Check our tips on how to celebrate Paddy’s Day during lockdown. Click here!
On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day (and with many celebrations already well underway), people – including Matrix staff – are getting into the Festive Spirit. Although longer holiday periods such as Christmas and Easter tend to steal focus (and marketing budget!), smaller public holidays like St. Patrick’s Day can be equally if not more engaging, in a more concentrated way. It’s seen as an opportunity for everyone to be Irish, at least for one day and brands have been trying to capitalise on this by launching bespoke social media campaigns, with varying degrees of success, since the inception of social platforms.
Despite Ireland being a hub for many recognisable social media companies (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have established presences in Dublin), brands have found it difficult to cash in on the excitement surrounding the most Irish of public holidays. Nevertheless, there are a few brands who broached the subject well. Matrix have conducted an office poll and whittled down the list of contenders to present you with our Top Five St. Patrick’s Day social media campaigns. These can be used to guide your efforts to adopt the right tack when posting to social media over the coming days.
In fifth place is a fun campaign launched by Bailey’s Irish Cream which hammered home to its global consumers that the brand is a truly Irish choice for celebrations. In pursuit of this Bailey’s created a bespoke Facebook app centred on a clever pun. This app enabled fans to add a little ‘Irish spirit’ to their profile pictures by uploading a photo and branding it with “Kiss me I’m Irish and so is my Bailey’s”. Participation was stimulated by automatic entry to win a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt.
Slotting into fourth position is The Irish Food Board who opted for a St. Patrick’s Day competition promoting the positive attributes of Irish beef. The campaign, entitled “The Biggest St. Patrick’s Day Feast ever” ran for a staggering six weeks. It asked fans, via a Facebook app, to choose their favourite menu to be served at their ‘virtual feast.’ All participants were entered into a free prize draw to win a trip to Ireland for six people , as well as daily prizes being offered to drive engagement.
Second runner-up is iconic drink brand Guinness. As this is the quintessential Irish tipple on Patrick’s Day, it would be absurd to exclude the brand from the list. In 2013, Guinness vied for the title of “Largest St. Patrick’s Day Celebration” in their vey own Book of Records. This global campaign – spanning online and social – attempted to make the holiday the “Friendliest Day of the Year” and associate the brand with conviviality, rather than the negative connotations of acohol consumption.
To accompany the campaign the brand produced an animated interactive infographic highlighting titbits about the product and St. Patrick’s Day. One such pearl of wisdom being that Guinness has 8747 years left on its lease of the St. James’ Gate Brewery in Dublin. More importantly, each fact on the infographic was optimised so it was shareable on popular social channels Twitter, Facebook, G+ and email.
Just missing out on the top spot is tourism board Discover Ireland. They ran a photo and video competition encouraging fans to “Go Green” for St. Patrick’s Day. Participation gained entrants to a chance to win a prize for six people to Ireland for homecoming event The Gathering. Although at first glance this campaign seems unremarkable in tems of originality, from a strategic standpoint it was ideal. The concept and task were deliberately simple to stimulate participation across all demographics. Users simply had to capture their best “green” photo or video to represent St. Patrick’s day and the Irish. Would-be photographers were given carte blanche to include everything from fancy dress to Dublin’s most iconic buildings turned green using photoshop. This creative licence served to further emphasise the inclusive nature of the competition.
Taking the coveted first place is M&M’s for the concept and execution of their Miss Green campaign. The campaign began when Mars’ ‘spokescandy’ embarked on a tour of Ireland to seek out her long lost cousins (12 times removed). Her whistle-stop tour was pepperd with recognisable Irish phenomena and incorporated a trip to the city of Tribes to meet the Galway girl, a stop off in Limerick to meet the world’s most desirable man and a jaunt to Kilkenny for a puck around with a famous all star.
M&M’s launched a selfie campaign Miss Green’s own Facebook page. To be in with a chance of winning €5000, would-be ‘cousins’ simply had to submit their best selfie. Hilariously, winning came with an ‘irresistibility warning’ – entrants were reminded that Ms. Green is ‘here for the craic, not as a snack’. This struck precisely the right comedic tone and used a well known Irish expression.
This facebook post from Dublin sports bar Harry Byrnes caught our eye for its approach to the impending national holiday. Instead of trying to lure every celebrant of St. Patrick to their premises, the public house has opted for a more niche, targeted form of social media marketing. By posting a ‘notice’ to their Facebook page, the establishment is making it clear exactly what kind of clientele are welcome and who will be refused custom. This is quite a bold move, but may appeal to people hoping to enjoy the public holiday in an atmosphere free from tourists. This notice was prompted by a bad experience relayed by the bar, which states quite clearly the type of customers who are not welcome: four Americans who order 1 pint and 4 straws, celebrating Patty’s Day! These customers are presented as emblematic of the type of “wooden planks” who will not receive a cead mile failte during the Patrick’s Day celebrations. We admire the chutzpah of Harry Byrnes – they know their brand, respect their customers and are confident in marketing to their target audience.
McDonald’s seasonal green
coloured Shamrock shake has become a perennial staple, despite the fact that virtually nobody (including Matrix staff) knows what flavour a Shamrock shake is (it’s mint for those with inquiring minds). Regardless, McDonald’s pushes its branding for the product, as seen on their cover photo. Optimising a cover photo is incredibly useful as it doesn’t require a brand to post often about the product since the product promotes itself simply by existing in this most coveted of facebook realty.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our countdown of the most impressive Patrick’s Day social media campaigns. Do you agree with our choices? Are there some campaigns we’ve overlooked? Please let us know – we’d love to hear from you! We hope you found them inspirational or at the very least they provided some food for thought. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all you all a happy and healthy St. Patrick’s Day!
See how Matrix’s social media experts can help you launch winning campaigns
By Irene Hislop
By Rakky Curvelo
By Poulomi Choudhury