Tuesday 23 January 2018

The House of good repute

Jane McDaid
Jane McDaid

Michael Cullen

As the outcome of the Marriage Equality Referendum proved beyond question, engaging specific demographic groups with slick marketing pays off handsomely. PR agency Thinkhouse has spent the last 13 years honing in on Ireland's youth market.

Run by Jane McDaid, main picture, and her partner David Coyle, Thinkhouse recently became the first Irish company to make Campaign magazine's list of the world's top 16 independent agencies.

The agency has just won the Largo Foods' Hunky Dorys crinkle cut crisp brand. Often embracing controversy, Largo got up the backs of the IRFU with its Hunky Dorys print ads showing buxom young women togged out in rugby gear, amid boasts the snack was an 'official' Irish rugby supporter.

But as with Ryanair and Paddy Power, there was method to Hunky Dory's ads.

Working with Largo Foods' marketing boss Alina Ui Chaollai, Thinkhouse specialises in targeting 18-35s, aka Ireland's millennials. McDaid's team helped roll out Heineken's new cider, Orchard Thieves. The Dutch brewer plans to spend €20m over the next five years in a bid to challenge Bulmers and do what Diageo hasn't been able to do in taking a big slice of Ireland's €366m cider market.

Handling grocery brands such as Ben & Jerry's and Magnum ice creams and personal hygiene brands Lynx, Sure and Dove for Unilever, Three mobile and Coca-Cola keeps the Thinkhouse crew on its toes. Youth Lab is the agency's research unit.

With the help of Enterprise Ireland, Thinkhouse did the bold - as in brave - thing in launching a London office two years ago. Based in the trendy Shoreditch district, the agency is run by Emily Cramp. Thinkhouse beefed up its offering with the hiring of former Dynamo director Richard Seabrooke as creative boss.

Seabrooke is well known for his part in helping get Offset off the ground in Dublin, along with Bren Byrne and Peter O'Dwyer. Offset is a weekend of presentations, interviews, panel discussions and debates, with local and international designers, animators, illustrators, advertisers, artists and photographers live on stage. They assemble in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre where they speak about their work, ideas and inspirations and share insights.

Independently funded, Offset has grown from 450 to 2,000 delegates. It's now run by Ways & Means, with Byrne and Lisa Haram at the helm.

* Fáilte Ireland is in talks with agencies about its creative advertising and media buying services. The State body, which promotes Discover Ireland staycations - as distinct from Tourism Ireland, which promotes island of Ireland holidays to overseas visitors - currently uses DDFH&B and Omnicom's PHD. At the same time, Fáilte Ireland is hiring marketers.

Press ads call on applicants for the roles of strategic development director and a marketing director to serve a two-year contract. John Concannon, pictured right, was director of market development up until last November, when he was seconded by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys to spearhead the 1916 Easter Rising centenary celebrations.

A native of Galway, Concannon was voted Marketer of the Year in 2010. He plans to return to Fáilte Ireland at the end of next year. Based in head office in Dublin, the new recruits will report to chief executive, Shaun Quinn. CVs must be in by 5pm on June 9.

* Jersey-headquartered trust fund and corporate services provider First Names Group (FNG) have hired Irish executive Alison Duffy, pictured far left, as its head of marketing communications and PR, based in Dublin. Duffy's experience includes lengthy stays at Philips, Sony and Bank of Scotland. For nearly seven years, she ran her own PR agency, True Blue.

Most recently, she headed up communications at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the merger between State-owned Anglo and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. A spokesperson for FNG says agency clients are confidential, but she said they range from sole traders to major conglomerates.

* When it comes to decisions made in the home, banking continues to be the one where men and women work out the same. The latest Pulse consumer report by media agency Carat shows 42pc of men and 38pc of women each claim to be the sole decision maker.

Men still rule the roost when it comes to deciding on TV and internet, while women have the last word when it comes to most food choices.

The survey found that 54pc of men claim they make more decisions jointly, while most women believe they are the ones actually calling the shots. Children have most influence when it comes to holidays and buying family meals, cereals, snacks and treats.

* Consumers rate fitness tracking and faster payments as the best uses for wearable technology, research by WPP media agency Mindshare and Goldsmiths University of London shows. Shift 2015 bases its findings on consumer device testing, workshops, interviews and a quantitative study.

Aileen McDaid, Mindshare Ireland's digital strategy director, says while the research is UK based, local studies indicate similar trends apply to Irish consumers.

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

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