Guinness has worked very hard over the decades to associate itself intimately with a romantic notion of the Irish drinking culture and their most recent campaign is an especially literal reflection of that. Every Friday and Saturday night over a 9 week period, Guinness reps will go into pubs in British cities between 6pm and 8pm, giving those drinking Guinness a chance to win a private jet flight to Dublin for the night, departing right there and then.
Through entering a competition on Peer Index, a social networking marketing site, Kate and I won the same prize along with two other couples, from London and Glasgow (none of whom were beer bloggers/tweeters). We were given tickets to Birmingham Airport, checked into an airport hotel and at 8.15pm flew on a Cessna Citation to Dublin.
We had a fantastic night: the trip in the jet was fast, comfortable and relaxed. We were taken to O’Donoghue’s for Guinness and music, The Elephant and Castle for dinner (including some incredible chicken wings), the Oliver St. John Gogarty for more beer and music, the Temple Bar and finally the Mercantile Hotel. We also met up with that evening’s pub competition winners, who had been picked up from Luton and flown out after us.
We were then flown back to Birmingham at two in the morning, with more Guinness (and Guinness chocolate and Guinness nuts) on the plane. We’d had a great, and slightly surreal time, joining in with the many tourists (particularly German football fans and English Rugby Union fans) enjoying a night out in Temple Bar. I obviously know that there’s much more to Dublin than Temple Bar (see here) and much more to Irish beer than Guinness (see here) , but it was a really special evening.
As a point of order, I am aware that I wouldn’t have had the chance to win this trip if I hadn’t been regarded an “influencer” by PeerIndex. It’s probably the most impressive “freebie” I’ve ever heard of, and all of us know that word of mouth marketing, such as this post, is the intended result. But I can tell you that we had a lot of fun and met some nice people. Even as a BrewDog shareholder, I wasn’t about to turn down such an opportunity, especially given the amount of money I’ve spent on Guinness over the years.