We have all heard of Arthurs Day, but for those who haven’t, it is a day dedicated to celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of Guinness not only in Ireland but worldwide. The celebration was first launched in 2009 for their 250th anniversary. Across the world, at exactly 17.59 people come together to drink a pint of Guinness. During the celebrations there are thousands of live acts performing around the world bringing Guinness, pubs, Irish culture and music together into one big event.
This event has been seen as one of the most successful marketing strategy of all time, encouraging consumers worldwide to have at least one pint of Guinness even if they would not normally drink it. During the years it has created millions not only for the brand itself, but also for the clubs, pubs, bars, concert halls, bands and any other industry that may be involved in the day.
Through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, people who are celebrating can hash tag the event and let Guinness and the public know where they are celebrating ‘Arthurs Birthday’ and who they are celebrating with. Guinness also holds some surprise events throughout the night which is then broadcasted on the social networking sites, allowing people to go and see the acts.
However, in recent years Diageo is starting to get a backlash from health officials and parents groups about the impact the event is having on people and the level of alcohol that is consumed during the event. In 2012, hospitals argued that there was a significant increase in alcohol related cases on the night of Arthurs Day. Is establishing an event of such a large scale as this one really the reason that over consumption of alcohol is taking place? Can Diageo really be blamed for Irelands drinking culture?
Diageo’s European Corporate Relations Director Peter O’Brien agreed to visit various different A&E rooms in different hospitals on the night of Arthurs Day 2013 so that he can see first-hand what the effects of over consumption of alcohol has on people. However, this back fired on those who complained about the issue as on the particular night there was no case of alcohol abuse in the hospitals.
This proved that although Arthurs Day is a major promotion of Guinness and Irish culture, the fact that they make sure they have ‘drink responsibly’ campaigns running in conjunction to the event, means that consumers are making their own choices in the level of alcohol they are consuming and it is their own responsibility if they do decide to over consume on alcohol and end up on A&E.
Although there could be potential for a serious backfire in the marketing strategy for Diageo’s Guinness brand because of the level of impact it has on alcohol consumption during Arthurs Day, the brand are able to overcome it because of their thousands of dedicated fans taking part in the celebration. So far Guinness has been able to keep the marketing strategy as a positive despite some criticism, and is still proving to be one of the most successful campaigns ever run.
However, I do not think this is the last of the criticism we will hear about Arthurs Day, the media is having a big impact on broadcasting the negative (as well as advertising the positives) views of this alcohol related event. Maybe in the future it will affect the campaign in bigger way than it had in 2013, maybe 2014 will see a drop in the number of people participating in the event, all we can do is wait and see will Diageo be able to recover from the backlash ? Or will it be the end of the annual celebration?