Prohibition officially ended on Dec. 5, 1933. Eighty years later, Miller Coors’ Batch 19 beer is turning the milestone into a marketing event.
Batch 19 wants to “own the holiday,” said Libby Mura, senor marketing director at Tenth and Blake, the craft and imports division for MillerCoors.
(The Waterboys’ A Song for Arthur’s Day)
The Irish Sun reports:
“Arthur’s Day will be scrapped next year following a major public backlash, the Irish Sun can reveal.
… after stinging criticism — including from singer Christy Moore who wrote a song condemning the event — the brewing giant has informed companies involved in organising Arthur’s Day that it won’t be back.”
“An insider said: ‘Arthur’s Day had a good run but the tide of public opinion had clearly turned this year.'”
“‘It came under fire and the decision was taken that it won’t be back next year’.”
“’The various companies involved in organising it have been informally told it’s being scrapped.’”
Previously: Le Morte d’Arthur
H/T: Paddy Fagan
You may recall the post about the Diageo keg pyramid outside a pub in Tuam, Co Galway earlier this morning.
Some of us marvelled at the sheer volume of hooch needed to get through the festivities for one pub for ONE day.
The stuff of Arthurian legend, others mused.
Said (two of) YOU.
Until this comic sans-inscribed jpeg arrived 20 minutes ago
Cheeky booze monkeys.
Earlier: Just A Regular Thursday
On the off-chance you are going out this evening.
Or if you just have an ailing, elderly relative with persistent bowel trouble.
Ross O’Mullane writes:
Long time reader, occasional contributor and new Gifts Direct employee here.We just launched our hangover hamper just in time for [Redacted]. Like the fools we are we made one too many.
We can give the hamper to whoever has the best traditional hangover solution? Drinking water, abstinence and moderation excluded.
We can deliver the hamper to the winner tomorrow (if in Dublin, or shortly after if outside Dublin?)…
Lines close at 4.15pm
The Hampover goes to Ahh Feck (“Alka Seltzer, fry with tea, Berocca, Dioralyte, s***e, shower and a shave In that order. You’ll be rights as rain”)
Although I don’t drink tea or shave, this is obviously the correct way to deal with a hangover. Thanks all.
In the three years [since the first Arthur’s Day], politicians have also been eager to talk up the tourism potential of Arthur’s Day, and the Irish news media have carried overwhelmingly uncritical coverage of the events associated with it, generating enormous free publicity for the Guinness brand. But a backlash has begun in earnest…
…“Paint the town black? My town is already black with unemployment, shootings, depression, a lack of paying gigs and a lack of Irish artists on daytime radio,” Mr. [Steve] Wall [lead singer of The Stunning] wrote. “No thanks Diageo … go paint your own town black. We need some light.”
Tuam, Co Galway this morning.
Thanks Norman Quinn
Their discussion started off with O’Rourke asking Clarke why, after the first Arthur’s Day in 2009 – held to mark the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness’ signing of the 9,000-year lease on the St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin in 1759 – did Diageo decide to continue the event.
Seán O’Rourke: “Why didn’t you just leave it at that? 2009? Wasn’t that the original plan?”
Tanya Clarke: “Well very simply, I was also at the review meeting after the first Arthur’s Day and 92% of consumers wanted Arthur’s Day to happen the following year. And equally our customers, our pubs absolutely wanted us to run the event [in] the year ahead.”
O’Rourke: “No surprise I suppose because it allowed you to sell more Guinness and more beers.”
Clarke: “Well, you know, it was a difficult time for pubs. Hundreds of pubs going out of business every year and what it did do is remind Irish people of the fantastic part the pub plays in Irish society. People getting together, over a pint, drinking responsibly is, has been a good thing in Ireland. And I think Arthur’s Day reminded them of that.”
O’Rourke: “‘Drinking responsibly’ being the key phrase, I suppose.”
O’Rourke: “Would you not accept that it’s particularly unfortunate for instance that it’s held on a Thursday, coinciding with the end of Fresher’s Week in third-level institutions around the country.”
Clarke: “I mean the reason we had it on Thursday, and continued to have it on Thursday really was, you know, Friday and Saturday would have been a kind of steady flow of business for the trade. But actually, Thursday, at that time, had become quieter so we felt that it was a good day to have Arthur’s Day. We’d no idea that that many people would take part. We’re very happy though that you know, that we’ve 500 pubs running activities…”
O’Rourke: “Does it bother you that it coincides with the end of Fresher’s Week. You could move it. I mean, OK, you had a particular date in mind when it started off but maybe it might be better to move it to a time when you wouldn’t have such pressure on the new students at third-level.”
Clarke: “Yeah, that really wasn’t part of the consideration.”
O’Rourke: “Shouldn’t it be now?”
Clarke: ” We review all of these things each year. Actually the date for Arthur’s Day was put in Tourism Ireland calendars way before we decided the date this year.”
O’Rourke: “Right, so Bobby Scott, sorry Bobby Smyth, I beg your pardon, do you accept that the motive behind this is generally one to promote Irish culture, promote artistic endeavour?”
Dr Bobby Smyth: “No. The purpose behind this day is to promote Guinness and Diageo’s other products. It’s a marketing strategy that, for reasons I suppose best known to ourselves, we’ve chosen to embrace but that, to me, seems a little bit perplexing and I suppose inappropriate in view of the range of alcohol-related problems that we have in Ireland. I mean alcohol isn’t all bad. It’s not the root of all evil but it is at the heart of many of our society’s most significant problems.”
