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Irish Marketers Bring Back The Best From Cannes

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 19 July 2017


2017 was Ireland’s biggest year to date at the Cannes Lions festival of creativity with 81 delegates and 14 Young Lions in attendance.

In partnership with IAPI and PRII, we’ve asked some of these attendees to look back at the best campaigns they saw in Cannes and share their most exciting experiences at our Cannes-Alysis event this Monday.

It was a full house at the National Concert Hall where we watched presentations from Patrick McConvillle (ICAN), Emer Lawn (Mediaworks), Peter O’Dwyer & Adrian Fitz-Simon (Havas), Mark Brennan (AIB), Emma Williams (Edelman), Enda Kelly & Karl Waters (Target McConnells).

View photo gallery


Here are some of the Campaigns that inspired them most.



State Street Global Advisors, McCann New York



Samsung, Leo Burnett Chicago



Cheetos, Goodby Silverstein & Partners



P&G, Saatchi & Saatchi



And the number one piece of advice the speakers brought back from the festival? Take risks. Do not be afraid of being afraid. That's how the best work is created.

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A Day in the Life of... Sorcha Coleman, Head of Talent at Alternatives

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 11 July 2017
Updated: Friday 7 July 2017

sorcha coleman alternativesThe Marketing Institute: What does a Head of Talent do?

Sorcha Coleman: In Alternatives, as Head of Talent, my purpose is to ensure myself and my team are providing the best talent to the market and offering relevant and compelling career opportunities to our tribe of marketing mavens and customer evangelists. I also focus on being consistent in how we learn and develop our understanding of the key requirements that are relevant to customer centric marketing demands.


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

S.C: I’m always very appreciative of the Masters in Marketing Practice that I secured in Smurfit Business School which provided a huge springboard to my marketing career. A couple of years spent leading the Marketing remit for a global medical company provided me with a great grounding in marketing skills. However, I am true believer in consistent upskilling and education in order to adapt to ever-changing skills in demand.


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

S.C: There can be a misperception about recruitment being simply about searching through a database and coming across a couple of candidates suitable for a position. If only it was that straightforward. In order to maintain such a high level of quality in our service delivery and investment in building our relationships with our Marketing tribe, there can never be enough time in the day.


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

S.C: The role of marketing continues to be incredibly complex in this digitally-enhanced, data-driven world. To be effective, you need to have tenacity and persistence with the ambition to provide the best service to your market, whilst delivering talent that is relevant to specific technical and cultural skills. Alternatives is a unique boutique agency that is very different to most within the industry. We are expected to absolutely understand the complexities within the evolved world of marketing, so a passion and interest to always learn and grow is essential. I am also a strong believer in showing integrity within every step of the recruitment process.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

S.C: The joy about my job is that no one day is ever the same. Meetings with our marketing tribe, with my inspiring team and managing the recruitment process usually makes up the bulk of my day. My 45min walk in and out of work helps me balance it all out!


MII: What do you love most about your role?

S.C: Without doubt, I get such a buzz when I meet with exceptional marketers and then find them a new position where I just know, they will excel with their career. It is an honour to have the opportunity to work with such incredible marketing talent every day where I am in the unique position of getting significantly valuable insights into incredible marketing teams across every sector. This allows me to be able educate and inform people of what is going on outside of their area of expertise.


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

S.C: The wonderful advantage with working in the Alternatives Group is that you are always allowed the opportunity to diversify. As Head of Talent, along with the actual recruitment, I do have a very strong general management remit, managing a super team, developing new business, growing our presence within specialist fields and driving commercial growth. There are always new opportunities on the horizon which is probably why I’m here so long.


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

S.C: My Dad is semi-retired now, but has always been self-employed and I have most certainly inherited my ambition and commercial drive from him. He is always my first call when it comes to any career advice I need. I also consider myself exceptionally lucky to have worked for our Founder, Sandra Lawler for the past nine years. Sandra has built a business and brand that is held with such admiration in the market. Like most small businesses,

Alternatives experienced tough times during the recession and it is only for Sandra’s immense business acumen that we survived that rough patch and have now built our little empire back up with such integrity and innovative ambition. With Charley Stoney as our MD, I am lucky to be surrounded by inspirational leadership. 

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Dynamic shifts in data roles – the rise of the ‘data hybrid’

Posted By Adrian Clarke, Alternatives, Tuesday 4 July 2017

Adrian Clarke AlternativesAdrian Clarke, Analytics Talent Manager at Alternatives, discusses how business & analytics skills are merging to create high opportunity data roles across digital & AI.


