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The 2016 Sponsorship Review - Part 1

Posted By Livewire, Wednesday 4 January 2017
Updated: Tuesday 3 January 2017

In early 2016 Livewire held the view that the year ahead would be an exceptionally busy year for sponsors, driven by a “summer of sport”, due to Ireland’s involvement in Euro 2016, the Olympic Games, as well as annual stalwarts including the GAA Championships. Add to this an ever growing music and cultural festival scene, the landscape was likely to be both cluttered yet potentially exciting. In January we pointed to three trends to watch for the year ahead:

  • Superior activation strategies
  • Immersive media sponsorships
  • Sponsors looking for more from rights holders 

For this report Livewire spoke to a select number of sponsors, rights holders and media owners to ask their views on the sponsorship campaigns which stood in 2016. We also asked them what is on their sponsorship Christmas wish list for 2017 and what they would like to see sponsors and rights holders do more of next year. The feedback is included in the report. 

So, how did our predictions for key trends in 2016 fare? The answer lies in three separate reports in which we have analysed the above trends. Below is the first of these reports.

Click here for part 2


In this year of all years we have reviewed four activations which delivered in 2016. 

Unsurprisingly as is so often found in sponsorship, sport flew the flag in terms of standout sponsor activations. Disappointingly, activations in other areas failed to hit the same heights. 

To illustrate this point, below are two charts highlighting the sponsorships shortlisted for the 2017 European Sponsorship Association Excellence Awards and the winners of the 2016 Irish Sponsorship Awards. As can be seen below, sport represents more than 60% of both awards programmes. 




2016 started with a bang in the shape of the multiple award winning launch of Lidl’s sponsorship of the LGFA and the Ladies National Football League, which kicked off with the provocative “Ladyball” concept.

This campaign stood out for several reasons. Firstly, it was evident that Lidl worked hand in hand with the LGFA to design a powerful 360 activation for their sponsorship. 

Secondly Lidl’s brave decision to create an entire campaign - bolstered by a reported adspend of €1.6 million on media channels (Source: Nielsen Ad Dynamix) - around a platform which traditionally would be viewed as having low reach, was lauded by many marketers that we spoke to as a brave, but clever move. This is illustrated by the sponsorship being shortlisted in the European Sponsorship Association Excellence Awards. 

While interest levels among the public and the industry in women’s sport in Ireland has steadily grown in the past five years – with Liberty Insurance’s work on Camogie, the phenomenon that is Katie Taylor, and the advances made in the game of Women’s rugby, due much of the credit - it is not untoward to say that spend, reach and indeed national interest in women’s sport, never mind the LGFA, was at a relatively low level prior to the #SeriousSupport campaign.

From a commercial perspective, a heavy above the line campaign was buoyed with in-store competitions in support of local post primary schools and Ladies Gaelic Football clubs which crucially brought the sponsorship into the community. This for possibly the first time, gave Lidl a crucial platform for differentiation against its key competitor Aldi, as well as a channel to convey its local credentials.

Attendance at the Ladies Football Championship Final increased year on year to 34,445 but perhaps the most significant increase was in TV viewership, with a 100% increase YoY, from 104,000 to 207,790 (adults aged 15+) with the share of audience viewing increasing from 11% in 2015 to 27% for the 2016 final.

ladie's gaa viewership


ladies gaa attendance

For comparison purposes the SSE FA Women’s Cup is a high-profile competition which receives national coverage in the UK, but still falls short of the attendance for the Ladies Football Championship final:

  • 2016 Ladies Football Championship Final: 34,445
  •  2016 Ladies FA Cup Final: 32,912

Lidl’s spend of €1.6m (Source: Nielsen Ad Dynamix) in media, represents only a proportion of the budget allocated to activating its sponsorship – with experiential, production, PR and rights holder fees all in addition to the €1.6m adspend, it is highly likely that this is the largest amount of money ever invested in support of women’s sport in Ireland. 

Lidl has been operating in the Irish market since 2000 and for the past 16 years most of its campaigns have focussed on tactical/brand messaging - specifically price and awareness building.  This successful campaign was their first foray into a large scale national sponsorship – something which it’s direct competitor has since responded to as Aldi launched “Play Rugby” in conjunction with the IRFU in September 2016.  

Livewire maintain that adding value is integral to the success of any sponsorship – something which Lidl has undoubtedly achieved with Ladies GAA. 

