St. Patrick’s Day comes just a week after President Biden made a prime-time appeal to Americans to refrain from unrestrained partying until (maybe) the Fourth of July.
Guinness, a brand inextricably linked to St. Patrick’s Day, addressed the perhaps-tougher-than-last-year’s challenge when deciding what its message should be this year.
“Last St. Patrick’s Day, the world changed up on us all,” a brogued voiceover speaks in its new commercial, which is the centerpiece of its a #AToastTo campaign.
But this year, the big adjustment is attitude: “We Irish, we look at the silver linings and not the clouds. This is the day we all get to be Irish. That’s the magic of St. Patrick’s Day.”
The new commercial is an update of the ad the brewery ran last year, when the extent of the COVID-19 crisis wasn’t yet apparent and many pubs were still open. Last year the ad was subdued, but nebulous; it showed an Irish parade scene suggesting a see-you-next year vibe. This year the ad shows a deserted avenue, but the message at the end was the same for both years: “We will march again.”
The 2021 ad says: “Can’t make it to the pub? Bring the pub home to you” -- and the video cuts to a can of Guinness Draught Stout coming into view. The party goes on, albeit smaller, in a home.
(In 1997, Guinness perfected a little ping-pong ball-like widget inside the can that releases nitrogen bubbles when you open one, so its draft beer is closer to the real thing. It may be the only beer can that comes with instructions for use.)
That lyrical Irish tone makes everything sound like the god’s honest truth, or a delightful fairy tale. But the ad, which will be running through what the 200-year old brewer calls “the St. Patrick’s season,” is pretty upfront about what the holiday means to its own generation of green dollars.
Jimmy Callahan, Guinness Brewery ambassador, told Marketing Daily in an email exchange that typically, Guinness sells about 10 million pints of beer a day worldwide. On St. Patrick’s Day, the brewery says, that bounces up to 17 million.
The Guinness U.S. brewery in Baltimore got involved with efforts to help the pandemic, as noted in the ad. “We got to thinkin’, we know a thing or two about grain,” the adman says, “so let’s bake some bread for locals who are havin’ a tough go at it.” In addition to monetary donations, Guinness has turned out 25,000 loaves, the company says.
Guinness is also donating $600,000 to Team Rubicon, an aid organization started by two former Marines in the days following the 2010 hurricane in Haiti, and to other organizations fighting food scarcity across the country.
Information about the #AToastTo campaign will also show up in major newspapers and on billboards and digital displays nationwide, and of course on the windows of pubs across the country.
In other St. Pat’s beer news, Budweiser also has an appropriately green plan for the day. The company is turning all beer “green” by pledging enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equivalent to cover the estimated electricity needed to brew every beer in the U.S. for one day, even for its competitors.
It’s also inviting other beermakers to join an “industry-unifying commitment to brew all beers in the US with 100% renewable electricity by 2030, entitled the Green Electricity Beer Bar.”