Friday, August 12, 2011

As RTE's Losses Mount; Is Tubridy Safe?

This week has seen the much trumpeted release for RTE's 2011/2012 schedule of tv programming. The media, press, PR peeps and RTE themselves have trumpeted the depth and breadth of Irish output in the upcoming season. And rightly so. A total of 110 home produced program's will be screened this year, 64 of which are returning shows. One high profile show not returning is The All Ireland Talent Show, which always seemed like a low rent X-Factor. Unfortunately it's axing could unleash something much worse on the nation, something we would have to endure for seven long years.

Joking aside RTE have made other positive headlines of late. They have delivered 48 of the 50 most watched TV shows so far in 2011, and 19 of the top 20 radio shows. The impressive performance in Radio is largely driven by RTE Radio One which has 8 of the top 10 shows in the country. 2fm has remained largely inconsistent, shedding 0.5% of its audience in the latest JNLR figures, keeping it in third place behind Today FM. Part of this loss can be put down to former Twitter user, and BBC Radio 2 weekend host, Ryan Tubridy's continued decline in listenership for his midweek show. Although he has lost 110,000 listeners in a year, the show is apparently safe, with a production team shake up hoping to steady the ship.

This all masks the big elephant in the room for RTE, even with an increased Tubridy listenership the station is facing massive losses. The last two years have seen losses of €16.5 million in 2009 and €4.7 million in 2010. The wages of it's biggest stars have come under threat too. The station doesn't release current salaries but in 2008 Pat Kenny was paid €950,976 in 2008, Marian Finucane received €570,000. and Ryan Tubridy earned €533,000. This was when Kenny hosted the Late Late, a nixer now filled by Ryan Tubridy, so you can expect 'Tubs' to be on a similarly inflated figure now. With Kenny no longer hosting the Late Late, but now his own current affairs show The Frontline one wonders how much of a salary cut he suffered in the switch.

This is big money at a time when staff at the station are subject to further losses and uncertainty. Pat Rabbitte, the communications minister, has said the broadcaster must reign in its expenditure saying 

"RTE can't go on incurring the kind of annual deficit that it is incurring and their costs simply have to be brought under control"
Of the inflated salaries he has said

"As far as the Government is concerned, we expect those earning most to contribute most to the savings programme."
But is all this just fluster on the part of the Minister?

Amongst all this to-ing and fro-ing Tub's has his eye on the bigger picture by snaggging himself a permanent to the big boys at the BBC. A station who could surely pay his wages and offer him a bigger profile. Of course this could be a conspiracy theory, a well work technique when contract negotiations are upcoming. With a BBC offer in his pocket Tub's would surely take it and not use it as leverage to remain on an artificially high salary at RTE? But the big question is would RTE, in it's weakened state, actually call his bluff?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tayto Set for World Domination?

I remember sitting in a Bolivian hostel bar in January 2008, there was a visible air of excitement amongst the contingent of Irish residents. Person after person walked into the bar asking 'Has it arrived yet?'. The hostel was owned by an Irishman, and, spotting an opportunity to meet his customers needs he had arranged a 'care' package of Irish staples to be sent from Tipparary to La Paz. The box was packed with Barry's Tea and Tayto, a real taste of home many hadn't had in months. Of course the non-Irish residents didn't really understand our excitement for such basic products, at highly inflated prices (Tayto sold at 25 Boliviano's - 2.50 euros), or why they sold out in a matter of hours.

But for many Tayto is as Irish as Guinness, or U2, albeit much less known. However that might be about to change as Largo Foods, owners of the Tayto brand, sold a 25% stake in the business to raise capital. Part of the proceeds will go to pay debt owed by the company, but the funds will also open up expansion opportunities in Europe, especially the UK and Germany, and China.

Largo Foods bought Tayto in 2006 and have reinforced the brands iconic status through inventive marketing strategies. These have included a best selling book (Mr Tayto: The Man Inside the Jacket) and the recently opened Tayto Park, positioning Mr Tayto as Irelands answer to Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Disney theme-park crew.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the world takes to the brand, and its intrinsic Irishness should play an important role, seeing how we were world renowned for spuds! For now at least, with no plans to enter the much sought after Bolivian market, those care packages will have to keep making their way across the world.

Monday, July 18, 2011 4th Most Visited Website in Ireland, the online classifieds website has seen some staggering growth in the last two years. In 2010 they surpassed 1 million unique visitors per month and in May they reached 2 million unique's per month. Just last week the Wexford based business announced on their blog they now had the 4th biggest website in terms of page views. You may not win prizes for coming 4th, but when you consider the only websites above them are International internet heavy weights Facebook, Youtube and Google then that is cause for celebration!

Getting Your Business Online

The success of only underlines the importance the internet can play in promoting your business online. may have been a web only business, but their type of service has existed offline for decades, what have done is produce the best all round service in order to survive in a competitive marketplace. getting a business online is no longer costly or difficult. Google, Blacknight, An Post and the City and County Enterprise Boards have a fantastic free resource for businesses looking to get online.

Getting Your Business Online provides a free and easy to update website, a free domain for a year, free 100euro Google Adwords trial plus lots of tips and resources.

If your not online yet, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What you see is what you get!

Image by gladiolabean

How brilliant are these logos?!
From the fantastic - (a group of guys down in Cork) website, check it out!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ireland's royally magic beans

Image by gem_106

With a royal wedding in mere weeks and the world's media on the brink of hysteria, everything 'Kate & Wills' related seems to be turning to gold.
Whether it be royal merchandise or TV specials, the world is bracing itself for Britain's big day.
A story came across our desks here at Ireland and we couldn't help but giggle, relishing in the fun escapism of the article!

A British couple came across a jelly bean which had a startling resemblance to the future Queen of England Kate Middleton. Whilst digging into a tub of beans from The Jelly Bean Factory (an Irish brand and company) they found the image and are now hoping to sell it on E-Bay.
In the media frenzy running up to the Royal Wedding, which takes place in less than 2 weeks, newspapers will stop at nothing to find a story which will capture the publics imagination. Do you think that this story is real?Have you ever came across an iamge in a tub of The Jelly Bean Factory beans?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Education in Ireland - a brand in itself!

Image by Arcadia Abroad

Enterprise Ireland are aiming to double the number of international students studying in the Irish higher education system by 2015.
"Education in Ireland", will promote the combined value of a third level education and the English language to foreign students, which is currently worth €900m to our struggling economy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Irish Hypermarket . . .

A thought came to mind - with all the Tesco price cuts and general domination of our grocery spend, is it time for a new Irish super chain (a super cheap Irish style Aldi)? Maybe Dunnes, Superquinn, Supervalu could join forces, thoughts?!

In light of recent events, here is a funny wee vid.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trying to pull the wool over our eyes

Image by Craig murphy

I wasn't in the least bit shocked when news leaked that Tesco's so called 'price cuts' were nothing more than a cheap ploy to cash in on the Irish consumer.
Can we be so easily duped? Some might say yes.
However, what will this do to Tesco's already tarnished reputation and what affects could this have on the Irish brands on sale on Tesco shelves across the land?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Social media cashing in on Mother's day

Image by Zhuo

Mother's day is this weekend (Sunday to be precise)and while many will be out buying last minute bouquets and gift vouchers aplenty, the newest trend to hit the Irish market is : Social media. Yep, you heard right.
The hottest way to tell mum you love her this year is going viral.

Busy sons and daughters across Ireland are more likely to post a Facebook message rather than send a Mother’s Day card this weekend.

How many of you will send an e-card rather than an actual card to your dear mum?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Newsflash! Yo-Yo Tesco pricing stirs up suspicion

Tesco seem to be up to their old tricks again, hiking up prices and lowering them in time just for 'Sales'.
This is odd, or is it?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Obama and Queen Elizabeth set sail Ireland in 2011

Hands up who thinks the upcoming presidential and monarchical visits will be hugely beneficial to Brand Ireland?

Some may say the Queen's visit will cause uproar, some may have doubts about President Obama's trip to his ancestral homeland but I say boo urns to their negative thinking, boo urns!
Brand Ireland could grow even stronger with high profile visits such as these, building bonds between countries along the way.
Also, how can we dismiss the fact that Ireland will once again be on the world stage and expose us to a slew of new tourists.

What do you think, are you for or against?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How can we brand Ireland differently?

