Guinness Lets U.K. Drinkers Create Virtual Worlds

Partners With Google Earth as Part of Broader Effort to Boost Online Marketing

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LONDON ( -- Guinness is offering U.K. drinkers a personalized virtual-reality experience in a partnership with Google Earth that lets people create their own worlds and then invite friends to join them via Facebook.

The Diageo-owned stout is best known for its epic TV commercials, but Guinness is moving its marketing online in order to build a more interactive relationship with drinkers.

Users can select their own area of the planet and then create a bespoke landscape for their territory, modeled on the terrains of Brazil, Australia, Japan, Canada or Nepal. Through Facebook, they can then ask friends to contribute their own kingdoms, until an entire planet has been created. Users are also required to download and install the Google Earth plug-in.

The more diverse the planet, the more water droplets Guinness will embed into the world they are building. When users discover a certain number of water droplets, they get the key to unlock a "golden pint" and win a case of Guinness to share with friends. The ultimate winner gets a year's supply of beer.

Paul Cornell, marketing manager at Guinness, said in a statement, "We wanted to create an amazing campaign which graphically illustrates the life, energy and passion of our brand and its drinkers. No longer can we rely on just a distinctive TV ad to generate the required level of impact, we also have to really involve and reward the consumer. We hope it will have the creative impact fans expect from our brand."

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the London agency famous for creating blockbuster commercials for Guinness, including "Noitulove," "Tipping point" and "Surfer," was responsible for the "Guinness World" digital campaign, which was produced by digital production company Unit 9.

The agency's executive creative director, Paul Brazier, said, "Google Earth was the obvious starting point for the campaign. The challenge was to enable users to bring an imaginary world to life in the browser window, without sacrificing any of the key features that make the application what it is. Expansive photo-real terrains, elegant camera moves, seamless zooms and horizon tilts have all been harnessed, enabling users to explore the planets the co-create with friends."

But Guinness has not turned its back on TV advertising. The "Bring It to Life" effort launched last month in the U.K. -- bringing to an end after more than a decade the campaign themed "Good things come to those who wait" -- with a classic AMV BBDO commercial, "World," that shows a group of guys coming together to bring a world to life in a pattern of activity that mimics the pouring and settling of a pint of Guinness.

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