Jameson Will Pay Consumers to Take a Day Off

Facing a second subdued St. Patrick’s Day, Jameson Irish Whiskey is urging consumers to take a little time for themselves and celebrate (safely, distanced) with friends. The brand is encouraging would-be revelers to take a day off on March 17th, calling it “St. Patrick’s Day Time Off (SPTO).” With travel and vacations largely restricted, the brand wants to remind people that they may have accrued unused personal time. 

Facing a second subdued St. Patrick’s Day, Jameson Irish Whiskey is urging consumers to take a little time for themselves and celebrate (safely, distanced) with friends. The brand is encouraging would-be revelers to take a day off on March 17th, calling it “St. Patrick’s Day Time Off (SPTO).” With travel and vacations largely restricted, the brand wants to remind people that they may have accrued unused personal time. 

“We found that during the pandemic, our days have become longer than ever, and people still aren’t taking a much-needed break,” said Andrew Eis, Jameson Engagement Director at Pernod Ricard USA, in response to e-mailed questions. “While a PTO day is typically centered around personal time off, SPTO is all about finding time, whether that’s an extra hour or the whole day, to safely connect with friends on St. Patrick’s Day.”

To encourage people to take some time for themselves, the brand has launched a campaign to pay $50 to 1,000 consumers who pledge to take SPTO on the promotion’s dedicated website, JamesonSPTO.com. The brand will make a matching donation in winners’ names to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, which helps those in the restaurant industry who have been affected by the pandemic.

“While we want people to take a break on March 17th, we recognize that the restaurant and bar community needs a different kind of break right now,” Eis said. Jameson’s parent Pernod Ricard donated $300,000 to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and the Benevolent Bartenders Fund last December.  

Pernod Ricard recently announced its portfolio sales declined nearly 4% during the first half of its fiscal year. The company cited a “significant decline” in travel retail sales in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Excluding retail travel, Pernod Ricard said sales increased 1% overall, including a 5% growth in the U.S. With the decline in retail travel sales and bar traffic, the brand has looked to reach consumers at home through promotional events such as SPTO and a holiday promotion in which the brand gave away a number of nine-foot-tall trees created out of empty Jameson bottles. 

To get the word out about SPTO, Jameson has created a series of public service announcement-type videos featuring actors Rhetta Sirleaf and Joe Lo Truglio. A two-minute version of the video features Sirleaf noting how people have been coping with the pandemic. “I’ve been wearing the same work-from-home PJs since Tuesday,” she says. “There’s too much work, no time for a break, and no time to celebrate with friends.” Declaring “St. Patrick’s Day is on for 2021,” Sirleaf introduces the idea of SPTO and is joined via video chat by Lo Truglio, who outlines extensive, socially distant plans. 

“Well, they like to say that anyone can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day - the Irish and the Irish at heart,” Eis said of using the notably not Irish actors. “For us, March 17th is really about anyone safely connecting with friends and family and sharing a glass of Irish whiskey. Both Retta and Joe are amateur mixologists and big-time Jameson fans.”

In addition to long and short versions of the video, which will run on YouTube, Hulu and online video (as well as the brand’s U.S. social channels), the brand has created memes and gifs featuring the two actors, as well as pre-written out-of-office replies and Zoom backgrounds to use on St. Patrick’s Day. The brand is also offering home entertaining kits that include recipes, bartending accessories, glassware and mini Jameson bottle string lights for purchase from the company’s online store. Finally, Jameson will be hosting a virtual concert, Jameson Connects, featuring both Irish and other musical artists. 

“While the last year (and this year!) has looked quite different, we feel passionate about not missing the moment in 2021,” Eis said. “Our goal is to virtually provide people everything consumers need to celebrate how they want. From easy-to-mix cocktail recipes to home entertainment kits to e-commerce programming, we’re the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day resource.”

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