitrogen with each pour.

Last week, Diageo aired a 30-second “Alive Inside” spot created by Irish International BBDO, Dublin, which showcased the black and foamy brown bubbles of the liquid during a pour. Through special effects, the visual morphed inside the glass to depict the bubbles and little men who are shot out of cannons to head-butt the drums and percussion instruments that are part of the foamy head above.

New work from BBDO, New York, will render additional interpretations of the Irish ad for the U.S. market. The executions—which replace the Guinness brew masters’ “Brilliant!” campaign—will break this week on ESPN, ESPN News, FX and Discovery. Online, out-of-home and on-premise marketing elements will support the TV work.