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 email@example.com