JOHN MCGEE

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

IT is with great sad­ness and a pro­found sense of fail­ure that I will go to my grave with­out ever know­ing the an­swer to the ques­tion, “who’s tak­ing the horse to France?” The an­swer has taxed the brains of a na­tion since it was first posed in an ad for Ker­ry­gold but­ter back in the 1990s. Mem­o­rable for its im­plicit but sub­tle sex­ual in­nu­endo — think of Glen­roe’s Mi­ley Byrne flirt­ing with Flaubert’s Madame Bo­vary — the TV ad is right up there with the likes of the fa­mous ad for Guin­ness, The Is­land and its four words of di­a­logue (Tá siad ag teacht!) and Harp ad from the 1970s, fea­tur­ing Sally O’brien and the way she might look at you.

Like the Voyn­ich man­u­script, who killed JFK and why Stone­henge was cre­ated, how­ever, we may never know the real an­swer to this equine who­dun­nit. Or even if the horse ever made it to the Ir­ish Fer­ries ter­mi­nal in Ross­lare.

Ker­ry­gold has come a long way since leav­ing view­ers won­der­ing about a pos­si­ble Gal­lic fling all those years ago. In­deed, such is the brand’s ap­peal world­wide that Kourt­ney Kardashian, who­ever she is, uses it in some of the recipes she has on her Kourt life­style app. Even the for­mer Sports Il­lus­trated model Chrissy Teigen, who­ever she is, has raved about it on Snapchat. And in the best tra­di­tion of adding inches to their al­ready ex­pand­ing waist­lines, some Amer­i­cans have even taken to adding it to their morn­ing cof­fee. As for the Ger­mans, well, they sim­ply can’t get enough of the stuff.

Two weeks ago, the brand launched its first Ir­ish ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign in over 10 years. Like any good brand cam­paign, it pos­si­bly needed to re­mind con­sumers that the na­tion’s favourite but­ter is still a force to be reck­oned with. But it can also be seen as a timely re­minder that noth­ing stands still in the mar­ket­ing world and, in re­sponse to stiff com­pe­ti­tion in the dairy cab­i­nets of Ir­ish su­per­mar­kets, it needed to flex its con­sid­er­able mar­ket­ing mus­cle in the face of the many par­venu pri­vate-la­bel but­ters that have tried to em­u­late it with vary­ing de­grees of both suc­cess and fail­ure.

It’s fair to say Ker­ry­gold is, un­ques­tion­ably, the great­est indige­nous brand­ing suc­cess story to have emerged from these shores ever. Yes, of course there’s Bailey’s Ir­ish Cream but, with­out split­ting too many hairs, Bailey’s is owned by the multi­na­tional drinks com­pany Di­a­geo. Ker­ry­gold, on the other hand, is owned by Or- Con­tact John Mcgee at john@ad­world.ie

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