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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 15, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    Brand Ireland

    Fiona McCann

    For the week that’s in it, we asked four advertising and design agencies to create a poster to promote Ireland. Below  you’ll find what they came up with. So what works? What doesn’t? Who’s bang on the money and who’s way off the mark? Have a look, and have your say.


















    Conor and David

    • donal says:

      the term “ginger” and anti-redheadedness was started by racist British people singling out anyone who looked obviously Irish and mocking them by suggesting that having red hair was a bad thing. Why is this being posted on an Irish promotional poster?

    • Chris Carpenter says:

      To help celebrate St Patricks I once designed an ad that appeared in the national press. The craic was mighty, there was all manner of Irishness about it including a pint of the black stuff. Soon afterward, we received a complaint to the effect of “how dare we use alcohol to promote Ireland” etc etc.

      The yellow poster by ROTHCO with the pints and martini glass is just dreadful. Not only does it say, ‘come to Ireland, we love drinking, we always have’ but we’re not too shabby about it either. The stock image guy with the hat is worse, dreadful cheap looking image that further promotes drinking. Drinkaware anybody?

      Out of all of them, I like the ‘Rutilus – Caput Capitis’ poster by Cawlea New/TBWA. The image is fantastic, if perhaps a bit risque, with the flock of red hair and greenery and the hint of ‘hmm is this whats it’s really like in Ireland with mystical creatures in beautiful surroundings – come and see for yourself. It lends itself to an Ireland of folk-lore and intrigue. I would love to see a series of posters like this.

    • DJ Spider says:

      I love the Product recall poster, made me laugh, but also was one that stuck out from the others. Well done.

    • Michael says:

      My favourite one is the beach one/sense of humour.

      I like the ging-er one; but the attractive ging-er used in this poster could be clouding my judgement :)

    • tess says:

      Rothco people hit the nail on the head i love the “sense of homour” one good stuff!

    • Killian Fitzpatrick says:

      I like them all as they work well to promote Ireland, especially the sense of humour angle. The only one I have difficulty with is the entry from Conor & David as it is illegible, defeats the purpose of a poster campaign.

    • Lizmcgpr says:

      I think they are all very cynical – nature of the industry.

      Image wise I do like the CAWLEY NEA/TBWA one of the girl dipping her toe in the water, the use of the word “ging-ers” turned me off.

      Also like the humour of the beach one by Rothco – although I know plenty of better places than this in Connemara and Donegal.

      The theme of the product recall is most likely the best – well done Rothco – you cynical bunch!!

    • Maria Logan says:

      sorry Conor and David what are you trying to say? thats just AWFUL. Faves are Rothco sense of humour and the good times are back.

      We drink as a nation and we are known for drinking and having the crack so I dont understand how people get uppety when its brought to the forefront, why would we pretend to be something we are not?

    • Annie says:

      What on earth does that last ad say by Conor and David?

      “Welcome to ireland”, “product recall” and “ging-er” are my favourites. I reckon (and hope!), our cheeky sense of humour would be a rather big draw to tourists.

    • What a way to get the nation exercised!

      I like the product recall, the sense of humour and the good times are back! Well done to all concerned!

    • I love the Rothco ones – well done! Don’t get the Conor & David ones. Maybe I’m not cool and cynical enough? :-)

    • Jimbo says:

      In fairness to Conor & David, theirs is the least cynical.

      It says “We can rebuild it” which is a positive message about Ireland, with a nod to “The six Million Dollar Man”, which in turn is a nod to hi-tech industries as a way out of the mess we’re in. The graphics are also full of solutions such as windmills (green energy) etc.

      The other ones are having a laugh and are, on the most part, funny.

      But theirs is a positive, constructive message.

      A good exercise in how advertising creatives and designers approach briefs differently.

