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War: Guinness, Legend Stout Battle Rages On

Years ago until 1992, Guinness stout from the stable of Guinness Nigeria Plc, had a field day in the stout market.

The first indigenous brewery, the Nigerian Breweries Plc, had been noted mainly for Gulder, Star and Maltina. But in that year, it introduced the Legend extra stout, The Guinness extra stout has, however, been the undisputable market leader.

However, the introduction of Legend changed the status quo. And the battle for the control of the country’s stout market has been on since then.

The Legend launch was meant to catch the younger generation in a more contemporary manner, associate the brand with already existing stout values, hence the first copy line for the stout “Light up your life-Put a spark in your life.”

Twelve years on, and in the promoters’ quest to turn it into a brand beater in the dark beer category, Legend was reformulated and enriched with Vitamins to reduce its bitterness and alcohol content. The process also removed the observed ‘burnt taste’ that gave the brand the initial unpleasant flavour, which was perceived not to be the quality of the ideal stout brand. Hence a new advertising copy was created “Legend makes you feel real good’.

Unlike previous activities around the brand, three years later, a new packaging, which involved change of bottle and labels was introduced to bring excitement to the brand and to tickle consumers.

The brand throughout this period never seemed to get it right in terms of positioning, packaging and quality but in 2009, Legend was repositioned and repackaged to elevate the brand from savings to mainstream category.

In 2012, after some repackaging and having spent a better part of its early life trailing Guinness Stout, Legend Stout through its Real Deal campaign, recorded a milestone when it was announced the best stout in taste and quality at 51st Monde Award ceremony in Athens.

In the same year, the brand launched the first consumer promotion in its history and rewarded consumers with instant gift prizes such as TV sets, generating sets, BlackBerry handsets and many more.

The brand also created an engagement platform tagged: Legend Real Deal Night, where consumers were invited to engage with the brand through music and comedy while instant gifts items were doled out.

To continue its stride in consumer reward system, Legend Extra Stout, in 2013 unveiled a revamped and repackaged Legend Real Deal promo Season 2 to further reward loyal consumers.

The promotion rewarded consumers with 350 pieces of 32″ television sets, 720pieces of 130 litres of refrigerators, 720 pieces of BlackBerry Bold 6, 200,000 pieces of N500 airtime, 200,000 pieces of N200 airtime, 2.5 million free Legend extra stout and 25 individuals to shop with N1 million in Dubai.

Unrelenting in the quest to wrest the leadership of the stout market from Guinness, NB Plc recently re-launched Legend Stout at an impressive event in Lagos.

Legend now wears a new look of Staniol cover and metalised labels with the Monde seal of quality embossed on the new appearance.

At the Eko Atlantic, Lagos, where the unveiling ceremony took place, its promoters did the unusual by riding on music, theatrics and comedy to connect consumers. The event, which was put together by Oracle Experience Limited, explored core experiential marketing techniques to bond with new consumers and give existing ones fresh excitements about the brand.

Tagged: “Black Realvolution Mystery”, the re-launch was presented in a dramatic way to showcase the attributes of the brand. Through various characters created by Oracle Experience Limited the personality of the brand was brought to the fore.

As a build up to the activation, various social media have, before the event been agog with the BlackRealvolution buzz. It was first presented to the public as a movement, spearheaded by Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, the scion of late Afro Beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

According to the company, Kuti was used in the social media sensitisation and at the event because the musical heritage he represents has over the years, canvassed against corruption, nepotism and oppression amongst other things.

Nevertheless, it was a surprise for majority of stout lovers to discover that the launch of the ‘BlackREALvolution’ movement turned out to be the re-launch of Legend Extra Stout.

The event kicked off with ace comedian, Gordons, dishing out rib-cracking jokes to the delight of the audience.

Through the dramatic performance, delivered by Span Fest, a renowned dance group, the brand seemed to be expressing its readiness to take over market leadership from the current market leader in the stout market.

The play was titled ‘First vs Real’. It depicted a lady – the consumer – who was being wooed by two men, Legend Extra Stout and a fierce competitor. When words could not sway the lady’s heart in either contender’s favour, the stage was turned into a battlefield, with the first competitive event being dance.

There was a smooth transition from the stage to the screen, and the lady consumer still remained torn between which of the contenders to give her heart to, even after an intimate relationship with both parties. After several battles of wits, brains and brawn, the fierce competitor was chosen over Legend Extra Stout.

But then, the lady consumer soon experienced brutality in the hands of the fierce competitor, until Legend Extra Stout delivered her from the shackles of the fierce competitor’s violence and won her heart over.

Sales Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Hubert Eze, while reviewing the evening said: “What we just unveiled today is the culmination of one of the most successful social media campaigns which kept Nigerians guessing for weeks.

“We also had a tour bus traversing the length and breadth of Lagos, creating awareness about this unique packaging re-launch. We presented the BlackREALvolution as a movement; and it is indeed a movement for consumers that yearn for more in terms of satisfaction and quality.”

The highlight of the evening was the stage performance by Femi Anikulapo-Kuti.

Meanwhile, while owners of Guinness stout may look unperturbed in the face of the ongoing onslaught from Legend, observers are of the opinion that Legend is already closing the gap in the stout market.

At a recent pre-AGM media briefing in Lagos, NB Plc, though silent on the percentage of the market share the Legend brand controls, said the brand is the fastest growing stout drink in the country.

Will Guinness continue to be passive in the face of this market onslaught? Perhaps, the next few weeks, observers argued, would determine.

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