Business

Tuesday 16 September 2014

How Irish blogger was tipped for top by 'Forbes' magazine

Published 19/12/2012 | 05:00

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Jonathan Cloonan with 'Forbes' magazine
Jonathan Cloonan

THE first thing that entered Jonathan Cloonan's mind when he found out he had been selected as one of the "30 under 30" to watch in 2013 by 'Forbes' magazine was disbelief.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent, Singapore-based Mr Cloonan said the prestigious business journal had contacted him several weeks ago, but he didn't find out until Monday that he had made the final.

"They emailed me on Monday but when my Twitter stream exploded in the afternoon, I really couldn't believe what had happened," he said.

What had happened was the 27-year-old had been named as one of four Irishmen on the 'Forbes' list, which highlights some of the brightest young stars across a range of disciplines.

"It's a huge honour and is incredibly humbling to have been named, I can't get over it," he said.

Apart from Mr Cloonan, the Limerick-born entrepreneurs Patrick and James Collison, as well as Cork native James Whelton, were also listed by the publication. Others named include Mark Zuckerberg and Lady Gaga.

Mr Cloonan is a WPP fellow with the world's biggest media firm of the same name. It is one of the hardest gigs in the advertising business to get, and he had to think outside the box to get it.

"The fellowship is seen as something of a 'golden ticket' in the advertising industry, but over a thousand people apply for less than 10 places," he said.

"I had a degree from Trinity but I was up against people with PhDs from Oxbridge and the Ivy League, so I had to get noticed."

Eight months before the position opened up, Mr Cloonan started a blog called 'Tall Irish Leprechaun' and took the Twitter username 'WPP Fellowship'. He then effectively became a critic of WPP, commenting on advertising campaigns run by WPP companies.

"If nothing else, it got me noticed by the group. They may have thought I was crazy, but they knew who I was," he claimed.

Mr Cloonan is now the head of acquisitions in the Asia-Pacific region for Group M, WPP's media investments management arm.

In a nutshell he buys and sells TV shows for 13 countries.

Most recently he brought 'MasterChef' to Thailand.

Irish Independent

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