Saturday 20 January 2018

Postscript: Putting Dublin back on the map

The Grow Dublin Taskforce Alliance (GDTA) aims to create a new image for the capital. Pictured in a Tourism Ireland TV ad is a group of young tourists at the Ha’penny Bridge
The Grow Dublin Taskforce Alliance (GDTA) aims to create a new image for the capital. Pictured in a Tourism Ireland TV ad is a group of young tourists at the Ha’penny Bridge
Sky Ireland md JD buckley and ryan tubridy
Billy Murphy Drury

Michael Cullen

A marketing spend of around €20m in public and private funds will be made available to rebrand Dublin in the campaign's first three years. Headed up by businessman and Bord Bia chairman Michael Carey, the Grow Dublin Taskforce Alliance (GDTA) has the job of reinventing the capital and enticing more overseas visitors on short breaks.

With British visitors to Ireland down 55pc, the tourism bodies reviewed the market and recommended the first steps in trying to reverse fortunes.

Research by planning agency MCCP showed that tourism was crying out for market segmentation and three areas which applied most to Ireland were identified.

Fáilte Ireland's director of Dublin, Orla Carroll, says the aim of GDTA is to transform Dublin's "dull" image and create a brand identity and communications strategy - much like New York's famous 'I Love NY' with its stylised heart - to which everyone can sign up.

Dublin is ranked in the second tier of European short break cities, along with Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Copenhagen. While Dublin can't compete on an equal footing with London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome, Carroll insists reaching the upper end of tier two is do-able.

The three types of visitors identified with Dublin are 'social energisers', 'culturally curious' and 'great escapers'. 'Social energisers' are quirky and non-conformist. They like kitsch, pottering around craft shops and visits to places like the Powerscourt Centre and the Irish music pubs in Temple Bar.

Drawn to city short breaks, and kayaking and mountain treks, they are happy to go home feeling tired. "Dublin is not confined to what lies between the canals," Carroll says, "it stretches from Dun Laoghaire to Howth. We've a living bay with breathtaking views from Ticknock,

Not surprisingly, the 'culturally curious' are found strolling around with maps in search of museums and heritage sites. They tend to be older, value good food and pay for guides. The typical 'great escaper' may have a young family. While they're happy being fairly active, they want to go home feeling re-energised.

While the taskforce has tourist interests in its ranks, such as Pat McCann of Dalata hotels, Paul Carty from the Guinness Storehouse and Brown Thomas's Stephen Sealey, the group also includes UCD Smurfit Business School marketing lecturer and branding expert John Fanning and Ryanair marketing boss Kenny Jacobs. Plus there's Lonely Planet's Noirin Hegarty, Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Gina Quin, digital entrepreneur Niall Harbison and Irish Independent political journalist Lise Hand.

* Following the takeover of Telefonica's 02 by Hutchison Whampoa's 3 mobile, a number of 02's senior marketing executives have moved elsewhere. Ann-Marie MacKay has joined Sky Ireland as director of products and customer growth in place of director of sales and marketing.

Mark Anderson has left the company after four years in the job.

As well as 02, MacKay has a wealth of research and planning experience from her time with Coca-Cola, Diageo and Procter & Gamble. She will now handle customer acquisition and retention and help drive Sky's average revenue per customer through package upgrades. Like Tesco, Sky Ireland does not release separate customer figures for the UK and Ireland, but Nielsen records indicate 700,000 homes have a Sky box.

ComReg reports for the second quarter give Sky a 6.6pc share of the fixed line broadband market. Sky Broadband recently renewed its sponsorship of the Late Late Show. Pictured left are Sky Ireland's managing director JD Buckley and the show's host, Ryan Tubridy.

* No surprise to see PR firm Drury Porter Novelli being hired by IAG as it tries to acquire Aer Lingus. Agency executive chairman and co-founder Billy Murphy (inset) heads up the account. Murphy directed media relations for ex-Drury colleague Conor Ridge and his Horizon agency in its legal tussle with golfer Rory McIlroy. He also worked with IAG boss Willie Walsh during his Aer Lingus days. The airline's former CEO, David Kennedy, served on Drury's board.

* As many as 25 categories split into sections along with a grand prize are up for grabs at the Digital Media Awards. Organised by Ashville Media, the show will see entries - most of which cost €130 a go - compete across travel and tourism, entertainment, public life and retail. There are awards for social media, mobile, apps and web design. CKSK, Eightytwenty, Radical, RMG, OMD, Wolfgang and Zoo are vying for agency of the year. So glad rags and stamina at the ready, as the gig takes place in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel a week tomorrow.

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

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