'Atlantic Edge; European Embrace' is a sign of newfound confidence in Limerick, its mayor says
A new Limerick brand designed by M&C Saatchi will encourage visitors, business people and investors "to see the city and county with fresh eyes".
That's according to Mayor of City and County, Cllr Michael Sheahan, who presided over the launch of Limerick's first ever international brand and marketing campaign.
'Atlantic Edge; European Embrace' is the new master brand for city and county.
The campaign is "a sign of newfound confidence in who we are, what we are and what we have to offer," Cllr Sheahan said at the launch.
The new logo's shape is based on condensed letters of 'Limerick', its designers say, with a colour palette ranging from Atlantic Ocean blues to the county green and even gritty limestone greys from the famous Treaty Stone.
M&C Saatchi is a London-based global agency whose clients range from Amazon's Audible.com to travel groups Klook and eDreams ODIGEO.
The campaign aims to promote tourism, business, education and investment across the county, and drew on input from the public, local companies and students of LIT’s Limerick School of Art & Design, it says.
The brand reflects "the future of Limerick city and county", said Liz Nolan of Lyric FM, who MC'd the launch. It projects "a resurgence" in both city and county, she added, saying the time has now come to project this energy on a national level.
Despite being Ireland's third-largest city, with a thriving university and close proximity to Shannon Airport and the Wild Atlantic Way, Limerick has struggled at times to shed persistent stereotypes of crime, grit and Angela's Ashes.
M&C Saatchi's research found that few people overseas understand "what Limerick means, stands for or is even located," partner David Glass explained.
"Limerick now has a sharper way to focus its message, as a destination with an edge," he said. It was also described as "an amazing sweet spot", as "Europe's closest link to North America", and a place of "incredibly warm welcome".
Promotional efforts will play on Limerick's combination "of edginess and friendliness", with local heroes like Celia Holman Lee, hurler Cian Lynch and Dr Norah Patten, who is hoping to become Ireland’s first astronaut, inspiring people with their stories.
The launch coincides with a growing sense of local belief in Limerick.
“Limerick is on the turn,” as Niall Sloane, Dean of St Mary’s - where the brand was launched - told this reporter on a visit last year.
A multi-million euro International Rugby Experience backed by JP McManus and Paul O'Connell, among others, is set to open on O'Connell Street in 2021.
The McManus family-owned Adare Manor has also won the county's first Michelin Star, and is gearing up to host the Ryder Cup in 2026.
Elsewhere, boutique city hotels like One Pery Square and The Bedford Townhouse have added depth to its accommodation offering, Limerick boasts vibrant street art and festival scenes, and new, locally-driven ventures include Treaty City Brewery, which has opened a micro-brewery and tour in the medieval quarter on St Nicholas St.
Limerick's Milk Market and local food scenes are also on the up; a point highlighted by Tom Flavin, Head Chef of the Limerick Strand Hotel, who prepared a spread based entirely on Limerick produce for the launch event.
Cllr. Sheahan concluded his speech with "two important words", as he put it.
"Limerick forever. Luimneach abú," he said.