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Dieting is no Longer About Weight Loss. It’s About Weight Wellness!

Posted By McCannBlue, 16 September 2015
Updated: 10 February 2016
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I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the insightful conference by Mintel and the Marketing Institute Ireland on the evolution of dieting and how diet niches are slowly but surely seeping into mainstream supermarkets from small health food stores. Set in the lavish Westbury Hotel on September 10th, 2015, the 45-minute booked out breakfast briefing guided by David covered an incredible amount of consumer insights in such a short timeframe.

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David began his talk by firstly breaking down the agenda…

  • How dieting has gone from niche to a mainstream lifestyle.
  • How people are returning to “natural” and “real” food and drink.
  • How it is driving two main health trends: Getting rid of the bad stuff and digesting more of the good stuff.

Lifestyle dieting has indeed entered the mainstream market with two thirds of Irish consumers in 2013 saying that they wanted to be in better physical health and 61% knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat to keep healthy.

In today’s world, consumers are more anxious about what they consume, the 2013 horsemeat scandal cemented this fact with 59% of Irish consumers being more concerned about the safety of meat. The solution is pretty straightforward as consumers continually pursue more “natural” products. Companies are also aware of this as natural/no additive food claims for Irish product launches increased from 13% in 2005 to 28% in 2014.

Consumer’s anxiety has led them to ultimately embrace more pre modern diets such as the Paleo Diet. The clear popularity of this diet proves that the consumer’s fears of factory foods and modern day diets are very real.

David spoke of brands, which were fully embracing this trend. He gave examples like the Caveman Cookies, Cookies with ingredients that cavemen had access to (which are apparently delicious too).

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He also spoke of the hugely popular nákd cereal bars (which are now valued at £13 million in retail) and how they are an excellent example of combining nutritious food with a strong brand personality.

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The rise of the self-diagnosed food intolerance/allergy consumer was also discussed. According to David, 33% of Irish consumers have self-diagnosed themselves with a food intolerance or allergy. In truth it doesn’t matter if it is justified or in their heads as it is leading a big push to “free from” diets.

The two main driving forces behind this “free from” mindset are the “lifestyler” individuals who believe it to be a positive step towards health and wellness and the media claiming that with such “free from” diets, one can resemble a star celebrity. It is not factual but purely thought based.

We further heard that protein is no longer understood as something which helps build muscle but instead as something that helps to maintain a healthy weight.

Although consumers tend not to think of mainstream brands belonging in this category, it is also not stopping them from entering it. Brands such as Nature Valley and Nestle are happily providing “protein” and “gluten free” bars and breakfast cereals in the mainstream cereal aisle.

“Free from” also includes meat free products such as the cleverly branded Secret Sausages, Vegetables in disguise products (which, as a vegetarian, I have been searching desperately for everywhere!)

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It is important to note that “free from” appears to resemble more of a trend then a fad (such as carb free) and looking at the US market, (which can be used as a strong predictor for European trends) it is clear that “free from” innovations are on the rise.

Saying this however, David mentioned how not all brands may be the most suited for “free from claims”. Heinz “gluten free” pasta and pasta sauce example have not fared as well as expected for several potential reasons. Firstly, people associate the brand with tinned foods and condiments and secondly they seem to have relied solely on a “free from” claim and not on taste or personality.

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This short post merely scratches the surface of what Mintel and David discussed but to summarise

  • Dieting used to be associated with negativity but has now moved into a more positive terminology, which is weight wellness instead of weight loss.
  • Many diets can be considered a fad but their underlying principle remains the same, consumers are looking for a purer, healthier and happier way of life.
  • These natural and real food and drink trends will continue to increasingly become more popular.
  • Perhaps most important for a brand to remember is that the actual taste of the product and the personality it portrays are key triggers to success and no brand can solely rely on a nutrition claim.

After the presentation, David was flooded with questions from eager-to-know-more attendees and answered all in an informative and professional manner. Mintel are known for their incredible insights and this talk further confirmed that not only to me but also to everyone in attendance.

