Sunday Tribune – City council backs away from Arthur’s Day due to drink link

  • Post category:News

Dublin City Council has decided it will no longer be associated with Guinness’s Arthur’s Day through the use of its logo on advertising and marketing material, and admitted its link with this year’s event was an “oversight”.

It will also reevaluate the use of city lampposts for banners and flags for future events with connections to the alcohol industry.

Assistant city manager Philip Maguire said the authority’s relationship with the Arthur’s Day event through the printing of council logos on its flags would “not happen again”.

The move came following criticism of the council’s affiliation with the event at a recent joint policing committee meeting and the fact that the city council’s emblem was used in its promotion on marketing material.

Diageo, the company behind Arthur’s Day, said it was unaware of the council’s new stance and described it as being “out of character”.

The Arthur’s Day event was promoted by banners and flags around the capital, with the council symbol printed in the bottom corner.

The move was unwelcome in some circles and was interpreted as the local authority essentially sponsoring an event promoting alcohol.

In response to the concerns, the council said: “In future, all applications for banners which have an alcohol connection will be reviewed by the appropriate assistant city manager and a decision will be made whether to allow these banners to be displayed on DCC poles or not.”

It said its policy was to allow the use of poles for the promotion of festivals and cultural events.

These include events sponsored by alcohol companies such as the Bulmer’s Comedy Festival, the Jameson Film Festival and the Heineken Green Energy Music Festival.

“It has been standard practice that the DCC logo appears on these banners,” it said.

However, critics pointed out that while these were cultural events, Arthur’s Day is designed primarily for the promotion of Guinness and its founder.

In response to the change in policy, Diageo said it was not aware of the U-turn. “All along it was quite a positive relationship with the council. It’s a bit out of character for them to make a decision like that and not inform us,” said a spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Diageo said it had nothing to do with the removal of YouTube footage showing drunken revellers in Temple Bar on Arthur’s Day last month.

Tanya Clarke, head of marketing for Guinness, said the event was first and foremost about the brand.

“From a marketing perspective, Arthur’s Day is different to other sponsorship deals we would have because it is a Guinness event first and foremost,” she said.

She explained that while November’s Guinness Rugby Series was very important, it was a traditional event on which Guinness was “piggybacking”.

“With Arthur’s Day, however, everything is centred on the celebrations. The Guinness brand has ownership of the whole day from start to finish so it’s very important to us.”


Source: Sunday Tribune, 17/10/10
Journalist: Mark Hilliard