Even though for many of us St. Patrick’s Day is all about drinking Guinness and wearing crazy green hats, it was actually intended to commemorate St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432
It’s now a day that people around the world use to celebrate Irish culture (as people are fond of saying “we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day”) so how are brands connecting with this global phenomenon?
How do brands get involved?
St. Patrick’s Day is a boost for businesses as it gets people out and about, visiting stores, going to bars and restaurants and taking taxis, but it’s not really a consumer-driven event like Christmas (or Easter in the UK, which has become strongly associated with consuming all of the chocolate you can possibly eat).
For many brands, St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating a shared identity with consumers and becoming part of a larger community.
For St. Patrick’s Day 2019, Major Brands, Jameson Irish Whiskey & Lyft partnered to provide 2,000 free rides home in Missouri as part of Major Brands social responsibility program – Safe Home After Every Occasion. The program aims to encourage people to make it a habit to plan the ride home before they go out. It’s an excellent way for alcohol brands to create a socially responsible and drink aware campaign around a big community celebration.
St. Patrick’s Day has become an event that celebrates community spirit and friendship. Guinness promoted these aspects of the day with its social media campaign #GuinnessGetTogether. To take part, people had to share a photo of themselves with their friends. The winners would get a week-long holiday in Ireland and be handed “the keys” to a pub for 48 hours. In total, 1152 Instagram posts used the hashtag.
Jameson Whiskey created a video to celebrate its own history and promoted it on social media. The video shows a group of friends spending St Patrick’s Day in Svalbard, Norway (coordinates 17°80° – Jameson’s was founded in 1780). The brand asked people to tag friends that they would go to the end of the world with.
Marking the day
Most brands simply chose to mark the day with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” type content. For example, a team like the Boston Celtics celebrates the day as part of its identity.
While other brands, like Star Wars, created content to wish people well.
RyanAir used its Facebook page to share cookery author, Roz Purcell’s, guide to Dublin.
Other brands got involved by running promotions – for example – Boohoo.com was offering some free shop currency to use on its site, but brands mostly restricted their involvement to celebrating the day with the colour green and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
The question remains as to how effective these posts really are but for us, the winners are the brand who put real time and thought into a specific campaign, such as Guinness’s #GuinnessGetTogether and RyanAir’s tour of Dublin, the content they share creates an impression.
Social media content has to be meaningful and considered. It doesn’t take long to post an image of some four-leaf clovers and attach it to #StPatricksDay, but it probably won’t deliver any results either. If brands want their St Patrick’s Day content to have an impact, they need to create something relevant to their brand, and that people will remember.