O’Rourke: “You work as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, you’re a member of Alcohol Action Ireland, what are the results of people mishandling alcohol that you have to pick up and deal with.”
Smyth: “The results are varied. Alcohol is a major contributor to suicide, to homicide. Alcohol is a contributor to sexual assaults and violence against women. Alcohol is a contributor to child abuse and neglect. Alcohol is a contributor to..so there’s a whole range of medical problems. There’s over 1,000 people in Ireland die every year, as a result of alcohol use. So, against that backdrop, it seems odd that our culture now has chosen to include this new day into our calendar.”
O’Rourke: “But surely the problem, the problems that you’re dealing with arise with people abusing alcohol, as a result of their own free will, not necessarily as a result of the promotion that’s done because if you start working back from that, say the promotions, like Arthur’s Day, if they’re responsible for the dreadful tragedies that you in certain instances deal with that surely there would be no advertising or marketing at all.”
Smyth: “Well that is our position. There should be no advertising, marketing or sponsorship. As a father, I resent the fact that my 17-year-old and 9-year-old sons grow up bombarded by positive images linking alcohol to sporting and social success, linking alcohol now to music and fun and all social events. And that problem is perpetuated by this Arthur’s Day. I really, as the Huffington Post called it, Diageo Day because it’s about promoting alcohol, it’s not about promoting music.”
O’Rourke: “Is it really Diageo Day?”
Clarke: “Absolutely not. I mean Guinness is a special brand in Ireland. If people come out on Thursday and choose to drink beer and alcohol, we would love them to choose Guinness. You know it’s a globally recognised brand and a day where people remember the pub and also the great talent in Ireland. You know, over 50% of the music acts are Irish this year and yes, you know, Guinness will be one of the beers people choose and we are happy about that on Thursday.”
O’Rourke: “Do you see it as a harmless thing that promotes music, that promotes enjoyment, that reminds people about the importance of the pub in Irish social life and there’s really nothing wrong with it?”
Clarke: “Well more than nothing wrong with it, we’re proud of it. You know, we are proud that it’s a day where we kick off the global celebration. Arthur’s Day runs in 47 markets and one thing, since the 250th, Irish people have been very proud that the celebrations have kicked off in Ireland. You know but things have moved on in the last five years. So this year we wanted to really leverage the awareness Arthur’s Day has to showcase Irish talent and creativity amongst adults and that’s what we’re doing. Five hundred events across the country with amazing Irish acts like Kodaline, etc, are playing.”
O’Rourke: “And that may all be very laudable but what about the fact that for instance last year in Dublin, it was reported that there was a 30% increase in call-outs for ambulances on Arthur’s Day. 30%?”
Clarke: “No-one wants, you know, I don’t want our products to be misused on Arthur’s Day or any other day, that’s a fact. And running any big event like this, a series of gigs, we make sure we work with local authorities to minimise any disruption. You know, we could have run this event from the start in a field but instead we run it in licensed premises, with pubs all around the country and we work hard to ensure where it goes off very smoothly and people enjoy it. 86% of people wanted Arthur’s Day to happen again this year.”
O’Rourke: “Can you argue against that, it’s such a popular event?”
Smyth: “It certainly is popular but, I don’t know, I suppose I do wonder how the rest of the world looking in at us wonders about it or thinks about it. You know, Tanya sort of says it’s not in their interest to have people abusing their products and I’ve heard countless spin doctors and PR people and marketing people from drinks companies say the exact same thing. That’s clearly all true. They make much more money from someone who drinks 40 pints a week than they do from someone who drinks four pints a week. In fact they make ten times as much money. And, again, from the outside looking in, you know when Tanya went back to the headquarters of Diageo in London, to report on the success of Arthur’s Day. I think how they must have laughed at the Paddies again. You know, just give them subsidised drink, give them some free songs and music and get them dancing to your tune.”
Clarke: “I mean that’s just not a reality, I mean the first thing to say is. The home of Guinness is Ireland, that’s where we have our brewery, that’s where we have our global brand team. And it might help actually, for people listening, to break down the activity myself and the team have been working on the last few months in preparation for Arthur’s Day. So we work with the pubs to ensure they put on a great event, we might be helping them with you know food offering, etc. We showcase Irish talent and creativity through the Arthur Guinness projects which we launched this year. We also help organise music, both in terms of high-profile talent but also help pubs. And we work with local authorities to ensure it’s a day where people drink responsibly…”
Talk over each other
O’Rourke: “If you could stop there, but do you accept any responsibility for a situation which led, for instance, an emergency consultant in Cork University Hospital last year, Stephen Cusack to say ‘it’s ridiculous to incite more people to drink when Irish people are drinking, are already drinking more than enough’. He said it’s the last thing the country needs, Arthur’s Day. He described the streets of Cork as being like The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah and Jerry Buttimer, the local TD, one of them down there, chair of the Oireachtas Health Committee said that there’s a major issue about this: it’s cynical marketing.”
Clarke: “I mean Bobby talked about being a parent. I’m Irish, I’m a parent, I’m proud of what I do, I’m proud of Arthur’s Day and I do not want anyone misusing alcohol and therefore we work very hard with the local authorities, with the Gardaí, to ensure that people do drink responsibly and we invest, all year round, in responsible drinking.” Continue reading