Creative Committee


Mark Nutley


Stephen Quinn


Ray Sheerin







Who is on the Committee?
Mark Nutley, Creative Director at Irish International Ray Sheerin, Managing Director of Chemistry and Stephen Quinn, Managing Director of Atomic.

What is the Committee concerned with?
The committee aims to be a creative voice on the IAPI Board. To hear and express the concerns of the creatives within the industry. To encourage the raising of creative standards. And to promote the value of commercial creativity to Irish business.

What are our Goals and Objectives in 2016?
Through 2016 we plan to open lines of dialogue with Creative Directors. To plan and announce an event which will promote the industry as a career option and as a showcase for Irish commercial creativity. And to promote greater participation by the Irish Advertising Industry in the Cannes Festival of Creativity.

Get in touch!
You can contact members of the committee through IAPI or directly by email:

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Pitching Committee – Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?


Jimmy Murphy


Patrick Meade







Who is on the Committee?
Patrick Meade, Managing Director of Boys & Girls and Jimmy Murphy, Director of Publicis are mixing up the pitching committee this year.

What is the Committee concerned with?
Normally, we’re concerned with improving the pitch process and we’ve had some notable victories in this regard in the last year. This time however, the theme is the not pitching. We feel that far too much good work, money and emotional energy is expended on pitches that never needed to happen. It’s debilitating for agencies and ultimately, the good clients have to pick up the bill in the form of increased agency cost.

What are our Goals and Objectives in 2016?
The objectives for this year are to run a series of initiatives to help clients and agencies work out their differences. This will include highlighting the downside of pitching, giving both clients and agencies solid advice on working things out and also hero’ing the good relationships; clients and agencies who’ve been blissfully happy (or even had their ups and downs) and emerged stronger and more effective.

The Work Plan
We’ll start off proceedings with a survey to work out the real cost of pitching in April/May, we’ll follow up with a video of advice from solid agency and client relationships in the summer and we’ll end the year with an event showcasing the success stories.

Get in touch!
As always, we welcome your input. The first thing you can do is respond to the survey when you get it. If you would like to contact us in the meantime, please do –


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Digital Committee – The Digital Rising


Patrick McConville


Garret O’ Beirne









Who is on the Committee?
Garrett O’ Beirne, Group Digital Managing Director of Omnicom Media Group & Patrick McConville, Director of Digital at Starcom.

What is the Committee concerned with?
The use of technology in our daily lives is the ‘new normal’ – the digital revolution has happened, consumers have been mobilised and the call to arms is being heard by clients and agencies alike. The IAPI Digital Sub Committee have developed a workplan that aims to put digital media, data and technology firmly at the heart of IAPI in 2016. Technology is continuing to drive forward and we need to keep members up-to-date with developments so that they can continue to create, innovate and grow their client’s businesses, and their own.

What are our Goals and Objectives in 2016?
From an advocacy perspective the ‘Guide to Finding the Right Agency’ will receive a refresh and include guidance on best-practice for conducting digital branding and web development pitches. IAPI will also continue to work with other industry bodies to help establish agreed standards and move towards a consensus on the big issues facing digital as its development continues. As agencies we are one part of a broad interdependent digital ecosystem, in 2016 we will be working with UCD’s Innovation Academy to ensure that the needs of agencies, and our clients, are considered early by start-ups as they develop their products.

IAPI member agencies will only continue to thrive if we can attract the best digital talent and ensure that a career in advertising is seen as providing an innovative, creative and rewarding. With this in mind, the Future Heads, ASKvertising Graduate Recruitment Showcase will include a specific focus on data and technology roles in agencies and will aim to attract interest from a wider and more diverse pool of talent.

In 2016, a century on from that other significant revolution the enormous significance of which wasn’t fully appreciated by its contemporaries, our industry is coming to terms with its own revolution. This is a revolution that brings great opportunity for agencies. Digital is empowering and augmenting our creativity as an industry and the digital work programme for IAPI in 2016 seeks to help all members get the most out of it – so get involved.

The Work Plan
The focus of the work plan in 2016 will be to support members in three key areas: Training, Advocacy and Recruitment Outreach.

