When the Saint Comes Marching In

The call from the prospective client came late last night.

This was not unusual. What was different this time was the slight Irish lilt in his voice. Also, the call appeared to be long distance. Europe, to be more specific.

Ireland, to be exact.

A halting voice began, “Ah yes, I'm looking for someone to develop a rebranding effort for a not-for-profit.”

I responded in my most professional tone, “Well, that's certainly right up our alley. May I ask what organization and with whom I'm speaking?”

Slight pause. “My name is Sain–, er, I mean, Patrick. I believe we need to rebrand St. Patrick's Day in America.”

Long pause. “I'm listening.”

He continued, “Well, it's just that we've been doing the whole green thing for so long, it's beginning to feel a bit tired. And so many other folks have jumped on that color bandwagon. Everyone from Starbucks, to BP, to Animal Planet has been using green–it seems old St. Pat has gotten lost in the shuffle. And don't get me started on that green beer thing. Haven't these folks ever heard of Guinness?”

“Saint…I mean, Mr…”

“Paddy will do just fine, young man. At my age, one doesn't stand on ceremony.”

I tried not to fumble my words. “Very well, um…Paddy. Did you have any initial thoughts on visual elements that would work with your brand?”

“Well, blue is always quite nice and it seems to be quite popular with a lot of folks. As far as symbols are concerned, the shamrock seems pretty well played out. Azaleas are nice though. Philodendroms too. Maybe you could play with something like that? We can keep the plant idea. The maple leaf certainly seems to work well for Canada. ”

I continued to jot down my notes. “Did you have a specific budget and timeframe in mind?”

“Well, I've long since taken a vow of poverty, so if you could offer a not-for-profit discount rate, that would be brilliant. And the big day is the 17th, so we've little time to tarry.”

I raised my eyebrow. “As much as we pride ourselves in being able to deliver on aggressive schedules, that may be a bit much, given that Thursday is the big day.”

He sighed. “I suppose you're probably right. Well, never too early to get started for next year, eh?”

“Of course. I'll send you an email with some thoughts and we can go from there.”

“Cheers young man.”

And Happy St. Patrick's Day.