TM May 9, 2011

He might be dead, but is still alive in various ads. During the past 10 years Osama bin Laden featured in many commercials selling anything from condoms, music phones, paintball, cars to Belgian satire magazine. British Airways advertised their downloadable paperless boarding passes in an internal staff magazine, with sample issued apparently by mistake to Mr. Osama Bin Laden.

Is Osama’s marketing career over with his death or will his image find permanent place in advertising culture?

In 2008 Brazilian agency Neogama/BBH predicted: ‘In 2066, Bin Laden will be caught. Live to see it. Quit smoking now’. So for those who did quit/continue smoking, but are still alive here are few ads featuring ex-chief of al-Qaeda:

TM Apr 13, 2011

It’s not a coincidence that Groupon was launched in the middle of the recession-back in 2008, time when deep discounts of 50%-90% sound especially tempting. It taps into badly hit markets, with highest cutbacks like: cosmetics & beauty (spa treatments, massages, hairdressing, fitness etc.), restaurants, hotels, and anything now falling under luxury products category. It fulfils customer needs, but at a much lower cost.

Groupon lists as target customers companies in consumer packaged goods; accessories; automotive; beauty; beer, wine, and spirits; diet and fitness, electronics; entertainment; fashion, health and pharmaceutical; financial; and travel. Why then all we see are restaurants & beauty deals? To answer this question we’ll need to have a look into the target audience. From Groupon’s demographic breakdown we can see that its market consists of:

• young people (68% 18-34 years old),
• well educated (80% holds a degree),
• predominantly females (77%).

Groupon claims that 75% of them are in full-time employment with fairly high income-so there is a room for spend. I would question these last two statistics, especially in Irish contexts. There’s been highest unemployment rate in Generation Y, with 41%-26% in 18-24 year old brackets and nearly 15% among ages 25-34 in Q2 2010. This group has changed their behavior due to economic conditions, they are deal savvy, well informed, looking for best available value. They still use considerable amount of their share wallets on ‘fun costs’, like going out and treats; but they are very price cautious, heavily influenced by discounts and rewards.

In this light one of the main questions for advertising companies would be:
• What percentage of coupon customers will turn into regular customers?
• Is there an upselling possibility?

Or, as some argue, deal hunting customers are no longer looking for brands, but for ‘an interchangeable generic services or product-fulfillers’. In this case Groupon wouldn’t create any loyalty as customers would be looking for best price offers in a given area, switching all the time.

No doubt that there is a big part of City Deals/Living Social or other deals equivalents that attract certain type of customer who is just buying the service because the offer is cheap.

There is another aspect of young audience and their purchasing behavior to consider though. Gen Y , before making any decisions, check product or service ratings on internet and if it comes to cheap product with poor ratings, and slightly more expensive product with much better reviews, they choose the second one. Therefore companies looking to succeed in turning Groupon customers into regular customers should:

1. Provide outstanding customer experience. There is no point attracting tons of potential customers and not making them feel special, welcome and as important as any other customers-so that they would have the reason and would want to come back.

2. Make an effort to engage with customers on a personal level-for example on Facebook or Twitter. Generation Y is more attracted to brands offering social interaction!

3. Encourage retention-ask them to join your mailing lists/social media sites

4. Remember that Groupon is advertising and should be coming from your advertising budget. You are not paying for an ad, but loosing profit margins on sales.

-Jay Goltz worked out sample campaign key calculations.
-For an Irish case study read post by iMax on with 28% acquisition rate and cost of €100 per new customer.

Groupon is not for everyone! It can devaluate your brand or send high volumes of customers paying a fraction of a price that would never come back-if done badly.

CSO Quaterly National Household Survey, Quarter 2, 2010

TM Feb 27, 2011

Risks as well as opportunities exist in how social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are used as marketing channels. This is one of the central findings from the 2011 Irish Digital Marketing Sentiment Survey, the most extensive of its kind undertaken among Irish marketers.

It also reveals that marketing budgets continue to move online and that print advertising is losing out to advertising on a range of digital channels. Conducted by AMAS in partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII), over 400 Irish marketers participated and gave insights into how the internet is affecting them. This is the third such survey conducted by AMAS and the MII and attracted the largest response to date. The sample was drawn from across all sectors of the Irish economy and three out of five participants have budgetary responsibility for the marketing function within their businesses.