The training aspect of the digital workplan kicked off in February with the ‘Social Media Measurement Training’. Coming up soon is a session on ‘Strategic Planning for a Connected World which will be of interest to anyone looking to develop their capabilities in non-linear planning. Also on the schedule is an interactive workshop showcasing the off-the shelf opportunities for technology integration offered by ‘The internet of things’.

For those not able to make it to the industry’s big global gatherings we’ll make sure you are not missing out. The latest in data-driven creativity from Cannes will be showcased as part of the annual Canneanalysis event. Following the success of Canneanalysis we have added an update on the latest technology trends emerging from Austin at SXSW 2016 to the schedule.

The Design Thinking Masterclass will be returning and it gives the chance to take a deep-dive into the prototyping and design process that so many of our most successful tech start-ups use to develop market disrupting innovations.

Get in touch!
If you have any questions or events you would like to see take place please get in touch:

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Media Committee: a focus on resourcing & skills


Emma O’ Doherty

Who is on the Committee?
That’s me, Emma O’ Doherty! However I work closely with the Digital committee and call on other media agency personnel from outside the IAPI Board as required.

What is the Committee concerned with?
As we come into a year filled with more confidence and increased advertising investment there are still some ever present concerns from our media agency members – namely staff resourcing, recruitment and retention. The cost of resource did not decrease during the recession and with increased competition from the global tech companies and a small talent pool the majority of agency MDs have cited this as their number one concern in 2016. In terms of managing existing resource, two areas have been raised; (1) media auditing (particularly digital auditing) and (2) media training.

So what are our objectives and goals in 2016?
Namely to assist our media agency members in three areas:
1. Recruitment – showcasing media as an attractive career option
2. Advocacy – working with the media auditors to assist in managing agency resource; working with Nielsen to continue with improvements in investment reporting
3. Training – more media focused events

The Work Plan 

Recruitment – showcasing media as an attractive career option

IAPI already has a graduate communication programme in place and in 2015 commissioned and promoted a campaign What If? to encourage more people to consider advertising as a career. However, there is a distinct need to pull out media as an attractive career path within advertising – too often those leaving school or college do not know it is a sector for consideration or understand the wide skill-sets required within media agencies.

In April 2016 media will form a key strand of the Future Heads ASKvertising graduate recruitment showcase; with younger members of the media industry answering questions and pitching directly to those who come along.

Across the summer we plan to pull together a working group to design media-only collateral to drop into schools and colleges for the new term in Q3 – focusing on great career stories, what we do and the type of skills we need.

Advocacy – auditing resource & investment reporting improvements

In 2016 we will continue our engagement with both the Media Auditors and Nielsen to ensure improvements on behalf of our members. Media auditing resource management has become an area of concern and there is also a lack of understanding with regard to the demands of digital auditing. IAPI has already begun to engage with auditors and in Q2 plans on creating principles and timelines for all to work with.

Nielsen continues to work with our members to improve its investment reporting service Addynamix. In 2016 we will be rolling out new radio methodology and continuing to look at the digital offering.

Training – more media focused topics

Whilst IAPI tries to ensure a balanced training programme, focused on the current and future demands of the industry, there have been concerns raised about the lack of media bespoke topics. 2016 sees increased focus on digital training, a theme started in 2015, as well as a review to source relevant content for bespoke media sessions for late 2016 or early 2017. We will also look for media thought leadership topics to encourage more senior level involvement in IAPI’s training programme. We would love some input from our members as to what they would like to see on the programme so please do get in touch.

Get involved! 

If anyone is interested in getting involved in any of the areas mentioned above, would like more information, or simply like to make a suggestion, then please feel free to contact me at or on 01 4150300.

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Balancing local culture and global truths in Africa

One of the first campaigns I ever proposed for an African market was done before I even moved to the continent. My plan was to bring it with me as an amazing first act to set myself up. The print ad featured a bunch of African kids in cut off jeans leaping into a reservoir with various rocks and dilapidated bits sticking out of it – all high jinks in childhood Utopia as the sun beat down overhead.

The work was meant to be a feelgood reflection of how things were for a low income purchaser of food products and was meant to play its part in creating affiliation with the brand in question. We showed it to our client in London as part of the overall campaign and it got nodded through.

