Brexit and 2019 chal­lenges ‘may be a god­send’ – GroupM boss

Irish Independent - Business Week - - APPOINTMENTS -

AS at­ten­tion fo­cuses on the year ahead, WPP’s me­dia agency um­brella GroupM – the hold­ing com­pany for Mind­share, Me­di­aCom and Wave­maker – pre­dicts the Ir­ish ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket will grow by less than 1pc in 2019 as the im­pact of Brexit threat­ens to have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the econ­omy by re­duc­ing con­sumer de­mand for prod­ucts and ser­vices.

GroupM Ire­land CEO Bill

Kin­lay says no one knows what the full ex­tent of Brexit will be, but the ef­fects look less than pos­i­tive and its po­ten­tial im­pact is at the fore­front of busi­ness think­ing. GroupM re­vised down its pre­dic­tions for last year from a de­cline of 0.4pc to a fall of 0.8 pc. It ex­pects that this year will see the mar­ket grow by 0.7pc to €736m.

GroupM gen­eral man­ager Si­mon Crisp says clients are look­ing for a greater re­turn on spend than ever be­fore and me­dia own­ers are seek­ing out bet­ter div­i­dends from their as­sets. In­dus­try chal­lenges aren’t lo­cal. They are all pres­sured on what may be con­sid­ered un­even play­ing fields, against the ‘FAANGs’ – Face­book, Ap­ple, Ama­zon, Net­flix and Google.

“Ba­si­cally,” Mr Crisp said, “noth­ing’s go­ing to come easy to us as an in­dus­try in 2019, but this might just be a god­send, spurring us on to fu­ture-proof our busi­nesses ex­pe­di­tiously.”

He said if those in mar­ket­ing and me­dia were en­ter­ing a 2019 that was up by let’s say 10pc, we might be ig­nor­ing the chal­lenges of the un­der­ly­ing busi­ness mod­els fac­ing us right now.

Mr Crisp said he was not sug­gest­ing that ad­land has been lazy. But when there’s more cash in the cof­fers, most peo­ple nat­u­rally re­lax, than at­tack the chal­lenges. It’s ba­sic hu­man na­ture. Dis­rup­tion doesn’t

Killer touch:

‘50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy’ star Baz Ash­mawy has proved, fol­low­ing a stint cov­er­ing for Ryan Tubridy on RTE Ra­dio 1, that he can be a hit with TV and ra­dio au­di­ences come when peo­ple are at their most com­fort­able. How­ever, he added, Ire­land should be pos­i­tive about our po­si­tion, not just on the Eu­ro­pean me­dia scene, but fur­ther afield.

To put a lit­tle ra­tio­nale be­hind his pos­i­tive stance, Crisp re­ferred to Lib­erty Global, the US me­dia giant be­hind Vir­gin Me­dia. Founder John Malone — now counted as the biggest landowner in the US — has been buy­ing up stud farms, ho­tels and other prop­er­ties in Ire­land, to the tune of €300m. Mr Malone ex­plained the rea­son for his Ir­ish in­vest­ments with one word: “Sta­bil­ity”.

From a po­lit­i­cal per­spec­tive, Ire­land hasn’t lurched too far to the right, re­main­ing largely cen­trist, which is at­trac­tive to busi­ness and in­vestors. Add in a pos­i­tive cor­po­rate tax regime and what’s not to like about the coun­try? De­spite the ac­cu­sa­tion of ‘lep­rechaun eco­nomics’, the un­der­ly­ing in­di­ca­tors are strong and gen­uine.

Mr Crisp be­lieves that within a sta­ble and ma­ture mar­ket­place, size is crit­i­cal to suc­cess. Ire­land is per­fectly po­si­tioned to be the me­dia test bed of Europe and – in some cases – the world.

⬤ Fire­wood Mar­ket­ing has moved its Eu­ro­pean hub to new 2,500 sq ft of­fices on Dublin’s Up­per Bag­got Street. Run by Em­met McCaughey, Fire­wood has ex­panded from three to 21 em­ploy­ees over the past 18 months. Head­quar­tered in San Fran­cisco, agency ser­vices in­clude web de­vel­op­ment, UX de­sign, email and an­a­lyt­ics. Clients in­clude Airbnb, Google, LinkedIn and Sales­force. One of Fire­wood’s most re­cent hires is as­so­ciate creative di­rec­tor Eric Kelle­her, who joined from Rad­i­cal in No­vem­ber.

⬤ Game of Thrones ac­tor Liam Cun­ning­ham is the guest speaker at a Com­mer­cial Pro­duc­ers Ire­land (CPI) event this month. CPI chair­man Paul Holmes of Red Rage Films says the gath­er­ing is aimed at show­ing the creative and pro­duc­tion ta­lent avail­able in Ire­land for com­mer­cials and to al­low pro­duc­ers, agen­cies and ad­ver­tis­ers to meet in­for­mally. The event is in Fal­lon & Byrne on Ex­che­quer Street at 6pm on Thurs­day, Jan­uary 31.

⬤ And fi­nally... RTE should se­ri­ously con­sider giv­ing Baz Ash­mawy a reg­u­lar slot. He’s shown from fill­ing in for Ryan Tubridy on the morn­ing show on RTE Ra­dio 1 and also from his ex­ploits with his thrill-seek­ing mammy, Nancy, on Sky One, he’s got what it takes to en­gage TV and ra­dio au­di­ences.

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

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