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Virtual Reality - A Game Changer?

Posted By Carat, Tuesday 15 March 2016

In 2015, Carat organised what no doubt will be the first of many Carat Digital Day’s. On this day, we took time out of our schedules to learn about the new products and technologies coming down the line from different corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. However, none captured my attention as much as the Oculus Rift demo where we got to experience Virtual Reality first hand. This was a strange experience to say the least, and what surprised me the most about it was how completely immersive and tangible I found it. It was strange to have your perception of reality be so drastically altered, and I guess this got me thinking about the applications of this technology.

Straight off the bat, it would seem that the most apparent application of this technology lies in gaming, in particular in Multi-User Domains (MUDs) or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG), such as Second Life, Ultima Online, EverQuest and the largest of them all World of Warcraft (WOW). These worlds are ‘experience worlds’ that are highly interactive, collaborative, and commercial and in many cases mimic real worlds, both financially and socially. 

Over the years more people are spending more and more time and money in these virtual worlds. Couple his with the growing popularity of MUD’s with the increasing adoption of Virtual Reality headsets and these arenas seem to represent a new frontier for brands and advertising to play in, with many early adopter brands already paving the way.  

“Standard” doesn’t make the cut in Virtual Worlds: 

Looking at the examples of brands dabbling in this arena, it’s clear that the standard advertising doesn’t make the cut. Instead, brands are opting to develop more of an experiential presence in these worlds. For instance, in 2015 alone, Second Life hosted 74 stores of real world brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Toyota, and Adidas.

Here, similar to their real world counterparts, Second Life avatars can try on clothes, purchase goods and explore the stores. Interestingly, consumers are prepared to spend additional money on more expensive branded virtual goods as they perceive the real world value of the brand.

Having real world brands in these virtual worlds appears to be a mutually beneficial exchange between brands and users. Not only does this result in a more authentic experience for the user, but it offers brands a unique branding platform, as well as an opportunity to demo and test new products before they are launched in the real world. 


In 2006, Starwood Hotels showcased an excellent example of this. They constructed a prototype of the proposed new hotel in Second Life and invited Second Life players to visit this virtual hotel. This activity gathered feedback for the proposed hotel in the real world. The comments altered design features in the real world hotel which was launched in 2008. The result of this project not only gave the brand excellent feedback, but it raised the profile of the brand in the real world, as Starwood Hotels was the first hospitality firm to open in Second Life. 

Furthermore, companies such as IBM and Text 100, who regularly look for innovative ways to conduct business, bought a headquarters in Second Life. In less than 10 weeks, and with a budget of $10,000, Text 100 constructed a virtual base for IBM. Immediately, IBM began holding global meetings there, all members of staff attending as their virtual selves. Fascinatingly, when the employees were asked for their feedback on the virtual experience, they reported that they found the meetings ‘more lively, more interesting, more fun, more human and more personal’. These revelations are suggestive of the ease at which virtual worlds blend with real worlds and the power user-generated, immersive environments such as Second Life possess for brands and corporations alike – a power which remains relatively untapped. 


What these examples tell us, is that, virtual reality gives brands access to a new frontier where the boundaries between the two worlds are rapidly dissolving. It seems Virtual Reality enables marketers to tell stories and engage with consumers in ways that were not previously technologically feasible.

Furthermore, virtual worlds when coupled with VR headsets, not only amplifies the gaming experience but it will improve the level of data that can be obtained, making the exchange between the consumers and brand ever more valuable. In theory, Advertisers will be able to know what consumers are looking at, when they are looking at them and for how long. The consumer data gathered on the back end of VR platforms is, essentially, everything advertisers wish they could gather in the real world. 

Ultimately, the best applications of MUD’s and VR headsets are probably still to be uncovered, but it’s clear to see the ample opportunities this technology is already delivering for brands. It represents a totally new frontier for gaming, storytelling and communication which is different to anything that has ever gone before it. Considering this, not only will VR be an interesting space to watch, but it will equally be an interesting space to play in.

