What does St. Patrick's Day mean to you?

My family tree doesn’t allow me to claim Irish heritage for 364 days of the year, but like many other Americans on March 17th, I celebrate. Historically St. Patrick’s Day signifies the death of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. Today however, most view St. Patrick’s Day as a day to wear green clothing, attend parades and binge drink.

In case you weren’t aware of its historical significance, browse one of the many sites on the web that will spell it out, such as st-patricks-day.com. Compete data shows that visitation to this site has reached a high point for every year in March as the topic of St. Patrick’s Day piques interest. I came to wonder if there was a correlation between the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day and online research of other aspects of the day.

As our society becomes more tech savvy, St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers turn to the internet as a medium to relay route, time, and offerings information. The upward first quarter monthly trend among 20 top parade websites signals the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day. Increasing year over year trends (44% for visitation in February 2007 compared to February 2006) quantify the increased use of the internet for parade research.

How does the liquid staple of the holiday fare online? Increased consumption of alcohol is inherent in the celebration of this holiday.

Interestingly, there is not a measurable correlation between online alcohol researchers and those researching parade websites during the same month. This represents a lost opportunity for alcohol advertisers to reach in-market drinkers. While safety might be an issue of relevance, alcohol advertisers should look to parade websites as a medium to reach in-market drinkers. Increased exposure to alcohol branding during the parade research period could be an influence that might fill many pint glasses through the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Cheers!

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