Diageo Marketing Raises a Glass of Guinness ‘to Martha’ on Arthur’s Day

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on vacation in Ireland. My wife wouldn’t let me bring my laptop or cell phone, but that didn’t mean my interest in marketing was left behind in Boston. That’s why I know today is “Arthur’s Day,” which celebrates the birth of Arthur Guinness and asks us all to raise a glass “to Arthur” at 17:59 in Ireland (which will be 12:59 p.m. this afternoon Eastern time).

Or, should I say, raise a glass “to Martha” — as the fellow in the Guinness advert proclaims.

“To Martha” – Guinness 250 TV Ad

Guiness, which is owned by Diageo, created the first Arthur’s Day last year to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness signing a 9,000 year lease on St James’s Gate brewery in 1759. So, why the encore?

Tanya Clarke, the head of marketing for Guinness, told the Irish Independent, “It started off last year really as just a way of celebrating the 250th. It was a great success but we didn’t necessarily go into it with plans to run it beyond 2009.”

She added, “As everyone knows, however, it was a fantastic day and in the feedback we got after it there was a real appetite for it to be run again. One survey showed that 93 (percent) of consumers wanted us to run it again and the pubs were very keen for us to do it as well.”

So, what does this mean to marketers on this side of the pond?

Well, this year’s Arthur’s Day features a Facebook fan page. It also includes a free iPhone app, which includes a pub finder and the ability to share your unique toast with the world.

Oh, and the results will be measured.

As Clarke told the Irish Independent, “The one thing that the recession has done is make us as focused as possible on our aims. Who are we targeting? Why is this campaign more effective than another? Return on investment is a key factor now across the industry.”

I’ll raise a glass to that. To Martha.

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