Wednesday 13 December 2017

AdLib: Flying the flag for 1916 Centenary

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

Fáilte Ireland’s John Concannon, a previous Marketer of the Year
Fáilte Ireland’s John Concannon, a previous Marketer of the Year

As this year's Marketer of the Year winner is announced today, the winner in 2010 - John Concannon for Fáilte Ireland's staycation breaks - is now winding down as director of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. While the Government's programme has its critics, it's widely felt the idea of "remembering, reflecting and reimagining" the 100 years since the Easter Rising was worth a shot.

"The big game-changer was when we went out on the road and got communities involved," says Mr Concannon, who helped Unilever roll out HB's Magnum ice cream. "People didn't want the Centenary to be politicised. They felt it was theirs and no one had a right to hijack it."

Mr Concannon says there were 84 meetings and 3,500 local events held nationwide. The power of community and Army officers delivering an Irish flag to every school in the country ranked high. As during the year of The Gathering in 2013, which Concannon co-directed, he worked with Irish embassies on targeting the diaspora, with a premier event at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.

Culture Night in September saw Dublin Castle transformed for a night, with its historic rooms and outdoor spaces filled with live music, theatre, workshops and readings. Concannon's work was helped by RTÉ presenter Joe Duffy remembering the children of the Rising and Love/Hate's Tom Vaughan-Lawlor playing Padraig Pearse in TV3's 'Trial of the Century'.

A virtual tour of Dublin in 1916 was developed by Google Street View, voiced by actor Colin Farrell. Artefacts in the tour were curated by the National Library, Military Archive, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Abbey Theatre, Royal Irish Academy and the library in TCD. Martello Media's Easter Rising show in the GPO will continue to draw tourists from near and far.

Mr Concannon worked with Google in creating a digital programme around the Centenary. More than one million videos were viewed online and the programme had 27,000 Twitter followers and 40,000 friends on Facebook. The National Concert Hall rowed in by staging the 'Comprising the Island' series of shows, celebrating a century of Irish music.

Last week NUI Galway hosted a major conference called 'Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty'. Scholars from Ireland and overseas discussed the visions for a small, open island on the edge of the Atlantic - especially after Brexit and Donald Trump's US Presidential win.

To bookend the commemorations, Philip King's 'Ireland's Edge' will review 2016 as part of Eir's 'Other Voices' festival in Dingle next month. It will debate the evolution of the Rising and the impact of the celebrations. It will also look ahead to the 2016 legacy projects planned for next year and right up to 2021.

The Centenary worked to a €50m budget, €30m in capital spend. Mr Concannon praised Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphries for her support. Ciarán Ó Gaora at Zero-G and Big O Media helped with website design and a centenary video with music by Kodaline. Rothco created an ad campaign.

The 1916-2016 logo has seven diamonds denoting the Proclamation's signatories. The year will end with a bang as a special New Year's Eve party is televised from various locations. Where will Mr Concannon's marketing talents be deployed next? He assures AdLib all will soon be revealed.


* Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has a new brand identity created by Designworks. The new look is based on the seafood development agency's four main priorities - skills, sustainability, innovation and competitiveness. BIM stakeholders include fishermen, fish farmers, processors, retailers, and coastal communities.

BIM's ceo Tara McCarthy says Irish seafood contributes €1bn in GDP and employs over 11,000 people, both directly and indirectly. The new logo will run across all communications, at BIM's head office in Dun Laoghaire and in coastal training colleges.


* Twice UFC world lightweight champion Conor McGregor makes it into the top five of Onside's listing of Ireland's most admired sports personalities. Retired rugby star Brian O'Driscoll and boxer Katie Taylor share top spot, while retired rugby star Paul O'Connell now lies third. McGregor promoted Glanbia's GSB nutrition, and fronted Budweiser's 'Big Dream' ads, which were eventually pulled by the ASAI.


* April Adams-Redmond is leaving her job as chief marketing officer with Kerry Foods and will join Unilever in London to head up global marketing for Knorr soups and sauces. She joined Kerry over six years ago from Coca-Cola. A highly respected strategist, she spent over five years with Coke and was a consultant to Diageo.

Michael Cullen is editor of;

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