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Guinness taps mobile for St. Patrick's Day social campaign

Guinness is calling on customers to engage in a participatory social media campaign that asks them to submit photos of themselves with a classic Guinness foam moustache in an effort to drive social engagement.

For every photo it receives, Guinness will donate money to a charity. This strategy puts the power of charity in the customers? hands while also incentivizing them to engage with the brand on social media.

"Let's face it, now's as good a time as any to raise a pint," said Guinness Brand Director Emma Giles. "We need to reconnect with what can bring us together as family, friends, coworkers, Americans, and most basically, human beings. St. Patrick's Day is almost here and few, if any, holidays are as unifying or as celebratory."

St. Patrick's Day
For a brand with Irish roots such as Guinness, there is no bigger time of year than March. 

St. Patrick?s Day is a day that has been carefully cultivated to celebrate both Irish heritage and drinking beer.

But Guinness also wants the day to be thought of as a day of bringing people together and erasing the lines that divide them.

To that effort, the brand is launching a social media campaign themed around St. Patrick?s Day that also encourages civic responsibility and charity.

The campaign also makes use of social media to get that message across, as well as tapping into its uniquely engaging properties to bring customers into the action.

The campaign is themed around unity and St. Patrick's Day

Guinness is asking consumers to take photos of themselves with a foam moustache from drinking a pint of its beer ? or any type of moustache. 

Consumers are encouraged to post the photos on social media with the hashtag #StacheForCharity. 

For every photo that Guinness receives, the company will donate money to the Guinness Gives Back Fund that gives money to non-profits that encourage community development.

The brand will promote content created by consumers as well as its own digital campaigns to support the fundraising drive.

Stache for charity
The campaign that Guinness is running uses a tried-and-true marketing tactic with a unique modern spin.

Asking for customers to participate in a marketing campaign is a classic move, and this campaign is no different, except for where it is playing out.

By tapping into social media and asking customers to share their content there, the brand is creating free advertising for itself (and the non-profits it is associated with) by the fact that the consumer content will be free to view for anyone.

Users can send images of moustaches both real and Guinness-assisted

Guinness is compounding that by promoting the content it receives from users and magnifying it to its own followers.

Similar campaigns have come out from other brands in recent weeks, with Folgers asking consumers to help cover the classic coffee jingle (see story) and Subaru turning everyday car owners into brand ambassadors thanks to a new social campaign (see story).

But Guinness is using these same tactics for the dual purpose of brand promotion and helping the common good, something that all customers can get behind.

"There's just something about the Guinness 'Stache that makes you crack a smile," Giles said. "What better symbol this time of year for unity, communion and giving back?"