I’ve been working with big and small, local and global brands in large multi-national advertising agencies around the world for 16 years. I know brands and advertising inside out. I’ve always been interested in how brands choose to talk to their consumers and feel increasingly that the traditional methods of communication are not keeping up with how people behave, I think there is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of potential, in helping brands interact on social media.
I started working in advertising in the early nineties in a fabulous agency just beside Pont Neuf in Paris. I worked in the strategic planning department, working on brands such as Axe, Snuggle, Coke Light and Hennessy Cognac. The planning department at Ammirati Puris Lintas was really quite big considering how new strategic planning was to the European advertising agencies at the time. The biggest project we were working on at the time was the modernisation of Axe (Lynx) and the fruit of that planning process was a series of very well-known TV ads.
I made the move to client service in Paris. While I was there our client for Coke Light was the guy who recommended changing the recipe for Coke…Sergio Zyman. A couple of years later I packed my bags and headed to Singapore, where I had the good fortune to work on the fantastic Audi brand – helping to create award-winning campaigns for the Asian Market. The positioning for Audi in Asia was very different to the discreet understated approach that was the foundation of the brand in Europe. Audi had to become a bit more obvious, more of a status symbol to compete with the hugely popular BMW and Mercedes brands. I spent three years in APL Singapore and then I moved again, this time to Hong Kong. I worked at DDB Hong Kong and then TBWA/HK for 6 years, mainly on luxury and travel brands (an airline and a couple of very nice five star hotel chains).
In 2007 I moved back to Ireland to work at Publicis QMP and had the pleasure to work with a fantastic bunch of people. I came on board initially to work on DAA and Tiger beer, and did a stint heading up the Meteor team and then a couple of years running the Cadbury account.
The brief for the Dublin Airport Authority’s launch of their new terminal building was to deflect any negative comments from the naysayers by celebrating the people and achievements of great pride to the Irish and leveraging that feeling of goodwill.
We shot the ad with Blinder Productions and it was directed by Hadi (like Madonna he only had one name). The actor was David Murray. The most asked question was where was the suit from? (Answer: Ted Baker).
The ad was a great success, research showed how it positively affected people’s disposition towards the new building (prior to research it was seen as a bit of a white elephant and a nod to the heady Celtic Tiger years of excess). It was also picked up by the media in a very positive fashion and heralded a new attitude of optimism and pride. 11th Hour did a hilarious parody of it that, for me, was a real testament to how it had hit the nail on the head and resonated with people.
I worked on the big broadband campaign where we launched their new broadband service featuring the hilarious Chris O’Dowd who is now rocketing to Hollywood stardom, and amongst other things, a campaign we shot in South Africa for their Roaming Service, in which I featured as an enthusiastic grape presser…
Working on Cadbury was great fun, it was like going to Willy Wonka’s every time we visited! The factory tour was the high point of the year, and watching Flakes being made is something you would never forget! We developed and produced a TVC for Cadbury Dairy Milk, we were allowed to create our own work for the brand on this occasion (rather than import work from the UK) because we had to address specific marketing objectives for the Irish market.
All the TV ads that I have worked on can be viewed on my YouTube channel but my experience covers much more than AV production: I’ve posted these up to show the variety of brands that I’ve worked on and the different strategies that have led to the various creative outputs. I’ve worked on press, outdoor, ambient, digital and social media campaigns, helped with events, designing airline staff uniforms, and all the strategy, research and media tasks that accompany the job of Client Service.