They say it’s better to be born lucky than rich. Guinness stout definitely has the rich part down (pun intended), but it seems they were a bit short on viral marketing luck this St. Patrick’s Day.
Guinness made a valiant attempt to make St. Patty’s a national U.S. holiday with their Petition 3-17 campaign. Their argument: Since there are nine times more Irish-Americans than there are people in all of Ireland, and since people of all ethnicities already miss work on March 17th in celebration of all things Irish, all citizens should be allowed to commemorate the day from the comfort of their favorite watering hole. With “a pint of Guinness stout or two,” of course.
To present it to Congress, Guinness needed 1 million signatures by the 16th. On March 17th, they had about 300,000 — a few parades-worth of revelers off their goal.
No worries. 300k signatures of loyal brand advocates is a huge achievement. And there’s always next year, right?
It’s evident that Guinness means business, as a Proposition 3-17 banner owns the Guinness.com homepage:
The banner is clean, simple, and straight to the point. Unfortunately, this falls slightly flat on this landing page:
Once here, visitors aren’t efficiently persuaded to follow through from the driving point (in this case, the homepage). The homepage was exciting and bold, but it didn’t say much about the campaign, which makes this landing page especially key. Since Guinness’s site exists to support its beloved brand, we can assume that most people who visit the site are already fans of the product.
They just need to keep visitors on track to sign the petition.
If Guinness were a client, here are a few things we’d have them test:
• Tone — Rather than leading off with a “raise your pints!” attitude (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and party pictures, they may have benefited from speaking to personality temperaments other than Spontaneous (i.e., Humanistic, Methodical, and Competitive). Other parts of the site do speak to Humanistic visitors by explaining why it’s important to make St. Patrick’s Day an official holiday, but that sentiment isn’t clear on the landing page. Perhaps they could borrow a line or two from the other pages to make the why-you-should-sign argument stronger. (Is your site speaking to each temperament?)
• Better placement of content — Eyetracking studies also show that staring faces distract visitors. People immediately look to the center, then the flashing signature moves the eye to the right, then down to the quotes and pictures of other supporters. Meanwhile, the “Sign the petition” Call to Action is all the way on the opposite side of the page.
• Make the Call to Action eye-catching — The Call to Action needs to persuade and entice people to sign-up, but theirs is encased in a dark gray button and overpowered by the total signatures. Saying something less generic, like “Make it official,” might yield better results.
• Try counting down instead — This last one’s more of a hunch, so I’m curious to know whether any of you might find it more persuasive to sign the petition if they had it counting down from 1,000,000 (a pretty daunting number) rather than counting up. Example: “Only 650,048 signatures needed to make St. Patrick’s Day official. Don’t just sit there, tell your friends!”
Could Guinness have met their goal? I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the meantime.
Proposition 3-17 may have missed the mark, but it wasn’t a failure. Anyone else fancy a pint?
[Editor's Note: Anyone familiar with the so-called "luck of the Irish" knows that success requires hard work and dedication. Such is website optimization. You should test your luck.]