Every month here at AYLIEN we take a look at the press coverage over the previous month with our News API and see what interesting trends we can find. Last month, the News API gathered over millions of new stories, analyzing and indexing each one as it was published. This creates a vast, live dataset that businesses and analysts use for lots of different use cases, including media monitoring.
Last month, St. Patrick’s Day brought the annual increase in media interest in Ireland, covering the traditions and celebrations associated with the holiday. Brands spend big money trying to create brand experiences by sponsoring or organizing their own events, but when a brand can align itself with a national holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, it can gain publicity on a much broader scale.
The best example of this is Guinness, a brand that is practically synonymous with Ireland, and that experiences a +800% sales increase on St. Patrick’s Day, with around 13 million pints sold on March 17th in the US alone.
In this blog, we’re going to look into the press coverage around St. Patrick’s Day to see how often Guinness was mentioned and what the general sentiment was towards the brand. Then we’ll take a look at the coverage of Budweiser around the Fourth of July, as the All-American beer company is arguably trying to emulate Guinness’ strategy on a larger scale.
How did St. Patrick’s Day affect the media coverage mentioning Guinness?
In short, very well. Guinness saw a huge increase in press mentions, and almost all of these stories contained a positive tone. Using the News API’s Time Series endpoint, we checked the number of stories published every day in a positive and negative tone that mention Guinness, and displayed the results on the chart below.
You can see that even though Guinness tends to be mentioned in a positive light in general, there is a massive spike in positive coverage during the week of St. Patrick’s Day:
Keep in mind that Guinness didn’t even run a major advertising campaign over the holiday. Most of the coverage was by hundreds of journalists referencing the brand while talking about St. Patrick’s Day, like the mention below, a perfect example of how aligning a brand with a holiday pay off dividends in PR:
Having said that, Guinness was also featured prominently in some widely-shared stories on Facebook over the week of St. Patrick’s Day. The News API analyzes how often each story it indexes is shared over the days after it is published and we can easily access this data using the Stories endpoint. So we sourced the three most-shared stories about St. Patrick’s Day that mentioned Guinness, and from the images at the top of the page you can see that the brand was prominently featured in two of the top three.
Another important point here is that of the stories published about St. Patrick’s Day that mention Guinness, the source was over 20 times more likely to be in the US than Ireland. So if somebody was reading about St. Patrick’s Day and Guinness was mentioned, the chances are that story was written by and for a US customer. Take a look at how much the US (and to a lesser extent, the UK) associates Guinness with St. Patrick’s Day, and compare that the mentions in Irish media:
So with that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at how an All-American beer brand fared around the American national holiday, and see if they received a similar boost in positive coverage.
What is the press coverage like for Budweiser around the Fourth of July?
Similar to Ireland, the US has its own national holiday that sees an increase in sales for drinks companies. Americans spend around $1 billion on beer every Fourth of July weekend, and drinks companies spend heavily on advertising to bring home the biggest possible slice of that spend.
As one of the world’s biggest beverage companies, and also one of the biggest spenders on advertising, Budweiser focus much of their efforts on driving home their all-American brand identity. A good example here is their 2016 rebrand as ‘America’ beer.
Let’s take a look at how Budweiser’s most recent Fourth of July publicity efforts fared, which involved releasing an ad in the run up to the holiday weekend. This ad featured Adam Driver donating money to the family of a veteran of the US Marines, and although charitable, it is a good example of the Budweiser brand aligning itself with American values.
Using the News API, we can track the mentions of Budweiser over the period of the holiday weekend. Take a look at the coverage volume on the chart below, which we put together again with data from the Time Series endpoint:
You can see a clear difference between the media mentions of Budweiser on the Fourth of July and Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. Budweiser received positive coverage about their ad before the Fourth, their announcement of customized bottles for every US state afterwards, and Conor McGregor caused a scene on ‘Budweiser Stage’ in Toronto on the 12th. But the beer company was not mentioned organically very often, especially not in the week of the Fourth itself, when drinks customers were making their buying decisions.
So by looking at the Irish and American publishing trends around national holidays, we can see that Budweiser are not just lagging behind Guinness, but possibly fighting a losing battle – remember that Guinness is associated with St. Patrick’s Day in the US-based media, not the Irish media. This suggests to us that leveraging a national holiday for PR in that country may be a bit too much, and that Budweiser might gain publicity around the Fourth of July in countries outside the US.
Using the News API, we can analyze topics that got our interest in the News in the previous month, but with over 2.5 million news stories gathered, analyzed, and indexed every month, the News API can provide you with structured data about whatever brand, person, or topic that matters to you. If you could benefit from data on publishing trends about your industry, click on the link below to sign up for a free two-week trial.