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Fiona Dawson of Mars named as 2017 All Ireland Marketing Champion

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Thursday 4 May 2017
  • 90 finalists shortlisted across 18 categories
  • Sell out event for All Ireland Marketing awards on Thursday 11th May


Fiona Dawson MarsDublin, 4th May 2017: The Marketing Institute of Ireland has announced that Fiona Dawson of Mars is the recipient of the 2017 All Ireland Marketing Champion award.


Fiona is Global President of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales and is a member of the Mars Incorporated Leadership Team, which oversees sales in excess of $35 billion and 10 billion-dollar brands. Fiona has had a long career with Mars, having joined the company after graduating from Trinity College, and serving in a number of roles, including General Manager Mars Ireland, VP of Marketing for Europe and President of Mars Global Retail.


Mars Inc. has over 80,000 associates worldwide operating in 78 countries across six business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience. Mars is one of the world’s largest foodmakers, and a leading exponent of responsible marketing.


The award will be presented on Thursday 11th May at the All Ireland Marketing Awards gala dinner in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road (formerly Burlington Hotel). Almost 900 marketing professionals will gather to honour 90 shortlisted finalist companies, selected from among hundreds of entries, who are competing across 18 categories, making up what is the national showcase of Irish marketing achievement. The award winners will be announced on the night by RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson.


Speaking at the announcement of Fiona Dawson as the 2017 Marketing Champion award recipient, Marketing Institute chief executive Tom Trainor said: “This special award is designed to highlight the exceptional performance of a business leader who is a champion of professional marketing. Fiona is a fantastic ambassador for our profession on a global stage. Fiona’s incredible career trajectory with Mars is a great example for all Irish Marketing professionals in demonstrating what can be achieved.” 


Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales said: “At Mars, we are bound by five principles of quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, and freedom — established by the Mars family in 1947. I have been incredibly lucky to have had such a long and varied career within Mars, and am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the fantastic team who work with me.”


View All Ireland Marketing Awards Shortlist at



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The Re-Awakening of a Whiskey Icon: The Rise of Jameson in Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Thursday 4 May 2017
Updated: Thursday 4 May 2017

At our latest Marketing Breakfast on 26th April, Barry Fitzpatrick from Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard took us through the re-awakening of the Jameson brand in Ireland. He discussed how, over the past 5 years, he and his team have turned around brand performance by breaking category norms, re-positioned the brand, broken down barriers and recruited a wave of new consumers to an Irish Whiskey icon and the wider whiskey category.

To begin this disruptive journey, Barry’s team had to go back to the fundamentals: What are the objectives? Who is the Target? What is the compelling proposition? But first, let’s have a look at the challenges they had to overcome.

Although Irish whiskey has been growing worldwide, it only accounts for 7% of global whiskey sales. At home in Ireland, whiskey brands have to face a number of challenges too. One of them is baggage. Whiskey is seen as an old man drink, a symbol of old, rural Ireland. 

The team at Jameson isolated 3 main barriers causing volume and value decline:

  • whiskey is seen as a drink for old people
  • it is too much of a “serious” drink
  • it is perceived to have a harsh taste 

So how did the team at Jameson go about breaking down category barriers?
They started with the audience and decided to go after the 25-34 year-old men segment. From there, they came up with a new brand vision: “To become the mixed drink of choice in the active social need state”.

To achieve this vision, Jameson created a new signature serve, Jameson Ginger & Lime, and recruited key influencers for each phase of the journey, starting with bar tenders all the way to consumers. The Jameson Ginger & Lime campaign had to be present at every touch point with consistency, including bartender training, consumer sampling, POS, media etc.

The new brand vision was brought to life with The Jameson Experience, tying the brand to food, music and film to attract the target segment and shake off the “serious” image of whiskey. Rather than just sticking a sponsorship on events, the team wanted the consumer to really “feel” The Jameson Experience.  They came up with a set of Jameson Experience “ingredients” that had to characterise each event, including “social”, “unpretentious” and “inclusive”. A great example of this is the Jameson Film Club, a truly unique experience aimed at a tightly segmented audience.

And finally, the company needed to build advocacy from consumers. This was achieved in two steps:

  • Seeding & co-creating sharable, engaging and relevant storytelling
  • Listening, learning and rewarding advocates

The campaign was a resounding success with, among other results, 30k new 25-34 year old consumers recruited to the brand, brand advocacy up 54% and volume and value sales both delivering double digit growth. 