This survey 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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Featured Member: Siobhan Lavery, MD, ICAN

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 15 March 2016
Updated: Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Marketing Institute recognises excellence at every level, and so we have introduced our Featured Member Series, featuring some of our most esteemed colleagues.



At aged 35, Siobhan Lavery became the youngest female to be appointed MD of an advertising agency in the Irish market. Her career in ICAN began as an Account Executive in 2000. She became Account Manager a year later and after a year out to travel the world, resumed work as an Account Director.  She was keen to look further afield and set about targeting the UK market.  The UK gave her real insight into how to do and sell digital well and reinforced her opinion that digital was here to stay. At 30 she became Business Development Director in charge of meeting agency targets and growing the business. At 33 she became Deputy Managing director and two years later was appointed Managing Director.

She has witnessed the emergence of digital media, the dot come bubble bursting, the market highs of the Celtic Tiger, the market lows that followed and the unprecedented growth of digital - a media that she has an unwavering passion for. During this time, she has been a key player in the Irish digital industry, relentlessly driving the digital agenda whilst always being at the heart of ICAN’s continued commercial and business growth.  She continues to empower many of Ireland’s leading brands, strengthening their presence and growing their business in what has become a digital world.  In late December 2014, she opened the doors to the next chapter in ICAN’s growth; an NI office nestled in the Cathedral Quarter in the heart of Belfast. 

ICAN is Ireland’s leading, digital first advertising agency. Their impressive client list boasts major brand names including permanent tsb, Ryanair,, Tesco, RTE, C&C and Linwoods.

Siobhan holds a Bachelors Degree from UCD and a Masters Degree in International Marketing and German from DIT.  


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The Marketing Institute & DIT Launch Scholarship Awards For MSc Digital Marketing & Analytics Programme

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Friday 11 March 2016

The Marketing Institute of Ireland and Dublin Institute of Technology are delighted to announce details of scholarships for their joint masters offering in digital marketing.

The scholarship awards the successful candidates with €4,000 towards the fees of the course. Candidates for the scholarships should hold a 2.1 honours degree in a business discipline with 2 years’ experience in a marketing role, or a 2.1 honours degree in a non-business discipline with 4 years’ experience in a marketing role. Other applicants will be considered based on their experience, attitude and aptitude.

Candidates should submit a detailed CV, relevant documentation related to experience and qualifications, and a 400-word letter of motivation. Deadline for applications is 31st May 2016. The award of scholarships will be made to the most suitable candidates as selected by a panel of representatives from DIT and the MII on the basis of submitted documentation. 


An open evening for interested candidates will be held in DIT Aungier Street at 7pm on Tuesday 15th March. This event will introduce the programme content and the teaching team, and give potential students the chance to meet graduates of the course. 


Dr. Etain Kidney, Programme Manager

T: 01-402-7151 




The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people, in operation since 1962. With a mission to strengthen the profession of marketing in Ireland, the Institute aims to deliver in three key areas: (1) enhancing professional effectiveness through the provision of insights and expert content; (2) building the community of marketers through access to networks; and (3) providing professional career development to members through training and education. Content, Community and Career are the three themes that underpin all Institute activities.


Located in the heart of Ireland’s capital city, Dublin Institute of Technology provides an innovative, responsive and caring learning environment for a diverse range and level of programmes to students of all ages and backgrounds. There are 20,000 students registered in DIT, and over 2000 members of staff.  DIT has been an integral part of the Irish Higher Education system for more than a century. In that time it has continued to adapt and expand its provision to reflect a changing society and the wider economic environment. DIT is now one of Ireland’s largest and most innovative university-level institutions.


The MSc Digital Marketing and Analytics is designed for marketing professionals who are seeking to build their digital marketing knowledge and skills and to further develop their ability to design, implement and measure the effectiveness of marketing strategies. This programme is delivered by leading marketing academics and digital marketing practitioners, working closely together to ensure an effective blend of theory and practice. A combination of interactive lectures, webinars and skills-based workshops will expose participants to proven strategic frameworks and readily applicable toolkits.


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How To Cut Through The Content Overload To Tell A Great Story - Learnings From DMX Dublin 2016

Posted By 256 Media, Friday 11 March 2016

We are 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than we are to purposely click a display ad.

Let that sink in for a second. That’s a damning stat for digital advertising—but it gets worse.

Click through rates are down to a staggeringly low 0.2% versus 2.4% in 2002. Our attention span has collapsed too. In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds. In 2015, it’s 8 seconds. That’s a whole second less than a goldfish. Glub.

With display advertising, TV ads, and our collective attention span in freefall, is digital doomed? Not so. Content and smarts are the solution to a dogged question. But how can marketers establish their brand and stand out?

Hundreds of marketers took to the Aviva for marketing summit DMX Dublin to find answers. Two solutions very quickly became clear.


“Content is bigger than marketing,” said Melissa Romo, Global Content Director at Sage. Flash back five years and Melissa’s title wouldn’t have existed. Sage’s move towards becoming a publishing powerhouse and newsroom, however, means Melissa’s role is vital to external and internal communications.

Sage is primarily an accounting software and Melissa is on a mission to make accounting evocative, to tap into the emotions beyond the software. With attention spans so low and the volume of content so high, emotional storytelling is the outlier.

The Significant Objects Theory is a study around the idea of objectively increasing price with the power of narrative. Researchers bought €128 of junk products, hired writers to craft a backstory for the items, and put them up for sale on auction websites.

The items had a 2800% profit margin, making over €4000 on their limited run. The items were still rubbish, but they were rubbish with a careful story. The most powerful marketing has always been in stories and in using them to ascribe value.

Content, Melissa said, needs to do four things:

1. Be authentic
2. Be differential
3. Be insightful
4. Be sought after


While certain brands have mastered storytelling (think John Lewis and Dove), many are struggling to see the emotion behind the content—to construct a real, tangible story.

And that’s why video has seen such a rise to the fore. Video production is up, and has swamped social. But what makes video tick? An evocative story absolutely, but feeling isn’t limited to the bittersweet nostalgia that has dominated advertising for the last year.

Humour is a win too. About eighteen months ago, Nokia was acquired by Microsoft. The iPhone 6 and the Nokia Lumia were scheduled to release at roughly the same time. Spec wise, the Lumia didn’t stand a chance against the Apple powerhouse. Its one KSP was Cortana, its voice command centre that was far superior to the then much-maligned Siri.

Microsoft’s Tejal Patel led the charge—but how could she drive success on a reasonably small budget when the iPhone was the clear standout?

With a witty video and integrated distribution.

Patel and her team joined forces with a freelancer to create a Siri support group.


With a solid idea and high production values, the distribution strategy was the next pillar of success, forking into five channels:

1. Owned media
2. Social media
3. PR
4. Bought media e.g. display
5. Influencer and advocate support

Patel also leveraged the strength of their digital channels, with the trifecta of mobile (ads in games and apps), search, and fixed web. A key to victory was Twitter ‘competitive conquesting’ and the Lumia dominating the iPhone 6 chat on the social platform.

The video notched up 6.4 million completed views, 13 million media impressions, 102 million video impressions, and 14,000 shares. A clear win for the Lumia.

Unruly’s Nicki Spooner compounded the conversation around video with her Future Video Manifesto, a seven step success to doing video well:

- Establish clarity of purpose/goals
- Be authentic
- Make an emotional connection
- Keep it personal
- Optimise for mobile
- Get social
- Test, learn, and be prepared to be agile

For example, a five second video made on a shoestring for a German radio station emphasised smart and agile, and notched up 18 million views:


The video was released the day after Germany beat Brazil. Simple and agile, it worked because great storytelling is timeless. Story should be at the heart of the campaign—but innovation is important too.


John Lewis exemplify storytelling and innovation. Monty the Penguin is at the intersection of both. Almost everyone is familiar with the story of Monty, a teddy bear penguin, who comes to life.


The team at Techdept were given the task of taking the campaign from TV to in-store. In eight weeks, they had to build a machine to rig and animate toys so kids could bring their favourite teddy to life in Monty’s Magical Toy Machine.


The Techdept team constructed a process of innovation to meet the needs of the project:

1. Have a clear vision
2. Break down walls
3. Success needs failure – test, fail, fail better
4. Expect a bumpy ride
5. Open your minBe prepared to look broader than you’ve done before

In the four weeks the machine was in store in London, 2600 toys were brought to life.

The Apprentice runner-up Vana Koutsomitis echoed the sentiment around innovation. A serial entrepreneur, one of Koutsomitis’ current projects is VinobyVana, an aromatised wine aimed at millennial women.

The idea of bringing aromatised, low-calorie wine to the UK is innovative in itself. But further again, Koutsomitis wants to revolutionise the image of wine. It’s mass appeal, but mass appeal built on the back of a burgeoning social campaign. The bottles even bear the hashtag. Koutsomitis intends to tap into the social mainframe with a product that’s moved away from the stuffy, traditional image associated with wine.

The message from DMX Dublin 2016 is clear: while content is in its prime, we’re in a saturated market. There’s a lot of crappy content out there, and evocative storytelling, smart video marketing, and innovation are needed to elevate a brand in the face of social saturation, decreased attention spans, and the constant pursuit of more.

As Pete Blackshaw said, “There’s nothing more motivating than the deafening sound of silence.” As marketers, it’s our job to own that silence, to fill it with interesting, innovative content. It’s not about you, the marketer, anymore. It’s about the consumer and telling a story that feels like it’s for them.

Easier said than done? Possibly. But possible? Absolutely.


This post was written by 256 Media, the creative content specialists, and originally published on


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70% of Irish Marketers Plan To Increase Marketing Budget Given To Social Media - Marketing Institute and Edelman Social Survey Results

Posted By the Marketing Institute & Edelman, Tuesday 8 March 2016

Facebook leads spend and attention but Snapchat and Instagram on the rise


New research released today by Edelman and the Marketing Institute of Ireland has shown that 70% of Irish marketers plan to increase the percentage of their marketing budget given to social media in 2016.  51% of those surveyed highlighted Facebook as the single most important social platform for their business (up from 36% in 2015) with Linkedin and Twitter neck and neck on 22% and 21% respectively. The research was unveiled ahead of DMX Dublin, Ireland’s largest digital marketing conference which takes place at the Aviva Stadium on 9th March. 


Twitter remains the platform most likely to see an increase in activity, whilst Snapchat and Instagram see the biggest percentage change from 2015 results. Given Facebook’s already dominant position, it continues to perform exceptionally well with 60% saying they’ll increase their activity in 2016. 


The Irish marketing community was also very supportive of the new advertising regulations around the use of social media influencers. 75% of research participants appearing to endorse a recent announcement by the Advertising Standards Authority’s intent to crackdown on influencers who do not declare paid posts. 37% of marketers surveyed said that they had used a digital influencer in their brand activity, with 24% of this group paying them for their involvement.  Use of social influencers in marketing campaigns is set to increase in 2016, with 52% of survey participants indicating that they would increase their use of prominent bloggers, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter users. 54% of respondents believe that online influencers can play a credible or very credible role but 25% are worried about the ethics of using online influencers to promote a brand or product. 


11% of respondents had experienced a social media crisis in the last year, with 20% feeling unprepared to deal with it.  Despite the increasing amount of online issues, 82% of Irish marketers surveyed had not undertaken any social media crisis simulation in the last year and 40% don’t have any social media guidelines for employees.


The importance of video was again underlined by the fact that 97% of Irish marketing professionals intend to increase its use in their marketing plans in 2016. Real time marketing also fairs well with 60% currently undertaking some form of real-time social media activities. 


When it comes to use of paid ad support of social media, 70% of those surveyed expect to increase their spend in 2016 with Facebook (91% up from 70% in 2015) leading the way in terms of paid social regularly used, followed by Twitter (44% up from 42% in 2015), LinkedIn (28% down from 34% in 2015) and Instagram (16%).


It appears Measurement has improved in the last year with 60% of Irish marketing professionals reporting that they are able to measure ROI of social media, up from 48% in 2015. However 57% haven’t set KPI’s for 2016 (up from 45% in 2015). When looking at effectiveness Facebook (60% up from 56% in 2015) and Twitter (60% down from 67% in 2015) perform relatively well.

Speaking ahead of the conference Darragh Rea, Director at Edelman, said “We’re delighted to continue our long term partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland both with our sponsorship of DMX and also the launch of our second annual Social Media Survey. This research sheds yet more light on a rapidly evolving integrated marketing landscape, and reflects some of the key trends we’ve seen over the past year. At a macro level the shift in budgets from traditional to online, shows no signs of abating, with marketing professionals continuing to explore new channels and invest more in content that travels across platforms. This is complimented by the continued rise of the social media influencer and the launch of new Live Streaming products and algorithms which reflect the rapid growth of video and real time marketing. It’s encouraging to see an improvement in measuring ROI since last year although the results show that there is still some work to do in the area of crisis preparedness and simulation.  

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, the professional body which owns and operates DMX, said: “This is the second year of our social media survey with Edelman and again it has raised some important questions for Irish marketers. The Marketing Institute would encourage all Irish marketers to continually assess and improve their marketing activities and social media and its efficacy is growing ever more important. This research in addition to the sharing, learning and networking at DMX today will give Irish marketers some invaluable food for though and insights to improve their marketing.” 

This research was carried out online amongst 100 Irish marketing professionals throughout January and February of 2016. Full details and infographics are available on request or via or @edelmanIreland 

For more information contact Darragh Rea, Edelman, or 086 8981062 @darraghjrea 

Edelman @ #DMXDublin

This year Edelman will debut the Edelman #Hotdesk which will allow users both at the conference and at home to interact in real time with numerous features. Check our for more details. In addition to the #Hotdesk, Edelman Senior Planner, Phillip Trippenbach will give a presentation on the evolving nature of communications marketing, identifying 4 key trends and introducing Edelman’s approach.


Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organisations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. We have deep expertise in consumer trends, research, analytics and insights, corporate reputation, health, technology, crisis, energy, and government affairs. Edelman has been awarded thirteen Cannes Lions including the Grand Prix for PR in 2014. Edelman has been voted Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year at the 2015 Sabre Awards, Global Agency of the Year and Best Agency to work for 2013 by the Holmes Report and International Agency of the Year 2013 by the PRCA. 

Edelman is the largest agency across the UK and Ireland with over 600 employees and offices in London, Dublin and Brighton. In Ireland Edelman works with clients including Musgrave, Ryanair, Visa, LinkedIn, Mars, National Lottery, Danone and Roche. 

Please visit for further information. 


The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people, in operation since 1962. With a mission to strengthen the profession of marketing in Ireland, the Institute aims to deliver in three key areas: (1) enhancing professional effectiveness through the provision of insights and expert content; (2) building the community of marketers through access to networks; and (3) providing professional career development to members through training and education. Content, Community and Career are the three themes that underpin all Institute activities.


DMX Dublin is Ireland’s largest digital marketing event, owned and operated by the Marketing Institute of Ireland. DMX Dublin features 40 world-leading speakers in multiple presentation streams, and 800 marketing professionals attendees in a full day of sharing, learning and networking. It is Ireland’s must-attend digital marketing event of the year, bringing together top international and Irish digital marketing leaders, marketers from multinationals and startups, advertisers, creative agencies, digital agencies, online publishers and vendors. The 2016 Event takes place on 9th March 2016 in the Aviva Stadium.


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