March 15, 2024

Shamrocks & Storytelling: Our Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Campaigns

When it comes to holiday marketing, people typically focus on the major seasons like winter holidays or summer festivities. While these are definitely the prime times for marketing, there are also many other opportunities to capitalize on throughout the year. 

Among those additional occasions are Valentine’s Day, which just passed, and now, St. Patrick’s Day! For certain companies, neglecting to leverage St. Patrick’s Day would almost be criminal! Whether it seamlessly aligns with your brand or is an opportunity to catch your audience by surprise, read below and take inspiration from some of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day marketing campaigns from years past.

Shamrock Shakes

Starting off with an absolute classic - McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. This minty treat never fails to spark anticipation as people eagerly await its arrival each early spring. Making its official debut in 1970, it was actually concocted a few years prior by Hal Rosen, a franchise owner from Connecticut, aiming to draw in customers for St. Patrick’s Day. 

The shake became an instant hit. In fact, it was so successful its sales are often given credit for funding the very first Ronald McDonald house in 1974.  

Over the years, McDonald’s has had a ton of fun promoting their seasonal shake - a prime instance being when they urged Shamrock Shake enthusiasts to create art using the Hex color #cbf2ac, the precise hue of the iconic green shake.

The Shamrock Shake craze has probably sparked the creation of these other St. Patrick’s Day drinks as well: 

Guinness x Carhartt 

In 2021, Guinness teamed up with Carhartt to offer a masterclass in storytelling with their St. Patrick’s Day ad, “The River.” The timeless tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green to commemorate the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities has been going strong for 68 years…but the question remains: who is responsible for dyeing the river?!

Guinness x Carhartt partnered to share the story. In their touching commercial, they unveil the people behind the green dye: The Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Local Union 130. Plumbers were behind the inaugural dyeing of the river green in 1962, and the tradition has endured ever since!

The commercial naturally focuses on the individuals responsible for dyeing the river green, but it also gives a shout out to the numerous other groups and individuals who contribute to making St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago so special - including the police, the parade’s Queen, the float builders, and many others!

This ad blends Irish nostalgia and a heartwarming dose of history and community. It’s a great example of how impactful storytelling is in marketing! 

Click here to watch the ad!


We all know and love the green M&M. M&Ms knows this and doesn’t miss an opportunity to capitalize on it!

M&M’s is a prime example of a company that might not immediately come to mind when thinking about creating a campaign for St. Patrick’s Day, but once you see it, you’re like, “Ah, yes, that totally makes sense.” 

Every year the company typically brings some playful incorporation of the green M&M. They also usually unveil additional green-themed treats or campaigns specifically for St. Patrick’s Day. For example, in 2021, they introduced a mint ice cream sandwich just in time for the holiday, featuring the iconic green M&M on the box!

Whether it’s hosting a contest to guess the number of green M&Ms in a jar, sharing a witty social media post, or launching a full-fledged campaign, you can almost always rely on M&Ms to embrace the spirit of St. Patrick in one way or another.


Last but not least, we’re talking about the fun collaboration between Jameson and Regina Hall. 

After learning that over 60% of people feel guilty taking their well-deserved PTO, Jameson partnered with the beloved actress to introduce the Desk Decoy: a cardboard cutout employees can use to take a guilt-free SPTO (St. Patrick’s Day Time Off).

PTO can be a sensitive topic and Jameson tackled it with finesse, infusing it with light-hearted humor and fun. Additionally, acknowledging the common feeling of guilt associated with using PTO might have motivated more people to actually take advantage of their time off on the upcoming holiday!

It’s a fun and lighthearted commercial, check it out!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, marketers (or anyone for that matter) don’t have to wait for the “right” season or time of year to get creative with their campaigns. Holidays like Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day present even more opportunities for marketers to unleash their creativity and connect with audiences in memorable ways. 

Whether it’s through heartwarming storytelling, playful contests, or clever social media engagement, these campaigns not only capture the essence of the holiday but also foster deeper connections with consumers. 

As we raise a toast on St. Patrick’s Day, let’s also raise our glasses to the innovation behind these spirited marketing endeavors and all those yet to come!


Fox59: "The McDonald's Shamrock Shake is Back: What You Never Knew About the Green-Tinged Treat" -

Food & Wine: "Dunkin' Debuts the Shamrock Macchiato, a Green Drink for St. Patrick's Day" -

IrishCentral: "The History of McDonald's Shamrock Shake" -

Reddit (Fast Food Subreddit): "Jack in the Box Introduces New Mint Mobile Shake" -

NBC Chicago: "Here's the Science Behind the Dye That Turns the Chicago River Emerald Green" -,name%2C%20The%20Emerald%20Isle.%22

HYPEBEAST: "M&M's Releases St. Patrick's Day-Inspired Mint Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich" -

PR Newswire: "Jameson, the #1 Irish Whiskey, Brings Back SPTO (St. Patrick's Day Time Off) and Introduces Jameson Desk Decoys with the Help of Actor and Producer Regina Hall" -

Solopress: "Cheers to That: Guinness' Most Iconic St. Patrick's Day Campaigns" -

Jose Angelo Studios: "7 Lucky Social Media Campaigns Winning St. Patrick's Day" -

Outbrain: "Best St. Patrick's Day Campaigns" - Drum: "5 St. Patrick's Day Campaigns That Are Pure Gold: Jameson, Jack in the Box, and More" -

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