Warn­ing hard Brexit may mean hard times for Ir­ish mar­keters

Irish Independent - Business Week - - TECHNOLOGY -

AS Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Theresa May en­ters the fi­nal days of sell­ing the EU exit treaty to MPs, how do Ir­ish ad­ver­tis­ing and PR agen­cies see cur­rent prospects? While most Ir­ish ex­porters have done their home­work on the likely ef­fects of a hard Brexit on their busi­ness, what have lo­cal ad agen­cies done to eval­u­ate the im­pact a no-deal could have on their for­tunes?

As­sum­ing that UK com­pa­nies suf­fer a fall-off in sales in Ire­land due to the ar­rival of EU im­port du­ties on their goods, would a cut­back in ad­ver­tis­ing and PR spend in Ire­land fol­low?

Core boss Alan Cox says a hard Brexit will spell big trou­ble for mar­ket­ing bud­gets in Ire­land. It will spark a high level of uncer­tainty and a lot of mar­keters will sim­ply press the stop but­ton.

Cox says mar­ket­ing tends to re­act rather than pre-empt trad­ing con­di­tions.

How­ever, once prob­lem is­sues arise, mar­keters re­spond quickly.

Most clients as­sume a soft Brexit and have been cau­tious with their mar­ket­ing plans. As agen­cies pre­pare client com­mu­ni­ca­tions for 2019, Core ex­ec­u­tives haven’t been asked to de­velop likely re­sponses to a hard or soft Brexit.

None­the­less, clients are con­cerned about the sup­ply chains across Ire­land, the UK and the EU as they are com­plex and have been built over a long pe­riod. Cox says any in­ter­fer­ence with these sup­ply chains may cause ma­jor headaches for mar­keters, par­tic­u­larly gro­cery brands.

Pub­lic Re­la­tions In­sti­tute CEO Dr Martina Byrne says PR agen­cies are no dif­fer­ent to other Ir­ish busi­nesses in be­ing un­sure about what might hap­pen – an uncer­tainty which could see a domino ef­fect.

Byrne is hope­ful that Ire­land’s geo­graph­i­cal close­ness to the UK and the EU, our ex­pe­ri­ence in work­ing across mar­kets, our coun­try’s ed­u­cated and English-speak­ing work­force and our euro cur­rency will be to PR’s ad­van­tage – even if the UK leaves the EU with­out a deal.

Byrne in­sists UK brand own­ers sell­ing into the Repub­lic will work harder to se­cure their Ir­ish mar­ket share, re­gard­less of cus­toms or bor­der re­stric­tions.

⬤ Hats off to St Vin­cent de Paul (SVP) and its agency, In the Com­pany of Huskies, for the ‘Save some­one from a life of poverty’ Christ­mas ad cam­paign. Fronted by RTE’s Ryan Tubridy, the two 30-sec­ond ads deal with a com­plex and emo­tional is­sue with­out be­ing maudlin. The ads show how poverty dark­ens young peo­ple’s lives and points to the way dona­tions help lighten wor­ries.

In one TV ad, view­ers see an exam hall full of stu­dents, but with one empty desk. The stu­dent’s mother had her work hours cut. The boy had to miss an im­por­tant exam to keep food on the ta­ble. The exam has be­gun and there’s lit­tle hope of him mak­ing it. In an emo­tional turn, the door opens, the stu­dent ar­rives and can sit the test.

⬤ Is there no end to Gary Brown’s tal­ents? Not only was the JWT Folk ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor a handy foot­baller in his day, he later took di­rect mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tions to new heights. Now Brown’s de­but play, ‘Back Live’, is to get a two-week run at Con­nolly’s Sheds pub in Clon­tarf in Jan­uary. Star­ring Gary Cooke of ‘Apres Match’ fame, the Vik­ing The­atre pro­duc­tion is a tale of ban­ter and shows how sit­u­a­tions can get out of hand.

⬤ With just 18 shop­ping days to Christ­mas, Core re­ports on this year’s Santa wish-list. Bikes get pride of place, fol­lowed by Lego. iPhones/iPads, LOL Sur­prise Dolls and PlayS­ta­tion com­plete the top five. Sadly, gad­gets nudge out hope of a trend to­wards train sets, a gift so beau­ti­fully eu­lo­gised by Peter Caf­frey in Cather­ine Don­nelly’s peren­nial Barry’s Tea ra­dio ad.

⬤ And fi­nally... Changes at AIB see group mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Tom Kin­sella head up the bank’s Homes Now pro­gramme. Brian Keat­ing re­mains Kin­sella’s right-hand man, lead­ing what AIB calls strat­egy, in­no­va­tion and trans­for­ma­tion – which ba­si­cally in­volves moves on the home res­i­den­tial front. Group brands di­rec­tor Mark Doyle is now AIB’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer.

Michael Cullen is ed­i­tor of Mar­ket­ing. ie;[email protected]­ket­ing.ie

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