The Irish Times - Business - - CAVEAT -

The de­cline in ster­ling means that the spend­ing power of south­ern­ers in the North has been greatly en­hanced. This is the in­verse of the po­si­tion two years ago, when a stronger ster­ling meant peo­ple from the North would come south in search of value.

There was no short­age of moan­ing north of the Border two years ago, when Dublin Air­port was tar­get­ing trav­ellers from the other side of the Border to drive down the M1 and fly from Dublin for cheaper.

South­ern air­ports were be­ing “ag­gres­sive”, or so the talk went up north, in be­tween snif­fles.

The cur­rency shoe is on the other foot now, and Belfast In­ter­na­tional Air­port is glee­fully kick­ing with it as hard as it can.

Belfast has launched the next phase of a mar­ket­ing cam­paign to tempt south­ern fly­ers, and reck­ons it will get 600,000 this year.

The air­port’s blog says it is launch­ing “hard-hit­ting ad­ver­tise­ments di­rected at per­suad­ing pas­sen­gers away from Dublin Air­port” in the six coun­ties just south of the Border – Louth, Ca­van, Mon­aghan, Leitrim, Done­gal and Sligo. It will also send a fleet of ad bikes across the border.

The blog also says its “Forget Dublin” cam­paign will “tackle the long de­lays be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in Dublin with long queues for US flight pre-clear­ance”.

Belfast In­ter­na­tional Air­port man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Gra­ham Ked­die said: “Yes, we’re hav­ing a go at the main op­po­si­tion, just as they are vis­i­ble in North­ern Ire­land try­ing to ‘poach’ busi­ness here. We make no apolo­gies for fight­ing back and of­fer­ing peo­ple from the South a real al­ter­na­tive. That’s busi­ness!”

It is in­deed. At least he has dried his eyes.

The ugly row over Ge­orge Hook’s even uglier com­ments about rape on New­stalk demon­strates the dan­gers for busi­nesses when spon­sor­ships go bad.

Dalata Ho­tel Group’s Clay­ton brand was the show’s main spon­sor, and took the un­der­stand­able but clearly com­mer­cially driven de­ci­sion to ex­tri­cate it­self from the ar­range­ment and avoid the ire of the an­gry masses on so­cial me­dia.

But you have to ask: what on earth was a mid-range, fam­ily-and-busi­ness ori­ented ho­tel com­pany do­ing spon­sor­ing a show hosted by such a no­to­ri­ously con­tro­ver­sial broad­caster in the first place?

Did Dalata ex­pect he would tell knock-knock jokes?

In brand­ing terms, Hook and Clay­ton went to­gether like chalk and cheese.

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