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Montclair Study: Guinness and St. Patrick’s Day are the Equivalent of the Fall Season and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Posted in: School of Communication and Media News

A mug of dark beer with foam on top with a line graph on the mug.

*A study on brand sentiment around St. Patrick’s Day shows the iconic beer company dominates the conversation from the bar to the kitchen to the boardroom*

A new study released March 13 by a team of faculty from the Joetta Di Bella and Fred C. Sautter III Center for Strategic Communication in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University shows that Guinness was the most-discussed brand on social media leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, and not just in the traditional ways people share how they drink the popular beer brand. 

While the Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s was another popular product discussed by social media users, the Guinness brand was highlighted in non-traditional ways related to the holiday, including cooking and recipes, Guinness chocolate, a new ad campaign with Aquaman star Jasom Momoa, and a partnership with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and the Joe Burrow Foundation. 

“For Guinness, St. Patrick’s Day is probably as big as the Super Bowl,” said Dr. Jin-A Choi, Assistant Professor at Montclair and Director of Data Analytics for the Center for Strategic Communication. “The data clearly shows that Guinness is linked to St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s not a stretch to say that the brand ‘owns’ the holiday similar to how Starbucks and its Pumpkin Spice Latte dominate the conversation every fall season.”

The study, authored by Dr. Jin-A Choi, Dr. Yi Luo, and Dr. Bond Benton found the following data from 32,000 posts on X from February 1 to March 8:

  • The volume of social media conversations related to Guinness beer and St. Patrick’s Day saw a 25% increase.
  • Most social chats exhibited a happy mood as evidenced by a 62% joyful sentiment. Social media users raved about the fresh taste of Guinness, the drink’s “restorative power,” and even the brand’s new non-alcoholic beer, Guinness O. 
  • The term “Guinness brewery” enjoyed a 48% increase in mentions among social conversations since March 1.
  • Over half of social posts (54%) centered around cooking with Guinness. Interestingly, individuals expressed their excitement of elevating the traditional holiday recipes with Guinness for celebration, adding this signature holiday drink to dishes such as Shepherd’s pie, drumsticks, muffins, bread, beef stew, beef roast, burger, marshmallows, or chocolate cakes.
  • Among all social conversations related to Guinness and food, Guinness-flavored chocolate products witnessed the highest surge, with a 91% increase. 
  • Guinness also unveiled a new action-packed commercial featuring Jason Momoa, the Aquaman star, and his mother. The humorous short “Lovely Day” ad campaign was released on social platforms on March 7 and on television on March 11. The social chats mentioning “Jason Momoa” and “Guinness Ad” showed a 97% and 92% spike respectively, emerging as two of the most trending topics on social media.
  • Since March 1, the term “Guinness gives back initiative” increased 59% due to the brand’s partnership with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and the Joe Burrow Foundation, as well as other community nonprofits (e.g., La Soupe) to address some dire social issues such as food insecurity and mental health. During this observation period, social chats acknowledged Guinness’s generous donation ($500K) to Joe Burrow Foundation and its participation in community events in collaboration with La Soupe to repurpose excess food to feed those in need.
  • On March 5, the joy sentiment toward Guinness reached its high in a two-month period following the brand’s “Guinness Gives Back Initiative” event partnering with Joe Burrow Foundation and La Soupe Cincinnati on March 4, 2024.
  • Interest in a similarly themed product for St. Patrick’s Day, McDonald’s “Shamrock Shake,” also spiked in the runup to the holiday, although results showed a mix in sentiment and less of a clear linkage to McDonald’s as a brand. The highest peak as St. Patrick’s Day approaches was not in March as expected, but on February 5, 2024, when McDonald’s announced that they have brought back the Shamrock shake on their menu along with the Oreo Shamrock McFlurry on February 5. 
  • While joy and excitement accounted for approximately 50% of the conversation surrounding the Shamrock Shake, about a quarter of the discussion showed emotions of “disgust.” From stomach aches to vomiting, social media users took to X to share their experience of trying the seasonal shake, especially the one from McDonald’s. 

“The data shows social media users’ clear affinity for Guinness around St. Patrick’s Day and also reflects the brand’s commitment to connecting with consumers in non-traditional ways,” said Dr. Luo. “The company continues to engage consumers using a diverse PESO strategy (Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media) and the impressive results across many topics related to the brand are apparent in the data.”

The full study, which can be found here, is the 15th from the Center of Strategic Communication, which provides social media analytics tools and training for faculty and students for classroom learning and research projects.


About the School of Communication and Media: Founded in 2012, the School of Communication and Media offers a range of dynamic programs in communication and media to a talented and diverse student population of over 1,800. Offering degrees in film and television, social media and public relations, advertising, journalism and digital media, sports communication, communication and media studies, animation and visual effects, and an MA in public and organizational relations, the School prepares the next generation of communication and media practitioners and leaders. The School houses award-winning student programs that include WMSC RadioThe Montclarion newspaper, Hawk Communications Agency, the Red Hawk Sports NetworkHawk+ OTT streaming platform, and News Lab, as well as the Center for Cooperative Media, which serves the public by working to grow and strengthen local journalism. Student projects and programs have recently received national recognition from PRSSA’s Bateman Competition, an Edward R Murrow Award, several Marconi Award nominations, and a College Television Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Media Contact: Keith Green, School of Communication and Media, 973-655-3701 or