Attitudes to social media, both positive and negative, proved to be revealing. Social media is an established part of the marketing armoury and is used primarily for relationship building (84%), to create brand awareness (76%) and for listening to and monitoring online conversations about companies, brands and people (66%).

Asked to consider the impact of social media, Irish marketers recognised benefits such as:
• The ability to understand audiences better (79%)
• Delivering cost savings to the business (46%)
• Providing the opportunity to make valuable connections (68%)

There is an acknowledgement, though, that social media can have downsides such as:
• Increasing a marketer’s workload (64%)
• Concerns about damage to a company’s reputation (51%)
• The challenges of keeping up to date with what is happening in social media (52%)
• A fear of making mistakes on social media sites that cannot be corrected (39%)

Social media is regarded as highly cost-effective, as engagement through these channels does not necessarily mean an investment in a campaign budget. But it has yet to attract significant advertising revenues. In Ireland, as well as globally, social media sites are “under-monetised” – they are not turning the massive scale of their audiences into revenues on the same scale.

Rumours of the death of email are greatly exaggerated. For the third survey in succession,
email is the most popular online marketing format and is used by over two-thirds of participants. This correlates with much anecdotal evidence from Irish eCommerce providers
which report that conversions are highest, and costs are lowest, through email marketing

Social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, are the second most popular online marketing format at 55%. YouTube, despite its popularity, is still relatively underdeveloped in commercial terms – the entire video/audio online advertising format is used by only 24% of the survey’s sample. Being found in the maze of online content is a critical requirement for Irish marketers.

Search engine optimisation – the process by which sites can maximise free or organic rankings – is the third most popular online marketing format (52%) with search engine marketing (most likely Google AdWords) being favoured by 36%.

Marketing budgets continue to migrate online. With a third of the respondents are likely to spend between 1-10% of their budgets online, the largest single category of spend. Cumulatively, more than a third of the respondents say they are spending over 21% of their budgets on digital marketing.

Why the shift from traditional to digital channels?
• The ability to engage with customers (75%),
• optimising reach for campaigns (62%)
• and value for money (61%) are the most common reasons given.

Digital’s gain is at the expense of print. Some 43% of the sample said that they have moved their marketing spend away from newspapers, while 41% have moved it away from direct mail. TV, radio, cinema and outdoor have proved to be more resilient.


TM Feb 20, 2011

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines a protected area as:

"A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values."

A large number of kinds of protected area exist, which vary by level of protection and by the enabling laws of each country or rules of international organization. Examples include parks, nature reserves, world heritage sites, wildlife sanctuaries & marine protected areas. There are over 147,000 protected areas in the world with more added daily, representing a total area of 19,300,000 km2 (7,500,000 sq mi), or over 13 percent of the world's land surface area, greater than the entire land mass of Africa!

Do you want to know what areas they cover? What species and ecosystems are they protecting? Now you can explore most beautiful parts of the globe from the comfort of your own home on the World Database on Protected Areas. Moreover, you can contribute information about protected areas alongside national agencies and international organisations on

IUCN (2010) Protected Areas - what are they, why have them?
Bradshaw, CJA (2010) Failure of the CBD 2010 targets.
"Conservation Refugees" by Mark Dowie. First published in Orion, November/December 2005. Re-published in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006

TM Feb 12, 2011

In all recent doom and gloom it’s easy to forget how marvellous Ireland is! So let’s cheer for one of the friendliest and most stunning countries in the world!

TM Feb 7, 2011

Recent research of Wisconsin scientists has proven that “Guinness –really-is good for you”! Study conducted on dogs with narrowest arteries found that Guinness worked just as well as aspirin in heart attacks prevention!  Apparently antioxidant compounds in most famous Irish stout decrease harmful gathering on the artery walls. The researchers claim that a pint of Guinness at meal time has the best impact.

