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How Verve and Diageo transformed 88 bars suffering post-Covid


By Awards Analyst | writer

December 7, 2022 | 6 min read

Verve Live Agency won at The Drum Awards for Experience, taking home the Best Experience for Good Award for its work on Diageo's Raising the Bar Fund. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project.

Raising the Bar

Diageo's Raising the Bar Fund

Verve worked to transform scores of bar venues on behalf of Diageo’s on trade sales blitz.

The brief

The Diageo Raising the Bar fund is a global program to support pubs and bars in light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the trade so widely. Beginning July 2020, it has run for two years supporting On Trade in its recovery throughout the pandemic, ensuring as many outlets as possible are safe and operational during the most difficult of times.

Verve Live Agency was briefed to transform 88 venues across the UK. This particular part of the project focused on the outdoor spaces to encourage customers to come to the pubs, sit in the garden and enjoy the vibrancy and atmosphere created.

Hear what the winners had to say about their award-winning work above.

The idea

Diageo shared a list of nearly 1,000 outlet applications that Verve shortlisted according to pre-agreed selection criteria:

  • Outdoor space
  • High-capacity venue
  • Showing sport daily
  • Wet led pubs

Alongside Verve, a Raising the Bar committee selected the successful outlets and ranked them as gold, silver, or bronze site. The successful 88 pubs were split into 10 Gold, 27 Silver and 51 Bronze outlets Each tier included a different quantity and level of infrastructure

Verve had three months for the project to be completed, from start to finish. To ensure speed of production and delivery, items were standardized in look and feel, however, tailored depending on specs for the Gold and Silver outlets. The bronze site items were not bespoke given the quantity and scale required in the time available. Taking this approach meant that production processes were streamlined during the project.

A designated email address was used for all communication with venues and partners, meaning anyone in the Verve team could respond as and when required, ensuring the venues were receiving speedy and personal communication during the process.

Following each site visit for Gold and Silver, 3D mock-ups of the space was created and shared with the client, landlord and production partner for review and approval.

The Guinness Raising the Bar logo and key visuals were used across all assets, in various different designs to ensure consistency.

In addition to the agreed Gold, Silver and Bronze scope – due to cost efficiencies made throughout the project, Verve was able to provide 18 outdoor TV screens to Gold and selected Silver sites to further enhance their outdoor space.

The results

The social good that this project has fulfilled has been exceptional. The local pub is a big part of any community. By implementing this project, we have ensured that it is a safe and enjoyable space for consumers to be welcomed throughout the summer and into winter.

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The legacy of the project will be there for all to see and given the summer weather that GB has had in 2022, we have no doubt each of the 88 gardens has been used throughout. All of the outlets were designed to stand the test of time to ensure that the venues can operate their beer gardens long into the future to help drive additional revenue, ensuring that the impact of the Raising the Bar project can be felt long-term.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Experience in 2022. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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