I think I might have found the missing ingredient for making the Welsh St. David’s Day on March 1st much more memorable around the world.
The epiphany came after a great conversation with Samantha Bishop-Thomas, the Senior Commercial Marketing Man at Visit Wales – the tourist body at the Welsh Assembly Government. It followed my congratulating them on their great campaign idea, the ‘Magic Cwtch’ for the Rugby Super League event in Cardiff earlier this month.
The campaign consisted of having promotional staff offering a free ‘cwtch’ to visitors to demonstrate Welsh warmth and hospitality.
For the unfamiliar, ‘cwtch’ is an endearing Welsh word for a hug or cuddle.
I liked it as a great example of what can be called ‘experiential marketing’. It also highlights a key component of communications: People will often forget what you say, but remember how you made them feel.
The ‘cwtch’ also has the potential, in my view, to transform the Welsh holiday of St. David’s Day on March 1st and make it a much more powerful meme around the world, where it can learn lessons from the extraordinary powerful St. Patrick’s Day meme. (A meme is a body of information that replicates itself – and so has the potential for creating a great buzz.)
Sam explained how the idea for using the ‘cwtch; at the SuperLeague event came about:
Originally from Vancouver, Sam was aware of different stadia promotional activities used in the North American ice hockey and basketball leagues.
One idea for example, features what are called ‘Kiss Cams’ or ‘Hug Cams’, where cameras zoom in on any members of the crowd caught in a hug or kiss mode.
Added to she was also aware of the ‘free hugs’ campaigns around the world. Plus the following Monday was Valentine’s Day, and along with input from the guys at Celf Creative in Cardiff – a great idea emerged from the mix.
So, instead of giving out promotional leaflets, staff gave out a ‘cwtch’ to remind people of the warm and friendly welcome that awaits the visitor to Wales.
They are now planning to use the ‘cwtch’ in future promotional work at the Six Nations Rugby tournament.
Personally, I would recommend they go beyond this and build a five year campaign featuring ‘having a cwtch’ and making it a key integral part of the St. David’s Day celebration message around the world.
‘Cwtch’, the word, has little awareness outside of Wales. It also has limited exposure on any Google search.
But ’cwtch’ the meme, where the meaning is the word accompanied by the act of giving a hug and showing you care has great potential to spread and replicate itself.
Why has it got strong meme potential? The act of giving a ‘cwtch’ is both inherently pleasurable (except maybe for non-tactile people) and has wider resonance with campaigns like ‘give a hug’.
In an era where greater emotional quotient is celebrated, sharing a ‘cwtch’ sits comfortably within people’s goals and values, and is therefore not likely to create barriers of dissonance in its transmission.
Just think how popular St. Patrick’s Day has become. Why? One fundamental reason is that it is meme-friendly, has a strong coherence, and crucially, easily links into existing easy-to-do behaviours or predilections: seemingly in this case, to enjoy a drink, or even get drunk.
Yes, giving a ‘cwtch’ is milder than the excesses of St.Patrick’s Day, but still has potential.
When you ask people to celebrate St. David’s Day what can they currently actually do?
It is great seeing the small children dressing up in traditional costume for schools, and maybe I could carry a daffodil around with me, have a pint of Brains S.A., and sing ‘Land of my fathers’ in a Harry Secombe voice. But seriously, what else can I do? Is there an easier, ready-at-hand thing which can be done?
The answer is the ‘cwtch’: around the world people could be invited to give out ‘cwtches’ (is that the plural?) to celebrate St. David’s Day on March 1st.
You can imagine radio broadcasters relaying the message, you could encourage people to give each other cards with an accompanying ‘cwtch’, or virtual cwtches could be given.
We could indeed set up a ‘Cwtch Marketing Board’ to promote all things cwtch.
The idea could be developed with promoting say ‘cwtch cakes’ – to eat with someone you care for.
Restaurants could offer ‘cwtch’ desserts designed for sharing
There could be a word play on ‘There is no cwtch’
Who would you share a cwtch with this St. David’s day on March 1st?
And what ideas do you have the ‘Cwtch Marketing Board’?