Saturday 21 September 2019

New Olympic boss will tough it out

Pictured with Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene is Topaz marketing director Judy Glover.
Pictured with Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene is Topaz marketing director Judy Glover.

Michael Cullen

JFK's father, Joe Kennedy, was credited with coining the phrase that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Sarah Keane was up for it as she addressed a seminar organised by the Onside sponsorship agency and the Marketing Institute in the Aviva Stadium.

Keane began with a contrite plea, "forgive me Father, for I have sinned". She admitted the OCI is a toxic brand, but the new regime is determined to change things.

Sarah Keane, OCI president. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Sarah Keane, OCI president. Photo: Naoise Culhane

The former Swim Ireland CEO and international polo player, who left her job with Matheson solicitors, has no qualms about going against the tide in a bid to restore confidence in Irish sport and do away with the 'stroke culture'. "We acknowledge the sins - and they are sins," Keane insisted, "but if you're resilient, you manage things better. We've still a long way to go in terms of morals and governance. I'd like to think people believe in me as I try to be open and frank."

Keane said resilience is promoted through values and creating a sense of belonging. Sport helps people cope with what life throws at them and overtake superficial things by being around people who strive to be their best. Ireland has about 70 different sports and while many of them have been around for years, wider access is far better now.

She reminded sponsors of the opportunities minority sports offer. Rights costs less and the rewards can be sizeable for brands backing the likes of badminton and Ireland's top player Scott Evans.

While funding for Irish sport is focused on improvements in infrastructure, Keane said the OCI aims to raise the bar by generating more money for new initiatives and events.

During a Q&A session with RTÉ sports reporter Joanne Cantwell, Galway hurler Joe Canning - who topped the Onside poll as Ireland's most marketable sports stars - said he's careful about what he says to the media as some journalists are only interested in sensationalising things to get clicks on social media.

Canning (29) fronts for four brands - Audi, Bord Gáis Energy, Red Bull and Unicef. He will soon head to Syria to help raise awareness for children injured and left destitute in the battleground city of Aleppo.

- Sadly, top-quality radio ads aren't something with which Irish advertising is synonymous. While we're a nation of storytellers, we just don't seem to be able to crack the art of great radio ads - messages which catch the imagination and prompt consumers into action. One of the few memorable radio ads airing these days is the series for 'Love Irish Food' created by OwensDDB.

Alas, help may be at hand. Acclaimed radio writer and producer Paul Burke will talk about the importance of creating engaging ads across all channels, but particularly for radio, at the November AAI Toolkit breakfast seminar. The London-based creative with Irish roots will also discuss the impact of sound in TV and radio ads.

Burke will talk about what makes a great radio ad, what makes a bad one and will play plenty of examples of each. Ranked as the world's most awarded radio writer and producer, Burke has given similar talks at the Sharks international creative festival in Kinsale. But this is a chance for advertisers and agency 'suits' to hear Burke at close quarters. Burke's AAI breakfast talk is in Core Media at 8.15am on Tuesday, November 28.

- RTÉ's 2FM music station had strong results in daily listeners for the first time in seven years, while Today FM remains ahead on market share, the latest JNLR book shows.

The results coincide with Simply Great Coffee from the Topaz Re.Store forecourt shops signing up as sponsor of 2FM's Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene.

The show airs weekdays from 10am to 1pm and averages 151,000 daily listeners. Brokered by Core Media's Livewire sponsorship agency, the six-month deal includes 50 x 10 sponsor credited stings each week, and 18 x sponsor-credited promotional spots across the 2FM schedule, podcast and homepage.

- Ireland's first one-day design leaders' conference takes place in the Light House Cinema in Dublin's Smithfield next Thursday. A panel of speakers will discuss topics like hiring, rewarding and retaining talent. A client panel will debate what defines a successful two-way relationship. The conference is organised by branding consultant Andrew Bradley, who now chairs the IDI Design Enterprise Skillnet.

Q Discovery Communications' Eurosport has secured Bridgestone tyres as its European partner for coverage of next year's Winter Olympics from PyeongChang in South Korea. It's the first time a brand has linked up with the Olympics in Europe by partnering with just one broadcaster. Eurosport has official Winter Olympics pay TV rights, with RTÉ sub-licensing the free-to-air franchise.

Michael Cullen is editor of;

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