This September, Guinness, together with the publicans of Ireland, is celebrating the magic of quality catch ups with friends in the pub with a new initiative called ‘Switch to Pub Mode’.

Guinness carried out a study to coincide with the launch, which looked into the impact of phone usage on a night out with friends. The research found that, despite the reliance on our phones and the extent to which we value them, when we meet up with friends and put our phones down, we have a better night out. 94% stated that they enjoyed a night out as much or more without their phone in stark contrast to just 6% of people enjoying a night more with their phone in use.

The study was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes and explored the quality of a night out with friends on two consecutive Thursday nights. On the second Thursday, the groups were asked to put their phones down while everything else remained the same –  the same night of the week, the same time, the same pub, the same people, even the same bar staff. The results showed a dramatic positive shift on the second Thursday when phones were not in use.

Richard Layte, Head of Sociology at Trinity College and scientific advisor for the study, said, “This study provides new insights into our relationships with our phones in social settings. Phones can both enhance and erode our sociability; on the one hand smartphones enable us to connect and share updates with friends but they can also distract us and draw us away from the here and now when we’re with friends and family. The findings from this study are scientific evidence that if we put our phones down when we meet with friends and family, we not only enjoy the experience more but also feel closer to them and have a greater sense of belonging.”

On the first night when phones were freely in use, people were asked to rate their experience on the evening in the pub and were then asked the same questions the following Thursday to compare their experience. The scientific evidence also showed that as well as a substantial increase in enjoyment with their friends, people who put their phone down also felt more included in their group (18.4% positive shift) and another notable impact was that people felt closer to their friends as a result of putting their phones down (9.6% positive shift).

The ‘Switch to Pub Mode’ initiative has been welcomed by over 1000 publicans around the island of Ireland who see it as a positive move, and will be providing some great Guinness offers over the course of the campaign. Across the participating pubs, Guinness will roll out specially created ‘bean bags’ for phones as well as ‘phone stackers’ – because phones need a break too!

For more details and a list of participating pubs, see www.guinness.com.

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