Everyone has accepted that data skills are in vogue.  What’s more is how dynamic that demand is particularly in the Irish jobs market. Organisations have grown up and aren’t just talking about ‘all of that rich data’ but seek to see change with data at the core. This shift is driving great talent to recognise new unprecedented niches & the opportunity to be truly specialist. In marketing terms – traditional hybrid roles have demanded multiple skill sets- business, marketing and technical— all rolled into one person; a no brainer! In data terms, however – hybrid has never been so specific.


Web Analytics 3.0


With the growth of the Google Cloud, Adobe Marketing Cloud & the Oracle, Azure, Amazon and IBM cloud offerings – web analytics, in particular, has seen unprecedented hybridisation. A digital team for example, may require a digital data analyst or scientist to not only analyse the outputs of data from online and integrated sources but to also come armed with deep knowledge of specific platforms. Delving deeper –consider a data analyst on a digital team utilising google tag manager ‘GTM’ & google search console data.

If the individual is expected to guide the team on sales funnel insights from digital assets – without knowledge of specific nuances in the roll out of GTM – one could see how this may not lead to the most accurate purview!

The opportunity for this hybrid digital marketer and data analyst is seen in how American Airlines have ramped up their use of offline customer data with real-time web data. AA found that owing to the pace of change of assets on its website; often critical customer data had been overlooked. Using a third party data monetisation partner and a combination of advanced tagging and data analysis an ROI of over 400% was achieved. Suddenly data hybrids look far more interesting! More on this case study here.


Enter the CAIO


Google CEO, Sundar Pachai has long touted that artificial intelligence ‘AI’ technologies will completely re-engineer everything that Google currently offers. In fact, at the organisation’s annual developer’s conference taking place this week – a host of voice & image recognition advancements were launched. Just last week on the back of the flurry of discussion at the Irish Future Scope conference – Ireland was celebrated as a high potential location for global AI developments.

At this level, we’re not only seeing hybridisation in the use of data in our smartphones as personal assistants but also in how we are enabling third parties to use our data. This leads to a challenge for data leaders.  Forbes reported recently on the ongoing debate at top table when it comes to responsibility for critical artificial intelligence technologies i.e.  should the CIO or CDO hold the keys? Some of those reading this may feel more comfortable in interpreting above as machine learning – we digress! There’s a case for AI falling under the remit of the CDO given the obvious processing of data and for the CIO given the storage and management of customer permissions associated with it. As AI will inevitably involve the CDO, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be leading that shift however.  In some cases it will be the head of another department that asks for an AI solution, while in others the CIO may find an AI solution for the entire organisation.

This hybrid conundrum is perhaps best solved in bringing the best of a CDO, CIO and AI guru together – encompassing the CAIO or Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer; again – highly specificKristian Hammond of the Harvard Business Review argues against the hiring of a CIAO arguing that the “Chief of AI is no substitute for effective communication between the people in your organisation with technical chops and those with strategic savvy”.

Respected Chief Data Scientist Andrew Ng from Baidu (China’s global search engine giant) has long argued a case for the CAIO role for every organisation who has committed to the use of AI technologies.  With the evolution of IT and the internet, we saw the rise of CIOs to help companies organise their information – even in Ireland, this has taken some time! Andrew argues a case for the CAIO by saying that organisations need someone who can make sure that AI gets applied across silos – highlighting that even in organisations much smaller than the ‘Facebooks & Googles’ of this world that AI needs champions who understand data management & data governance as well as the rapid requirement to apply innovative new technologies. This is one hybrid – which is sure to be hotly debated in 2017.

In March, Alternatives documented the increase in interest amongst Irish organisations in using advanced and intelligent data technologies as organisations ramp up the industrialisation of their data. With data hybridisation clearly becoming a strong theme in terms of technology & leadership, perhaps it’s the case that consumers, data professionals and business leaders are becoming a little more aware and weary of the volumes of data available. One cannot deny however that as the world collectively becomes even more data-obsessed – the ability to bring more than just data skills, but also abstract and left of field knowledge into one’s role- the higher the opportunity that awaits.


If this article has struck a chord with you please reach out and contact me at or call +353 (1) 661 8889.

This article was originally published on


Adrian Clarke is Talent Manager for Data Analytics, Insights & CRM at Alternatives. 

Alternatives has pioneered flexible marketing talent solutions since our inception in 2000. Looking at business models from an alternative perspective has always been part of our ethos- hence our name. Today as leaders in the Irish market, we have built a successful specialist marketing, digital and customer centric talent solutions business.