Irish brands are continuing to ensure their survival, especially within the food and drink market.
With Ireland exporting more and more home-grown brands all across the globe even with a worldwide recession still rampant, we had to wonder, who is excelling more than most?
In light of it being St Patrick's Eve, here are OUR top 5 Irish brands which one might fancy -

1 - Barry's Tea
Barry's Tea was founded in 1901 in Cork City. Until the 1960s, tea was sold from a shop in Prince's Street, but thereafter as a result of its increasing popularity, the company expanded its wholesaling and distribution operations. By the 1990s, the company had become one of the largest tea suppliers in Ireland. It is also found in the UK, Spain, and in some areas of Canada and the US.

2 - Tayto Crisps
Tayto is a major Irish crisps and popcorn manufacturer, founded by Joe Murphy in 1954.[1] Tayto invented the first Cheese & Onion crisps as well as the process of the seasoned potato chip/crisps.[2] Tayto crisps are a cultural phenomenon in Ireland,[3] and "Tayto" is sometimes used in Ireland as a synonym for crisps.

3 - Guinness
Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.

4 - Kerrygold
The name Kerrygold was selected to evoke "farming, naturalness, goodness and above all quality milk" as well as a sense of Irishness. The brand has been a major player in the British market and also worldwide, developing a reputation as a premium quality brand.

5 - The Jelly Bean Factory
Europe's number one manufacturer of Gourmet Jelly Beans.
Its brands "The Jelly Bean Factory" and "The Jelly Bean Planet" are sold in over 50 countries worldwide.
The brands are known for their high quality, natural ingredients and innovative packaging.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Re-building brand Ireland - Newly elected Irish government jet off on St Patrick's day mission

Image by antiogar

New investment and mending a faltering global reputation is what is on the agenda this week for Ireland's newly elected government.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny,has said he would meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on March 17 for a now-annual ceremony of Irish-American solidarity.
He also plans to meet Capitol Hill leaders and potential business investors during his two-day Washington trip.
In a positive step taken by our new Taoiseach, only nine of Ireland's 15 Cabinet ministers would travel overseas, and to fewer places he identified as "top priorities for Irish trade, business and jobs." Unlike previous years where upwards of 24 ministers travelled aboard - expensively!
Could this be the turn around that Ireland so badly needs? Could St Patrick's week 2011 be the beginning of a new brand Ireland?

Are you bothered with Paddy's day this year?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

Image by DinahSaysNothing

St Patrick's day is seen as one of many things, a day of all-day drinking, a day off of work.
Irish brands work hard at maintaining their stellar image and mass appeal and it seems other 'outsider' brands want to cash in.

Ireland is one of the only countries in the world who's national holiday is celebrated the world over and just like every other commercially profitable holiday (Christmas, Easter, Halloween etc)Paddy's day is no different!
Big brands have taken notice with more 'going green'or adding an Irish twist to their product in the run up to the big day every year.
McDonald's, Marmite . . . .


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Londis to sponsor Come Dine with Me

Londis has been sponsoring of the hit UK TV series “Come Dine With Me” which made its debut on TV3 this January - love the voice over guy!!

The sponsorship began in January with TV3 airing the UK series. The sponsorship also includes the UK Celebrity version of “Come Dine With Me”. Meanwhile the first ever Irish version of “Come Dine With Me” which will launch later in 2011, can't wait for that!

The total Londis investment in the sponsorship and supporting campaign will be over €300K. We have seen this trend in sponsorship occur over a vast array of popular shows such as Domino's Pizza / The X factor, and the likes of soaps (Fair City, Corrie) also being sponsored.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who will it be...

In recent weeks, the focus for Ireland has been on tomorrow's political election. This election will determine the nation's new government. This government will hopefully steer us onwards and upwards out of the fiscal hole that we are drowning in.

Could it be the coalition of Fine Gael and Labour? Could these parties unite to save Brand Ireland?
In this ‘overcrowded’ global marketplace, countries are competing not just for the favour of investors but also for tourists, media and skilled employees.
A fresh start is what is needed, can our new government facilitate this? Can we re-build and re-brand Ireland from the wreckage left from the recession?

Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you. Most of all other people can't stop you. Only you can stop you.

