Sunday 17 December 2017

AdLib: Advertising goes under the radar

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

Peter McPartlin, MediaCom, Claire Cluskey, Empirica and Tim Collins, Newstalk at Core Media’s Marketing Multiplied
Peter McPartlin, MediaCom, Claire Cluskey, Empirica and Tim Collins, Newstalk at Core Media’s Marketing Multiplied

Michael Cullen

Advertising as a powerful force is not a widely shared view outside the industry and people in adland do not quote precedent and apply enough science to what they do, Core Media chief executive Alan Cox said at the launch of Core Media's 'Marketing Multiplied' report before a large industry turnout in the Convention Centre.

Cox said the report provides "compelling evidence" on what is needed from both creatives and scientists to make advertising work best for Irish marketers. "Imagine going into Goodbody's offices and not being able to quote case studies," Cox said. The report says every euro invested in advertising typically delivers gross sales of €8.26 and a net return on investment of €5.44. Advertising accounts for 4.6pc of total GDP in the EU, worth €643 billion.

Friends First economist Jim Power, who co-wrote the report, said the study's findings show advertising is largely a force for good. Ads inform consumers and boost competitiveness and revenue streams. However, Power added, intellectuals and economists have a distaste for advertising and that can cause problems if staff in the Department of Finance adopt the same view. While the Association of Advertisers (AAI) urges for tax relief, some people propose new advertising penalties - "and that's what you're up against".

British ad effectiveness expert Peter Field's main contention when presenting his 'Selling Creativity Short' talk was that emotional campaigns drive profit and brand fame. He urged Irish marketers not to get carried away by all the talk about data and, not least, big data. By all means, pay heed to the analytics and what the scientists say, but keep faith in the true word: creative.

Rational campaigns win over consumers - but only in the short term, so the benefit is temporary. He compared it to a fireworks display - lots of noise and light but little bang for the advertiser's buck. What really pays dividends in brand building and boosting revenue are long-term strategies. Emotional, award-winning ads based on surprise, sadness and joy - or conversely, anger, disgust and fear - do the best job.

Field plays hardball when it comes to telling what makes brands shine. Not relying solely on IPA award-winning and highly entertaining John Lewis, Snickers and Specsavers ads to persuade his audience, he uses the science of stats and graphs from the Gunn Report from top international creative show results to reinforce his argument.

Greencore ceo and Core Media's executive chairman Patrick Coveney hammered home the need for marketers to be more convincing in seeking boardroom entry. Marketers' absence from boardrooms is not good for business and helps explain why marketing is seen as an expense and not an investment. But Ireland is no different to anywhere else in the Western world. S&P's 1,500 Index shows only 2.6pc of 65,000 board members were marketers.


* Flahavan's deserve a resounding pat on the back for providing more than 200,000 free packs of porridge oats as a way of lending support to RTé's Operation Transformation. With weight and related health issues demanding urgent address in Ireland, it's encouraging to see a home-grown food brand like Flahavan's, pictured below, highlighting the need for a good diet with a generous and practical promotion.

The 200,000 packs equate to three million servings of porridge. The 500g packs were available free at the weekend through ­SuperValu, Tesco, ­EuroSpar and Dunnes Stores. Prof Donal O'Shea, consultant endocrinologist and physician at St Columcille's Hospital in Loughlinstown, says porridge kick-starts the body's ­metabolism. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - and porridge is the best start," Prof O'Shea said.


* John Hurt, who has died age 77, was rightly regarded as one of Britain's finest actors and will long be remembered for his many screen and stage roles down the years. But Hurt was also involved in numerous ads. As the Gate's former artistic director Michael Colgan told Brendan O'Connor on RTÉ Radio 1 at the weekend, his voice was like "pouring chocolate".

In 1986, he voiced the controversial anti-Aids public information campaign in the UK.

While living in Co Wicklow with Sarah Owens, daughter of adman Peter Owens, he voiced an Irish Rail ad for AFA, featuring Jack Lukeman's version of Frank Sinatra's 'Summer Wind'. AFA's Stuart Fogarty said Hurt was a joy to work with and the archetypal pro.


* Advertisers are promised an inside look into Ireland's longest-running TV series, The Late Late Show, currently hosted by Ryan Tubridy, when series producer John McMahon talks at an RTÉ Media Sales breakfast seminar in the Conrad Hotel next Thursday.

Behaviour & Attitudes Luke Reaper and RTÉ's head of insights Paul Loughrey will present on the headline topic, namely the power of integration. RTÉ business editor David Murphy will give his take on issues post-Brexit.

Michael Cullen is editor of;

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