St. Patrick’s Day May Be PR Remedy for What Ails Guinness

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Guinness-Storehouse3-Dublin-600x400Guinness will pour on the sales today, St. Patrick’s Day.

More than 13 million pints of the midnight stout are drunk worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day, nearly four times as much as on an average day, according to its parent company, Diageo PLC (per The Wall Street Journal).

Ads and signage for the dark beer will be hard to avoid today, what with all the St. Paddy's Day parades and celebrations.

However, overall sales of the stout beer continue to decline. In the U.S., which accounts for about 16 percent of Guinness’ global volume, the brand’s volume declined 6 percent to 107 million liters in 2013, according to Euromonitor.

St. Patrick’s Day could be a perfect opportunity for Guinness to get the message out about some of its other branding efforts, including a five-year, eight-figure renewal of its deal to sponsor a summer soccer tour—the Guinness International Champions Cup.

Today’s festivities also provide an opportunity for Guinness to promote its efforts to create new beers to compete head-on with craft beer, which, according to the Journal, has cut into Guinness’ sales.

Aside from promoting its new branding efforts, Guinness could also harness some of the earned media that’s being generated by other companies this March 17.

According to Time.com, Fresh Cupcakes is selling a limited-time-only Guinness cupcake (with Baileys cream cheese icing), JW Marriott in Chicago is offering a Guinness Ice Cream Float and Dynamo Donut & Coffee in San Francisco is serving a seasonal Molasses Guinness donut, which includes Guinness-poached pears and a Guinness glaze.

The takeaway for PR pros is that when the spotlight is on your brand for a specific event or holiday, be sure and leverage that attention to promote additional branding efforts and/or extensions.

Don’t just focus on all the media hits you’re getting that day. Use the special event as a springboard for what you have in the pipeline and how you are better serving your customers and prospects.

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1