      Happy St. Patrick’s Day,

    • hub says:

      “the term “ginger” and anti-redheadedness was started by racist British people singling out anyone who looked obviously Irish and mocking them by suggesting that having red hair was a bad thing.”
      Absolute rubbish. There are plenty of non-Irish redheads in the UK so the term was never meant to single out any one specific nation.
      I’ve seen plenty of “anti-redheadedness ” here for years – especially in the schools so it’s definitely not an exclusively British thing.

    • Ciaran says:


    • Mark says:

      The irony of consumers saying that people in advertising are cynical is just gas!

      Are consumers not the biggest cynics of them all?

    • jack L says:

      All of them are pretty awful – nothing new or creative in them !!! and if this is the best we can do in the creative world then…………. the recall idea /concept is good but the text needs a lot of work. Maybe it would have been
      better to have a public competition and not just limit it to a few creative agencies. I am sure the entries would have been a lot more interesting and craetive

    • Ballsdotie says:

      The good times are black, no?

    • Orla says:

      The two Rothco ‘good times’ are great, instantly understood at the shortest glance.

    • Doogie says:

      Jimbo, in fairness the good times are back has the most positive message of them all. The idea of rebuilding the greed fuelled mess that was the celtic tiger is quite depressing.

    • Nakatomi says:

      ‘Nothing new or creative’ Bit like your music then Jack.

      I like them. Particularly the ‘recall’ one. Tough brief.

    • Frank Davis. Cork says:

      The cawley ones are a bit bland and obvious. Like the ‘recall’ one a lot. Made me laugh and it had an idea in it.

    • Noeleen says:

      Love the sense of humour and the good times are back. Totally against the use of Ging-ers as people with red hair get a tough enough time from some very insensitive people without having every tourist thinking it’s ok to call them G-ers !
      Conor & Davids last add I cannot even read so that won’t work !! Overall Rothco hit the nail on the head well done !!

    • Tí-na G says:

      Love the Product Recall poster from Rothco – quirky. The Sense of Humour poster is also a favourite.

    • jimmy says:

      These are all lame, lame, lame.

      They look like ideas that come from fringe 3rd rate ad agencies who don’t have a clue.

    • Caroline says:

      I am an American and I love the Irish sense of humor! Rothco’s creations are absolutely hilarious! My favorite is the poodle one.

      Btw, nevermind how the term “ginger” originated. It’s called a sense of humor–i.e. what the ads are going for.

    • Beyonce says:

      ROTHCO – You’ve got my vote ! Congratulations, your entries made me smile. Love the ‘home of the worlds best sense of humour’, Annie’s right this one would work well in the tourist market.

      Jack L – Good thinking, open it up to the public, problem is I really don’t think I could do as good as ROTHCO.

    • Leslie Baxter says:

      Much prefer the ROTHCO ‘sense of humour’ to the CAWLEY NEA/TBWA ‘ging-ers’….that’s just not cool ! And as for C. Carpenters idea of a series of posters ! come on… seriously, there’s no intrigue or mystery about it. (In my opinion).
      I will be drink aware, I will go out on Tuesday night enjoy a pint or martini or both and be bright as a button for work on Thursday !

      Clever work on ‘Product Recall’ ROTHCO. Congratulations to all involved.

      Happy St Patrick’s Day…


    • James says:

      Quite strange how the advert for Guinness on the front page of today’s Irish times has to say enjoy Guinness sensibly…and has to have the Drink Aware logo – yet the one on page 15, the yellow ad above, doesn’t have to… Love the double standards – although the ginger ad made me laugh it is offensive… ah the SouthPark generation.
      Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone, we need this one more than ever!

    • Grace says:

      Rothco’s are good and I agree with the comments above re singling out people with red hair..grow up and cop on, and move on whoever made this one up. Easy target and lazy creative springs to mind too. Awful creative. Silly and stupid decision making on the team who put that forward.

    • Patrick says:

      Ireland has one thing no other country has which is the shamrock and the printed green shamrock whould be on the front top left corner of a 100% IRISH product where as it be the IRISH GOVERMENT’s regester mark not only to the consumers of Ireland but the world. It that simple and it work. HELLO IRISH BUSSINESS AND GOVERMENT.

