green beer in a glass

March 17th – St Patrick’s Day – a day of vibrant green colour, excessive Guinness pints, shamrocks, lucky clovers and a great excuse to celebrate the Irish heritage. Whilst the origins of the day are based around Ireland’s patron saint (St Patrick) who reportedly died on the day itself, it is very much seen as a day of celebration rather than reflection. Let’s be honest, we all love an excuse for a global day of beer, laughter and festivities!

— cue Irish music — 

In fact, Time Magazine reported St Patrick’s Day to be the most celebrated global national holiday, with its origins stretching far beyond Ireland shores to reach a global market of celebrations and festivities. Financial website WalletHub identified in a recent St Patrick’s Day analysis that 13 million pints are consumed on the day, with 33 million people worldwide participating in the festivities, with a global spend of US$5.3 billion – now that’s a lot of Guinness!

That’s all very well lad, but what does this mean for marketers?

Whilst we all enjoy the day in some way or another, a clear marketing opportunity exists for savvy businesses looking to leverage the momentum of the day through clever, fun and emotive marketing campaigns. With the day fast approaching, plus the fact that it’s a Sunday this year, the question remains…

…is your marketing team going to leverage St Patrick’s Day 2019?

If your answer is “To be sure, to be sure” then social media marketing is the way to go!

We know that in-store promotions, email campaigns, mass media and point of sale promotions work extremely well. However, social media marketing presents one of the most cost-effective options for effectively tapping into the global reach of the day whilst having some fun along the way.

Is there a pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow?

The good news is YES (or AYE) if you’re clever about how you go about it.

Popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all present fantastic opportunities to leverage hashtags as a way of reaching global markets and new audiences. This all helps to encourage brand awareness, website traffic and eventual conversions.

Pot of gold

Visually appealing campaigns can stop scrollers in their newsfeeds, inspiring them to click an ad, make a purchase or take part in a competition, all in the spirit of St Patrick’s Day. Considered ad spend and targeting also allows promoted content to reach specific audiences for efficient cost-per-clicks whilst providing marketers with a host of analytics to track consumer behaviour.

Whilst this all may already be known to you, the tricky part is coming up with a campaign which is…

  • Relevant – Nobody wants to be marketed to without a common link to St Patrick’s Day itself so go green or link your competition with the “luck of the Irish” to stay relevant.
  • Fun – After all, it’s a jovial day of celebrations so add in some humour to show off your brand’s lighter side with the objective to not only promote, but to entertain followers.
  • Timely – Be clear on the duration of your campaign as some are “limited time only” promotions to encourage timely transactions, whilst others may last up to 1 week for competitions and/or promotions to really draw out and maximise the occasion.
  • Measureable – St Patrick’s Day can present opportunities for a day of ludicrous sales and awareness so make sure you set up trackable metrics and analytics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns – after all it may become part of your ongoing marketing strategy.

The Masters of St Patrick’s Day Social Media Campaigns

Coined as the year’s most popular drinking occasions, it’s no wonder that Guinness regularly comes to the party. After starting their own branded hashtag, the #stacheforcharity campaign in the US has now been running for the last 3 years and encourages followers to post photos of their moustache or “stache” on their social media accounts. For every post (using the tag @GuinessUS and/or hashtag), the beer giant then contributes $1 to the Guinness Gives Back Fund, a charity which supports non-profits who contribute to the common good within US communities.

Guinness's '#showyourstache campaign

Image source: Chilled Magazine

Guinness have also featured at the centre of other campaigns such as the St. Patrick’s Day themed marketing crossword competition run by popular marketing analytics website SEMRush, who promised a Guinness gift set to lucky players who cracked their crossword. The SEO specialist website also released a fantastic blog article which delves further into digital marketing techniques for the day of celebrations. It’s definitely worth the read.

SEM Rush_St Patrick's Day Crossword

Image source:

A Great Excuse To Go Green! 

With green being the day’s prominent colour, there are huge opportunities to add a little dye to your brand or products. Krispy Kreme are set to release a limited edition O’riginal Glazed Donut to celebrate their own taste of St Patrick’s Day festivities this year, whilst the fast food giant McDonald’s previously added a green Shamrock Shake temporarily to its menus worldwide.

Green donuts on St Patrick's Day

Image source: Krispy Kreme

Tourism Ireland are known for their #globalgreening St Patrick’s Day campaign which showcases worldwide landmarks lit up in green as a way of celebrating the day. This bridges an international connection to their mission and purpose of spreading the knowledge of the Irish culture and tourism opportunities. This year’s 2019 Global Greening line-up looks to be the biggest yet with new additions including Victoria Falls, York and the Cotton Trees in Sierra Leone.

Tourism Ireland's Global Greening Campaign

Image source: Tourism Ireland

You don’t have to be a huge company to engage in the day. A host of smaller companies have also leveraged the occasion by creating unique, engaging, shareable content to mark the occasion. Closer to home, popular Australian bedding brand, Oz Mattress, uploaded an Irish Yoga Twitter post focusing on the post-day hangover in bed as a way to cross promote their products whilst having some fun.

Irish Yoga BedBuyer post

Image source: Bandt

With The Day Almost Upon Us, What Can You Do To Participate?

You don’t need the kinds of budgets of global organisations in order to be a part of this day of celebrations. With some considered strategy and a clear plan of deliverables, you can easily set up promotions, campaigns or competitions which will engage your current customers, whilst opening up your brand to the masses as part of an awareness drive which could result in leads and sales.

Before you decide on your prize giveaways, it’s worth noting that you need to be wary of advertising alcohol prizes such as Guinness or other alcohol related prizes. This is a bit of a “no no” on Facebook and Instagram, and always ensure you are targeting your adverts to the right age demographics if this is how you are planning your giveaways and prizes. A quick visit to either platform’s terms and conditions will clearly outline what you can and can’t say/offer.

Whilst discounts, promotions and St Patrick’s Day deals are excellent for pushing products or services, brand awareness opportunities can really generate some great results, whilst entertaining your followers at the same time.

Irish pub neon sign

Strapped For St Patrick’s Day 2019 Social Media Campaign Ideas?

How about considering some of these brand awareness campaigns:

  • Host your own (unofficial) Guinness World Record attempt
  • Create a St Patrick’s Day themed Pinterest pinboard
  • Have a “best dressed” award for the follower with the best Irish getup
  • Film a group of staff attempting an Irish jig in the office
  • Run a colouring-in competition of a “cheeky leprechaun” for younger followers
  • Post a series of “Did you know” facts about St Patrick’s Day to share the knowledge
  • Give away 5 jars of green jelly beans to followers who guess the correct quantity

Don’t Forget To Stay Authentic

It almost goes without saying, but don’t forget St Patrick’s Day is a day of celebrations, happiness and positive vibes so make sure your marketing messages are fun, engaging, relevant and most importantly authentic. Flex those creative muscles, breathe in that Irish spirit and give it a craic (see what we did there).

Be true to your brand and create content that is uniquely entertaining, and you’ll have all the ingredients needed for a successful day on your company’s socials without needing any Irish luck to generate results. Don’t forget to keep a close watch on your platforms too as there may just be some “gold” in those comments and engagements.

Happy St Patrick’s Day in advance to everyone around the world – we here at Living Online hope it’s both an engaging and successful day for you and your brand.