Big Data IS a Big Deal

As the inauguration for United States President Barack Obama takes place next week, we take a quick glance back at how big data and microtargeting ultimately won Obama a second term.

With a less-than-impressive performance by Obama at the first presidential debate in October, some pollsters predicted the outcome of the election to be a close, nail-biting, photo-finish result, as it appeared that Mitt Romney was gaining ground in the weeks leading up to the election. As it turns out, this wasn’t the case. On the eve of November 6th, Barack Obama won the election by, quite honestly, a landslide. While some polls made these predictions based on opinion polling results, current economic climate, complicated mathematical model combinations and even things like instinct and hunches, they might be better off basing their predictions on tarot card readings and weather patterns when it comes to the idea of accuracy. This is where the use of big data and predictive analytics can come in quite handy.

As the phrases big data, data-mining and predictive analytics continue to rise on the popularity scale of big buzzwords, we examine how this particular method proved to be spot-on for Drew Linzer, an assistant political science professor at Emory University, who posted on his website in June 2012 that the election would be won with a result of 332 votes for Obama and 206 votes for Romney. Turns out, this was the EXACT outcome of the presidential election! So, how, you ask, did he do this? Simple. He used tarot cards and weather patterns. Ok, he actually did just the opposite. Linzer runs Votamatic, a website that uses a unified statistical model to forecast election results. The forecasts update in real-time once information from new polls becomes available and provides extremely accurate predictions.

The model also uses a unique format that fills in any holes or gaps, so to speak, by looking for common trends and similarities in voter preferences from state to state. An example of this included a contest to dine at the home of Sarah Jessica Parker in New York City that targeted a small group of women aged 40-49 who enjoy small-scale dinner parties, competitions, and are attracted to celebrity-endorsed promotions. These specific characteristics mixed with predictive analytics, allowed Obama’s team to determine exactly which type of message would persuade these women to not only vote in Obama’s favour, but to donate money to the campaign, as well. This is the exact principle of microtargeting at its finest.

From the significance of social media in 2008, to big data in 2012, what do you think will be the next big trend for 2016?


Meg Goodrich
Digital Account Executive

Alarm clocks

Im a bit obsessed with alarm clocks at the moment! Im fed up of hitting the snooze button and of really annoying alarm clock sounds (on my phone). I have the annoying ones because I tend to sleep through the more subtle ones!

I used sleep cycle about a year ago and for some reason stopped using it, but recently I read about Lark in the book Overthrow. Lark started off as a vibrating silent alarm clock and now has become more, its a sleep coach. How cool is that. Lark costs money and Im not quite there in investing in my sleep, although I’m really tempted as Lark is now a coach that you can use 24 hours a day, to track what you eat as well and make sure you are getting the most out of your day. (see Lark video below)

As I looked into this space more, there seems to be a bit of a trend of brands creating alarm clock apps.

This morning I came across a new one called Uniqlo Wake Up, a social alarm app from Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo that incorporates the current weather, time and day of the week into its wake-up music. How great is that, it wakes you up and tells you its cold or raining outside! How great also that its a brand that is doing this! Love it. I don’t know a lot about the Uniqlo brand, but wouldnt it be great if people woke up every morning thinking about you!
Lufthansa have done something in Sweden, where getting out of bed is hard to do – with long months of dark days. Users of Lufthansa’s free Anywake app are woken to the sounds of a random city — if they guess which one it is, they’re rewarded with discounted tickets to that destination (See video below). There are others like this (Ramos and Wake and Shake)

What they are doing is more than offering a service, or a store, Trendwatching say that this falls under a category of brand called Brand Butlers:

“It has never been more important to turn your brand into a service. Jaded, time-poor, pragmatic consumers yearn for service and care, while the mobile online revolution (it’s finally, truly here!) makes it possible to offer uber-relevant services to consumers anywhere, anytime. Basically, if you’re going to embrace one big consumer trend this year, please let it be BRAND BUTLERS!”

Im going to take a look at Sleep Cycle again and then try Uniqlo and see how I get on. Any others I should try?

Uniqlo Wake Up


Lark Silent Alarm Clock


Growth – it’s a fact!

OK, OK – a year ending in ’13’ doesn’t sound too lucky. But Dialogue is definitely feeling positive.

We’re in the business of growing businesses. That’s why we now describe ourselves as ‘The Growth Factory’. And since we’re really confident that 2013 will see real growth, we’ll spread good news stories whenever we hear them – and here’s the first that’ll put a smile on the face of some homeowners:

So for an even happier new year, look out for more GrowthFact emails from Dialogue over the next twelve months.

