IRELAND: CELTIC TIGERS BURN BRIGHT - Gerry McCloskey gives an insight into home-grown advertising that has been gracing Irish TV screens over the past few months

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

they saw:

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.