Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guinness invests in Africa's passion - football

Many Africans are in love with Guinness. You can check the records, some of Guinness (Diageo's) best business is done on the continent. I will never forget the day I heard the CEO of Diageo Africa speak at the Harvard Business School African Business Conference (HBS ABC) and talk about how the company is doing brisk business in Africa. Two words I won't forget from that speech: bottles and business. Whatever speech you give, no matter how boring, great, thorough and intellectual it is, follow this guy's lead, give your audience a couple of sentences or words to remember.

Guinness is also a mark of happiness in some places, which includes Ghana. Take this scenario, when Ghana played Namibia in the 2008 African Cup of Nations and won by a lone goal, many Ghanaians were down, disappointed and angry. They expected the Black Stars to annihilate the Brave Warriors. A one-nil victory was as good as a loss, and Guinness felt the losses too. The bars and spots were empty and Diageo must have been ruing the mood of the football mad nation. No wonder Guinness spends thousands of dollars sponsoring the Ghanaian national team. A public outcry followed the Namibia calling for the Black Stars to shine against Morocco (even to the point of threatening the families of Asamoah and Baffour Gyan who threatened to leave camp). The noise-making worked. I saw the Black Stars conduct a soccer clinic on the Atlas Lions of Morocco and emerged victors. Ghanaians celebrated deep into the night (Oxford Street especially) and our good friends from Diageo (Guinness) celebrated all the way to the bank with massive 'bottle' sales.

I don't see how people make do with drinking that much Guinness anyway. It has the worst taste of many beers. To enjoy Guinness, you have 'acquire the taste'. It's the same deal with Malta Guinness (God bless the souls of those who can't stand the taste and are subsequently missing out on feeling good).

There was a really cool Guinness commercial/advert I saw about football as a passion. The advert described how African men share two passions and two things that bring them together - football and Guinness. Will post the video once I find it online.

In the meantime, here's another inspirational video from the Guinness folks. It features a poem about an African country winning the World Cup. South Africa 2010 anyone? I am excited and I plan to be there. Come sun, come rain, come hail, come shine, more money, more health - I go dey represent!

Here's the video

Listening to Feel Good by Lira - http://www.museke.com/node/1650
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