Engagement plus data capture? Brilliant!

Those of you that know me are probably shocked that it took this long for me to write a post that centered on Guinness. I’ve long believed that Guinness excels at marketing, but this week it introduced a brilliant concept leveraging near field communication (NFC) which will give it the opportunity to engage with customers, learn more about them, and reward them in a single swoop.

Photo by Lyn Hughes Photo

Photo by Lyn Hughes Photo

During the 119 seconds that it takes to pour the perfect pint, customers can hold their smartphones to the harp on NFC-enabled Guinness taps (or founts as they are apparently called) and discover whether they have won a complimentary drink. There are already more than 13 thousand taps installed in the UK and Ireland, with another 65 thousand to come during the next couple of years.

This is smart on so many levels:

  • It gives Guinness the opportunity to engage directly with its customers. CPG/FMCG firms have always struggled to engage with customers, since they don’t sell to them directly. Now, Guinness can engage with customers during consumption — the ultimate moment of truth — as well as capture all sorts of personal and device information;
  • It’s 100% opt-in;
  • It makes data capture an integral component of their engagement strategy. It will give Guinness data that they can apply elsewhere – for example by understanding consumption by time of day/evening, it could help guide their media buying decisions; or they might be able to determine how environmental factors (like weather) impact consumption;
  • It provides a platform to capture more information. I’d be more than happy to answer a question each time I connected if it increased my odds of getting a free pint. If Guinness asked just one question each time a customer connected, they could quickly build a phenomenally rich profile of their customers.
  • It will drive brand awareness. Just seeing people take out their phones and connect with the tap is going to encourage conversation. It’ll probably also drive sales in the immediate term based on the novelty factor alone.

I simply love this idea – and can’t wait to try it out. As the Guinness ads would say: Brilliant!




  1. Jonathan Hornby says:

    Brilliant x 2. Shame it’s only in the UK & Ireland – maybe time to move back to blighty ;-)

  2. Suresh Vittal says:

    Brilliant indeed. I love the variety of data this effort yields. Between time, location, device type, some PII information, and all the macro data that can be layered on, Guinness is sitting on a veritable treasure trove of relevant information. You can see all kinds of engagement programs that stem from this one innocent act of “scanning” the harp.

    • customerhelix says:

      You might have started a new meme Suresh: “scan the harp”! Either that, or it sounds like a euphemism for something…

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