We visited the famous Guinness Storehouse today at St. James Gate. The most interesting part of the exhibit for me personally was the advertising. All of Guinness’s ads were a bit cheeky and out of the ordinary, just like the Irish sense of humor. Their marketing approach was highly focused on comedy, rather than being informative or emotionally appealing. The Irish are very laid back, which makes sense since these ads were very casual. While American companies often create serious, informative advertisements to really reach their audience, we see Guinness doing the opposite in simply trying to get a laugh from their customer. In identifying these similarities among Irish culture and Guinness ads, it is obvious why their marketing campaigns were so successful. My favorite ad would probably be the fish one which says “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” While Americans may take this too literally, the Irish take it lightly with a laugh which makes the ad so effective.
After Guinness, we stopped for lunch before heading to the classroom to discuss cross-cultural communications. Personally, I have noticed that most restaurants expect you to seat yourself. Similarly, waiters and waitresses are a lot less involved in your dining experience. They deliver your food and drinks and then you probably won’t see them again until you wave them down for the check (2 hours later). For the Irish, dining is an experience or a social event while Americans focus more on the actual dining part of the experience. This is an example of low-context versus high-context cultures. In Ireland, a high-context environment, waiters and waitresses will not direct you to your seats or talk you through the menu. Americans, on the other hand, will give you a step by step run-down of how your dining experience will go, which aligns more with the low-context setting. This can present challenges when the two come into contact, as we have experienced first hand during our time in Dublin. The more we go out, the more familiar I am becoming with the way of the Irish. I am able to practice my ability to read the room and communicate with more than my words. Furthermore, I am being forced to relax and take my time rather than rushing from one thing to another. I am often so busy with my day-to-day that I do not stop to enjoy the things that I am doing. I am hoping that my time in Ireland will teach me the value of this practice and I can take it home with me to Pittsburgh.