Guiness’s “Everybody’s Irish” ad campaign invites people to tell a story about themselves; the cornerstone of American identity.
The Irish comedian Dylan Moran complains about Americans who overemphasize their Irishness. “Yeah, I’m Irish. My grandma was an O’Flannery, did you know her?” America’s massive Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations are the pinnacle of this attitude that seems to annoy Europeans, but which is at the core of how we Americans identify ourselves. All the French and British and Germans and Spaniards I’ve met insist on seeing us as a monolithic people; 300,000,000 Americans. But the stories that Americans have to tell are of a different type than those Europeans have to tell. Old World identity seems to be different at its core than New World identity.
MSR is entrenched in the San Francisco wine scene, and California winemakers like our client Bluxome Street Winery have a different attitude than their cousins in Bordeaux. For a century and a half, winemaking in California has been about experimentation. It’s about using wit, ingenuity, and creativity to reconstruct old world knowledge and traditions into something new. Bluxome focuses on creating Pinots that bring out the unique character of the vineyard where the grapes are grown, and while their winemaker Web Marquez isn’t afraid to use words like terroir (in fact it’s exactly what he’s focusing on), he isn’t exactly working with ancient vineyards that have been in his family for centuries.
In California and in the rest of America, we create ourselves like we do our wines. We tell our own stories. Of course, we can’t control how others (like Dylan Moran) will see us, but we have a distinct and wonderful tendency to write our own biographies, even in the face of resistance from the status quo. MSR has a growing history of helping European startups break into the US market because we understand that helping individuals tell their own stories is the cornerstone of marketing and PR in American culture.
So sorry Dylan. The American celebration of St. Patty’s day may be inauthentically Irish, but it’s authentically American. Which is exactly what we were going for.