Lidl is ahead of the curve in how it has embraced and leveraged the potential of a female sport. And while we expect that other brands will wake up to the power of women’s sport, they may still trail in Lidl’s wake in 2017. It’s an exciting time for this sector with Lidl, Aldi, SuperValu and Centra actively involved in sponsorship it promises to be one to watch for 2017.



Bord Gáis operates in a highly competitive sector, one which is driven by churn. Therefore, creating loyalty among its customer base is a key objective of most sponsorships that an energy brand engages in. 

bord gais student theatre

Internationally there is no better example of this than the British Gas sponsorship of SwimBritian. This award winning sponsorship helped move British Gas from 3rd to 1st choice energy provider in the UK, enabling the brand acquire 500,000 extra customers in 2009 alone. Between 2009 and 2015, when the partnership came to its conclusion, British Gas helped over 100,000 children learn to swim, provided 1.5 million free swims and supported elite athletes on the world stage. Crucially research conducted by British Gas showed that fans and participants of swimming were much more likely to consider British Gas. Bord Gáis decision to develop a platform supporting student theatre, having been title sponsors of the Irish Book Awards since 2010 is a logical progression of its sponsorship of the Arts in Ireland, and is designed to drive affinity. It also serves to elevate the naming rights deal struck with the Bord Gáis Theatre.

Families with children are likely to be an important market for Bord Gáis, so a sponsorship crafted around children is a sensible way to reach key decision makers in the home. 

The third annual Bord Gáis Student Theatre Awards took place in May 2016. This platform has evolved into the biggest school’s participation programme in Ireland and firmly established Bord Gáis as a proud supporter of the Arts.

Bord Gáis has elevated what could be viewed as a niche platform into a truly engaging programme with national reach, generating 2,888 entries from 1,500 schools across the country in 2016. Bord Gáis cleverly crafted its message to appeal to a younger audience. The activation of the sponsorship existed primarily on social, with fun video content. Collaborating with influencers to both promote (bloggers itscherrysue, Darragh Doyle, snapchat star James Patrice) and judge (Actress & writer Amy Huberman, Strictly Come Dancing star Tristan MacManus) the competition generated credible content that Bord Gáis seeded out across social channels.

This sponsorship, which was judged the winner of the “Best Arts & Cultural Sponsorship” at the 2016 Irish Sponsorship Awards, and has been shortlisted in the “Arts & Culture Sponsorship Awards” in the 2017 ESA Excellence Awards has experienced huge growth year on year. 

Reaching out to family is a great driver of passion points – an objective which we believe is integral to sponsorship success for Bord Gáis.

Unlike other international markets, in Ireland sponsorship of arts events is traditionally challenging, with few truly national programmes available for sponsorship here.

We need to see brands and rights holders work together to create engaging sponsorships which consumer facing brands can make their own, echoing what BMW have created with The Tate Modern in the UK.  Arts is one of the few ‘clutter free’ sectors that has the potential to allow brands reach out to families. 



While the excitement around Euro 2016 provided brands with an opportunity to engage football fans, only tournament sponsors are entitled to associate with the tournament itself. This created a challenge for official FAI sponsors looking to leverage their association with the team playing in the competition. SPAR was one such example – official partners of the FAI but not the competition. 

spar team gary breen

The money invested by sponsors for the right to associate with either the Irish team or Euro 2016 serves to create an opportunity to engage football fans. The trick has always been maximising this opportunity with an activation strategy which connects, something SPAR did masterfully in Summer 2016. Their promotion to send “A Team of Gary Breens” to France to support the boys in green, along with the former Irish international himself, met their primary objective of driving footfall to stores. 

Livewire research showed that post-tournament, 24% of people aware of the sponsorship were more likely to shop at the convenience retailer as a result of their sponsorship of the team. The activation ran in-store, alongside a broadcast partnership with Off The Ball on Newstalk. The campaign was activated both on-air and online through display, native content and a number of giveaways (incl. a signed team jersey), culminating in an outside broadcast event in J.T. Pim’s in Dublin city centre

SPAR was keen to engage a core audience of sports fans from around the country, while granting the opportunity to communicate key brand messages on a national scale. SPAR wanted to communicate with fans of Irish soccer and Off The Ball was unequivocally the ideal platform to do this.

Increasing footfall is a primary objective for retailers for ad campaign/promotions. However, in a category which is traditionally one of the highest adspend sectors is incredibly difficult to achieve. 

