Sunday, January 4, 2009

Who is Ireland's largest advertising agency?

Have a guess. Is it McConnells? McCann Erickson? IIBBDO? QMP? DDFH&B? Pretty big hitters all, representing some heavyweight (what my old boss Frank Young in Wilson Hartnell used to lovingly call) Blue Chip clients. I guess the colour refers to Vegas more than the Embassy Grill.

Anyway, I'm not sure how the billings stack up. I could probably do a graph or something, look up the IAPI website. But I can't be arsed and it's after one in the morning. Ultimately you know it's going home to one of the many heads of Medusa, innit. Interpublic, Havas, WPP, Omnicom and Publicis have, between them, Irish advertising by the curlies.

Speaking of the IAPI website, I see that there are fifty eight member companies on the list. Impressive. Ireland's biggest media specialist is bound to be in there somewhere, right?

Anyway on an entirely unrelated topic, I read an interview in with John Herlihy, Google's European Director of online sales and operations, and he has this to say in ironically a not-very-coded way to advertisers.

I believe many Irish companies are missing a trick, and there is a big opportunity for businesses to go out and capitalise on the shift of consumers to the online arena. Research shows people are becoming increasingly value-conscious as a result of the credit crunch, and are choosing to go online to both inform their purchasing decisions and to look for the best value available. If you don’t have an online presence, then you’re losing business.
I don't think that ad agencies should feel concerned by this. Akin to Spinal Tap's smaller stadia final tour, the audience is simply becoming more selective.

It's also probably entirely irrelevant, but that same Google just posted some juicy figures for the final three months of 2008. Read these while bearing in mind that in its biggest market, the US, Google has a healthy but not exactly knicker-bursting 35% of the search market. Here in vanishingcubland it's got about roughly in or around oh I dunno say 100% of that same market. So do the sums accordingly. Stats from the Beeb.
  • Net profits of $204.1m (€147m) in the three months to 31 December.
  • This compares to the $27.3m profits the company made a year earlier.
  • Total fourth quarter turnover jumped to $1.03bn from $512.2m.
I'm just saying. It's not really relevant anyway, cos Google's not an ad agency. They just find stuff for you and do a kinda fun themed logo every so often on their search page, right? If they were an ad agency they'd probably be more into Powerpoint and they'd definitely be members of IAPI. I just wonder how they make that pot of cash in this climate just from being friendly and not evil and ├╝ber-helpful when we're searching for shit. But they're absolutely, definitively, categorically not an agency.

Meanwhile, I read today in the Business Post that we're facing tough times, but media executives are upbeat. So that's all pretty jolly. Ed McDonald, Chief executive of the Association of Advertisers in Ireland, says that
In tighter economic conditions, it is vital that businesses look on their marketing and advertising spend as an investment rather than as a cost. Sure, it’s a cost, but it is more importantly an investment as essential as any R&D investment or capital equipment purchase or property lease.
I'd agree with all that, Ed, but I'd sure hope for agencies' sakes that clients don't start looking at remarkably accountable alternatives to the tried and trusted agency setup.

Dermot Hanrahan meanwhile, a long-time mover in broadcast and online circles, is staking it less on trad media and more on what's been working well for him up to now.
‘‘Online is still the fastest growing medium and it will continue to grow strongly. It... has gone from being an optional extra to being the medium which will eventually matter most. Marketeers who don’t use it are becoming rare, and are usually confined to decision makers above a certain age. Growth forecast for 2009 range from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, despite recession.

‘‘The medium is the most accountable, measurable and increasingly innovative as we see the decline of old banner ads and the growth of newer, more engaging, video-led ad formats. Again, the lower cost of entry in online advertising positions it better than most for the year ahead.”

Interesting bit about the decline of banner ads. I wonder if he's punting virals as newer and more engaging?

Happy Monday, Adland Ireland.


  1. Hi Nick - great post.

    Google will be come an intermediary allowing businesses to go direct to media outlets. If the movie Layer Cake thought me anything "the secret to being a successful business is being a successful middle man", just like to ebay model.

    Here's a video on how google allow you to book your own TV ads.

    Where does this leave media buyers?


  2. Colin, I don't think it counts as even an intermediary if Google directs clients to, er Google. Who owns YouTube again? If I was facebook I'd be poledancing in front of Google right now...

  3. Hi Nick, Sorry I probably was not too clear. Google now offers services for individuals / companies to book and place TV commercials. By using there platform a person in a marketing department for example can buy TV media, select the programming slot, choose appropriate programming by demographics etc... directly. They have applied their PPC search model to TV advertising. They are acting as an intermediary between people and media outlets cutting out the media planners and buyers in the middle.

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