Saturday 7 December 2019

AdLib: Marketing minds think smarter

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

Fiona Heffernan, An Post; Ignition’s David O’Sullivan and Yveanne Walshe; Jimmy Murphy, Publicis; and Dermot Mulligan, BGE, at the An Post seminar
Fiona Heffernan, An Post; Ignition’s David O’Sullivan and Yveanne Walshe; Jimmy Murphy, Publicis; and Dermot Mulligan, BGE, at the An Post seminar
Tom Cruise in ‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’

Michael Cullen

A run-down on how this year's winning Smart marketing campaigns came about were shared at an An Post breakfast in the GPO Witness History Museum. Bord Gáis Energy (BGE) marketing manager Dermot Mulligan and Publicis director Jimmy Murphy explained why its 'Helpful Energy Company' push scooped this year's grand prix.

Mulligan and Murphy spoke about creating a new brand proposition. In halcyon days, consumers went to BGE for gas and to the ESB for electricity.

But with deregulation in 2008, everything changed and competition fired up. BGE said no to a race to the bottom on price. Instead, they decided to home in on three values - simplicity, understanding and integrity.

The feedback BGE got from consumers was along the lines of "sure, you're all the same" and the only time they think of energy companies was when a bill drops in the door or the boiler breaks down.

Mulligan & Co identified a gap in the market. The new focus would be on the 'It helps if it's Bord Gais Energy' line. Murphy and his BGE team at Publicis tackled some home truths.

Like the fact that consumers see energy as a grudge purchase. So the new 'helpful' issue had to be consistent and punch above its weight. Publicis rolled out TV ads with thought bubbles. The bubbles reflect how consumers want to be helped, with cashbacks when they need them most and offers explained in simple terms. No jargon please. The 'helpful' pitch saw a major jump in BGE acquiring new customers, brand scores, redemption rates and market momentum.

Ignition account director Yveanne Walshe explained how SuperValu's Real Rewards direct mail campaign targeted new parents with young families. They used Eumom, a database where new parents sign up for baby gift bags in return for being receptive to marketing pitches. Real Rewards' Tiny Tots provided ten per cent discounts on groceries.

Ignition mined parents' names and addresses who began buying in recent months. The Tiny Tots treat was for the parents with a direct mail piece saying "just for you" and a discount card by way of a reminder. Walshe says the campaign resulted in 73pc redemption, a 13pc increase in spend and a 22pc sales hike.

David O'Sullivan spoke about Ignition's work in promoting VHI International's insurance to young Irish people overseas. The target audience was parents of existing policy holders. The offer was 'world class care for less than €2.36 per day'. In a shrinking market, the direct mail arrested the decline, maintained sales and built brand awareness.

* Sky Movies makes way for Sky Cinema from July 8. The British broadcaster says the change will allow subscribers in Ireland and the UK to watch major movies eight months after cinema release and exclusive to Sky Cinema for over a year. The channel will see a new movie premiere every day, as against four a week on Sky Movies. HD will be standard to subscribers on the Sky and Virgin Media platforms.

Recent cinema releases available on Sky Cinema in July include 'Spectre' and 'Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation'. 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens' premieres in August. 'Steve Jobs', starring Michael Fassbender in the title role, and Steven Spielberg's 'Bridge of Spies' with Tom Hanks, will be available from September, with 'The Danish Girl' in October. Christmas movies include 'The Jungle Book, Zootopia' and 'Captain America: Civil War'.

* The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) reports that 68 people from 21 agencies, advertisers and media suppliers passed the European Advertising Certificate (EAC). The top three agencies with employees sitting the paper are Radical, Vizeum and Mindshare. Four people earned a distinction with a score of 80pc or more - Keith McDonagh, ebow, Luke McVeigh, Mediaworks, Stephen Young, PHD and Wei Tang from Vizeum.

The cert allows agency execs with at least two years' experience to earn a foundation qualification. It's the only Euro-wide qualification recognised by international agencies.

The EAC students completed six modules, namely advertising and communications in context, understanding client business, creative and media briefs, creativity and development, understanding media and implementing creative ideas.

* Changes at PR agency FleishmanHillard include head of sports marketing Kevin Moore leaving to join Legacy Sports and Entertainment as deputy managing director. He was with FH for over nine years. Legacy, run by Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan, acts for sports stars and brokers sports and entertainment deals.

Moore's role at FH will be filled by Neal Cummins, who is departing UTV Ireland where he was communications manager for the last two years. Cummins, an honours graduate in journalism and visual media, rejoins FH, having worked there for over six years, most recently as senior client manager.

Michael Cullen is editor of

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