Jameson pays drinkers to take time off on St. Patrick’s Day

Dive Brief:

  • Jameson Irish Whiskey will pay 1,000 people $50 to take off St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, per details emailed to Marketing Dive. The Pernod Ricard USA brand will also make a $50 donation in the name of each winner to the Restaurant Worker’s Community Foundation (RWCF), in addition to a $150,000 donation to the nonprofit.
  • The “St. Patrick’s Time Off” (“SPTO”) effort includes video spots starring actor-comedians Retta Sirleaf (“Parks & Recreation”) and Joe Lo Truglio (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) that will run on YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and Instagram. As part of the campaign, the brand is selling kits of bartending accessories, glassware and string lights. The brand is also providing consumers with pre-written out-of-office messages, Zoom backgrounds and cocktails recipes as well as hosting a virtual concert on Feb. 17.
  • The campaign comes as St. Patrick’s Day lands close to the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic’s onset in the U.S., and ties into research that more than half of people in the country have not used their vacation time during the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

Jameson’s multichannel campaign around St. Patrick’s Day demonstrates how marketing continues to be shaped by the pandemic, even as the U.S. nears the one-year mark since the onset of the health crisis.

The effort is a savvy spin on research that found more than half of U.S. consumers have not used their vacation time in the past year, giving Jameson an opportunity to urge consumers to take paid time off to celebrate the holiday with its $50 payouts. Diageo-owned Smirnoff Ice similarly paid fans to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2018 by taking a five-day weekend.

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To promote the event this year, Jameson has tapped actor-comedians Sirleaf and Lo Truglio for PSA-style video spots and other digital content, including a cocktail demonstration by Sirleaf. Digital content featuring celebrities has become more prevalent during the pandemic as the shuttering of TV and film sets has given celebrities both the need and the time to participate in brand activations. In kind, the campaign includes a virtual concert, a popular tactic to connect with consumers seeking live entertainment as most music venues remained closed, and Zoom backgrounds for consumers who are still mostly homebound.

The donation to the RWCF, totaling $200,000, continues efforts by many brands that have sought to help workers affected by the pandemic, especially as bars and restaurants continue to face pandemic-spurred limits on how many guests can attend. Pernod Ricard this month reported an organic decline of 3.9% in H1 FY2021 sales, but saw 5% growth in the U.S.

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