There's a lively conference in store
SuperValu's feat in holding on to top spot as Ireland's top grocery retailer in the latest Kantar Worldpanel report should make for a lively debate at the Checkout conference coming up soon.
Tesco Ireland boss Andrew Yaxley will address the gathering in the Mansion House about how the British giant is getting to grips with its transition after a few troubled years.
Georgieann Harrington, Kantar's consumer insight director, says SuperValu's sales growth continues to accelerate, reaching 4.3pc over the last three months and increasing the retailer's market share to 25.1pc.
SuperValu secured extra trips from more shoppers at Christmas, resulting in a 6.5pc hike in the number of in-store transactions.
Lidl saw sales value rise by 11.6pc and Dunnes Stores was up by 5.6pc. Nielsen's sales effectiveness director, Julian Baldwin, will get the Checkout talks on the road with a paper on why customer engagement needs to be at the forefront of retailers' mind-sets. Then it's the turn of Heineken Ireland's managing director Maggie Timoney to wax lyrical about why brands must communicate added value, even in a promotion-heavy grocery market.
The feisty Timoney is a 17-year veteran with Heineken, having previously held the auspicious HR title of chief people officer with the Dutch brewer's US operation. No self-respecting FMCG conference nowadays is complete without a homily on how a business is being transformed by digital.
Take to the podium Philip Benton, a research analyst at Euromonitor International. Benton's digital presentation is entitled 'Coming of Age - Grocery Retailing in 2016 and Beyond'.
Poundland and its Dealz low cost retail chain has 50 stores in Ireland. The company's trading director, Simon Twigger, will have about 30 minutes to tell his tale.
Forces and trends shaping consumer behaviour is the topic for John Callan, country manager for Tesco's Dunnhumby operation. Callan will say why shoppers want simple 'frictionless' solutions from both retailers and brands and what this means for Ireland's grocers.
Before the afternoon session, Tom Fender - dubbed an "authority on convenience shopping" - will explain why Ireland's convenience sector should be regarded as the world's best, with the right use of c-stores and forecourts.
Before the conference breaks for lunch, Marketer of the Year Tom Keogh, pictured above, will explain how he developed the strategy for Keogh's potatoes and luxury crisps in as effort to reverse the decline in spuds. Keogh researched how Irish people consume potatoes and grew a premium strategy with the 'Keogh's - Grown with Love in Ireland' brand. Keogh's now claims a 30pc share of Ireland's luxury crisps market and exports to 14 countries worldwide.
* The body charged with helping people in adland who experience major problems in their lives is calling on agencies to make donations. The Advertising Benevolent Society - better known as TABS - has seen a depletion in funds of over €170k since the start of the recession. Apart from a paltry number of collections at industry events, no proper financial aid has been received. TABS chairman Gerry Coleman is now asking agencies which able to donate to do so and allow the society to look after deserving cases from all age groups.
As TABS has full status as a registered charity, agency donations are tax-free and allowable against returns. Following a brief, 10 agencies are creating a series of TABS ads appearing in trade magazines.
To date, ads created by Boys and Girls, Rothco, Havas and Ogilvy have run. In the coming months, McCannBlue, Publicis, Irish International, Chemistry, DDFH&B and OwensDDB will submit ideas. Coleman says a corporate TABS membership will be launched this year.
* On the PR front, Ulster Bank has hired Murray to handle its corporate and consumer work in place of FleishmanHillard. A bank spokesperson would not say which other PR agencies pitched.
The switch follows the defection of Ulster Bank's director of communications and corporate affairs, Bobbie Bergin, to become AIB's director of corporate affairs.
Jane McDaid's Thinkhouse now looks after Electric Ireland's consumer PR and sponsorships. The youth communications agency has worked on Electric Picnic (EP) for Heineken and Unilever. Ogilvy's Wilson Hartnell will continue to handle Electric Ireland's sports PR. Electric Ireland's Edel McCarthy is pictured above at the '90s Power Party at EP.
* Hollywood star Jude Law fronts for the new Lexus SUV, the RX. The link-up with the British actor, known for his roles in 'The Talented Mr Ripley' and 'Cold Mountain', highlights the Japanese luxury car's use of interactive videotography and theatre. Law is in a TV ad shot on location in the French Riviera and the hills of Italy's Fiuggi region. Lexus advertising in Ireland is handled by Javelin and PR by PSG.
* AdLib was stopped in its tracks by a message on a chalkboard sign outside the Yogish snack shop at the St Stephen's Green end of Dawson Street in Dublin. Passers-by are assured: "Vegans welcome. We won't bite... unless you're a banana!"
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: email@example.com