Jeffrey Gitomer

Friday, February 18, 2011

Iconic landmarks to 'go green' for St Patrick's day 2011

Image by Flickr

Iconic buildings and attractions across the globe will ‘go green’ this St Patrick’s Day hoping to spur on growth in Ireland’s tourism industry.
The London Eye, New York’s Empire State Building, the Sky Tower in Auckland and Table Mountain in South Africa are some that will have their green light on March 17.
Explaining their green initiative, Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons states "Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that Ireland continues to offer a warm welcome, fun and spontaneity, alongside fantastic scenery and cultural activities."
What do you think, will this work?
Brand Ireland unites with the world.!/About-Us/

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guinness collaborates in time for Paddy's day once again

Image by alistair woolrige

Last year it was the return of Guinness Marmite and this year, HP Sauce have joined forces with drinks company Diageo to formulate - HP Guinness Sauce.
Just in time for St Patrick's day, both brands are clearly trying to raise awareness amongst target male consumers in their 20s and 30s.
Bringing a big Irish brand (Yes Irish,even if some disagree) such as Guinness to the breakfast table (and the Irish institutional fry-up) is simply genius.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Election Nation

Image by Shiny things

Last night's election debate on TV3 made for some very confusing viewing. Still on the fence on were my vote lies, I took to my sofa to see if my vote could be swung.However, Enda Kenny decided to decline the task (how on earth can he lead us on a world stage if he can't bare a seat with Vincent Browne?) and Eamon Gilmore and Minister Martin just didn't cut the mustard in my humble opinion!
My worry is, how will the outcome of election 2011 have on brand Ireland?
Does brand Ireland have a future?
Export, tourism, technology all the thriving industries that have saved brand Ireland from recessionary dissolution - can they continue to grow and pave a future that so many of us think is redundant?
Who are you voting for on February 25th 2011?

Ps - Did anyone notice the volume of Irish brands during the commercial break? I swear, at least 90% of them were Irish. Is this a similar ploy that big brands undertake during the American Super Bowl? (Brands paying big bucks to be shown during breaks)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Small food businesses are thriving

Image by coastline windows & conservarories

Small food businesses in Ireland are continuing to demonstrate strong growth both on the domestic and export markets, according to new figures released by Bord Bia this week. Bord Bia works with over 400 small food businesses with an annual turnover of some €400 million, representing an increase in value of seven per cent per year since 2007.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fry up anyone?

Image by akrabat

Set the scene if you please. Out of the bed you get with a hunger that could take down a small bear. A few sausies maybe, a bacon sarnie, how about a full fry up? Sure 'tis the Irish way after all.
Imagine the horror of discovering your beloved Clonakilty puds and rashers have in fact been taken hostage in replace of an imposter. Say hello to the latest US craze that is bound to hit our shores, microwavable breakfast casseroles by Jimmy Dean Products -

Although we have yet to succomb to these 'culinary delights'(sarcasm intended), we are not far off the culture that is convenience 'grab & go'. How can (dare I say it?)the institution that is the Irish breakfast,something so distinctly Irish, get the American treatment?Surely not, surely somethings are sacred?

Brands continue to try and satisfy consumers need for convenience, but is this pushing things too far?
Only recently Tesco dared venture into this territory with it's student inspired snack, the Tesco Italian Lasagne Sandwich. Enough said!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A not so promising start to 2011 ....

Image by Exedave

With most of us hoping 2011 will be the kick start Ireland's economy needs, it seems things are not what they seem.

Celtic Bookmakers, the firm founded by former Fine Gael minister Ivan Yates, has called in the receivers, whilst Toni & Guy hair stylists have announced that they are closing four of its 11 Irish hair salons while Superquinn closed its Naas outlet.
HMV have also announced that it will close 60 stores in 2011, including 20 outlets of its Waterstone’s bookshop chain. With Waterstone’s having two Dublin outlets.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New year, new logo for Starbucks

Image by Eater National

Worldwide coffee giant Starbucks turns 40 this year and the brand is celebrating the milestone birthday with a facelift.
Starbucks is changing its logo for the first time since 1992.
The Seattle-based Starbucks Corportion unveiled a new and simplified company logo for 2011. The new all-green logo focuses on the company siren and removes the Starbucks Coffee embroidery around the border. The revamped image will be phased in at all Starbucks locations by year’s end.