And our track record speaks for itself. We work with Ireland Inc’s leading companies and have been recognised by a number of awards, including being selected as finalists for EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

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June 2017 Media and Marketing Review

Posted By Carat, Tuesday 4 July 2017

Here's a look back on the media and marketing news over the last month, brought to you by Carat.


Top 5 OOH advertisers in June: 

  • Diageo
  • Mars
  • Lidl
  • Vodafone
  • Warner Brothers


The Telecoms sector was very active on OOH in May, as it was the biggest spending category, covering cycles 10 and 11. The category gained a market share of 10.8%, a whopping 90% increase in spend when compared to last month. Vodafone and Sky featured on the top advertiser list in fourth and sixth place respectively.  Some of the campaigns to contribute to the Telecoms spend were; Three, who ran an extensive OOH campaign to aid the launch of their new app 3Plus, Samsung, who launched the highly anticipated Galaxy S8, and Vodafone, who ran a OOH promotion for Vodafone at Home.

Retail Outlets retained its position as the second highest spending category in May, with 10.5% of the market share. Campaigns from H&M, Lidl and Ikea all ran on OOH contributing to the spend. Lidl featured 3rd in the top advertisers for May. The #Lidltrolleycam OOH campaign displayed on large format billboards and bus formats, which helped bring the stars of the campaign front and centre. 

Beers & Ciders was the third biggest spending category in May, with 10.1% market share. Diageo and the C&C Group, both the first and seventh highest spending advertisers respectively, promoted a variety of their products. Diageo ran OOH campaigns for Budweiser, Guinness, Smirnoff and Smithwicks, while C&C group continued their Bulmers brand refresh along with promotional activity for their sponsorship of the Forbidden Fruit Festival. 

Mars Ireland was the second highest advertiser in cycles 10 and 11. Mars Ireland ran a variety of campaigns for their different brands. Pedigree Ireland ran their competition and event led ‘pawsitive living’ to coincide with their Dublin and Cork events. Skittles also ran a forecast based OOH campaign.





The campaign named ‘We’re Open’ ran in anticipation of Dublin’s LGBTQ Pride parade, which took place on Saturday June 24th.  Smirnoff is showing their support with their new colourful campaign. 

With a series of playful OOH adverts, planned by Carat with Source OOH and creative by 72andsunny, the campaign is displaying on Green Screen, Golden Square, 48 Sheet and T-Side for maximum coverage across the city.



Hop House 13 

Guinness Hop House 13 has launched new creative in its latest OOH campaign, featuring several well-known spots that stock the popular lager: John Kavanagh and Sam’s Barbers, both located in Dublin, and Brennan’s Criterion Bar in Bundoran. 

The Outdoor campaign is in conjunction with 20 second video adverts from each of these locations, as well as McCarthy’s in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, which show the publicans serving customers and emphasises the character of these locations, and Hop House 13. 

Carat and Source out of home planned the OOH element of this campaign, with creative by AMV BBDO.

 hop house 13



The Ireland Edition of The Times 

June 3rd saw the launch of the new, Ireland edition of The Times in print format. 

The Ireland edition of The Times was launched originally as a digital only format in September 2015, and offers a mix of Irish and international news, business, politics and sport as well as opinion and analysis. 

This print edition has replaced the international edition that was in the market, building on the success of the digital version. 

In addition to providing a unique perspective on Irish news, the Ireland edition of The Times ensures readers are always across the global news agenda due to the wealth of coverage generated by a team of more than 200 journalists in London and 36 correspondents across six continents, including contributions from international names such as Caitlin Moran, Mike Atherton, Giles Coren, Henry Winter, Daniel Finkelstein, Anthony Loyd and Matthew Parris. 



Media Central Wins the Tender to Supply Advertising Sales to Communicorp 

Media Central, the radio sales house has won the tender to supply and manage advertising sales to “Communicorp” the Denis O’Brien-owned radio group. 

Media Central, which is headed up by Gavin Deans was already the sales house for the Communicorp-owned radio stations 98FM, Spin 1038 and Spin SouthWest. It also sells advertising on behalf of independent stations Beat 102-103, iRadio and 4FM. 

In winning the tender to supply advertising sales, Media Central found itself up against CommunicorpOne, the in-house sales team that managed advertising sales for Today FM and Newstalk.  Around 20 staff working for CommunicorpOne have transferred to Media Central. The newly enlarged offering from Media Central will begin trading from August onwards.



Snap Map Comes to Snapchat 

Snapchat has released a new ‘Snap Map’ feature, which allows you to view Snaps of sporting events, celebrations and breaking news. By pinching on the camera screen, users can pull up a current real-time map of events in their area. 