    • Shane says:

      I think Conor and Davids one has come in for some unfair criticism.

      It does take a while to work out that it says “We can rebuild it” but once you have made it out you cant help but see it.

      Besides, anything worth rebuilding is worth a bit of work.

      Easily the least cynical and stereotyped message there.


    • paul m says:

      am really surprised nobody put “going forward” on any of the posters its nearly as disgusting and as bandied about a phrase as brand ireland.

      we’re not a brand, and i certainly dont think we’re all cattle (although some people may have adopted a sheep mentality over the last few years). we may have whored our landscape to the convenience store and second rate english high street shop but please, for what we do have left to feel proud of can we not have some advers-tising folk trying to put a label on it.

      would be nice to see the Irish Times ask a load of true creative people to put forward a poster/image/prose for ireland. not as a brand buzzword but as an insight into what still makes the country special.


      Hello Patrick,
      I see you were at the whiskey last night, fair play to ye, we’re fond of it ourselves.

    • barbera says:

      If the idea doesn’t hit you straight away, then it doesn’t work. The image has about two seconds to get people’s attention. The text can either enhance the idea or ruin it — as in the CAWLEY NEA/TBWA “Rutilus” effort.

      I absolutely loved this image and especially the fair, almost translucent skin and beautiful beautiful henna hair. Perhaps the image of this beautiful creature is a little risqué in part (as pointed out by Chris @2 above) but nothing a little airbrushing couldn’t fix. The image needs no text except VISIT IRELAND or maybe RE-VISIT IRELAND (+ perhaps, in small font a tiny bit of “human child, waters, wild, etc.”). Dreadful, dreadful “ging/ers” reference.

      There is nothing like a beautiful woman to represent a country, cf the Scottish Widows ad. I would have thought Perhaps a dark raven-haired Rosaleen in black and green velvet gear, maybe ‘copper-fastened’ with a Celtic broach/clasp – this dark Irish beauty could be placed in various situations, even drinking a glass of plain — so many possibilities.

      Disappointing, overall the lack of creativity in all the efforts. None of the designers took it to the next level, in my opinion. As for that first image (again by Cawley & the gang) — nauseating; this kind of image has got to be erased from the national psych; and that last one (by Conor and David) only serves to remind us of just how bloody difficult it is going to be to rebuild “it”.

    • david says:

      Love product recall – love that it includes ‘if you want to be Irish’. Love ‘ging-er’ (not in the least offensive if you ask me), beautiful and funny. Love good times are back and home of a sense of humour. And the we can rebuild it – tho it took a while to work it out.

      If you think about campaigns for other nations, I think all of these are unique and a ‘sense of humour’ seems to be what most have identified as the selling point. With the current global crisis I find that interesting. Lets hear from more readers based abroad…

    • deirdre says:

      the product recall ad by Rothco is great-it really captures the witty Irish sense of humour. well done creators!

    • barbera says:

      PS. In general, in my opinion, a lot of work has to be done on the particular shades of green that we use to represent Ireland/Irish. It is imperative that we move away from “vile” in the green spectrum, as in “Kelly/Leprechaun Green” and towards more refined, muted tones, as, for example, “India Green”, which is the green shade on the lower band of the Indian National flag. That is a classy shade, in my opinion.

    • Dave says:

      In my opinion the vast majority of these comments are incredibly, how can I put this delicately… up your own asses!

      Shows a bit of creativity and long lost humor. two things that find it hard to shine through in this country

    • Sarah says:

      If these are supposed to promote ireland then they don’t seem to be on brief – most of them seem to be simply referencing the ‘current climate’ in in funny ways, which, while clever, is hardly promotion,

      Of the ones that are actually promoting Ireland Saol Now On is the best I think, though would be lost in translation in an international market.

    • Marks says:

      i liked the ginger one, but i am definitely biased and would like her number :) .