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Meet Ava, Ireland's First Facebook Messenger Chat Bot

Posted By Connector, Thursday 27 April 2017

Connector Chat Bot Ava
Have you met Connector’s newest team member and very own marketing innovation expert, Ava?

Have you met Ava? Dublin-based innovation studio, Connector just introduced their newest team member and very own marketing innovation expert, Ava. The Facebook Messenger chat bot launched on 23rd April and is the very first innovation of its kind to be developed and rolled out from Ireland.
How people are connecting with businesses through technology is constantly evolving. SMS, messaging, chat, and email, are once again prevalent consumer experiences. With 1.9 million Facebook Messenger users and 1.7 million WhatsApp users in Ireland, these two platforms have a higher percentage of users than any other messenger network in the country.
Launching their latest innovation, CEO of Connector, Connor Lynch today said: “I am delighted to introduce our fellow innovators and marketers to Ava - a fast and personal way to connect people to the resources and expertise that they need, whenever and wherever they need it.
“People love to communicate with one another using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Despite the development of more sophisticated tools, we seem to be satisfied with the logic, scale and immediacy of instant messaging.” said Connor Lynch. “We have passed through an era of apps and playful user interfaces, and have come right back around to the simpler and more direct user experience of chat.
“By employing a chat-first strategy, any organisation can drive sales, provide efficient customer service, enhance their brand experience and encourage loyalty from their customers.” continued Connor Lynch “With a mix of AI and human service, a smart organisation can enrich interactions with their audiences, so that they feel both familiar and welcome, while also delivering a great deal of value.”
Messaging statistics:

  • Ireland has 1.9 million Facebook Messenger users and 1.7 million WhatsApp users
  • 52 per cent of people prefer texting customer support over any other method of communication;
  • 100 per cent of smartphone users aged 18-29 use a text messaging function on their phones at least once a week;
  • The rate of opened and read SMS text messages is high at 98 per cent;
  • On average, it only takes 90 seconds for people to reply to a text message compared to 90 minutes for an email;
  • 97 per cent of smartphone owners report using their mobile device for text messaging.

To meet Ava, simply message her on the Connector Facebook page:


Connector is an award winning open innovation studio. They leverage a fearless approach to creativity, a culture of learning and a fast moving tech startup environment to design strategy, build digital products, engage influencers, and produce ‘real world’ experiences.
Some of Connector’s ideas build brand, grow market share and increase revenue, while others become business drivers within their own eco-system.
Connector clients include: Huawei, Sony, Just Eat, Benecol, Bord Bia, Allianz, RTÉ, amongst others.
For more information about Connector visit

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A Day in the Life of... Colin Culliton, CEO at TPI Group

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 26 April 2017
Updated: Friday 21 April 2017

Colin Culliton

The Marketing Institute: What does a CEO at TPI do?

Colin Culliton: A good CEO should be focused on the overall strategy and direction of the business. The day-to-day running of TPI is handled by senior executives within each business function. I oversee and support these efforts, push hard to hit targets and work to ensure a collaborative culture is developed and maintained by the team. A CEO must have a laser sharp vision of the future direction of the company and be able to communicate the roadmap that will help the entire team navigate towards their goals and achieve company objectives.


MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

C.C: I started at the very bottom. I worked in a gaudy van selling Branded Tax Disk Holders to Motor Dealers around the country. In the 80’s, in the middle of a deep recession, car sales were low, so this was a hard sell! But I happened to do pretty well. I had studied Marketing in college and I really wanted to do something better that combined that interest with my commercial strengths. Two sales jobs later, in better businesses and with a bit of experience under my belt, I found myself at the tender age of 25, as the Owner Manager of a small printing start-up. My first job, while pretty crap, gave me ambition to do better, and to be better. With TPI, I had the opportunity to sell marketing solutions to a vast range of clients, it was perfect for me. I wouldn’t change anything of my humble beginnings. Hunger is the best sauce.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

C.C: We operate in a very fast moving environment. Customer requirements and needs are evolving all the time and we have to keep up with that, to keep relevant. The lines are blurring and we have to constantly change to offer a deeper, more dynamic marketing solutions menu. This business has seen dramatic change over the last 10 years. My biggest challenge has been to guide the team in these new directions, to change behaviours, to evolve the culture and maintain some of the values that have made The TPI Group a great company to do business with, and to work in. Change is hard, it’s unsettling, some days I think the only people who like change are babies with dirty nappies!


