American author Cheryl Strayed's definition was: "True happiness isn't a life without strife, but one where your inner and outer self are as close as they can be." Jimmy Durante struck the right note with his song 'Make Someone Happy', which popped up in a Coca-Cola Christmas ad and 'Sleepless in Seattle' starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Guy van Liemt from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam was in Dublin last week to share his take on the pursuit of happiness with members of the Marketing Society. It wasn't a fanciful chat about marketers creating a life brimfull of bliss.
Mr Van Liemt spoke about purpose-driven brands and their impact on marketing. Happiness can be a short-term feeling of joy or pleasure. You can be happy in your work, while less so in your personal life - and vice versa. For someone to feel happy and fulfilled on a long-term basis they need a goal in life.
Freedom to make personal choices is a big factor in how happy a person feels. So too is mental and physical health. Human kindness thrives on having empathy for others. Research shows outside factors which help people feel more content include stable government which shuns corruption.
Mr Van Liemt offers three levels of happiness. Firstly, there's the pleasant life, or what he calls "the Coca-Cola of happiness", where people live for the moment - a convivial chat, a nice meal or catching a majestic sunrise. There's the engaged life, that's the person you want and strive to be. Thirdly, a meaningful life comes in many shapes, sizes and hues and it's a subjective call.
'Drive' author Daniel Fink says can-do things count for a lot in the spread of happiness. It normally takes a person eight seconds to make a decision. For Mr Fink, purpose means being part of something bigger than yourself. Firms with happy offices do better, as do those which are serious about customer welfare and society at large.
Mr Van Liemt insists purpose is crucial to enjoying a happy life and money should be way down the pecking order. A study by Havas Worldwide asked 12,000 consumers some questions about money and happiness. It found that the less 'stuff' people buy, the happier they are. Consumers are avoiding debt and embracing minimalism. Money is important, but not everything. While almost one-in-three respondents said life would be better with more money, an even greater number believe that people obsessed with money miss out on life's true meaning. One-in-three said they admire people who are wealthy, but still live simply. Singer Bobby McFerrin coined the valued lyric "don't worry, be happy". Or, at least, happy-ish.
* Lynn Hunter and Niamh Deans of Hunter Communications, have set up a sister business called The Collaborations Agency (TCA).
Hunter claims TCA is the first full-service agency in Ireland to "join the dots between talent, influencers and brands". Hunter first launched her PR agency in 2009, having worked at The Larkin Partnership, Watermarque and Richmond Marketing.
Ms Deans teamed up with Ms Hunter last October when she joined as brand strategy director. She previously worked at GroupM agency MEC and in agency sales at the 'Irish Daily Star'. Ms Hunter's current accounts include Tayto, Aryzta's Cuisine de France, Carphone Warehouse, Parfois and Alex and Ani jewellery. The agency spin-off will also provide clients with digital talent, food stylists and photographers.
* PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) aren't getting off lightly for the envelope mix-up at the Oscars.
Speaking at the Irish Food Writers' Guild (IFWG) awards' lunch in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, where the country's finest artisan food producers were saluted, MC Ross Golden-Bannon joked that they had resisted the temptation to hire PwC for the day.
In fact, given how well things went, Mr Golden-Bannon suggested the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science might actually consider asking the IFWG to help them organise next year's 90th Oscars show in Hollywood.
* In last week's AdLib on the Media Awards, it was reported that The Brainfood Store directors Dave Harland of Omnicom Media and Justin Cullen of Radical were involved in the running of the awards. For the record, The Brainfood Store does not organise the Media Awards, nor do Harland or Cullen have any ownership of it.
* Ad agency Boys and Girls created the new Dulux Weathershield short film called 'The Invincibles'. It tells the story of three open sea swimmers who put up with all sorts of Irish weather - hail, rain or snow. Just like Dulux Weathershield. So, how appropriate that the agency's art director is one Paddy Thunder.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; email@example.com