Another Year of St. Patrick’s Day Ads

No, I do not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, I do not drink green beer and I can’t stand boiled corned beef and cabbage. My mother thinks this is a betrayal of my heritage, but I wear my Irish all year long thanks to my name. And I do notice St. Patrick’s Day advertising, so I wanted to share some examples and tips that may get you in the mood to “go green!”

  • Products. When it comes to advertising, it seems like a limited array of products and services tie in with the holiday. Beers and liquors are at the top of the list thanks to Guinness, Bass Ale, Yuengling and Jameson Whiskey. Bars and parties are also big. I thought it was very creative for Taxi Share Chicago to tie in, since they are a solution for all those who indulge too much. And there are a small number of food companies and restaurants that also promote special products,” such as McDonald’s with their shamrock shake.

In this ad for St. Patrick’s Day treats, the cookies and cupcakes blend together with the background in a riot of shamrocks—very festive! By the way, shamrocks have three leaves but clovers can have five to seven leaves (unless you get the odd four-leaf clover). The correct symbol for St. Patrick’s Day is a shamrock because the saint used it to explain the Holy Trinity.

Hyvee St. Patrick's Day Ad

  • Colors. We all know that green is the dominant color of the day but it is often complemented by orange. You can see that approach represented in the ad below for a store selling flooring. The orange really makes the categories of products stand out, which is important when there are no product images featured.

Flooring Liquidators Print AdIn contrast, Guinness invites you to “paint the town black” because of their logo and in honor of the holiday, which they extend to an entire weekend. Great idea because that triples their opportunity to sell beer!

  • Images. Again, no surprises here but shamrocks are all over everything that has to do with St. Patrick’s Day. But there are also leprechauns, horse shoes and pots of gold. Since many of the advertisers fall into the party, bar or alcohol categories, we also find quite a few voluptuous red-haired women!

All the standards are included in this ad for Saylor’s Market and the designer even threw in a rainbow for a splash of color that breaks up all the green.


  • Fonts. Typefaces are often used to evoke the look and feel of the days of St. Patrick and tend to be Uncial, Insular Script, Carolingian, Blackletter, Gaelic and Celtic fonts. Although these are not necessarily the actual typefaces used during that period of time. You can see samples of these fonts here.

This is an attractive ad from a florist. I wouldn’t have thought about flowers for St. Patrick’s Day but I might order some now that I have seen this. The ad uses a variety of different greens effectively and the font for the headline resembles Blackletter.

Keefe's Flowers

  • Nostalgia. If you have a story to tell about the history of your company or products, or you just want to make people yearn for simpler/better times, then you play on nostalgia. Jameson’s uses the foundation of its long history in Ireland to poke fun and suggest that the whiskey must be saved at all costs.

In contrast to these rules of thumb, we have this year’s ad for Party City. Now I realize that there aren’t many upbeat dance songs that come to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day but it boggles my mind why the company would opt for Mambo #5 for their ad this year. However, by going against the grain, they have gotten quite of bit of attention and it is almost impossible to get the song out of your head.

If you want more traditional design advice for your St. Patrick’s Day marketing campaigns, PrintRunner Blog offers some tips and examples of St. Patrick’s Day ads that you might find helpful.

  • Focus on your identity and never lose sight of it. Yuengling identified itself with a city that has a storied history of its own, which allowed the company to maintain its brand.

Yuengling Ad

  • Be viral. The more engaging your ads more, especially in the age where social media has become a viable medium to market your business, the more chances people would want to join your festivities. Guinness does a great job with this ad: featuring a sheep dog.
  • Acknowledge your history. People seem to put a lot of trust of brands that have stood the test of time.
  • Be sensitive with the color scheme of your ad design. Green is the color of choice because of its association with the Irish celebration.
  • Keep the design appropriate. Style your ads according to the kind of event you’re holding.
  • Tie in with the holiday. Get extra visibility for your existing marketing campaigns by inserting images or linking in upcoming events.

For those of you who didn’t grow up having to eat soda bread when you preferred brownies, here are the top ten facts about St. Patrick.

Have you tied in with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday for your advertising? If so, what has helped you to stand out and what would you suggest for other companies looking to set themselves apart?

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

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