Friday 24 November 2017

AdLib: Whiskey-a-go-go with centre's makeover

Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen

Lorraine Butler, CPM; Dave Judge, Abner Browns Barbershop; and Colin Hindle, Fáilte Ireland, at the Canalphonic launch
Lorraine Butler, CPM; Dave Judge, Abner Browns Barbershop; and Colin Hindle, Fáilte Ireland, at the Canalphonic launch
PSG’s Margaret Barron, who handles the Topaz account

Michael Cullen

The 300,000 or so people who visit the Old Jameson Distillery (OJD) in Dublin each year must wait until next March to learn all there is to know about the world's number one Irish whiskey. French owner Pernod Ricard recently called last orders to allow OJD undergo a €11m facelift.

From 500k cases in the mid-1990s, Jameson now boasts sales of 5m cases a year in 130 countries. It's not so long since Irish whiskey was struggling and only in recent years has it been able to play catch up with its arch-rival, Scotch. By 1966, the number of distilleries in Ireland was down to four and then two as Jameson, Powers and Cork Distilleries merged to form Irish Distillers.

By 1973, there was just the one other distillery, Bushmills, now owned by Mexican tequila giant Jose Cuervo. Until businessman and teetotaller John Teeling and his two partners, David Hynes and Jim Finn, established the Cooley Distillery in 1987. Cooley was the catalyst for a new start in the Irish whiskey market with a host of new distilleries springing up.

Whiskey became trendy, with a single malt for men tattooed with the brand motto 'sine metu' (without fear) or young women stirred by a Jameson cocktail.

Irish whiskey is just 5pc of the world market. While exports have doubled since 2003 and are due to do likewise again by 2030, Irish exports are less than €400m, compared to €4bn for Scotch. So there's room for growth, provided money is invested in marketing and branding. Cawley Nea\TBWA handles creative work and Vizeum is the brand's media agency.

OJD accounts for about half of the 600,000 Irish whiskey centre visitors. A €16 tour ticket provides visitors with a rundown on OJD's history and the distilling process. Not surprisingly, visitors also get to taste treble-distilled Jameson produced in Midleton, Co Cork, and compare it with double-distilled Johnnie Walker and single-distilled Jack Daniels. Claire Tolan has worked on the Jameson brand for over 15 years. Her overseas experience covers the US, Canada, South America, Mexico and southern European markets. Tolan says the OJD revamp will balance old and new, giving visitors a history lesson dating back to 1780, while making the Jameson journey more interactive.

Since opening in 1997, OJD has had over 4 million visitors. Tolan says the new tour will include a live maturation warehouse. US-based BRC Imagination Arts - whose motto is 'Turning brands into destinations' - will create two sensory experiences called the Whiskey Makers and the Whiskey Shakers. BRC's other assignments include the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam and the Guinness Storehouse.

* To mark its 30th year in business in Ireland and five years in Rathmines, field marketing and sales agency CPM is sponsoring the Canalaphonic independent music and arts festival. Canalaphonic is a drive by Dublin City Council and Abner Browns Barbershop to raise community and business awareness in the Rathmines-Portobello area. Over 100 acts will perform on 25 stages - including the 5,000-capacity Making Waves platform in Leinster Cricket Club's grounds - tomorrow and Saturday.

* Adlanders have reason to be cheerful with the news that DDFH&B has been reappointed to the Eir telco account. It means that rather than moving to London agency Snap, the Eir and Meteor creative business stays in Dublin. There should be a few toasts to the news as the industry gathers tonight at the Adfx awards in the InterContinental hotel in Ballsbridge.

DDs will now be hoping they can land the Aer Lingus account, which has been handled by Dutch agency KesselsKramer. However, the airline's review has been put on hold, or, as some wit put it, the aircraft remains on the runway waiting for take-off clearance.

* Topaz has given its corporate PR account to PSG Communications after parting company with Gordon MRM. PSG already handled the fuel retailer's consumer account working to Margaret Barron. Now owned by Canadian group Couche-Tard, Topaz has 44 filling stations with Re-Store and Cantina shops, and a 35pc market share. On the design front, Originate created AIB's new brand identity. The Ranelagh agency, run by Michael Higgins, also handles assignments for Brown Thomas, CRH, DCC, DCU and Knight Frank estate agents.

* Waterford radio station WLR FM, run by Des Whelan, has expanded its offer to advertisers with new online client services. Headed up by sales executive Sinead Sullivan, WLR Creative Solutions provides brand owners with alternatives to spot radio ads, like online videos and blogs. WLR has rolled out social campaigns for Bank of Ireland, Walsh's Bakehouse, Chia Bia, Spirit Leisure, Sheridan's Ford and Kingfisher Gyms.

Michael Cullen is editor of

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