Ger Nolan !Creative Director?

Ger is a graduate of N.C.A.D Dublin. Upon returning from the UK, he joined Dialogue in 1999 as joint Creative Director and has worked across all of Dialogue’s clients. Throughout his 25 year career he has worked across most industry sectors, national and international, which include charity, financial, automotive, aviation, IT, Telecoms and pharmaceutical.

Thomas O’Duffy !Digital Strategist & Planner?

Thomas O’Duffy is a Digital Strategist with over 16 years’ experience working across the sector. Since 1996, Thomas has provided internet consultancy services to wide variety of businesses, start-ups, private equity companies, training companies, government agencies, NGOs & charities, industry associations, celebrities and authors.

Paul Rooney !Web Developer?

Paul has worked as a Web Developer for over twelve years, starting with developing the Dublin Solicitor Bar Association’s website. Paul has worked with Dialogue on major projects for clients such as Amdocs, Bank of Ireland, Core International, Ernst and Young, Fujifilm, Independent News & Media, Microsoft, O2 and Vhi Healthcare.

Susan Ryan !Copywriter?

A UCD and DIT graduate, during her 12 years in the industry, Susan has worked with several of Ireland’s top agencies and across all disciplines – from DM, print and Sales Promotion to TV and radio. She has won a number of awards.

The pitch is broken

Three of Dialogue’s directors are attending a course this year in DCU run by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Management Institute. It is entitled Management 4 Growth (M4G) – it is set up for clients of Enterprise Ireland who are expanding their operations internationally and domestically. The vast majority of the other companies on the course are from different industries than ours, there is lots of discussion and you learn from the other participants in the course. So what does this have to do with pitching for new business you ask?

Well… when we explained to the group how our industry pitches for business, the whole class looked at us as if we were clinically insane.

Jaws opened and stunned faces starred back at us. They could not comprehend why we would impart all our experience and well thought-out thinking, putting so much time and effort and spending so much money on third parties only to be in with a one-in-five chance of winning a piece of business.

When I explained that the winning agency’s work invariably does not see the light of day* the stunned silence turned into ‘are-you-absolutely-nuts’ type of nervous laughter.

I have since had this same conversation with some other business acquaintances in different industries (including some senior client executives) and they all share my fellow M4G classmates’ opinion – we’re nuts and the agency pitch model is unsustainable.

As an industry we are killing ourselves slowly by accepting the terms that have become the norm. I have talked to number of my competing MDs at length about this issue and we are all certainly in agreement about one thing: if we continue to do what we’ve always done and expect different results, not only are we all insane, but we certainly will not all make it to the end of this recession.

The model is broken. It needs to be fixed.

IAPI (under the leadership of the brilliant Tania Bannoti) are championing change in this area. They have produced a Good Pitch Guide that outlines how a pitch should be run. Among its guidelines are requests that clients ask a maximum of four agencies (including the incumbent) to pitch for their business, that they give agencies sufficient time to turn around a pitch request and that they always ask the agencies to present face-to-face and not just in a document.

At the recent IAPI AGM, David Wethey (a UK & Ireland pitch doctor for 25 years) went further to suggest that clients should not request creative; that chemistry meetings, strategic fit, past case studies and a creative strategy should suffice. He believes so strongly about this that he now does not do business with clients that want full blown creative pitches. He is putting his money where his mouth is.

The IDMA last year launched an agency-friendly pitch initiative: It gives agencies the opportunity to showcase themselves so clients can get a feel for the type of agency they are, the type of clients they work with and the type of work they do. We have got enquiries from this but it still hasn’t stopped us becoming one of multiple agencies on pitch lists.

So what is the answer? I believe in the David Wethey model and I know most other agencies do too.

However there are two potential problems with this model:

1. Getting all agencies to agree to this and to stand strong together. I am happy to raise my hand and commit to adhering to this model. However, we can be an awful flaky bunch. There are always going to be the hungry / desperate agencies who will happily knife others in the back to succeed.

2. Some clients need to see before they believe. Will they be willing to take the leap of faith? I will be very interested in the takeout from David Wethey’s client-focused session on Wednesday next. The managing agency/client relationships session is a follow on from the agency-focused session at the IAPI AGM. He will be delivering the same message but this time to a different audience: clients…

Watch this space.

* At a recent IAPI event David Wethey (a UK & Ireland pitch doctor for 25 years) shared a frightening statistic – that more than 90% of winning work presented in a pitch does not ever go into campaign.

Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday is this weekend so if you’re American, this is a big, big weekend. Even bigger than the actual game is the excitement around the ads that are shown before, during and after the game.

To appreciate how big of a deal this potential audience of 110 milion consumers is, know that some of the biggest companies in the world including Mercedes Benz, Coca Cola, Volkswagen and Anheuser-Busch, are paying up to 4 million dollars for each 30seconds of airtime for their ads to show on Sunday.

With the stakes so high, it makes sense that advertisers want to capitalize on their investments and nearly half of the advertisers have put out teasers in advance of Sunday. This is a way of pique people’s interest before the actual ad on Sunday. But this has already caused some issues with two of the ads – Coca Cola and Volkswagen being labelled as racist by Arabs and Jamaicans respectively!

