The ‘Guinness Pool Challenge’, the beverage’s first campaign with Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions (working with OgilvyOne Malaysia), fully leveraged the capabilities of the instant messaging medium over a period of 1 month.

As the title sponsor of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour, Guinness wanted an interactive campaign that would create maximum buzz and impact among their audiences in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The main objective was to drive recruitment for the Guinness membership base while creating a passion for pool and getting consumers to connect Guinness with the 9-Ball Tour.

The challenge was to create an online experience that was so compelling it could compete with a myriad of other online pursuits, including blogging and social networking, and overcome cynicism towards online advertising.


The game took the ‘old and un-cool’ game of pool and turned it into a hot online pursuit. Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions transferred these attributes of friendly competition and social interaction to an online setting with the peer-to-peer interactive pool game, ‘Guinness Pool Challenge’.

Leveraging the Windows Live Messenger gaming platform, the Guinness Pool Challenge invited participants to play a game of 9-Ball and enter a competition to win cash or a trip to Bali. This approach had the advantage of introducing the game through a network of friends, rather than through conventional online channels, so that the campaign was less likely to be perceived as ‘advertising’.

Through the Windows Live network, Guinness found their target audience: drinkers aged 24-35 across Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which amounted to an immense reach of 630,000. This made Windows Live Messenger the ideal platform for the ‘Guinness Pool Challenge’. The campaign capitalised on the existing social networks of these users, making Guinness and pool part of the daily lives of the target group.

An industry first with MSN, the game was accessed via one click on online banner ads, allowing a seamless user experience that took users directly to their Windows Live Messenger application. The game was supported by an integrated suite of marketing opportunities, with Messenger media placements, expandable showcase ads, a dedicated microsite and Hotmail age-targeted ads. A live leader board displayed real-time scores to spur ongoing excitement and engagement.

The media campaign was integrated beyond online in an extensive cross-media mix, including OOH, TV and print. OgilvyOne Malaysia was the partner agency with Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions that developed the creative.


While the goal number of impressions was targeted at 34 million, the campaign actually delivered over 36 million impressions, achieving over 99,000 clicks (83% unique).

An incredible 358,708 games were played by 220,984 unique players (representing a 35% penetration rate of the total target audience). Over 15,000 registrations were achieved, exceeding the target by 50%.

Players demonstrated a new enjoyment of pool by averaging 1.7 games per unique player. A total of 29.1% played for more than 20 minutes, and 78% for more than 3 minutes.

This exclusive deal for developing an online game reinforced Guinness’ ongoing sponsorship of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour with 100% of the online media budget being allocated to Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions.