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Weird but wonderful: the highlights of the year from Adland

Looking back on the year that was, one marketing trend dominated. As consumers struggle to cope with the sling and arrows of austerity and pay the ever-growing mountain of Government tax demands, a new marketing force is taking hold.

Lidl and Aldi are scoring goals in Ireland's €9bn supermarket game. As the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures show, SuperValu is holding its own, but Tesco and Dunnes Stores are losing out.

The message in adverts is to make the German discounters appear more Irish than an Irish-speaking, sean nos singer from Ballydehob GAA club.

After Sky and UPC going head-to-head with big spends last year, the TV market is set for more change in 2014. UTV intends to launch in Dublin and make a targeted challenge to RTE, TV3 and Sky. And Channel 4 is tackling the Irish market with ad breaks tailored to viewers south of Newry.

The following are my highlights of 2013.

Best integrated campaign: Murphy's Irish Stout's When It Rains It Pours. A mobile app which ably combines digital and traditional marketing communications. Publicis pulled off this idea and were rewarded with a Cannes Lions award for their trouble. It may have been inspired by what Diageo did for Budweiser the previous summer, but the idea flowed smoothly for Murphy's.

Best TV ad: Three Mobile's Ode to Fans.

Ode to Fans (below) really captures what it means to be part of the Green Army. Beautifully shot and features Emmet Kirwan's great voice. Top marks to the Boys and Girls agency.

Funniest TV ad: Three Mobile UK's Dancing Pony. Not surprisingly, a pony dancing backwards to Fleetwood Mac's I Wanna Be With You Everywhere went viral. Check it out on YouTube.

Best animated ad: Topaz, the advert to launch the Irish oil company's Play or Park promotion. Bouquets to advert agency Target McConnells and production company Piranha Bar.

Top TV brand: TV3. For increasing its Irish content and continuing to box way above its weight. The new Sony HD studio is a credit to TV3 boss David McRedmond and his team, who are situated out in Ballymount.

Top TV host: Graham Norton. Nothing compares to the Corkman's razor-sharp wit and endearing irreverence.

Media agency of the year: MediaVest.

Account wins last year included Aer Lingus, the National Consumer Agency and the OPW. Worldwide research agency Recma named the Aidan Greene-led agency Ireland's top media performer, ahead of Core sister agency Starcom and last year's winner Carat.

Top industry exec: Tania Banotti, IAPI. Arts expert Banotti (above right) is making the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland a valued asset to adland.

Top agency exec: Alan Cox from Core Media. For his work in highlighting industry issues and putting the Core Media agency group at the forefront of adland, Alan Cox gets this year's gong.

Biggest media surprise: Pat Kenny's move from RTE to rival broadcaster Newstalk.

Biggest international media deal: The 335bn Omnicom- Publicis pairing.

Biggest Irish media deal: Storyful sale to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for €18m, with former RTE reporter Mark Little €5m the richer as a result.

Best Irish TV drama: Love/Hate

Again, unquestionably the best Irish drama ever. Stuart Carolan's gangland tale is chillingly realistic and compulsive viewing. While the final episode in the last series was disappointing, viewers can't wait to see what Nidge (below) and Fran get up to next.

PR coup of the year: Finnegan's Pub

For convincing the US Embassy to allow Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia and Sasha to stop for lunch in Dalkey. After such hoopla, the pressure's off the venue's regular celebrities – Bono, Neil Jordan and Ryan Tubridy.

Best use of celebrity in ads: Audrey Hepburn's computer-generated role for Galaxy.

Book of the year: Mark Tungate's excellent Adland.

Quote of the year: "The next generation is growing up in a digital world and they speak social" – Ogilvy group boss JP Donnelly at the Checkout annual conference.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie magazine; cullen@marketing.ie