New Guinness ad addresses cancellation of St Patrick’s Day parades

As St Patrick’s Day parades the world over are cancelled this year due to coronavirus, a new ad from Guinness acknowledges that this year “things feel different” but adopts a keep calm and carry on approach

As the ad points out, Guinness has played a pretty central role in St Patrick’s Day celebrations throughout the black stuff’s 260-year history.

Here the brand is suggesting that it can this year too, just in very different circumstances. And as for the parade? “Don’t worry, we’ll march again” says the voiceover.

Addressing the circumstances wrought worldwide by coronavirus is a tricky topic for brands to take on. Guinness words its suggestions for celebrations delicately in the ad, putting an emphasis on kindness and support in difficult times, rather than out-and-out partying (with its suggestions that you can celebrate “safely” in the pub already feeling out of date).

“When you raise a pint of Guinness, also remember to raise each other up,” states the voiceover. “Be good to one another, celebrate safely, thank the ones protecting us.” At its end, the spot also announces that Guinness will be committing $500,000 to communities “where we live, work and celebrate” through its Guinness Give Back fund.

Created largely for the US market, the spot was clearly turned around fast following recent announcements that major St Patrick’s Day parades in cities including New York and Chicago had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. It will likely also resonate in Ireland, where pubs and bars have been asked to close and mass gatherings are banned. Created using historical footage, the ad has a very traditional tone but hits the right note in difficult times, when gimmicks would certainly not be welcome.

Agency: Quaker City Mercantile