Oh, St. Patrick's Day. To a self-respecting Irish-American like myself, it's such a catch-22: On one hand, it's a celebration of the fact that our culture knows how to have a damned good time; on the other hand, all the gross-tasting green beer and sequined leprechaun hats kind of make us cringe sometimes.
We also have to deal with all kinds of ridiculous St. Patrick's Day marketing tie-ins, like this new ad campaign for the Irish Spring soap brand (which I believe was created by the U.S.-based Colgate-Palmolive Company). It features a new Web site called GetIrishNow.com, and basically, it's a marketing stint that hopes to go viral by capitalizing on St. Patrick's Day fever.
I'll quote the press release: "Irish Spring Body Wash has created a tool which allows users to create customized Irishmen or leprechauns by uploading their image and creating a personalized message that will be read aloud in an Irish accent. Imagine how your favorite song sounds sung by a leprechaun, or a line from your favorite movie recited with an Irish lilt!"
This won't get the same kind of fallout that the Salesgenie.com Super Bowl ads did. You might not be able to get away with a Spanish-accent generator for Cinco de Mayo or a Yiddish-accent generator for Purim, but it's still culturally acceptable to poke fun at the Irish, and for the most part, we don't care. We typically let all those hilarious gags about potato famines and alcohol abuse roll right off our backs, and if the jokes are funny enough, we might even buy you a beer.
That doesn't mean it isn't dumb and tacky. Come on. Leprechauns? Can't they be a little more creative? Although I guess it could be worse; the Swedish do have to deal with that chef guy. Even Google's gotten in on that one.