CLOSE-UP: GLOBAL BRIEF; Branding the island of Ireland

The Irish Tourist Board is set for a global marketing push, Harriet Green says

The Irish Tourist Board is set for a global marketing push, Harriet

Green says

The island of Ireland is set to become a brand next year - a plan the

Irish Tourist Board (or Board Failte) has been working on for

18 months.

Last week, it chose the Dublin advertising agency, Peter Owens, and its

international associate, DDB Europe, to share the pounds 10 million-plus

worldwide account (Campaign, 31 May).

Peter Owens may be little known in the UK but the agency has been a

valuable partner of DDB for the past three years. The two work on

accounts including Volkswagen, and McDonald’s. For the tourism task,

Peter Owens will act as the lead agency, with DDB providing expertise on

international issues.

The campaign will have one theme and will be adapted by DDB for each

market. Michael Bray, DDB International’s managing director, says there

are marked differences in how various nationalities perceive Ireland:

Germans are interested in the outdoors; people in the UK put good food

and pubs top of the list; and the French want clean hotels.

In the past, the Irish Tourist Board has advertised on a market-by-

market basis using a number of agencies, Maria Mahon, its senior

advertising and brand adviser, says. ‘Now we want to treat the tourist

destination of Ireland like any global brand.’

For the UK, it means the end of J. Walter Thompson’s campaign starring

the television chef, Keith Floyd. From the new year, the ITB aims to

launch a consistent global push in its key markets - France, Germany,

the UK and the US. There will also be advertising in smaller markets

such as Benelux, Italy and the Far East.

The aim is to create a single brand positioning based on an exhaustive

17-country research project which measured consumer perceptions. The

brief to Peter Owens and DDB will be to communicate the ‘emotional

experience of Ireland’.

The advertising will include Northern Ireland - tourists see no

difference between the two states. But the Northern Ireland Tourist

Board is, as Mahon explains, still ‘reserving judgment’ on whether to

join the campaign.