The map also lets you and your friends follow one another, by sharing your location, similar to Apple’s Find Friends App on iOS, a feature which has raised fears around security for some users. Only the people you choose can see your location, as the Map feature is an opt-in service. 

The release of the update coincides with Snap’s acquisition of Zenly, a French start up that makes a social map so people can see where their friends are hanging out, for $200m. The move is a further indication of Snap’s move to diversify the business and the Snapchat application.




May TV Viewership 

May was a month of descending TV viewership with ratings down across all key demographics compared to the same period in 2016. Adults 25-44 saw the biggest decline coming in at -13% year on year, followed by Housekeepers with Kids (HW+CH ) at -12%, Adults 15-34 at -10% and broad Adults at -5%. 

This information is illustrated in the below graphic:



Ratings were down across the board for RTE in May. The young audiences again experienced the sharpest decline, in line with the industry trend. HW+CH and Adults also fell on last year’s figures, to a lesser extent than the younger audiences however. In terms of programming for the month, RTE dominated the top 20 with strong performances from the usual suspects; The Late Late Show, RTE News, and the Soaps, and the new EastEnders spin off Red Water. 

TV3 experienced a decrease in ratings on most audiences in April, with only broad Adults escaping relatively unchanged compared to last year. Housekeepers with Kids were impacted the most, seeing a -15% drop off, and the young audiences were down -5% (15-34) and -11% (25-44). 

The Champions League semi-finals were shown live on RTE and TV3 in May, and were high rating spots for the younger audiences. On top of this, in 2017 to date, the World Cup Qualifiers, the Sunday Game and the 6 Nations have been some of the highest rating spots for young audiences. Live sport tends to do quite well for the young audiences, particularly Ads 15-34 who are increasingly difficult to target through traditional TV. 

TG4 saw a rise in impacts for Housekeepers with Kids for the second month in a row, up 1%, however the other audiences slipped on last year. Again it was live sport that provided the highest rating spots on TG4, with the final games of the Pro 12. 

May was a poor month over on Sky Media where ratings dropped against all audiences. Adults 15-34 were the heaviest hit with a fall of -15%, followed by Housekeepers with Kids at -13% and Ads 25-44 at -11%. Broad Adults fell 9%. Modern Family, Geordie Shore and the new series Jamestown were the highest rating programmes in May. Continuing on with the live sport trend, Sky’s Premier League coverage was its best programming against the younger audiences, particularly Ads 15-34. With the Premier League season now over for the summer, it will be interesting to see if these young ratings fall even further. 

C4 bucked the industry trend this month with a slight increase in Ads 15-34, up 1% from 2016. The other key audiences continued the downward trend however, all seeing a dip compared to the same period last year. Housekeepers with Kids fell over 9%, while Adults and Adults 25-44 fell -5% and -9% respectively. First Dates, Gogglebox and The Island with Bear Grylls were the highest rating shows in May. C4 Ulster struggled with the young audiences this month. Ads 15-34 and Ads 25-44 dropped off around -10% each. Housekeepers with Kids were close behind with a -9% decrease, and Adults were the least impacted at -3%. 

Britain’s Got Talent rated well against all audiences on UTV, however the station still struggled across the board. Adults, Ads 15-34 and Ads 25-44 all saw double digit declines, while Housekeepers with Kids came in about -4% down on last year.


Universe Update June 2017 

In June, we saw the TV universes updated in line with the recent CSO release of 2016 Census data. As a result of this, RTE have also amended down their CPTs. The extension of the universes will provide a larger viewing population, and commercial ratings will tend to rise accordingly. This is an attempt to halt the declining TV ratings that we have witnessed this year. Over the coming months, we expect to see improvements in year on year rating figures, as the updated universes will rebalance TV viewership. 

From July, Nielsen TV Audience Measurement will include of viewing from both WebTV only households and WebTV only TV sets for the first time. The penetration of WebTV homes is still relatively low but with the launch of NowTv and IPTV from eir and Vodafone these alternative ways of watching Television are gaining traction.

This article was originally published on


Carat Ireland, part of the world's leading independent media planning & buying agency and the market-leader in digital and non-traditional media solutions. Owned by global media group Aegis Group plc, listed on the London stock exchange, the Carat network is more than 5,000 people in 70 countries worldwide. 

Today, advances in digital technology and changing consumer behaviour has created an era of unprecedented complexity and opportunity for clients. Media is now an ecosystem that includes bought, owned and earned communications. In this new era, Carat is leading and shaping the industry once again, using media in new ways to deliver business value to clients.

