Jameson Zigs, Guinness Zags on St. Patty’s Day

Iconic Irish brands Jameson Irish Whiskey and Guinness are taking nontraditional approaches to their St. Patrick’s Day promotional efforts this year.

jameson2Jameson is focusing heavily on music while pushing Irish content on its website and Facebook page. From its St. Patrick’s Day tab on Facebook, which has more than 176,000 likes, the distiller has a “Truth or Folklore” game that presents fans with stories about Irish history and asks them to guess whether they are true. Regardless of whether participants answer correctly, they can enter to win a trip to the Jameson Distillery in Dublin.

Its website features a “Drink Jockey Competition” in which 21 radio DJs from various cities were given three minutes to mix a drink with Jameson. Drink recipes appear on the site along with the station responsible for them and were voted on by fans.

Jameson will also host an Internet radio stream, dubbed “Jameson FM,” on its site and Facebook page today. Jameson FM will be followed by the “Jameson Global Party,” featuring acts like London electronic group Groove Armada starting at 8:00 pm. Jameson will stream from Dublin, Sofia, Bulgaria and Johannesburg, and will offer backstage interviews, live online chat, “and the St. Patrick’s Day party atmosphere in Dublin,” Jameson says.

guinnessGuiness Name Speaks for Itself

Guinness, on the other hand, is relying mainly on its reputation to sell pints on St. Patrick’s Day and instead pushing the stout as the beverage of choice for March Madness.

Guinness rep Jonathan Urch notes the brand has multiple Facebook pages for different markets around the world. The U.S. page has been counting down to St. Patrick’s Day with posts on its wall. And Guinness has other St. Patrick’s Day PR pushes, like parade sponsorships and radio and TV spots.

But Urch says the current U.S. strategy is to target “the sports-loving Guinness ‘acceptor,’” or someone who likes the idea of Guinness but doesn’t drink it very often.

“We are relying on the consumer’s perceptions of what St. Patrick’s Day is to do the job (and) we are pushing harder on the basketball idea to create a ‘tournament-long’ feel and extend the drinking window beyond one day,” he said.

Guinness has implemented a “Team Guinness” challenge on its U.S. Facebook page that asks fans to “prove [they] are bold enough” by asking questions about how they would react to various situations in basketball and bracketology, and how they prove team loyalty.

Since Guinness launched the app on February 28, the U.S. fan page has increased from 15,000 fans to 70,000. Urch expects the fan base to grow to approximately 200,000 by the end of the month.

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