Dublin is heavy under gunmetal skies and shrouded in the dark rain
synonymous with late summer. But it's great for those thrusting
Agapanthuses and lusty Hostas that all our battle-worn Celtic Tigers are
learning to cultivate.
Over the past 12 months lots of Irish advertising has been generated but
the harvest of creative awards has been small. So what went wrong?
The problem with the buzz of new tiger economies is that the urgent need
to shout often overtakes the desire to say something worthwhile.
Over the past year when the following ads were made, Celtic Tigers
embraced sushi, cruised around in sparkling Boxters and nodded
contentedly to Moby.
Their lunches were served by transient, exotic waiters or wind-blown
Aussies and, later that day, they hung out in superpubs trying new
drinks before retiring to their new apartments. There they took a brief,
soulful moment to check their reflections in their new cappuccino
machines before heading off to bed with their new thonged
Amazingly, media buyers still knew what they'd be watching on TV: Ally
McBeal, and lots of movies.
When they were in, here's a selection of locally produced advertising
1. Trendy bar. Kate, disenchanted with her date, slips her number to
roaming stud. He slides outside and calls her. She answers. He blasts
into his mobile: "Hellaw Keate, it's me - the goy frem the bare."
Message: Use Esat Digifone text messaging.
2. Now, the highest acclaimed spot in Ireland this year ... it's by
McCann (sorry). Open on beach. Guy inscribes I LOVE ... OU (shot is
partly blocked ) in the sand. He returns to shore-side cottage and
carries a breakfast tray with red rose up to his missus who has been
watching from the window. As he approaches, she nuzzles him
Cut to message in the sand: I LOVE LOUTH (Louth is our smallest
Title: Ask not what your county can do for you. Bank of Ireland Football
3. Woman absorbed in reading a magazine. She mops her kitchen top
absent-mindedly with a sandwich. Cut to little boy on break at school.
He puzzles over a kitchen sponge in his lunchbox. Title: Irish Times
Magazine (published Saturday). (This was a launch spot.)
4. Windswept woman walks along beach in Hiberno-Prada dress. Steely
Narration of psalm-like verse about nutritional ummph of The Sea. Cut to
power shots of sea, fade to nautilus shell lovingly lit, fade in titles
(Weiss), cut to seabed view of swirling fish, fade to cine-haiku of
driftwood, see woman passing wistfully off, leaving nod-to-Goldsworthy
beach stones installation of an archetypal fish. Fade to black. Fade on
Donegal Catch Logo (a jolly trawler, begob).
5. Open on ... yes, a beach. A couple amble along in the gauzy light of
a nice, fresh grade. The gently listing images pulse rhythmically to
white as the couple exchange caring glances. The woman shows concern for
the man's happiness ... with his whites. "Are you happy Jeff? Because if
you're not, Lever Brothers will give you your money back" (Lever
Brothers' ancient battle-cry). Cut to wake-up shot of bloke cuddling
Surf soap powder pack. Old biddy looks on disapprovingly.
6. Security camera footage. Petrol station. Night. A four-door saloon
car drives up to a petrol pump. Long pause. The car reverses to another
pump instead. Man gets out. Fills tank. Title: You'll forget you're
driving a diesel. Peugeot.
From week to week we're seeing a rapid-cycling economic mood in
And, more than ever, the gods of perception are in their element.
Meanwhile, in the darkening superpubs of Dublin, the cappuccino machines
are often "out of order" and more and more Celtic Tigers have gone home
to watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Will it get worse for Irish advertising? Smaller budgets may cramp some
people's style, but I hope it will also weed out the shouters from the
ones with a worthwhile story to tell. Who knows, there may even be a
better yield of awards next season.