Is social media driving Shamrock Shake surge?

In 2006, while writing an article for, I discovered Google had about 39,000 listings for the search: “Shamrock Shake”.  Today, the same search throws us 877,000 possibilities.

That’s like the city of Muskogee, Oklahoma, growing to the size of Detroit in four years.

There are over 200 videos about these fun, minty shakes. Roughly 20,000 people do a search related to them every month. There are currently about 11,000 blog posts that mention them.  And news items abound. Just this morning I was talking on the radio about it with John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee.

I’d call that customer engagement. (And then some.)

This is especially impressive when you realize McDonald’s pulled the vaunted green shake from most markets for more than a decade. I’ve noticed it has come back only in the last 3-4 years.

So what is the source of the shake’s resurgent popularity?

While there might be many reasons, I’d bet my lunch money that the Internet and social media are to thank for the shake’s surge.

Because the Shamrock Shake was created and promoted heavily in the 70s, it now has a large group of adults who remember it from childhood. We remember it because it’s green, it’s fun and it’s different.

But for many years we couldn’t get our favorite green shake. Then, thanks to the Internet, we could at least commiserate with like-minded souls. And as social media and search grew, so did our ability to connect with others who yearned for the seasonal splendor of the Shamrock Shake.

Honestly, I think all McD’s had to do was make them available again. The pent-up demand was probably enough to sell all they could make. Add to that a new wave of kids eager to try anything sweet and different and you had a winner.

I would even go one step further. I would suggest that McDonald’s brought back the Shamrock Shake because it’s so popular on the Internet. When you have a dormant brand that spurs that much customer engagement, you have to take notice.

They did. And it works.

Have you had your Shamrock Shake today?

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz