Ker­ry­gold clear win­ner by tak­ing brand world­wide

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

nua (for­merly the Ir­ish Dairy Board), an Ir­ish com­pany con­trolled by Ir­ish co-ops which in turn are con­trolled by Ir­ish farm­ers. You really don’t get more Ir­ish than this.

In fact, the suc­cess of the Ker­ry­gold brand was not lost on the mar­ket­ing team be­hind Bailey’s sev­eral years later when they sought to cre­ate some­thing uniquely Ir­ish them­selves, a point that was raised by for­mer South African ad­man David Gluck­man in his re­cent book, That Sh*t Will Never Sell. Gluck­man was one of two Lon­don-based ad­men who came up with the orig­i­nal idea for Bailey’s back in 1973.

But 10 years ear­lier, he was also on the cre­ative team in the Lon­don of­fice of Ben­ton & Bowles, a New York-head­quar­tered ad agency, which ac­tu­ally came up with the orig­i­nal Ker­ry­gold brand iden­tity in­clud­ing its iconic gold foil wrap­ping and the images of lush Kerry pas­tures and happy cows graz­ing. Need­less to say, this is an in­con­ve­nient truth that is of­ten air­brushed out of much of the sub­se­quent folk­lore that en­veloped the brand af­ter it be­came an in­ter­na­tional suc­cess.

Ben­ton & Bowles got in on the act af­ter An Bord Bainne, which was then headed up by a bright, young and am­bi­tious Tony O’reilly, came up with the idea to try and flog Ir­ish but­ter over­seas. It was a tall or­der as but­ter is es­sen­tially a com­mod­ity prod­uct. But with the right mar­ket­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing and brand­ing, nearly every­thing is pos­si­ble and af­ter 60 agen­cies in Ire­land and the UK pitched for the busi­ness, Ben­ton & Bowles came up trumps and set about launch­ing it on the UK mar­ket in 1962.

The rest is his­tory. While the brand was launched on in­ter­na­tional mar­kets in 1964, it never made it on to Ir­ish dairy cab­i­nets un­til 1973, 11 years af­ter it started to take off in places like the UK, Malta, Cyprus, the Ca­nary Is­lands and the Caribbean. The same year it was launched in most other Euro­pean coun­tries in­clud­ing Ger­many where it is now the lead­ing brand of but­ter among Ger­mans.

Now, some 55 years later, Or­nua’s plans for the brand would ap­pear to know no bounds. Last year, sales of Ker­ry­gold-branded prod­ucts broke the €900m bar­rier and are well on their way to hit­ting €1bn by the end of the decade. Apart from its range of spread­able, firm and flavoured but­ters, there’s Ker­ry­gold yo­ghurt, which was launched in Ger­many last year, a Ker­ry­gold cheese and, yes, some­what iron­i­cally, a Ker­ry­gold cream liqueur which, ap­par­ently, is big in the USA.

And who knows, maybe some­where out­side Chan­tilly, the equine cap­i­tal of France, there’s a young gin­ger haired lad, sport­ing a Tipp jersey, munch­ing hap­pily on a petit pain with jam­bon de Bay­onne and a thick slather­ing of Ker­ry­gold?

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