Tuesday 20 March 2018

The Punt: Whiskey maker calls in Scott for the full Irish treatment

Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott

Before he was a big Hollywood director, Ridley Scott produced the famous Hovis bread advert – the one with the young delivery lad on his bike in a picturesque Dorset town that doubled as a salt-of-the-earth northern English village. Scott's RSA advertising agency, which he founded with his late brother Tony, has now been called into action to give similar nostalgic treatment with a twist to Irish whiskey brand Tullamore Dew, now owned by William Grant & Sons.

The advert is part of a 'True Irish' campaign for the drink, which is undergoing a renaissance. In September, William Grant turned the sod on a new €35m distillery it's building in Co Offaly.

In the meantime, US ad agency Opperman Weiss and RSA have spared no heart-strings in the Tullamore Dew advert. Four lads dressed in vaguely Victorian-style are traipsing through the Irish countryside in the rain, empty whiskey glasses in hand, mist swirling past the lens. The background song is a stirring rendition of an originally Scottish tune, 'The Parting Glass'. Their accents, meanwhile, are as Dublin as can be. One even quotes Joyce.

They pass a wooden sign for Tullamore and perch themselves on an old church wall beside its graveyard and pour themselves some Tullamore Dew. One of them, it transpires, is getting married. The waiting bride makes an appearance. Opperman Weiss produced it and it was directed by RSA's Laurence Dunmore.

NAMA burned in art firesale

Ouch. NAMA's Frank Daly and Brendan McDonagh are forever telling us how they don't do "firesales". The agency is big enough and ugly enough to hold assets until prices are at a level where it is happy to sell, they tell us.

Well, that might be working on the property side of things, but not so much when it comes to fine art.

Now one thing the Punt doesn't claim to be is an expert on the art market. Our Bacon tends to be on a plate with spuds and cabbage, rather than hanging on the wall. However, we gather all is not well in the auction houses. The latest evidence from London was the disappointing prices secured for NAMA from the sale of a collection formerly owned by Derek Quinlan.

Christie's raised around €280,000 from the latest sale of four works by Louis le Brocquy, Roderic O'Conor and William Scott. In some cases the art sold for less than half the prices estimated in 2011. It's a hefty discount for poor old NAMA.

Move is music to flyers' ears

'Please turn off all electronics during take-off and landing." The Punt has long grown tired of the particular game, played with airline attendants, where one must pretend not to have one's iPod playing during takeoff and landing.

So we are greatly heartened that this rule – which was never based on any solid evidence – has been scrapped in the US. "Passengers will be able to read ebooks, play games and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions," said the Federal Aviation Authority.

Almost all US airlines have moved to comply. Sadly, this rule is unlikely to reach Irish airlines for some time.

The Punt recalls long arguments with Aer Lingus executives who refused to allow "the operation of Em Pee Three Players" at any stage of any flight for many years after US airlines had allowed their use.

Also, the rule does not yet extend to mobile phone calls (although it does allow use of phones in 'airplane mode'). The Punt does not regard this as being an urgent matter. In fact, given the vocal tendencies of some 'smartphone' users, we are thoroughly content for this ban to remain indefinitely.

Irish Independent

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