Sunday 16 December 2018

Michael Cullen: 'Ireland should have a big say in race to win seat on UN council'

New venture: Loretta Dignam is launching Ireland’s first dedicated menopause resource
New venture: Loretta Dignam is launching Ireland’s first dedicated menopause resource

Michael Cullen

Ireland faces tough competition in its bid to win a seat on the UN Security Council but the country's history and innate characteristics will be a big plus, the director general of Global Ireland says.

Addressing the Marketing Society on 'Influencing the Nation', John Concannon said the biggest threat in the 2020 election will come from Canada and Norway.

"But we Irish have a lot to say for ourselves," the former Unilever and Marketer of the Year winner for Fáilte Ireland's staycations insisted, "and we've a sense of empathy."

Ireland will need to make a convincing argument about how the country has contributed so much to peacekeeping efforts around the world and its role in aid development programmes.

The country has lived with famine, the Northern troubles and economic collapse. As an independent and non-aligned nation, Ireland promotes human rights and takes a stand on nuclear disarmament. Such factors should be a major help in persuading other countries that we ought to be considered for a seat on what is essentially the UN board.

TBWA\Dublin produced a Global Ireland video using U2's 'One' as the backing track. In the video, former President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson says Ireland is "a country that can be a bridge". Taoiseach Leo Varadkar describes the country as "a shining light in a very dark world".

Global Ireland was launched in June and coincided with the winding down of the Government's controversial Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) after a review by the Department of the Taoiseach's secretary general, Martin Fraser. Over the next seven years, Global Ireland aims to double the country's footprint worldwide.

It will see the opening of more Irish embassies and the expansion of trade links, overseas aid and peacekeeping operations.

Concannon was asked by Tourism Ireland's Peter Nash if he'd consider running for President of Ireland in 2025.

He finally conceded that he has no interest in running for the Áras - it was not for him. But as President Michael D Higgins would be the first to admit, a lot can happen in seven years during which time people can have a change of heart and mind.

Marketing doyenne Loretta Dignam is about to launch her own business venture - Ireland's first dedicated menopause resource. After exploring the issue for the past three years, Dignam realised that when it comes to women experiencing 'the change of life', there's a gap in the Irish market for professional expertise in menopausal services.

Dignam says the first Menopause Hub is due to open in Mount Merrion in south Dublin before Christmas. It will initially be a Dublin-based private health care clinic. She then hopes to get the HSE on board, at which stage new hubs will open in Cork, Limerick and Galway, along with further branches across the capital.

Dignam held senior marketing roles at Diageo, Mars and Kerry Foods. While at Jacobs Fruitfield, she was voted Marketer of the Year in 2011. She currently sits on the board of the Abbey Theatre and chaired its gender equality committee for the national theatre's Waking the Feminists grassroots movement.

Colin Gordon will soon step down as Glanbia's consumer foods boss. The grocery brands Gordon has been responsible for include Avonmore, Kilmeaden cheese and Premier Milk. With 33 years of FMCG experience, Gordon joined Glanbia in 2005, having worked with C&C and tobacco firm John Player & Sons. The invite to his farewell bash in the Aviva Stadium soon shows a book cover entitled 'Everything You Wanted to Know About FMCG - But Were Afraid To Ask by Colin Gordon'. Guests are being urged to join him as he starts the sequel.

And finally … The AA has got a new media agency. After a four-way contest between Javelin, Vizeum, Wavemaker and the incumbent Zenith, the car insurance and roadside recovery service has appointed Vizeum. The review did not include creative work. That means Javelin, whose ads with the two chatty dogs, Butch and Mulligan, got people talking, will continue in the driving seat.

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

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