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

C.C: At the risk of using a cliché, communication is vital. We have 136 people over 6 companies in our Group. Under pressure, they look to me for leadership and guidance. Energy and passion flow from the top down. I want everyone in this business to feel passionate about what we do and to live that through all customer interactions. Teams work hard when they are fighting for a cause they believe in. The key skills I’ve had to develop are leadership, communication and delegation. This last one has been most difficult, but if you want a business to thrive, there are times when you have to simply let go.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

C.C: I wake at 6.30am. I row. I shower. I shave. My working day starts off at about 7.30am when I check my emails as I eat Breakfast. Anything urgent is handled there and then, but mostly the stuff outstanding can wait until I’m in the office. The six MD’s are well able to handle most challenges. I have a 45-minute drive in from Enniskerry to Fonthill, which is a good time for Thinking. I normally get to the office by 8.30am and try to avoid any meetings until 10.00am. The first hour and a half is mainly reading and writing emails. Then a series of review meetings would normally kick-off with my managers. I try to have at least one outside or off-site meeting a day, sometimes a catch-up with a vital client, sometimes a NBD pitch, sometimes a visit to our off-site company Pluto, our experiential Business in Clonskeagh. At about 1pm I like to have my lunch break alone, at my desk or in a nearby pub, as it is a good time for me to shut up and re-group for the PM.  On a good day, I get to walk the offices and factory floor of Font House early PM. More often than not walk-ins and unplanned stuff has me running a little tight for time. I always try to finish the last couple of hours at my desk normally reading and writing emails. I head for home at around 6.30pm and get home in time for dinner with my wife and kids just after 7pm – this is my favourite time of day. I used to do a little work after dinner, but I decided I was unproductive when working too much, so I try to keep my mobile and laptop off in the evening time. I recommend everyone try this.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

C.C: I get a kick out of variety. I love being involved in so many different aspects of Marketing. We do consumer experiential campaigns, large scale event management, customer experience design, graphic design, print and even branded merchandise. Having different companies deliver solutions in different areas means you are involved in some of the most creative campaigns for some inspirational brands. When you have passionate customers and passionate, driven teams, you can’t help but get the buzz from it. 


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

C.C: All things going well, I will do another 5 years at the helm here. Then I will step aside and let a younger person drive The TPI Group. I will never retire, it seems to be deadly for many busy people. I have a lot left to give and I’d love to share what I’ve learned with other up and coming businesses. I like people and I like business, so I could see myself trying my hand at executive coaching, speaking, teaching or maybe even starting another business, just to test myself! I’m not destined for, nor do I desire a quiet life. But that said, they say if you want to make God laugh make a plan.


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

C.C: I love sport and I like passionate leaders. So, the likes of Brian Cody, Joe Schmidt and Jurgan Klopp are guys I see as authentic leaders that I admire. In business, Willie Walsh, of International Airlines Group, is an Irish guy who has faced adversity and still excelled over many years, in a very tough industry with some fierce competition. Whenever I feel sorry for myself I thank God I am not a Paddy working in Britain who runs three Airlines, all whom have to compete with Michael O’Leary and Ryanair!


You can read all the A Day in the Life features here.

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Vizeum Connection Points: April Industry Updates

Posted By Vizeum, Tuesday 25 April 2017

Vizeum Industry Updates


Sky is expanding the inventory and platforms available for programmatic buying as it launches its second testing phase in the UK.



Advertisers start to pull spend from Google due to ads appearing beside inappropriate content.



Apple has launched their new “Apple Clips” feature which allows users to customize photos and videos before uploading them to social media accounts.



YouTube has blocked advertising on all video content with under 10,000 views in a bid to increase brand safety.



The 2016 Census figures have been released and can be found here.



JCDecaux launches two new Metropole sites- Donnybrook and Charlemont.



Twitter will begin running pre-roll ads on its video streaming service Periscope in a bid to boost ad revenue.



Facebook has introduced a new product focused ad format to allow retailers to showcase their products and increase online sales.


Vizeum's promise is to drive business value through media for our clients. Established in 2004, Vizeum is structured to take full advantage of the opportunities brought about by the digitization of media. The company manages its client business via a partner structure. This ensures that every client has senior advisors managing their business. These senior points of contact develop integrated strategies across the entire bought, owned and earned media ecosystem. We then have the specialist skills in house to deliver that strategy in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Vizeum sponsors The Marketing Institute's Marketing Breakfast series.

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