Guinness’ Surprising St. Patrick’s Day Message: Drop the Booze

The Diageo brand kicks off its biggest responsible drinking campaign with nonalcoholic product Guinness 0.0

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St. Patrick’s Day and Irish stout Guinness go hand in hand; across Ireland and beyond on March 17, you’re bound to see crowds of revelers holding pints of the black stuff. But as the holiday rolls around this year, Guinness’ unexpected suggestion is to go easy on the booze. 

The Diageo-owned beverage brand is launching its largest ever responsible drinking campaign ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, encouraging people to try its nonalcoholic beer Guinness 0.0.

Created by U.K. agency AMV BBDO, “Make it a St. Patrick’s Day to Remember” will communicate a message of moderation rather than the excessive alcohol consumption typically associated with the holiday. The brand will give out 50,000 free pints of Guinness 0.0 in Ireland during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, March 17 to 19. 

The nonalcoholic stout will be available in more than 300 locations across the country, while four iconic pub facades–in Dublin, Galway, Cork and Belfast–will be rebranded as Guinness 0.0 pubs. For example, O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row in Dublin will be called “0.0’Donoghue’s.”

Four famous facades will be rebranded as Guinness 0.0 pubs.Guinness

At 150 pubs and in other participating establishments nationwide–including Dublin Airport and Aviva Stadium, host of the highly anticipated Guinness Six Nations rugby finale on March 18–customers can get a free pint of Guinness 0.0 using the Any Excuse app. The brewery experience Guinness Storehouse in Dublin will also offer all guests a complimentary pint of the nonalcoholic version.

And at 164 Tesco stores, anyone purchasing a four-pack of Guinness with their loyalty card will receive a free four-pack of Guinness 0.0.

To accompany the nationwide giveaway, an animated ad features a chorus of Guinness pints. The musical stouts sing along to Bonnie Tyler’s 1984 hit “Holding Out for a Hero” (renamed “Holding Out for a Zero”).

The brand also rolled out a Snapchat filter with which users can create their own singing 0.0 pints. 

Tapping into a trend

Promoting moderation on such a famous day of revelry might seem an unusual choice for a beer brand, especially one as quintessentially Irish as Guinness. But the company’s marketing tactics speak to the burgeoning nonalcoholic movement. 

The no- and low-alcohol category surpassed $11 billion in 2022 and is predicted to grow by a third by 2026, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. Young generations are taking the lead, as seen with the popularity on TikTok of the “sober curious” movement, which encourages consumers to reconsider their relationship with alcohol.

Numerous booze brands are following this trend, launching new alcohol-free products and marketing campaigns. For example, Heineken’s Super Bowl ad promoted nonalcoholic lager Heineken 0.0.

When it came to Guinness’ efforts, the company asked AMV “to find a way to encourage people to practice moderation over Ireland’s most famous weekend,” Anne Zahan, head of planning and insights at Diageo Ireland, told Adweek. “As the leading brand associated with St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, we had both the credibility and responsibility to drive positive change and help remove existing barriers to nonalcoholic alternatives.”

Crucially, the brand wanted to “do so in a way that wasn’t preachy, and instead had the wit and charm that Guinness is known for,” Zahan added. 


Client: Diageo
Brand: Guinness
Client names: Alan McAleenan, Anna Sablovscaia, Anne Zahan
Creative agency: AMV BBDO
CCOs: Nicholas Hulley and Nadja Lossgott
Creative directors: Nicholas Hulley, Nadja Lossgott, Andre Sallowicz
Creative team: Scott Kelly, Alexandra Sandford-Smith, Colin Jones, Phil Martin, Nellie Santee, Sergio Takahata, Tim Riley
Agency planning team: Joe Smith
Agency account team: Nick Andrew, Elana Murphy, Harry Frohlich
Agency producers: Nick Godden, Kieran O’Malley, Sophie Alliot
Media agency: PHD
Production company: Red Studios
Director: Scott Kelly
Production company producers: Nick Godden, Stan Stanworth
Edit: Sam Allen
Post-production company: Daydreamervfx
Sound studio: Sounds Good
Photography production company: Yoke Production c/o Patrick Daly 
Photographer: Greg White c/o Picture Club
Post-production: One White Chair c/o Karl Hugill
PR agency: WHPR

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