St. Patrick’s Day: How to Create a Worldwide Phenomenon


Want to throw a St. Patrick’s Day party? As you know, it’s pretty easy — just start inviting friends. Want a parade? That takes a little more organization, but it can be done. Somehow the name St. Patrick has become associated with all kinds of celebrations throughout the world. How did St. Patrick start this worldwide phenomenon? The answer may surprise you.

We don’t like to brag, but in recent years, GetResponse has expanded into many cultures throughout the world in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and North America. So we’ve become something of a worldwide phenomenon too.

OK, I guess we like to brag a little bit, after all 😉 But stick with me for a minute. I promise to make a point worth remembering.

When St. Patrick’s Day popped up on our editorial calendar, we wondered how widespread its popularity was in our markets. So we did a little investigating.


1. Exciting places

Naturally we found lots of celebrations in Ireland, where St. Patrick did his work. Walk into any town on March 17, and you’ll have to join a parade to get to the other end of town. Walk into any pub along the way, and you’re in for an evening of Guinness stout, Irish whiskey, and choruses of “Danny Boy.”

New York City, which includes a large Irish population, is much the same. It’s hard to shut down Fifth Avenue for a parade, but St. Patrick does it every year. And on March 17, everyone has a touch of Irish blood running through his veins. In towns all over the U.S. — Pittsburgh, Savannah, Seattle, Boston, pick a town — you’ll find people marching in parades, dining on corned beef and cabbage, and drinking that weird green beer.


2. Fun places

There are GetResponse customers in Australia and New Zealand, so we went in search of celebrations. Yup, we found them in Sidney, Perth, Aukland and other cities.

But how many Irish people could there be in the Land Down Under? According to the 2011 Australia census, over 2 million residents claim some Irish ancestry — a higher percentage of the population than in the U.S. So let the festivities begin. Is the celebrating due to ancestral pride or the love of a good party. Don’t worry, Aussies, we’ll never tell.


3. Surprising places

Still with me? OK, we opened an office in Russia to support a rapidly growing interest in marketing. No St. Paddy’s Day celebrations there, right?

Wrong! In Moscow, thousands line Novy Arbat for a St. Patrick’s Day parade featuring Russian marching bands, Cossack horsemen, and floats. And all over the city, Muscovites visit bars to drink green vodka. OK, I made up the part about the green vodka, but I wouldn’t be surprised.


4. Exotic places

We have customers in Japan. And yes, there has been an annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Omote Sando in Tokyo since 1992. Japanese citizens and tourists from all over the world gather to “wear the green.”  You’ll find shamrocks and Asian men in leprechaun hats on every street corner.

The event organizers want everyone to have fun, within limits. According to the parade’s website, they don’t allow smoking, drinking or wearing high heel shoes. You must admit, that would be a dangerous combination 😉


5. Random places

To learn more, we consulted our favorite party expert — GetResponse customer the Thirsty Swagman. They’ve made a business out of knowing where all the best parties are. And if they can’t find one, they’ll start one.

Their website lists St. Patrick’s Day festivals in London, Brisbane, Montreal, and (no kidding) Finnegan’s Irish Pub in Florence, Italy, right there among the Michelangelos. Stay tuned to this blog for a feature story about the Thirsty Swagman — coming soon.


The truth about St. Patrick’s Day 

St. Patrick had very little to do with creating this worldwide phenomenon. Oh sure, he was a colorful and popular cleric who used the three-leaf shamrock to teach religion. And the shamrock became a great symbol the Irish could rally around. But as far as we know, he never organized a parade.

It was his loyal followers who caught his spirit and started a movement — one that has lasted for 17 centuries and is stronger than ever.


What a community can do

Want to start your own worldwide phenomenon? Then start a community. Rally around a business, a movement or a new idea. Give your community stories and symbols to share. Communicate with them often — by email, of course 😉

That’s how GetResponse became a worldwide phenomenon. We did our part. But it was our community of loyal users who supported us, shared our story, and helped spread GetResponse to every corner of the world.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, we’d like to take a moment to thank you for sharing our journey. It has meant the world to us. And as you spread your marketing story throughout the world (or just your corner of it) we’re here to help.

Wishing you miles and miles of Irish smiles!