All around the world, things go a little bit green on St Patrick’s Day as token Irishfolk embrace the festivities and set about downing 13 million pints of Guinness. And, as part of a global effort to make March 17 officially the friendliest day of the year, Lion and Zephyr have put Guinness back on TV for the first time in 12 years with a campaign featuring very funny Irish comedian Jimeoin.
Zephyr’s Robert Coulter says the idea to aim for a Guinness world record was started at HQ in Ireland and each individual outpost was then given the job of bringing it to life. And, following on from a successful campaign for Lion’s McKenna last year, they asked Jimeoin, who’s been based in Brisbane for around 20 years and travels the world “doing the Irish thing”, to front the campaign.
The Guinness ads started on Sunday and, as is often the case these days, they direct viewers to the Facebook app, which contains a few entertaining ‘Friendly Tips’ and asks users to click a button and pledge their support for the record.
Of course, as well as the feelgood factor, part of the strategy is to find a way to increase the volume of Guinness that’s consumed here (25 percent of all New Zealand sales occur in March).
“New Zealanders feel compelled to go and drink it on that day,” Coulter says. “So it’s about trying to extend that to a day or so either side.”
Unlike many other ridiculous world records—like, as Coulter suggests, “most sausages consumed by an agency”—this one seems a bit loose, especially if it’s being gauged by the number of clicks on a Facebook button. But in order to convince the officials to award the certificate, Guinness must prove that millions of people have participated in the event worldwide, both by tallying up the online pledges, counting people at various St Patrick‘s Day celebrations and presumably subtracting points for the obligatory Irish bar fights.
“We’re hoping that through this love of Guinness, and everyone becoming quintessentially Irish on St Patrick’s Day, New Zealanders will really get in behind the world record attempt,” says Adrian Hirst of Guinness New Zealand. “We’re known to be a pretty friendly bunch of people on this side of the world.”