Friday 15 December 2017

Keeping TABS on those most in need

Orlaith Blaney McCann
Orlaith Blaney McCann
Google Ireland’s country manager Cera Ward
Independent Rugby

Michael Cullen

People with little or no experience of working in marketing may imagine a job in advertising as having the most fun possible with their clothes on - and getting fairly well paid for it - but that's not the full story. Adland can be a fun and rewarding place, but the opulent and carefree image in 'Mad Men' has more in common with a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale than reality.

The Advertising Benevolent Society - normally referred to as TABS - was founded 62 years ago. It was felt there was a need for a voluntary body to help ad people and their families experiencing financial hardship and life-changing personal problems. Initially, TABS also helped journalists down on their luck, but they soon handed that task over to the NUJ.

Any help TABS gives is done quietly and with the utmost confidentiality. But sensing that TABS may have lost direction, current chairman Gerry Coleman - who worked with Brian Cronin's, Kennys and McConnells before running his own design company - recently met with 20 agency bosses. Now retired, Coleman was anxious to know what agencies thought of TABS and do whatever necessary to make it more relevant.

Coleman found only "key people" in agencies were aware of TABS and any knowledge they had was "superficial". By and large, TABS was seen as an organiser of golf outings and quiz night fundraisers.

Nowadays, the average agency employee is aged 25-35. Many don't see advertising as a job for life and tend to move career after a few years. Few young people are aware of TABS and those that do, don't see it as of benefit to them. In their eyes, it's about helping older people in advertising who hadn't provided properly for their retirement.

The fact is mental health issues, like depression and stress, affect young people in adland and without help they can be left suffer in silence. Individual and corporate donations - along with monies bequeathed in wills - help pay school bills, medical expenses and living costs. But, Coleman insists, TABS' support should not be seen as a form of long-term social welfare. Orlaith Blaney (pictured above), president of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) and CEO of McCannBlue, says Coleman deserves thanks for re-engaging agencies with TABS. Blaney believes young people in agencies should be encouraged to create ads explaining what TABS is all about.

Q With Ireland playing England in the RBS Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, the official unveiling of Musgrave Park in Cork as Irish Independent Park goes ahead the day before, as Munster take on Glasgow Warriors. After undergoing a €3.5m refurbishment, an extensive marketing campaign for Irish Independent Park covers outdoor posters (pictured), price promotions and ticket giveaways.

Sampling targeted at nearby homes and taxi drivers, a best fan competition on social media and branded match cheering sticks also feature.

Independent Newspapers' marketing director Geoff Lyons says the 'Epic stories start here' theme was created by Irish International, with Starcom handling media buying and planning.

The Irish Independent has the naming rights for the 9,500-capacity ground - home to All-Ireland League senior club sides Dolphin and Sundays Well - for the next 10 years.

Q Irish youngsters are in for some new team action this summer. Soft drinks maker Britvic has signed a deal with US-owned Tough Mudder Inc to provide seven to 12-year-olds with ground-breaking obstacle courses. The Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder comes to Ireland for the first time as part of a two-day team at Loughcrew Adventure Centre in Co Meath in July. The mile-long courses have four looped laps with nine obstacles, including the Tunnel of Terror, Gooey Shoes and Secret Agent Squeeze. To promote Britvic's sponsorship, marketing director Leonie Doyle plans in-store promotions for April and June. Fruit Shoot shoppers can win tickets to Mini Mudder team events both in the US and Ireland.

Q On the PR front, one of Ireland's most highly-regarded agency account directors has moved up the ranks. After almost nine years as a client director at FleishmanHillard, Amy Pilgrim has returned to Wilson Hartnell Public Relations (WHPR), where she previously worked for seven years. Pilgrim now heads up WHPR's healthcare division. Clients include the Irish Heart Foundation, Pfizer and Safefood.

Q Three new speakers have been added to the line-up for the DMX Dublin 2014 digital conference organised by the Marketing Institute. Adrienne Liebenberg, global marketing director at Castrol B2B, Google Ireland's country manager Cera Ward (below) and Fiona Sweeney, marketing director for Kerry Foods' dairy brands, will address the conference in the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday, March 11.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: cullen@marketing.ie

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