Other companies are using the ads to interact with consumers. Toyota called out for pictures of consumers on Twitter or Instagram, and will feature one winner in one of its ads. Pepsi has also asked fans for their photos, and plan to use a few hundred of them in the introduction to its halftime show starring Beyonce.
Doritos, Coca-Cola and Audi are also relying on crowd sourcing for their ads, and won’t be unveiling the final product until the Super Bowl. Doritos is running its Crash the Super Bowl contest — in which fans submit Youtube videos and viewers vote for one of the top five — for the seventh consecutive year. Coca-Cola and Audi have also released teasers for their commercials, but ask viewers to vote on the outcome. Coca-Cola’s features three teams racing for soda, while Audi’s spot stars a boy who arrives dateless to his prom but is emboldened by his dad’s 2013 Audi S6 high-performance sport sedan.

Not sure any of the 30 or so ads will beat the one from last with featuring the young boy dressed as Darth Vadar trying to start his dads Audi using his mind! Still my favourite.

Check out all the ads here

Coca Cola – Chase


Volkswagen – Get In. Get Happy.


Toyota – Wish Granted


Pepsi – Beyoncé Halftime Show.


Doritos – Crash the Super Bowl


Audi – Buddies


Volkswagen – The Force


TinyTap – Turn Moments Into Games

There are a few parents here in Dialogue, and a few of us are relatively new to the whole parenting thing. This app really appealed to us, genius in its simplicity.

Dubliners can’t live without their smartphones phones!

A recent survey carried out by PML Group and Ipsos MRBI amongst Dublin adults found out that 79% of Dubs cant live without their smartphones. Over 20% of the survey respondents seek a free WIFI location on a daily basis – when will we have Free WIFI across the City as previously mooted by Dublin City Council. This stat rose higher when younger respondents were asked. Over 50% of respondents have taken direct action in response to a poster ad using their smartphone. O2 was seen to be the most active in the area of sponsorship activity – heres to Ireland winning the Grand Slam in 2013!!

Forget Me Nots: The Network effect on Social Networks

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s recent audit of Facebook is being brought to court by a European privacy campaign group, with the group claiming that that the audit did not go far enough. Max Schrems, a law student working for the Europe v Facebook group, said Facebook was keeping deleted data on both users and non-users. The audit itself found that Facebook was broadly compliant with Irish and European law and on the back of this audit The Irish Data Commissioner is looking to carry out audits of all the major social networking companies that have operations in Ireland, including Twitter and LinkedIn.

This case touches on several aspects of Data Protection and its effect on social networks that will be relevant in the coming year. With social media monitoring site reporting that almost half the population of Ireland is on Facebook (2.2 million Irish users, 48.7% of the population) this is particularly applicable for the Irish internet market.

No less than Mark Zuckerberg has said the “wider strategic rift” between Facebook and Google occurred over their differences in the way they approach to privacy. While some commentators glibly remark that Facebook users have, by posting on the social networking site, given up any right to freedom, Zuckerberg himself would disagree.

“I think the main thing is about when people share something on Facebook, we want to give them not only the ability to broadcast something out but also change their privacy settings later and take the content down,” said Zuckerberg in a Q&A session on the newly launched Facebook Graph Search last week.

The idea that Google would not be able to respond to updates like this with the speed that Facebook would like, seemed to be the main bone of contention between the two organisations.

In the midst of these wrangles between internet giants, the European Commission is trying to update EU data protection laws to make them applicable in the Internet age. A draft was presented by European Commissioner for Justice Vivian Reding at the beginning of 2012. At the time Reding was talking about the “right to be forgotten” for users who post their data on social platforms. A completed draft of the new data protection laws is expected to be voted on in April or May of this year.

Another wrinkle that further complicates the current state of play is that a modified draft of the proposed EU data protection laws has been submitted by Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green Party member. Albrecht proposes that social networks should let users move information “from one platform to another” and that users should also be able to obtain details of what data companies hold on them, free of charge.

If these proposals were to come to pass, the impact on Facebook, especially, would be huge. Facebook’s ubiquity creates what is known as a network effect, where the more users that are on Facebook, the more valuable Facebook becomes to each of those users. The connections between the users are what makes the site work. If these connections could be somehow abstracted from the Facebook platform and exported, the dissemination of users could be devastating.

However, with the usual lobbying and pressure groups and the amount of special interests involved, it would be wrong to presume that all of these proposals will make it into law. That said, with both Zuckerberg and the EU commission talking about our “right to be forgotten” as a key issue, we can perhaps look forward to having out own personal “memory hole” where all of our internet sins can disappear.

Further reading:

Spiegel Online: Data Protection: All You Need to Know about the EU Privacy Debate

The Guardian: Facebook Graph Search: Zuckerberg reveals origin of Google privacy rift

RTE: Data Protection Commissioner to audit all major social media firms in Ireland

Bloomberg Business Week: Facebook, Google May Face Tougher EU Curbs on Data Usage

Silicon Republic: Almost half of Ireland is now on Facebook, reveals

Social Bakers: Ireland Facebook Statistics

The Verdict is in: People Like Us

According to a number of interviews carried out by Dialogue’s recent international symposium with world-leading marketers from all corners of the world, Ireland has left quite an impression when it comes to our overall reputation. Deeply rooted in resilience, we are seen as a trustworthy, honest, hard-working, powerful, passionate group of people with an underlying sense of humility and humour that is truly unique to all things Irish, as our videos show. These answers gave us an overwhelming sense of hope that we have the fighting power, as a strong-willed nation, to really continue the improvement of our economic situation. At Dialogue, it is our relentless hope and ultimate pledge to contribute all we can to the stability of Ireland’s future, as we feel we are part of the industry that will set the growth in motion. If the rest of the world thinks we are up for the challenge, why shouldn’t we be?

Check out what the world is saying about us here: