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Storytelling - the national psyche is being ignored

Irish advertising would be far better off if marketers hired writers to tell stories about brands, a marketing guru says.

Speaking at a breakfast in the National College of Ireland, University of Ulster Professor Stephen Brown said storytelling was part of the national psyche -- yet Irish marketers choose to ignore it.

Brown, right, nicknamed 'the Antichrist of marketing' for clashing with some of the world's foremost marketing experts, spoke on the topic 'Everything you always wanted to know about branding -- but couldn't be bothered to ask'. Brown said stories were part of effective branding and Irish marketers should "tell a tale to make the sale".

Despite Ireland's literary wealth, Irish brands are not creating compelling stories. Brown said agencies should adopt an author, by placing professional novelists, playwrights or poets on permanent retainer. Consumer psychologist Colm Carey of The Research Centre agrees with Brown's adopt-an-author proposal.

Marketing needs to go outside the traditional areas of the business colleges and qualifications and engage with consumers. Advertisers need input from people who think differently and appeal to consumer emotions. Moves to behavioural economics have a role in decisions to buy certain brands, but there is still some way to go.

Top brands engage consumers by using mascots like Tony the Tiger, Michelin Man, Ronald McDonald and the Dulux dog. Strong copy lines can also anchor brands in consumer consciousness long after marketers grow tired of them.

Work, Rest and Play, Refreshes The Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach and Because I'm Worth It are slogans consumers instantly associate with Mars bars, Heineken and L'Oreal ads, even years after being dropped.