Guinness is a brand with a long-established stronghold and influence within Rugby. The sport and brand’s presence is huge and far reaching, with drinkers, pundits and players across the world celebrating their own connection. However, the perceived core audience for both the brand and the sport are overwhelmingly male and white, with inequality and intolerance rife.
The Guinness GB team tasked Platform13 with uncovering actionable insights and executions to centre those not currently being spoken to by the brand and the sport.
We kicked off with deep research and meaningful conversations with those that sit outside the core white male audience, a richly diverse group of underrepresented people in Rugby, resulting in insights that people's perceptions of Rugby (and its associated sponsors) remain largely: white, heterosexual, able-bodied, affluent, male centric.
The results were clear: Whilst, for some, the sport is a symbol of community and national pride, there are many others who feel excluded from this narrative, through an obvious lack of diversity within rugby, with this being a gateway for the sexism, homophobia, transphobia and institutional racism which plague the sport.
A new long term initiative for Guinness Rugby was born: NEVER SETTLE - an action-led platform that uses their media power and sponsorship weight in Rugby for good, a commitment by the brand to NEVER SETTLE until EVERYONE who loves the sport feels like they belong.
Delivered with comprehensive and clear guidelines on the mission, the values system, and behaviours as well as a multitude of long term multichannel ideation and recommendations from Guinness to create more equality, more communion and more impact that demands attention, wherever it is applied.
This work was so well received internally that Platform13 was invited to collaborate on the global Strategy for Diageo’s new Fair Sport framework with their global agency.
Please note: all assets below are not produced by Platform13, unless specified.
In 2021, Guinness NEVER SETTLE kicked off with the launch of the Womens Six Nations, overseen by Platform13, and executed by Guinness agencies - opening an important conversation around the lack of visibility of women’s sport in the media. This included a creative idea from Platform13 to visually show how little is actually covered in the press and an all important (unfortunate), online abuse/ trolling response strategy.
This campaign was awarded Gold in the Communications category at the Sports Industry Awards, with a host of other nominations.
In 2022, building on ‘visibility’ to drive inclusivity, the next step for Never Settle was through the line application for the Guinness Six Nations (men’s). We led and advised how the platform could credibly integrate into all the plans from a strategic and impact perspective (including updating the original brief to reflect).
Executed by Guinness agencies, the platform impacted everything from media and comms including the TV spot, OOH, PR and social, in stadia activation, nationwide experiential, industry and Rugby union partnerships and sponsorships and both in grocery and in the home activity.
For the W6N in 2022, Never Settle continued to be the platform that anchored all activity driving inclusivity in Rugby. In addition to leading and advising the brand and rostered agencies from a strategic and impact perspective, Platform13 had identified and outreached to cultural voices such as Black Girls Ruck, who were activated by the brand during the season.
Six Nations Rugby and Guinness announced a new long-term partnership that will see the women’s Championship renamed the Guinness Women’s Six Nations as of 2024, alongside the extension of the Title Partnership of the Men’s Championship, the Guinness Men’s Six Nations.
Stephen O’Kelly, Diageo’s Global Brand Director for Guinness, added:
“We are fully committed to the game of rugby and the values it supports in creating an inclusive game for everyone. That’s why we are proud that Guinness will become the Title Partner of the Women’s Six Nations in 2024, alongside the extension of its Title Partnership of the Men’s Championship.
This new partnership will help support the skill and talent of the women’s competition to surge forward towards a level playing field between the men’s and women’s game.
It is our goal to Never Settle until rugby is a place where everyone belongs, where we hold nothing back, and where we unite together in sport and life.
This is a new era for Guinness Rugby and we can’t wait for it to kick off. Let’s raise a Guinness to the future of these Championships, which are set to be as exciting for the fans as they will be for us.”