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Q&A with David Jago: How the Food Industry is Striving to Win Consumer Trust

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 27 June 2017

David Jago, Mintel, how the food industry is striving to win consumer trust

At our recent Breakfast Briefing with MINTELDavid Jago, world-class food and drink analyst, explored the issue of consumer trust in the food industry.

It is not just politics and big business which people have trust issues with: the level of consumer trust in the food industry has been shaken, according to new Mintel data. David's presentation explored the role of trust in the relationship between consumers and food and drink, and what brands can do to win it. Here are the presentation slides and our follow-up Q&A with David.


Click here to view presentation


The Marketing Institute: You mentioned Financial Transparency as a means of building consumer trust; How can brands do this effectively?

David Jago: In food and drink markets real financial transparency is still very rare! One notable example is the US wine company Alit, which lists the costs of raw materials, staff, packaging etc., as well as the declared gross profit per bottle. Alit sells direct (online) to consumers, “cutting out the middle man”, so part of the strategy is simply to demonstrate that wine pricing is not arbitrary. But it has discovered that this degree of financial transparency really appeals to Millennial consumers as part of the “story” behind the brand, as well as helping to justify the relatively premium prices it charges. It might not work for major players with multinational sourcing, production and marketing, but financial transparency is an element of the marketing mix that could work for smaller, independent producers.


MII: 40% of consumers value family and friends’ opinions over the expert. How is this impacting the experts and what should they be doing to tackle this?

D.J: When it comes to food and drink products, in particular, the “risk” of trying something new based on a friend’s opinion is relatively low – we’re generally talking about relatively low cost items, so that encourages a degree of experimentation. A potentially more dangerous area is that of healthy-eating and nutrition, where the views of qualified experts may be lost in the noise of bloggers and vloggers. Big brands and major retailers need to better position themselves as experts, working collectively and with consumers via social media, to ensure that the right information gets the high profile it needs, and to encouraging positive dialogue.


MII: How do you think Brexit will impact consumer trust in the food industry?

D.J: The immediate result of Brexit is uncertainty, whether we’re talking about consumers or industry, in the UK or Ireland, or indeed anywhere else. Younger consumers in any country are significantly more likely to trust EU regulations for food and drink safety standards, and fear rising food prices and poorer quality. Generally speaking, though, consumers have greater trust in food and drink produced in their own country, and we’re likely to see a lot more of that in the future. Companies will need to create more transparency around sourcing, making a virtue of sourcing from within their own country to support local or national interests, even though the key driver may in fact be cost.


MII: Ultra-Provenance is heavily influencing consumer choice and certainly trust in brands. But with consumer cynicism surrounding big brands, do you think consumers could become more cynical and see through this trend?

D.J: Consumers today have more information at their fingertips than ever before, while they’re in store or shopping online, and while they’re consuming the product, and social media means that “fake” stories will quickly be exposed. Ultra-provenance can only work when it is real and honest, and may be challenging for big brands, but anything that helps to “tell the story” can reassure consumers – bear in mind that ultra-provenance is often only an indicator of premium quality, and there are many other ways to communicate that.


MII: How has the rise in veganism and plant-based proteins affected the food industry?

D.J: As with any trend, there are winners and losers! We have seen a huge amount of product development in vegan and plant-based foods, often from small, entrepreneurial players who have grown fast based on Millennials’ adoption of the trend. We have also seen meat and dairy companies going vegan, notably in Germany. Traditional meat supplier Rügenwalder recognised an opportunity rather than a threat and has had success with a wide range of meat-free products; dairy companies Molkerei Söbbeke and Emmi have launched plant-based alternatives to yogurt. And of course Danone acquired plant-based foods specialist Whitewave.

It’s important to look at the number of consumers who are cutting back on meat or dairy consumption (a third or more of adults in some European markets), rather than the number of (dedicated) vegans and vegetarians. And consider the high impact among Millennials and the fact that their consumption behaviours may not change as they age, and may be reflected equally as strongly in their children. Then we’re talking about a long term shift in consumer behaviour, not just a fad.


MII: You mentioned accepting faults as an effective way to regain consumer trust, do you have any advice on how to go about admitting wrongs that may seem unforgivable?

D.J: Admit mistakes quickly, communicate openly, and create a positive story! An excellent example is Marks & Spencer, who in March this year apologised after a dairy supplier was found to be breaking animal welfare laws. Rather than dump the supplier M&S pledged to work with them “to help rectify issues and make them a more robust business.”

Tags:  consumer trust  food industry 

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