Saturday 3 December 2016

A long list of big hitters precluded from pitching for the Eir account

John McGee

Published 17/04/2016 | 02:30

Complicating matters even further is the fact that Eir has also cast its net into the UK market, a process that insiders say has delayed the publication of the shortlist
Complicating matters even further is the fact that Eir has also cast its net into the UK market, a process that insiders say has delayed the publication of the shortlist

The Irish advertising industry is waiting with bated breath for the publication of the shortlist for the Eir creative account, which also includes its mobile subsidiary Meteor.

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One of the biggest accounts in the Irish market, the irony is that many Irish agencies are precluded from pitching because of client conflicts. These include Irish International, Chemistry, Target McConnells, and Boys and Girls. Rothco is also ruled out as it recently resigned from the Meteor account, setting in motion the current review. In addition, Cawley Nea\TBWA is no longer part of the pitch process.

This leaves Irish agencies such as DDFH&B, the incumbent on the Eir account, and Publicis Dublin, which used to have the Meteor account, in the running.

Complicating matters even further is the fact that Eir has also cast its net into the UK market, a process that insiders say has delayed the publication of the shortlist.

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The Kantar Worldpanel figures for the Irish retail sector always make for interesting reading as they give a reasonably accurate snapshot of the ongoing slugfest among the various supermarket groups.

While the most recent batch of figures, which were published during the week, show that SuperValu maintained its lead with a market share of 24.9pc, ahead of Tesco on 23.9pc and Dunnes Stores on 23.5pc, the battle between the two German discounters Aldi and Lidl is turning into an intriguing contest.

With a market share of 8.5pc, Lidl is slightly ahead of Aldi on 8.4pc. The most recent figures show that it reported a 9.5pc increase in sales compared to Aldi's 1.5pc.

Not surprisingly, Lidl has also been one of the most active advertisers over the last year. According to the most recent Ad Tracker report published by Checkout magazine and research firm Nielsen, it outspent all its rivals on the advertising front in the last quarter of 2015 with around 23.2pc of total supermarket ad spend of €24.5m during the period. This was a hefty 45.4pc increase on the same period in 2014.

This investment in advertising is obviously paying off for Lidl and it has picked up a number of awards along the way, including three golds at the recent Media Awards, the only retailer to win an award on the night.

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Being the official beer sponsor of the IRFU, as well as its English and Welsh counterparts, would appear to be working out pretty well for Guinness, according to the latest quarterly report on the Irish sponsorship industry, which is published by Onside Sponsorship.

By backing the Pro 12 tournament and through the various TV campaigns it ran around the recent Six Nations, it has edged out Heineken in the rugby stakes to take the overall title of 'most appealing sports sponsor', according to a survey of the Irish public in the first quarter of 2015. The next line of stand-out sports sponsors identified by Onside included 3 Mobile (sponsors of Irish national soccer and rugby teams), provincial rugby sponsors Bank of Ireland, and AIB (whose GAA support peaked in March with the Club championship finals and its ground-breaking TV initiative The Toughest Trade).

Elsewhere, there was strong recall for other GAA sponsors, including the likes of Allianz (League sponsors) and SuperValu, while a noteworthy start was achieved by Lidl as it launched its €1.5m sponsorship of Ladies' GAA.

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Anyone who agrees to take on the role of 'Head of Mischief' for a publicly quoted company is deserving of our respect.

For three years, this was Ken Robertson's title at Paddy Power, as the company raised eyebrows and ruffled many regulatory feathers with its cheeky and irreverent ad campaigns the length and breadth of the UK.

Robertson has now been elevated to the loftier role of advertising director within the enlarged Paddy Power Betfair group. Heading up a team of 50 specialists responsible for much of the group's advertising output, his sense of mischief hasn't deserted him. He notes in his LinkedIn profile that he also tries "to keep the ad agencies honest too".

Sunday Indo Business

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