SPAR overcame the hurdle of not being in a position to promote its association at Euro 2016 with a strong activation which cut through the clutter around the tournament, engaged with listeners and delivered their objective of increasing footfall in stores. 



The end of the year brought the launch of a partnership that may have been a surprise to some.

This was one of the biggest, and hotly contested sponsorship deals brokered in 2016. We see Littlewoods’ investment being €2.5 to €3 million over the next three years, with the deal running through to 2019.

littlewoods gaa sponsorship

Livewire’s research for this report showed that advertisers believe that the GAA arena is quite cluttered, with many brands in similar categories fighting to create resonance. Without fail, all marketers we spoke to referenced AIB as clear winners in this space.

Littlewoods has become sponsor of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship and the Camogie National League, as well as Go Games (a small sided hurling and football programme). While this sponsorship is in its infancy, there are insights to be taken from the brand’s approach thus far.

The initial coverage of the launch has already highlighted that, by collaborating with a retailer operating primarily in fashion, the GAA is already being mentioned in new spaces, with coverage on sites including and reaching a community of fashion and style enthusiasts. The savvy timing of a pre-Christmas launch makes ultimate sense for Littlewoods as a retailer competing with bricks and mortar department stores.

Sports sponsorships involving fashion retailers in this market are relatively rare. Elverys are a manufacturer of sports clothing rather than a retailer, Dublin GAA and Arnotts had a rich 18-year partnership with the sponsorship driving home the Arnotts objective of driving their identity as a pillar of Dublin. 

Livewire expects Littlewoods to use this sponsorship to create an emotive presence on the ground, building an identity difficult to create without a physical touchpoint. 

Livewire will be watching this sponsorship in earnest in 2017. The emergence of a sponsor from a new category is likely to create new activation strategies, and may give rise to other fashion brands entering into the sponsorship market. 



At the start of 2016 Livewire felt that a select few Irish sponsors were already mastering activation, and seeing the benefits of same. Unfortunately, the scale and quality of such activations by these leading brands in sport sponsorship remains the exception rather than the rule. Certainly, activations in areas including music and the arts haven’t been as remarkable in their progress - notable exceptions in the music world includes Heineken and Electric Ireland. However, it feels as though the adage of “if it ain’t broke…” is alive and well when it comes to sponsorship of music properties including the ever popular festival formats. Activations that were seen as cutting edge a few years ago are still touring the festival scene. Thus, we implore sponsors to break new ground in 2017. In particular, there is a major opportunity for sponsors in music to add value to festival fans in a new way, for example by taking advantage of tech and social innovations. Cashless festivals anyone!? 

As our report has highlighted, VR (virtual reality) was a key feature of a number of the year’s standout activation strategies. VR has real potential to enhance sponsor activation and we expect to see a major expansion in the use of VR and AI by sponsors in 2017.  

This article was originally published on


 Livewire are sponsorship specialists that guide brands and rights holders through every stage of the sponsorship process. Livewire understands the commercial value of sponsorship and how to measure it, with precision. The company works with sponsors to enhance brand equity, establish consumer engagement and deliver bottom line impact. Livewire also work with rights holders to grow sponsorship revenue through brand-centric solutions. As part of Core Media Group, Livewire has unsurpassed market access and world-class resources.



Tags:  sponsorship 

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The blind spot for marketers that could be risking 40 percent of their revenue

Posted By Liam Halpin, LinkedIn, Tuesday 20 December 2016
Updated: Friday 16 December 2016

Liam Halpin LinkedIn

Since joining LinkedIn as Head Of LinkedIn Sales Solutions In EMEA back in July this year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a large number of our clients ranging from multinationals employing thousands of customer-facing staff to SMBs using social media to effectively grow their business locally.

Throughout all these conversations one worrying theme has emerged; one that shapes the relationship we at LinkedIn have with our customers, and how we advise them to think about their own. 

It turns out that most business leaders vastly overestimate how well connected their teams are with their client organisations. Not just by a little, but by a lot.

At LinkedIn we have access to unique data on the relationships between professionals and organisations. One of the areas we’re increasingly supporting clients in is helping them identify the most relevant companies for them to do business with, and map out the appropriate decision makers within those organisations. We can also show companies how well they’re faring compared to their peer set. 

It turns out business leaders have an incredibly optimistic view of the world, and their teams are far less connected than they think. This perception gap should worry CEOs and marketers. How well connected you are with your clients will have a direct impact on your ability to hit your revenue targets.



A frequently-cited stat from the CEB is that there are an average of 5.4 people involved in today’s B2B purchase decisions. Driven by a decentralisation of organisational structures, these people are likely to be distributed across different divisions, functional areas and even geographies. They will have different agendas, motivations, and preconceptions. Failing to build strong ties to one of these people could see important deals collapse.

What’s more, it’s well understood now that the job for life has gone. Our data shows that the typical CMO or CTO is likely to be in their role for 29 months, and one in five decision-makers is likely to leave their position every 12 months. Companies who might have once relied on the relationship between their top salesperson and their top client have quickly found that strategy is no longer viable. If your main contact is one of those on their way out of the door, you could find yourself rapidly writing down your next forecast. 

And that’s just the churn on the client side. 

Sales professionals are even more likely to change jobs compared to the average professional, with one in four likely to move onto new pastures within a year. Added together, these factors could be putting up to 40 per cent of a company’s revenue at risk. With more churn than ever among sales and client teams, it’s time for companies to adopt a new way of thinking about their client relationships.



Despite the name, multi-threading has nothing to do with needlework. Instead, this is the strategy we at LinkedIn take to all our client relationships and a strategy we advise all our clients to adopt. It’s a simple principle based on establishing multiple touch points between your organisation and that of your client.

So how can sales teams go from point-to-point to more matrixed relationships? 

The cause that I’m most passionate about in my role at LinkedIn is the modernisation of selling. At its heart is using social media to take the heavy-lifting out of managing these newly complex relationships to increase productivity, be it LinkedIn or whichever social platform your clients happen to be engaged in professionally. Social media is the best way to quickly and easily see clues that provide opportunities to engage and foster relationships, from a profile update indicating a promotion, to someone sharing an industry news story that you have a useful perspective on. It also makes it far easier to spot mutual connections and leverage your network for relevant introductions.



Multithreaded relationships built on social media aren’t just a way to defend against risk. It can also be a hugely powerful tool for business growth: every time a contact moves to a new role within a new company, you gain a potential new client. 

For a company with 50 clients and five key relationships within each of those organisations, this could result in up to another 50 new prospect targets each year, just by mapping and establishing the right relationships.   

I’m not advocating that marketers become any less optimistic - the world has never been more in need of optimism - but I do encourage you to think about what would happen if your most successful salesperson left your organisation, or your most vocal sponsor at your biggest client moved roles. If either – or both – prospects fills you with unease, then it’s time to get serious about multi-threading.


This article was originally posted on


Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 450 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. The company has a diversified business model with revenue coming from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, and Premium Subscriptions products. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe.


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Mobile Consumer Survey 2016: The Irish Cut

Posted By Deloitte, Wednesday 14 December 2016
Updated: Tuesday 13 December 2016

There's no place like phone

Deloitte conducts a Global Mobile Consumer Survey each year. 2016 is the first year that Deloitte surveyed a representative sample of the Irish market. The aim was to gain insight into the trends and behaviours which arise from the adoption of mobile technology. The research carried out provides insight to businesses on the trends which are shaping opportunities in their markets. We are also able to compare the rate of adoption of mobile technology and services in the Irish market to show the potential for disruption. 

deloitte mobile consumer survey


  • By mid-2017, consumers intend to purchase smartphones (50%), tablets (23%), laptops (20%), smart TVs (16%), wireless speakers (12%) and connected surveillance / security systems (12%).

  • 86 per cent of adults have access to smartphones and are using these as their primary mobile device.

  • 72 per cent of 18-24 year olds reach for their phones in the middle of the night.

  • 61 per cent of all those surveyed reach for their mobile phones within 15 minutes of waking.

  • Respondents view mobile payments as not secure enough (26%) and question the benefits of using smartphones for in-store payments (25%).



Mobile is being used to discover and access an ever increasing number of goods and services in our work (email and IM) and private lives (eCommerce, social and media consumption).

The consumer clearly appreciates the benefits of digital and mobile in their daily lives. As a business with an online presence, be it a website or mobile App, it is helpful to understand the opportunities and how well equipped we are to emerge into and serve new markets. This is essential for all businesses with an online presence and not just to device manufacturers, operators and service providers.

