CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Altering the Aer Lingus image - Mairi Clark asks why the airline’s marketing chief picked Shane MacGowan

Using Shane MacGowan, the disreputable lead singer of the Popes, to advertise an Irish airline seems unlikely. But MacGowan, once named the most ugly bloke in Britain by the Sun, is among a list of Irish celebrities starring in Aer Lingus’s pounds 1.5 million press campaign through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (Campaign, 21 November).

Using Shane MacGowan, the disreputable lead singer of the Popes, to

advertise an Irish airline seems unlikely. But MacGowan, once named the

most ugly bloke in Britain by the Sun, is among a list of Irish

celebrities starring in Aer Lingus’s pounds 1.5 million press campaign

through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (Campaign, 21 November).



David Bonworth, the Aer Lingus marketing director, says he is interested

to see how the ad will turn out. ’With his background and reputation, I

did think twice about using him. But the airline needed a change. When I

heard someone describing Aer Lingus as the ’airline I’d most like to get

delayed on’, I thought, ’that’s how everyone should regard the brand’,’

he says.



Bonworth started out in marketing after leaving Trinity College,

Dublin.



’I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but quite a few of my friends

went on to do accountancy and there was no way that I wanted to do

that.



A lot of people may think marketing is all gin and tonics and parties,

but it is also a lot of hard work.’



After university, Bonworth, 47, joined an agency promoting Ireland to

international businesses. He joined the brewer, Guinness, in 1977 as

brand manager and left three years later to become the marketing

director of an industrial engineering company.



In 1986, Bonworth joined the pharmaceutical company, Sterling Health,

progressing from marketing director to country manager over a period of

nine years. ’I was certain that I wanted to be based in Ireland.

Although I’ve been lucky with my jobs in that I’ve been able to travel

with them, I always come home to Dublin,’ he says.



He joined Aer Lingus two-and-a-half years ago with a brief to realign

people’s thinking about the airline. It was a challenge he relished.



’I used the airline frequently and I felt it was a great opportunity. It

was a very exciting time to get involved in the airline business,’

Bonworth says. ’I hope it will be a campaign that people will feel proud

to be featured in.’



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).