Guinness recently introduced a pint-sized iPhone app called the Guinness® Pub Finder. I added it to my current apps that include a few free “finder” apps that include popular favorites like Urbanspoon and AroundMe.
Branded apps in the iTunes Store can do well if they offer you something for free that you might have to pay for otherwise (the Stanley Level comes to mind)… but not the reverse.
The Guinness® Pub Finder charges you $1.99 to find pubs near you that serve Guinness, and adds a couple of other useless features that all stick in my craw, such as “fun animated screen savers” that are actually animations that lead to a countdown clock to the upcoming 250th Anniversary of Guinness–which is 5 days from now–and database of “important alcohol facts” that include gems such as “…if you are planning to conceive or are pregnant, the best advice is not to drink.” And don’t forget the “Pint Head Ruler” so you can measure the head of your Guinness and potentially chastise your bartender if it’s not up to standards.
The Pub Finder itself is nice… little Guinness pints locate bars around you on a Google map that serve Guinness. You can invite friends for a beer, and it sends along a map link and the phone number and addy of the place you’ve chosen. But the finder is a bit flawed in that it is not extremely accurate… several favorite places I frequent that I would call a pub and “feature” Guinness were not on the map, but a Dave and Busters was! I did find a few places that say they serve an imperial pint, but I even doubted that accuracy since I had been to one of those places and distinctly remembered getting a beer in a plastic 12 oz pint glass… you tend to remember–and not return to–those kind of places. I don’t drink from plastic.
Really tight restrictions designed to prevent under-age viewers from, er, knowing what beer is, or something, is it’s biggest flaw. Entering your date of birth to run the app–which you have to do after extended periods of unuse–is silly to say the least, but some states prohibit the use of the Guinness® Pub Finder altogether. If you don’t read the fine print and purchase this in one of those 12 states, you’ve bought yourself a two dollar ad for Guinness.
Strict federal and state laws are hardly Guinness’ fault, but that should have been taken into account when the Guinness marketing team placed this app on the iTunes App Store. Two bucks won’t kill anybody, but the Guinness® Pub Finder app is not worth the $1.99 that you could otherwise put towards a pint; a free app would have made it a winner, and a great publicity item for the team.