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Monday 22 September 2014

Medium is the message in fast-changing world of ads

60 Second Pitch: Why you should invest in Mediaworks

Published 10/08/2014 | 00:00

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THE COMPETITIVE EDGE: ‘We need to be 10 steps ahead of the curve,’ says Paul Moran, managing director of MediaWorks, which has worked with big brands such as McDonald’s

Watching the Late Late Toy Show in the run up to Christmas is one of the happiest memories which Paul Moran, the managing director of Mediaworks, has of his childhood.

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Moran, who has seen how technology has transformed the media since his advertising career kicked off in the 1980s, cites the Toy Show as one of the few to have stood the test of time.

"As a child, the Toy Show was a wonderful experience," says Paul. "Even after all these decades, this is still one of the most-watched programmes on television. There are rare occasions when there are shared family television moments. The Toy Show is one of them."

Paul Moran, who founded the advertising media company, Mediaworks, in 1996, chooses where the best place is for an ad. He decides if an ad will have more impact on TV or radio - or in a bus shelter by a busy road. So he knows all about the decline in shared family TV viewing - and how ads need to adapt to that and the changing habits of today's consumers.

"When we launched Mediaworks in 1996, it coincided with a complete change in how people were consuming their media because of digital developments back then," he says.

"People's habits have changed. Today people have a range of mobile devices where they can choose when they consume a piece of content. Viewer consumption of video on demand is increasing because people want to choose when they watch TV programmes.

Shared watching of TV is largely unheard of these days. But there are greater opportunities to have dialogues with tv audiences today. On certain digital channels, viewers can click on a car advert and order a test drive."

Advertising campaigns need to be more engaging today to help companies generate sales, drive brand awareness, and build relationships with prospective customers, he explains.

"In the old days, you just put a message out there," he says. "Now you try to build experiences. Consumers have their own individual choices and they're asking: what's in it for me?"

Some recent campaigns which Mediaworks has been involved in, which have been all about building experiences, include ads for Lloyds Pharmacy and McDonald's.

The Lloyds Pharmacy campaign used near-field communication, a wireless technology, to allow people to download money-off vouchers on their mobile phone. People simply tapped on their mobile phones in the bus shelters where the ads for Lloyds Pharmacy were - and they got the vouchers.

The McDonald's Eurosaver Live campaign, which Mediaworks was also behind, helped to develop the Eurosaver brand among young men.

"We asked ourselves how can we build a better relationship between young men and McDonald's Eurosaver," he explains. "Young men are into concerts. So we organised a number of music events for younger audiences to go to. That helped to develop the brand."

The media communications group, Core Media, took over Mediaworks in September 2011.

The takeover seems to have reaped dividends for Mediaworks.

Mediaworks expects to have a turnover of about €30m in 2014 - up from €24m in 2013.

"Going into Core Media gave us scale and access to a whole range of new research tools and resources," he says.

While some consumers may be a bit put out by the ability of technology to monitor their every move, technology has proved invaluable to advertisers and those in advertising media.

"We are getting more valuable data than at any previous stage because of the way we can gather data," he says. "We're looking at stuff like consumer's use of the internet, smart phones and so on.

"We are able to tell a client how much sales are generated by different media, such as over the internet, TV and so on. We can track the switchover from traditional TV to video on demand.

"We have invested significantly in technology and media to get a competitive edge over others. We need to be 10 steps ahead of the curve on behalf of our clients so that we can predict trends for consumers and the media before they happen."

So what does the future hold for advertising media?

"Wearable technology will allow people to interact with brands as they are moving through different locations," he predicts. "There are already a thousand sites around Ireland that are digitally enabled. So in the future, more people will be able to interact with posters to order goods, find out information, and so on."

It is the dynamism of technology - and indeed advertising media itself - which he enjoys most about his job.

Along with McDonald's and Lloyds Pharmacy, some major clients of Mediaworks include KBC Bank, John West, Trocaire, Pandora and Liberty Insurance.

"What excites me most about this job is change," he says. "In this position, no day is the same. We deal with a range of clients and different business sectors. You can be talking about banks one moment and selling John West steam pots to busy mothers the next."

Indeed, Paul Moran knows all about busy mothers. He and his wife are parents to a nine-month-old baby boy.

"We're expecting twins in January, so we'll soon have three babies under the age of 16 months." That should give him plenty of material for future advertising campaigns.

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