Sunday 22 October 2017

Postscript: Lidl leads its diners up garden path

Discount supermarket Lidl has thrived
Discount supermarket Lidl has thrived
Maurice Levy and John Wren
Cuan Greene and Harry Colley
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

INSIDERS are calling it one of those most innovative marketing ideas they've ever seen.

It's The Secret Garden, a pop-up restaurant that opened its ivy gates to the public for five days last week. It was met with a hugely positive response from Dublin diners, with Twitter and Facebook abuzz with pictures of its dishes. Unbeknownst to the public, the organisers behind it weren't up and coming culinary artistes – it was discount grocery chain Lidl. Everything served came from Lidl stores, cooked by Irish chefs Harry Colley and Cuan Green. The news was revealed to an audience of food critics and journalists on Wednesday night, who continued to perpetuate the buzz by sharing their surprise online.

"The Secret Garden was the perfect way for people to try our quality food with an open mind. We wanted to show people that good quality Irish produce doesn't have to cost the earth. The feedback from guests all week has been astounding," said Lidl Ireland communications manager Claire Moran.

The Secret Garden generated a total of €12,000 from lunch and dinner bookings. This figure is being matched by Lidl and all €24,000 will be donated to its charity partner, Barretstown, the residential camp founded by Paul Newman in 1994, which provides therapeutic recreation programmes for children with serious illnesses.

GT MEDIA PARTNERS GLOBAL GIANT HAVAS

INDEPENDENT media agency GT Media has signed a strategic partnership with global giant Havas Media, forming a new company to handle Havas' international accounts in the Irish market. The move is part of big push by Havas Media into Europe. The company is active in 122 markets.

The new company, called Havas Media Ireland, will be led by GT Media founder Graham Taylor. It will have access to the Havas Meaningful Brands technology suite.

The two agencies have been working together informally since 2012; GT Media already looks after names like Betfair, Clarks, Birds Eye and KLM in Ireland for Havas. The multinational also works with Aegis on media buying activities in Ireland.

SKY LAUNCH FREE HD CATCH-UP SERVICE

SKY customers won't be looking back in anger. The broadcaster and paid television provider has just launched a catch-up TV service for Irish customers, the biggest of its kind yet.

Customers with a Sky+HD box connected to the internet can now catch-up on a total of 46 channels for free.

COMPLEXITY KILLED AD AGENCY MERGER

MORE details have emerged about the collapse of the Publicis-Omnicom merger, which fell apart late last week in spectacular fashion. The deal, which would have created the world's single biggest advertising agency in one fell swoop, was scuttled in part by both groups' complex tax structures as well as their divergent corporate cultures.

"There are strong corporate cultures in both companies that delayed us reaching an agreement. There was no clear finish line in sight, and uncertainty is never a good thing when you are in the personal service business," said Omnicom's chief executive John Wren.

On a conference call with analysts and reporters on Friday, Wren summed up the broken deal with a nod to Twitter: "If I had to summarise in a tweet it would be, corporate culture, complexity and time. And I would still have 100 characters left."

Two people familiar with the situation told Reuters that relations between the two sides began to unravel in December, with tensions simmering between Levy and Wren, and the former believing the deal was turning into a takeover rather than a merger.

With the deal off the cards, analysts have predicted a period of turmoil ahead for the industry as Publicis and Omnicom seek to re-engage with clients after recent business losses.

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