Businesses who have identified key trends and have defined a digital strategy and have invested in the necessary capabilities to engage with other businesses and consumers in the mobile economy are best placed for future growth. However, this requires a shift in mindset to be truly mobile, delivering on your promise to customers in terms of the customer experience. It also means addressing consumer trust concerns around privacy and security.

Finally appropriate, contextual engagement and real-time or near real-time insight is needed to accelerate your Mobile Business Strategy. 

mobile consumer survey infographic


Go to to download full report




At Deloitte, we make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our profession, and in the wider society by delivering the solutions and insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. As one of the largest global professional services and consulting networks, with over 220,000 professionals in more than 150 countries, we bring world-class capabilities and high-quality services to our clients. In Ireland, Deloitte has over 2,000 people providing audit, tax, consulting, and corporate finance services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Our people have the leadership capabilities, experience, and insight to collaborate with clients so they can move forward with confidence.


Tags:  mobile 

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Vizeum Connection Points

Posted By Vizeum, Wednesday 7 December 2016

Vizeum brings us fresh updates from the media industry

industry updates


This year’s toyshow on RTÉ1 had another solid performance, with 1.148milion adults tuning in. Hks/with delivered a massive 43 TVRs, whilst even younger audiences showed incredible ratings . Adults 1634 delivered 28 TVRs.


Just four years after launch, Twitter has announced it is closing down its video sharing service, Vine.


Amazon Go might offer the future of convenience shopping, with no queuing and no checkouts. Using digital scanning, customers are charged as they leave the store. It is still in beta in Seattle.


Emmerdale and Corrie are returning to TV3, following the station’s acquirement of UTV Ireland. Plans for UTV will be announced at today’s TV3 group media briefing.


Anton Savage has announced his departure from Today FM over disagreements with management.


The Journal sale’s team will take over the selling of Distilled Media (Daft, Donedeal). Business as usual.


To give more clarity and confidence to the industry, Facebook have announced they are changing, reviewing and updating a lot of their metrics. This includes, organic reach, video completions and App referrals.


Amnet can now deliver native ads programmatically. The ads scale across publishers and platforms in real time.



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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European Consumer Trends 2017

Posted By Mintel, Wednesday 7 December 2016
Updated: Wednesday 30 November 2016

mintel consumer trends 2017

At our recent Breakfast Briefing, Richard Cope from Mintel introduced 7 key trends that will shape marketing in 2017.

1. The Sweet Hereafter

After Finland, Norway, Hungary and France, the UK is the latest European country to declare a sugar tax, signifying a growing challenge for European brands: namely how to deliver the future of sweetness going forward.

2. Airpocalypse Now

Air pollution is harming us right now and governments, brands and consumers are ready to respond. As postParis legislation kicks in and eco lobbyists push for further action, consumers will wise up to danger and start investing more in the kind of pollution protection products we see in China (including masks, air purifiers, beauty treatments and plants), whilst brands endeavour to be part of the solution, not the problem.

3. Ascending Africa

As one political trading union weakens, another rises. Africa’s rising GDP and improving infrastructure are making it an increasingly credible and powerful trading partner, dealing in everything from ancient grains and gourmet cocoa to fashion, films and comic books. 

4. Cultural Social Responsibility

From a brand point of view, these initiatives offer an opportunity to tap into current feelings of nationalism in a positive and non-divisive way.

5. Right Here, Right Now

Aided in part by the rise in popularity of geolocation technology, we expect brands increasingly to help consumers decide what to buy, watch, do or eat based upon pending time frame from the next 30 minutes to the next 48 hours. 

6. Seamless Spending

Growing consumer confidence in contactless payment systems will lead to a greater number of businesses embracing digital payments and more impulse purchases thanks to the financial fluidity they offer. 

7. Talking Shop

As the software that powers platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook
Messenger improves and becomes more nuanced, these forms of communication will mainstream in the customer service sector and we’ll see people increasingly speak to brands as easily and informally as they would with their friends. 

Here is the full presentation:




Mintel is the world's leading market intelligence agency. It monitors product launches and innovations, runs large-scale consumer research projects, tracks behavioural trends, measures market sizes and provides bespoke field research and consulting services. Mintel can take you further, showing you what will drive future growth, where the opportunities and challenges will lie, who's innovating and where the next big idea will come from. Mintel Ireland services include: Mintel Reports, Mintel GNPD, Mintel Consulting


Tags:  2017  trends 

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