All the best,
Gary McLoughlin
Managing Director

The Ghost of Christmas (Ads) Past

Christmas trees popping up in unusual places around Ireland, snowmen going to great lengths to buy gloves for his snow-gal, and the festive (and extremely stylish) journey of a woman headed home… yes, the holiday ads of 2012 are well underway, and we at Dialogue have already chosen our favourites. But besides the Spar, John Lewis and Debenhams TV spots of 2012, many people find themselves feeling nostalgic over Christmas ads from years past.

Everyone knows that the Guinness ads are just as iconic as the beer itself; snow lightly falling on St. James’s Gate as we witness beautiful scenes throughout Ireland on a silent, snowy Christmas Eve. Or who could forget the playful snow-filled scenes of O2’s 2011 ad that truly and literally illustrate the lightness felt by all when surrounded by close friends and family? The scenes from ESB’s touching ad from the 1980’s feature a young man’s homecoming whilst his ‘mammy’ happily prepares the many comforts of home; an emotional scene that conjures a lump in the throat of any person who has ever left home and simply longs for the chance to return. And finally, the classic Kelloggs Cornflakes ad will forever deserve a mention as Santa’s smallest sweetheart shares a bowl of cereal with the big man in red.

But, whether you fancy the ads where cityscapes take on the illusion of oversized pints of Ireland’s favourite stout or catching the hand of the one you love while making snow angels, it is hard not to smile when you catch a glimpse of your favourite holiday ad.

Happy Christmas from everyone here at The Dialogue Network.



John Lewis












Ireland’s Digital Future

We were delighted when our very own Conor Byrne was asked to submit a few words into IMJ talking about Ireland’s Digital Future in their recent Digital Issue. For what its worth – here’s what Conor said:

“Ireland has no digital future. Or at least its future isn’t one that should be expressed in these terms. We need to redefine our view of digital and stop thinking single-mindedly about it. Instead we need to think about what we want to do and let the digital technology get us there. Lofty and idealistic? Maybe, but as long as we continue to differentiate we stop allowing ourselves to break free from what has confined us to date.

Organizations in all industries have fallen victim to complacency, politics, in-fighting, analysis-paralysis, risk-aversion, and bureaucracy that stops them doing this. It happened to HMV, who were ideally placed to allow the technology to take them places that would have seen them thrive, they didn’t and they suffered. Argos are struggling to get their heads around it and they too are suffering. Meanwhile the likes of Teléfonica are embracing it and are almost attacking their own business model with the launch of the VoIP service TU Me. Digital is at the core for businesses like these, it’s so close to the core the lines are blurred between online and offline to the extent that its now non-line.

This is what we have done at Dialogue, we opened our doors to a new breed of ‘digital natives’ and gave them the freedom to introduce their digital DNA into the agency. For them digital is just an extension of themselves, for example, they embrace beta launches, where they test, simplify, test and simplify some more – and yes all of this is in the public domain. This allows us be a lot more agile, with campaigns almost having a start-up mentality. Without this approach most of us are doomed to clumsily translate conventional ideas into a digital format. This is bringing us to really interesting places where data, it’s not sexy I know, but it allows us to create work with our clients that delivers hyper-relevant content to people. Content that adds value to their lives, makes lives more interesting, easier, faster, smarter, more connected (or maybe less connected), more enjoyable. We have to stop allowing the digital tail wag the dog and instead look to see how we can use it to enhance experiences.

Digital needs to touch everything we do, when we get to that point then there is no need for a digital strategy, it is truly embedded and there is just a strategy. This is Ireland’s (digital) future.”

Cultural Strategy in London

Gary and myself were in London a few weeks ago, disappointingly for our wives, it wasn’t to shop for their Christmas presents. We were invited over to hear Douglas Holt speak about his book Cultural Strategy. Both Gary and myself had read the book so were really keen to hear the man himself. In the book Doug explains how “historical changes in society create demand for innovative new ideologies that upend the category’s cultural orthodoxy, driving new growth”.

Cultural strategy is a new innovation framework that provides a systematic approach that reveals new market opportunities created by historical change and guides how to craft brands that leverage these opportunities.
His list of clients is impressive, Coke, Microsoft, Jack Daniels, Mastercard, Ben & Jerrys and now Telefonica Digital.

Check out his website here, with some great case studies
Want more, buy the book here (well worth the read)

IAPI Home Truths

Dialogue MD Gary McLoughlin recently spoke at the IAPI Home Truths event which looked at how top Irish agencies are seizing opportunities in International Markets. Gary spoke about how Dialogue has been growing its international business over a number of years and and how multinational accounts are now a significant part of our business. If you missed the event you can catch up on what Gary had to say by watching this video.