      The first one, well, pardon the pun, old hat. Once again, green beer in hand. I looked at the ad and thought: The same old same old stereotyping.

    • John Gallen says:

      That first one by Cawley Nea looks like it was put together by some sort of racist, narrow minded bigot ! Huge ‘F’ for Failure. I’ll go further and give it an ‘O’ for offencive for it’s lack of anything, it’s vacuous musings. Super duper Fail.

      Conor and David worked too hard and forgot that someone else would have to read it. Lots of cool stuff in there but a poster it is not. Big Fail.

      DDFH&B. Boring nonsense we’ve all seen before. WTF? Mediocre fail.

      Product Recall – that is a press ad. If it were a poster I would have ran a red light and caused an accident trying to read it. Humorous, but… Lame fail.

      Saol Now On. Yawn. Boring fail.

      Sense of Humour. Nice idea, badly executed. Small fail.

      Nothing wrong with the ginger one, why are people complaining about that?… so, no mind of the ginger complainant for they be a whinger. Pass.

      The Good Times Are Back. I love it. Yes, we drink and so what if we do. The one with the sheep and the dog works just as well as the drink one showing the idea has many applications if put into a real life execution. Feck the begrudgers. I laughed at both. …but, why yellow? Is the day not green?

    • paul m says:

      @ 38 Dave,

      “Shows a bit of creativity and long lost humor. two things that find it hard to shine through in this country”

      And of whom do you speak that are showing a nation seemingly bereft of humour and creativity? The ad people? Clearly you possess a wonderfully dark sense of humour (or humor depending on your north atlantic positioning system), because the day we need an ad poster to tell people we’re creative, and a little bit funny/cheeky, well… we may as well pull the plug and scuttle the good ship Eire.

      But in the meantime if anyone’s in search of that hard to find creative light, If you pop down to Merrion Square at sunset you may be lucky to see it shining out of Wildes arse. Hopefully its a sign that we’re back in business. Yahoou!

    • Fiona says:

      Rothco’s contributions are so far above the others: they are clever, witty, self-deprecating – all supposedly the characteristics that draw people to Ireland. The others are uniformly dreadful.

    • barbera says:

      Very nice Google doodle today, for St Patrick’s Day. Nice shade of green. Nice Celtic design.

    • ulick says:

      Anyone that thinks that the mention of red, or ginger hair is offensive, harbours some sort of thought that there’s something wrong with red hair themselves. There are plenty of gorgeous and distinctive red heads around our country. Infact, the hottest girl in my office is a red head! I also don’t think any of them are cynical really (if you think about them! that’s if…), they poke a bit of fun (isn’t that one of our endearing traits?) but the overall messages in them are positive (including the ginger one!!), forward thinking and upbeat – especially ‘the good times are back” and “saol now on” – what a beautiful thought. The real cynics are the people giving out about the busy creatives who volunteered their time to do this work. I’d love if a few of them put their money where their mouth is and have a go themselves (Barbera in particular – sounds like one of those really annoying fools that not only have no idea they’re fools, they think they’re smarter than everyone else!). Having said that… On the downside i’m not crazy about the photo in the plastic paddy one from Cawley Nea TBWA or the quotations mark one from DDFH&B (great names by the way – they really roll off the tongue!).

    • PAUL says:

      Like the imagery of the ad with the red haired girl but hate the ginger reference. I agree with Donal, this mortifying trend of ridiculing red headed folk allegedly has its origins in British colonialism. Depressing that’s it’s now being used by an indigenous Irish ad agency, nach bhfuil aon fein-muinin againn faighte ina dhiadh an Tiogar Ceilteach?

    • Aanee says:

      You really made my day
      I just came across this post and the ad
      “The Good Times Are Back” made me roar laughing and I am smiling since.

      I wondering what type of ad will we get this forecoming St Paddy Day?
      One thing of certain we will always keep our sense of humour even in the dullest of days

      Kindest Regards,

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