St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Plan? Skip It

St. Patrick’s Day is less than two weeks away, and I have a hot marketing stat for you: 87 percent* of marketers have no tie to this holiday — what originated as an Irish religious holiday, mind you — so that means 87 percent of marketers shouldn’t be burning the midnight oil coming up with St. Patrick’s Day marketing campaigns.

Grumpy Cat You're Not Irish You're Drunk on St. Patrick's DaySt. Patrick’s Day is less than two weeks away, and I have a hot marketing stat for you: 87 percent* of marketers have no tie to this holiday — what originated as an Irish religious holiday, mind you — so that means 87 percent of marketers shouldn’t be burning the midnight oil coming up with St. Patrick’s Day marketing campaigns.

“Awww, where’s the fun in that?!” you yell. “Everyone loves being Irish for the day!”

Fun fact: There’s more to being Irish than partying while wearing ridiculous green outfits. Green beer is not a thing, and ordering an Irish Car Bomb is never, EVER acceptable.

I know, I know, at this point you’re probably calling me The Authenticity Police or The Relevance Hound behind my back. But here’s the thing: I’m so over slapdash marketing campaigns jockeying for the low hanging fruit.

St. Patrick's Day Partying
Source: Viewthevibe.com (Yes, the stupidity even stretches to Toronto)

Don’t Be That Guy

So here are two St. Patrick’s Day failed campaigns to consider before you jump on the Erin Express, shared with love from a lady whose family is from Ireland … we’re of the Donegal Wards.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Think before you do something. Think before you tweet. Research before you create a product. Otherwise, you end up looking like Nike and Bud Light.

Nike Black and Tan sneakersNike launched these sneakers in 2012 in time for St. Patrick’s day, calling them the “Black and Tan” … which most Americans are familiar with as the drink combining Guinness and a lager.

However, the term Black and Tan is very different for the Irish, and when Nike tried introducing these shoes to that market, it didn’t go over well.

Why? “Black and Tan” is a derogatory term for a British parliamentary unit sent to squash the Irish rebellion in the 1920s that also led to many violent attacks against civilians. According to this Telegraph article, Nike apologized … but still. This could have been avoided.

And Bud Light? Yeah, well this is what happens when you tweet without thinking first:

Bud Light tweetBud Light released this gem into the world in 2015, and it was met with backlash. The tweet was deleted, but the screw-up lives on. (And don’t even get me started on the #Upforwhatever hashtag … ugh.)

Perhaps you should leave the St. Patrick’s Day advertising to Guinness, Tullamore Dew, Discover Ireland and Jameson. And if you are going to be “Irish for the day” … do me a favor and don’t be a flaming eejit.

*Yes I made this up, but I’m sure you get my point.

Author: Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

3 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Plan? Skip It”

    1. Thanks for the comment Ruth! I think we do consumers a disservice when we fail to keep marketing relevant … I’d rather see an email from a book publisher on St. Patrick’s Day about the Irish authors it publishes than a ridiculous “party hard!” beer ad from an American macro brewer (and I look books and beer equally!!!)

  1. Just received an email from a PR person offering up tips for marketers and retailers for how they can “get lucky” and find the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” this St. Patrick’s Day.

    Reallllllly want to just send them the link to this post, but I’m Sass Marketing … not Ultimate Snark Marketing.

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