Braun Electric Razors Test Labs

Most men will have seen Dollar Shave Club on the web and how they have taken the US by storm from disrupting the shaving category – get shaving blades for a $ a month. The You Tube videos have proven to be not only a hit from a viewer point of view but also entertaining.

Now Braun electric razors – which is part of P&G are trying to disrupt the category by somewhat having a play on Dollar Shave Club but also delivering a hugely impactful piece of creative. Braun are taking a stance on how your Braun Shaver can last 7 years that’s a lot of blades from Dollar Shave Club.

Digital Account Executive Intern Position

With a growing roster of Domestic and International clients The Dialogue Network is looking to expand its digital team with an Intern to fill the position of Digital Account Executive. We are looking for someone who is truly passionate about digital, so much so it almost reduces them to tears, and demonstrates this, not by crying, but through their experience to date.

Job description

As the Digital Account Executive you will work as part of the amazing client services team across a wide range of accounts. You will work closely (like really closely) with the wider digital and creative team and be expected to dazzle them with your digital knowledge. You will shine in our brainstorming sessions, you will sparkle when you help us in preparing presentations and you will wow when you are sitting in front of our wonderful clients. You will work on campaigns across a variety of different media, including mobile, rich media, microsites & social media sites.

You will get the chance to work closely with our clients, suppliers and account managers/directors to implement, monitor, optimise and report on client campaigns, as well as help build and develop new client accounts and relationships. People work best with people, so it’d great if you are a people kind of person.

You’ll be self-motivated (able to get yourself out of bed in the morning… that kind of thing), positive (we don’t do negative in here), enthusiastic (we don’t expect hi-5’s all day long, its more the attitude) and hard-working (come on, that goes without saying… right?). Knowledge of the new media industry and buckets of enthusiasm for digital media would be highly advantageous as well as a keen interest in Internet development.

Skills and Desired Experience

We are looking for a self-starter who ideally has around 6 months experience within digital marketing or can demonstrate other experience that would be relevant to this role. The ideal candidate will be educated to degree level.

The candidate, i.e. you, is expected to have an excellent understanding of the basics of digital marketing. The candidate, again this is you, will support the digital team with the end to end process (don’t you just love this kind of jargon!) of delivering campaigns / projects so must be able to demonstrate very strong communication skills, the ability to multi task and handle administration work. You may also be required to support on invoicing so you must be comfortable with numeracy. All this, whilst providing an impeccable service to the client day-to-day.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

The Digital Account Executive will be expected to fulfill the following specific duties:

  • Day to day involvement on allocated accounts
  • Daily updating of WIP (Work in Progress) across clients
  • Contact reports, estimates, forecasting, critical path development and ability to write our Chairman’s memoirs
  • Project Charter and Scoping Document creation
  • Development of digital strategies, social media strategies and social content calendars
  • A knowledge of next week’s EuroMillions numbers, we do a syndicate here so that would be pretty handy
  • Briefing and Liaising with studio to ensure jobs leave the agency on time and on budget
  • Liaising with any 3rd party suppliers on the accounts which you will work
  • Providing research for client service teams, creative teams and management when required
  • Actively seeking digital opportunities for clients and digital solutions to client briefs

Specific Skills

  • Project management – ability to multitask – prioritizing tasks and workloads
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills – we like people who speak
  • Presentation skills
  • Creative & strategic thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Self-motivated
  • Team player – demonstrated by your ability to play Jenga
  • A passion for digital communications – so much so it almost makes you cry
  • Ability to communicate, on a technical level, with digital developers – they talk a different language, don’t they?
  • Great interpreting skills – asking the right questions, challenge where appropriate
  • Excellent time management skills – we find that having a watch works well for this
  • Approachable & pro-active – please don’t growl !!!

Specific knowledge and passion for the following will be key for development within the agency:

  • Digital Strategy
  • Digital Production
  • A deep knowledge of social networks
  • Social Media Strategy and content development
  • An understanding of mobile technology
  • Online marketing and advertising techniques
  • Online media and scheduling
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) processes
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Reporting and Metrics
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Digital innovation
  • Ability to seek out digital opportunities, new technologies, trends and see how they can apply them to their role

To apply please send your CV to
Closing Date: Oct 26th 2012

Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning!

We were delighted to be invted by Jenny and Paddy of the Irish Hospice Foundation (our newest client!) to Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning today in Beweley’s Grafton Street. The Irish Hospice Foundation were celebrating their 20th anniversary of this hugely successful fundraising event.

More info can be found here

It is a great cause so if you can spare a few quid please do make a donation!