This article was originally written by Cian from

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The Irish Edition of The Times Launches a New Digital Newspaper for Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 09 September 2015
Updated: 10 February 2016
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    The Times, one of the world’s most distinguished newspapers, has launched a brand new edition for the Irish market – on sale from Monday, September 7th.

    This seven-day digital newspaper for tablet, phone and desktop users in Ireland will provide daily Irish news and analysis alongside award-winning journalism from the UK edition of The Times. It will be accompanied by a digital edition of The Sunday Times.

    New members will be able to sign up for a 30-day trial for just €1, after which the cost will be €5 a week. Three months’ free membership will be offered to the 50,000 Irish customers in the Sunday Club, The Sunday Times loyalty programme. Full details of the various membership packages are available at

    Irish Editor Richard Oakley will lead a team of 30 people.  Leading journalists such as John Walsh, the Deputy and Business Editor, and Niamh Lyons, Political Editor, are key members of the team.  Columnists will include the author Ann Marie Hourihane, the popular satirical columnist Colm Tobin, the political blogger Jason O’Mahony, and commentator Justine McCarthy.

    This Irish edition of The Times will have the backing of around 350 journalists in London and 36 foreign correspondents across six continents.

    In sport, The Times will have one of the most extensive video highlights packages in Ireland, alongside leading analysis led by sports editor Garry Doyle, plus award-winning journalists David Walsh and Michael Foley. Content will include video clips from the GAA, Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, Aviva Premiership Rugby and the Ryder Cup to name but a few.

    The new digital newspaper is the first of its kind in Ireland and will enable members to read, interact with and watch compelling content. Members will be able to watch video highlights while reading GAA match reports, access over 9,000 interactive puzzles, view image galleries and watch other exclusive video content.

    Times members will also get access to a range of exclusive rewards and benefits including restaurant and cinema deals, talks with authors and public figures, invitations to cultural events and once-in-a-lifetime holiday competitions. Initial launch offers include free search for all members with findmypast, Odeon 2 for 1 cinema deals, free e-books, Ispy golf deals, weekends away with the Ireland’s Blue Book and prizes of Sheridan’s Artisan Cheese Hampers.

    Richard Oakley, Editor of the Irish edition of The Times, said: The launch of a new online edition of The Times for Ireland is a positive milestone for Irish journalism and represents one of the most significant investments in the sector in recent years.  We have hired some of Ireland’s most renowned journalists and secured a range of innovative partnerships to deliver the first product of its kind in Ireland.  Combined with exclusive membership benefits, we feel we have a really compelling offer and are enthused by the positive reaction we have received to date.”

    Oliver Keenaghan, General Manager of News Ireland, said: Ireland has a rich tradition of strong and respected journalism and we are very excited and proud to be bringing a premium digital news brand to market. We have a clear subscription strategy that allows us to invest in content worth paying for. With tablet ownership in Ireland currently estimated at 1.8 million and smartphone ownership at 2.2 million, it made sense for us to bring our title to Irish readers and give them a revolutionary new media experience.”

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    Irish Marketers commit 22% of budget to Content Marketing, and plan to spend more

    Posted By Naoimi Young, 03 September 2015
    Updated: 09 February 2016
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    Irish Marketers commit 22% of budget to content marketing and plan to spend more, but trail their international peers in how effective they feel their content marketing efforts are.

    That’s according to the results of Ireland’s first content marketing survey conducted by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, in association with 256 Media.

    About the Survey

    Between February and June 2015, the Marketing Institute asked members to participate in the online survey that asked detailed questions about how Irish marketers are using content marketing. We also framed many of those questions so that we could compare Irish responses with those from other international studies conducted in the UK, USA and Australia under the auspices of the global Content Marketing Institute.

    Survey Highlights


    • Irish marketers are spending 22% of their marketing budget on content marketing. This compares to an equivalent figure of 26% in the UK;
    • 75% of respondents are producing more content than in the same period of last year;
    • 56% intend to increase or significantly increase their spending on content in the next 12 months. B2C companies are particularly likely to significantly increase this investment.


    • 67% of respondents (versus 87% of UK marketers) report having a content marketing strategy in place. 26% have no strategy, 6% aren’t sure;
    • 48% have not documented their content marketing strategy, while 48% have;
    • The number one strategic objective for content marketing was customer engagement, followed by sales/lead generation and website traffic.


    • The most used content tactic is social media (utilised by 92% of respondents), followed by articles, then video;
    • Blogs are used by just 51%, which is significantly lower than international norms (85% of UK marketers use blogs).


    • Irish marketers rated the effectiveness of their use of content marketing at 3.05 on a 5-point scale where 1 represented ‘not at all’ and 5 represented ‘extremely’ effective;
    • Only 26% of Irish marketers rate their content marketing efforts as ‘successful’ or ‘extremely successful’. This compares to 42% in the UK;
    • The most effective content tactics aren’t necessarily the ones that marketers are using;
    • Twitter is rated the most effective social media channel.


    • 53% have a dedicated person (or team) in-house who is responsible for content marketing strategy;
    • 43% are producing content internally only;
    • Only 14% use content marketing management software (such as Hubspot or Marketo);
    • 80% are outsourcing design, 34% writing.


    The biggest challenge is ‘not enough time’, cited by 72% of respondents, followed by ‘producing engaging content, cited by 56%.


    • 48% measure their return on investment on content marketing;
    • 44% find it a challenge to measure their return;

    Best practice

    Those with a documented content marketing strategy are more likely to consider their efforts effective and to:

    • use personas;
    • produce more content;
    • increase their content spend;
    • use external resources;
    • have a dedicated team member responsible;
    • use content management software;
    • know what they are spending;
    • measure their efforts.

    What we think

    Commenting on the survey, Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of The Marketing Institute of Ireland, said “We are delighted to have this first insight into the state of content marketing in Ireland. It establishes the strategic objectives being pursued, the levels of activity involved and the degree of effectiveness being achieved in this growing space. It also allows us to benchmark ourselves versus other markets where content marketing is more established and points to opportunities for Irish marketers to enhance their return on investment in this area. This is important as only 26% of Irish marketers rated their content marketing efforts as effective compared to 42% of their UK peers.”

    Karen Hesse, Managing Director of 256 Media, said “This survey suggests that Irish marketers are enthusiastic about content marketing, but still getting to grips with the discipline. Compared to our international peers there is considerable opportunity for improvement in how we are approaching our content strategy, implementation, use of technology and measurement of return on investment in order to drive better returns from our increasing spend. This is evident from the fact that only 42% use Buyer Personas, a staple of content marketing, to inform their efforts.”

    To download the 24 page ebook ‘What’s the Story?’ with the detailed results of the survey, click here.

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    Promotional Coding for Brand Engagement & Loyalty

    Posted By Codico, 01 September 2015
    Updated: 10 February 2016
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    What have Coke Cola and a selfie stick got in common? Probably this year’s best use of on-pack promotional coding. This summer, the iconic brand invited consumers to buy a Coke, simply enter the promotional code on the inside of the bottle sleeve into a website and be in with a chance of winning one of 250,000 selfie sticks (that’s a lot of selfie sticks).

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    Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the use of variable data printed directly onto product packaging, particularly in the food and drink sectors. Usually the variable data relates to dates of minimum durability and batch numbering for traceability. Today the printing of variable data for the purpose of on-pack promotional coding has become mainstream for FMCG brands as an effective sales promotion technique. This year alone we have seen brands like Pringles (Karaoke Kits), and Lucozade (Project Yes), many more are no strangers to promotional coding. Advancements in technology has now made this technique available to all smaller and medium sized brands.

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    What are promotional codes?

    Promotional codes can take many forms. They might be a QR code that directs customers to a specific website. Or they could take the form of an alphanumeric code – unique to each pack – that allows customers to win prizes. They are applied onto product packaging and are easy to identify.

    Reasons to use on-pack promotions:

    On-pack promotions can help brands realise the following benefits:

    Stand out from the crowd

    The food and beverage industries are fiercely competitive. Promotional codes help your brand to stand out on the shelf and entice customers to purchase your product. [Tweet this]. They are a highly effective way of engaging customers with innovative marketing campaigns and can act as the bridge between physical marketing and online strategies.

    Engage with your customers

    Marketing is about engaging your customers. And promotional codes give you a great vehicle for encouraging customers to take action. Whether you are inviting consumers to design their own packaging or offering them the chance to win prizes, it all helps to make your brand more memorable.

    Build brand loyalty

    Active brand engagement leads to strong brand loyalty. The godfather of brand management Kevin Lane Keller states that perhaps the strongest affirmation of brand loyalty occurs when customers are willing to invest time, energy, money and other resources into the brand beyond those expended during purchase or consumption of the brand. These days consumers are willing to talk about the brands they love, mostly without the use of a promotion and competition. So when brands engage with consumers with a promotion they can only benefit further from this trend. This in turn also drives traffic, mentions, connections and follows.

    Capture your customers’ data

    When you engage your customers, you encourage brand loyalty. Run a campaign that captures an email address and gains permission for further communication then you have a fantastic opportunity to make the relationship between you and your consumer even stronger.

    Increase revenue

    On-pack promotions are an excellent way to grow quick sales and market share for the duration of the campaign. Does that mean that after the campaign is over sales decrease? Perhaps or maybe not. Increased loyalty from the promotions can cause additional revenue to carry on beyond the short term and into the medium and long term.

    Top 5 tips for successful on-pack promotions:

    1. Make it interesting/fun for your customers (not just for you).

    2. Pick a prize that reflects your brand & target audience.

    3. Take in to account customer effort versus perceived value of reward.

    4. Make it fair and robust.

    5. It’s all in follow up.

    How do you add promotional codes to food and drink packaging?

    With the right choice of equipment.

    It’s important not to underestimate the engineering challenge of adding promotional codes to packaging. They must be printed with 100% clarity – at speed – and must not conflict with essential traceability codes and best before information.

    In the case of competition codes that are unique to each customer and each individual product, you also need a system that is capable of generating hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of different codes within a short space of time. For example, an 8 character code has 4,294,967,296 unique possible outcomes.

    Then there’s the matter of whether you print the promotional codes directly onto the packaging on the production line, or add the codes later in the production process. There are a small number of companies that can generate the unique codes for you to print. Some of these companies also look after the back end of the promotion to insure the website can handle the promotional entries and issue win/lose responses. Check out who can oversee all aspects of your loyalty programme.

    The right decision depends on your industry, the type of promotion you want to run and your manufacturing processes. 

    This article was first published on

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    A Look at the Past, Present and Future of Social Media Monitoring

    Posted By Kantar Media, 25 August 2015
    Updated: 10 February 2016
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    Just consider how the meaning of ‘monitoring social media’ has evolved from an optional to a critical aspect for many businesses. The approaches to social monitoring have changed, and businesses must adapt. Key social, cultural and technological shifts have impacted the media sector. Are you keeping up with the changes?

    Kantar Media - Social Media Monitoring

    In the past, social media was considered as a ‘gadget’ and not a concern for companies, organisations, and different institutions. The earlier adopters of social media monitoring were mainly public relations and advertising agencies, who used this monitoring as an additional means to manage their clients’ online brand reputation.

    As the amount of information grows, particularly in social media, monitoring can become time consuming and less relevant. Therefore, analytics are becoming more and more important. Analytics are more focused on aggregated information, providing trends, summarized reports, tonality or competitive information. Moreover, clients are tired of dealing with multiple tools.

    Nowadays, too many companies choose the monitoring and measurement tools before planning, measurement and evaluation takes place. In the future, social media will be used in every field of life and organisations will take the time to do cross departmental planning. Marketing, customer service and PR teams will join together to use similar frameworks, tools and metrics that can be used for integrated reporting and strategy.

    To read more and find out some tips and easy strategies that you can use to understand and manage your social media monitoring, please download the step by step guide to social media monitoring & analysis.

    This article was first published on Kantar Media

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