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St. Patrick’s Day: marketing Irishness across the world

Although St. Patrick’s day is an Irish National holiday, celebrations have spread across the globe and often involve the creation of marketing campaigns. It’s peculiar how the world has seemingly taken to celebrating and participating in a single country’s holiday and, more generally, the country as a whole. 

Celebrated on March 17 each year, the day dedicated to Ireland’s patron saint has turned into an unofficial International day of drinking, partying and wearing green. It’s become so big that many brands are also creating entire advertising campaigns around the holiday.

The Chicago River

Before any big brand ever got the chance to create a campaign designed for St. Patrick’s Day, the city of Chicago took matters into their own hands and dyed the Chicago River green. The event has become so big it inspired the famous Irish beer, Guinness, and the Carhartt workwear brand to create an engaging ad showcasing the Irish community in Chicago and introducing the people who help make the celebration happen, including those who actively dye the river green. 

McDonald’s Irish Shake

Despite being limited to the U.S. and Irish markets, McDonald releases annually their limited time product, in celebration of St. Patrick’s day, the Shamrock Shake. The dessert made its debut in 2020 and is back by popular demand. It’s a combination of vanilla soft serve ice cream and Oreo cookie pieces, covered in a unique hue of green known as “Shamrock Shake Green”.  By simply adding green colouring brands can easily take part in St. Paddy’s day celebrations and capitalise on the Irish spirit and increase brand awareness.

Bailey’s “Kiss Me I’m Irish” campaign

Needless to say, St. Paddy’s is the best time to advertise your alcohol company. Irish pubs and Irish liqueur are exported all over the world so, for these companies, not taking part in the holiday is a wasted opportunity. One famous marketing campaign created for St. Patrick’s day was Bailey’s , an Irish cream liqueur, which cleverly encouraged people to upload a photo branded as “Kiss me I’m Irish, and so is my Bailey’s” to join in on the holiday and also enter to win a “Kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirt. 

The magic of St. Patrick’s day marketing

The Irish have typically always been a people associated with the lively atmosphere of a traditional pub and the magic of folklore stories. This unique combination makes for great marketing and storytelling material for any company who wished to capitalise on the beloved and global celebration. The bright and happy colour green, which is required to be worn throughout the day, has become synonymous with the country of Ireland and St. Paddy’s as a whole. Simply including the colour in marketing around the holiday is great to increase brand awareness and create a connection with those who enjoy the celebration.

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Patrick Fasolis

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