St. Paddy’s Marketing: Pot o’ Gold or Total Malarkey?

Blog St Paddy's

Dos & Don’ts for Leveraging the Luck of the Irish

Top of the morning to you, marketing friends! Are you ready to claim Éirinn go Brách and be Irish for a day? It sounds simple enough, but we may have a few issues. For starters, Éirinn go Brách means “Ireland forever” and we just talked about claiming allegiance for, well, a day. But that’s fine, right? Forever, a day… potato, poTATo. (Dang, these Irish puns are tempting.) It’s all in good fun. Except that sometimes fun for fun’s sake doesn’t make sense for your brand – even if it enables easy promotions and wicked wordplay. In any type of marketing strategy, especially content marketing where we have to churn out really solid stories on the regular, it’s tempting to jump on every trending topic. But, please, if you’re going to consider St. Paddy’s marketing, make sure your messaging is on point. Here are some guidelines:

Do: Stay focused on your brand amidst the shenanigans

It’s super easy to get swept up in the green river of Irish-themed promotions. Who doesn’t get a thrill each year when the Shamrock shake returns? The minty beverage has its own locator app, for goodness sake. And, last year, Krispy Kreme hit just the right mark with its O’riginal Glazed green doughnuts. However, it’s important to think about the ways this holiday does – or doesn’t – align with your brand’s tone and values. And honestly, if your brand doesn’t have a connection to Ireland, Catholicism, the food and beverage industry, tourism, or green food dye manufacturing, the link may feel forced. However, if you have a casual brand voice, are known to drop pop culture references and position yourselves as people-focused, you may be able to pull off some St. Paddy’s content (like we’re doing… right now.)

Don’t: Forget what charms your target audience

At its core, the holiday is rooted in celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. Yet… no one can deny that it has been repurposed to add entertainment value to everything from parades and bar crawls to 5K runs and music festivals. Think about your target demographic. Are you speaking to Millennials or other social, active and upbeat people who are likely to attend these activities? If so, you may want to consider framing a promotion around a “happy hour” special or similarly relevant tie-in. Or, you can even contact event organizers about becoming a sponsor or placing your special offers in swag bags.

Do: Remember that green beer and corned beef are awesome

If a sales promotion doesn’t make sense, St. Patrick’s Day can still make for some successful internal PR and culture boosting. Host a holiday-themed potluck or food contest. WhiteSpace is gearing up for a Guinness recipe challenge this week (mmm… beer cheese dip, anyone? Guinness brownies?!). Hold a limerick contest, and make sure to record your employees reciting their poems. Or, you can play with the word “green” and organize a company sustainability effort or a community clean-up event to give back to the neighborhood you work in. Keep in mind that whatever you do from a culture standpoint tends to make great content for social posts… as long as no one gets too drunk.

Don’t: Look like an eejit by making lazy mistakes

First of all, it should go without saying, but know what the word eejit means (idiot), as well as the definition of any other Irish slang terms or Gaelic phrases you plan to use. Other cringe-worthy mishaps to look out for include:

  • Make sure you say St. Paddy’s (nickname for Patrick/Pádraig) and not St. Patty’s (short for Patricia) if abbreviating
  • Use the 3-leaf shamrock (associated with St. Patrick) and not the 4-leaf clover (an American symbol for luck)
  • Avoid snakes – it’s a cool story, but St. Patrick never chased any snakes out of Ireland… especially since there have never been any there
  • Stay away from any “kiss me” or “pinch me” jokes that could be misinterpreted
  • Don’t say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day,” because it’s the anniversary of his death not his birth

Need help crafting an appropriate St. Paddy’s message? Interested in talking brand strategy with us? Or… maybe you just want that Guinness brownie recipe? Get in touch!    

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