- Guinness, the Irish stout brand marketed by Diageo, this year is celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a multichannel campaign that asks people to cheer for the pandemic's front-line heroes and donate to charity. The #AToastTo campaign includes a TV commercial, live bagpipes concerts, limited-edition merchandise and social media activations, along with newspaper and out-of-home (OOH) advertising, per an announcement.
- The TV commercial features the Guinness Brewers Bread project, an effort by its Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore to make bread from its grain supply and donate it to the Maryland Food Bank. The effort continues after Guinness donated 25,000 loaves of bread. Guinness this year also is donating $600,000 to Team Rubicon and organizations fighting food scarcity across the country.
- To urge people to share what they're toasting to this year, Guinness will donate an additional $1 — up to $100,000 — for every post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that includes the #AToastTo hashtag and @GuinnessUS handle until March 21. The beer brand also is running a sweepstakes on celebrity video app Cameo, selling St. Patrick's Day gear from its Guinness x Carhartt Collection and offering digital stickers from Holler in messaging apps and payment app Venmo.
Guinness is going all out with this year's #AToastTo campaign for St. Patrick's Day, which may be bittersweet for many consumers considering COVID-19 reached pandemic levels a year ago, leading to the cancellation of parades and other gatherings for the occasion. St. Patrick's Day typically drives a boost in consumption for the signature Irish beer brand.
This year's promotions echo Guinness' "We Will March Again" message from last year, when the brewer revamped its marketing amid early pandemic lockdowns. The brand was forced to pivot quickly after initially running a multichannel campaign featuring "Parks and Recreation" actor Nick Offerman. That campaign also included a charity drive and limited-edition merchandise from workwear maker Carhartt.
St. Patrick's Day may be more somber this year as fewer people in the U.S. plan to celebrate the occasion, a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics found. About half (49%) of U.S. adults said they plan to celebrate the occasion, with 32% doing so at home. The portion of people who will attend a party at a bar fell to 10% from 27% a year ago, while those planning to attend a private party slumped to 13% from 19%. In addition, only 8% of people are planning to host a party, compared with 12% a year ago, and 6% will attend a parade, down from 15% in 2020. Still, consumers are forecast to spend $5.14 billion on the occasion, or an average of $40.77 per person, the survey found, suggesting Guinness still has an opportunity to reach consumers.
Guinness is among the alcohol brands that have expanded their digital campaigns as consumers shift their spending on beer, wine and spirits to retail stores rather than venues like bars and restaurants. Diageo's Smirnoff vodka this month is observing Women's History Month by sponsoring a series of virtual workouts followed by a happy hour discussion with several celebrities. Beer brand Labatt USA last month teamed with Snap and four NHL teams on an augmented reality (AR) experience in Snapchat. AB InBev's Busch beer last month celebrated the return of NASCAR with a pair of social contests to win a recreational vehicle or a full-time job in a professional pit crew.