Now that’s wonderful news for all that dark liquid lovers, isn’t it? It prompted me to think what other health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption can be, so I conducted a little research on the subject myself. Here’s what I found
on positive aspects that various alcoholic drinks have:

·   Red wine-a definite winner!!!  Many studies has proven that effect of drinking at least 2 to 3 glasses of wine a day is  supposed to result in healthier and possibly longer life.

o  As red wine lowers the total cholesterol count and alters the blood lipid levels, it plays its part in reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases.

o  Due to polyphenols which are excellent antioxidants, wine helps in lowering total cholesterol and blood pressure, lessening risks of cancer, stimulating the immune system, and has anti-bacterial properties.

o  It has also been found to affect favourably the body’s absorption of antioxidants in food and helps metabolize fat in more efficient way.

o  Study on the presence of Helicobacter pylori, which presence has been linked to causing ulcer infections, found that those who had 1 glass of wine a day had 7% fewer of these bacteria, those who drank 2 glasses a day had 18% less, and those who drank 3 or more glasses had 1/3 fewer bacteria.

o  Research shows that red wine can decrease the risk of lung and prostate cancers, stroke, dementia, kidney stones, diabetes, macular degeneration and osteoporosis.  Spanish study even implies positive effects in fighting off the common cold!

·  Beer –its moderate consumption has been confirmed to reduce the risk of heart strokes by 20%.

·  Cognac-widens the veins and removes the headache  
o  30 ml of cognac mixed with sugar helps in case of hypertension and stenocardia (angina)
o 1 spoon of this drink soothes the nerves and removes the stress

·  Vodka-yes! There are even tested benefits of drinking small doses of this refined alcohol, such as:

o  Influencing the digestion
o  Daily consumption of 25-30 grams of vodka decreases the level of cholesterol
o  Little doses of vodka help cure the headache (large doses have quite the opposite effect though:)
Ok then, combining all the above benefits can lead to a belief that there is nothing wrong in alcohol consumption, on the contrary it can be even treated as a cure (and it was-for example under prohibition times in US cognac was apparently sold in pharmacies as a medication!).  This is of course only partially true and cannot be used as an excuse for abusive consumption, ie. a glass of wine-just to prevent a heart disease, glass of cognac to decompress and a shot of vodka (to decrease cholesterol naturally) after work is NOT GOOD FOR YOU! :)
So as a word of admonition – excessive alcohol consumption is associated with many serious health issues, including:
·         Alcohol addiction
·         Cancer (especially mouth, liver and breast)
·         Heart diseases
·         High blood pressure
·         Liver damage
·         Obesity
·         Osteroporosis
Verdict: consumption of one to two drinks per day is found to have positive effects on health.

I shall leave you now with this conclusion and toast to the Spanish research with a glass, or even two, of delightful Museum Real (just to cure my cold naturally!!!:))


TM Feb 2, 2011

Digital marketing trends

Marketers and agencies agree that in 2011 we’ll see continuation of the growth trend from 2010 in digital sector. Social media will become a mainstream engagement and influencer platform, with more and more clients realising its potential and integrating social tactics into the overall marketing strategy.

In conjunction with the social media marketing trend mobile marketing will explode. According to new research undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes one-fifth of adult population in Ireland own a smartphone and the smartphone market is set to grow to potentially 1.5 million by spring 2011. With numerous Android devices, Apple’s IPhone, Ipad, and growing tablets market (Blackberry, Motorola, HP and Ipad 2 and Android tablets to come) consumers will download even more apps and games. Location based services, event-based mobile marketing and augmented reality will be on the increase.

Digital media spend

As a result marketing leaders must shift marketing budgets towards online. Online channels are lower cost, can reach very targeted audience and are becoming more measurable, we can expect continued decline in the use of traditional media.

Digital media spend in Ireland is set to increase by up to 15pc in 2011, while overall media revenue will drop by 5pc, Accenture Media Management has predicted.
“Digital media spend is set to buck the trend in 2011 with many advertisers viewing the medium as most appropriate to the current economic environment - and the resultant budgetary constraints,” said Nina Gallagher, senior manager with Accenture Media Management:
“By its nature online advertising provides advertisers with a cost-effective and accountable alternative and many of the more traditional media segments will have to work hard to retain their share of the market. While Ireland still lags many other European markets when it comes to digital media spend, indications are that Irish advertisers will contribute to closing this gap over the coming 12 months.”
Gallagher said Accenture estimates that the total advertising market will decline by 5pc in 2011, resulting in a total market worth approximately €750m in 2011.

Overall Irish ad market expected to fall by 3pc, according to a new forecast from Carat.

The company says online revenues will remain healthy (growth of 11pc to €120m is predicted), but will increasingly move towards direct response led activity, social media and mobile, while search advertising will continue to remain robust.