When it finally made its way down to South Africa for presentation to the local clients, things didn’t go as smoothly. I was doing the sell and as happens when you’ve been at this for a while, I became aware of a thin, invisible wall of negativity slowly enveloping me as I stood there radiating enthusiasm about the piece.

The feedback started coming. The low income consumer in South Africa doesn’t want to see pictures of everyday reality or a romanticised version of how European agency folk think they live their lives. If you’re going to show local kids in the water, then give them a nice environment rather than some aquatic junkyard where people with no money go to swim. I protested that this was a ‘special’ place. A sort of Huck Finn childhood paradise – away from the sterile, structured world of swimming pools and more fun for it. This was real childhood dammit! The ad continued to flop and my survival instinct prompted me to abandon the sinking ship after also throwing in the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ card to no effect. As time has elapsed, I’ve realized that the commentary was right in this instance – if you’re advertising to the emerging market – as a rule, make it aspirational. If you want to reflect their own reality back to them, it has to have some appealing drama in it.

Coming out of the session, I felt a sense of gnawing dread. The kind of unease where you’ve just had a big meeting, everything has somehow been batted back to you and you have no plan for solving it. Meanwhile the clock is ticking slowly, inexorably towards the new deadline…

I was worried because my lexicon of European knowledge and insight about consumers wasn’t quite hitting it. People were too different and I didn’t have the insights or the understanding to develop further work that would do the job. But the great thing about insight is that it can be ferreted up. So time to get out there, understand and reframe the thinking.

There followed a series of forays into townships to spend time with people, understand their lives, wants, needs and desires.  For sure there were many differences to the C1C2 mothers that make up the bedrock of most FMCG advertising in London where I had come from.  Initially I got bogged down in the cultural references, colloquial terms and practices that were new to me.  Religion plays a much bigger role in people’s lives for a start. Unfortunately with crime, HIV and road deaths, so do funerals (the biggest ‘social’ activity in the country). And the most aspirational job? Chartered Accountant. That one hit me from left field but was borne out in the quant data, so fact.

Trying to figure this all out, I sat back in the sofa of one Soweto house, waiting for a cup of tea and caught the soap opera playing on the TV in the background.

‘Generations’ is themed, funnily enough, on an advertising agency although they never seem to get around to making any ads. That’s because the cast is too busy trying to get ahead, gossip, backstab each other, have affairs and get married / divorced. Actually a fair rendition of life in a typical agency. But as we all know, the work also needs to get out alongside the shenanigans – something the production team seems to have missed in their scripting. Anyway Generations was showing exactly the same old stuff that you see on Eastenders or any of the other options out there. For sure there was a different cast and backdrop but the material was the same. So while there’s plenty that’s different about the South African consumer compared to the European one, there’s also plenty that’s the same and in fact, getting a bit more universal and philosophical about it, there is more that unites us generally as human beings, races and cultures than separates us. As an ad man striving to make work with broad populist appeal, that is a great thing to experience and I’ve seen it across all of the markets I’ve lived and worked in – France, UK and finally down here.

When I got started in Africa, there was a lot of resistance to ‘global’ work. ‘It’ll never work here’ was the refrain. ‘Nigerian customers won’t relate to that scenario’. But then we’d reshoot the ad in question anyway with a Nigerian cast and backdrop. Not everything worked but a lot more did than we had originally imagined and every concept that translated across well was based on something simple and culture neutral.

Because the reality is that all parents worry about their children being able to achieve their potential in life, disgracing the family name, being happy, settling down. On a personal level, most people like the idea of meeting the right partner, finding security and certainty in life, being in control of their destiny, prevailing over adversity and having their sense of humour tickled from time to time. Everybody also wants to feel and appear strong but lives with a range of vulnerabilities which they try not to expose too much. Most good stories, good movies and good ads all rely to a degree upon such principles.

Named after psychologist Bertram Forer (1948), the ‘Forer effect’, is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. When this is researched in different markets by reading people a list of broad yet seemingly specific statements such as ‘You are extrovert, but prone to bouts of quiet introspection’, people tend to take the statements on board as specific and unique to them. That shows many things but one of them is that we see ourselves in quite similar ways – strengths, weaknesses etc.

So where does that all leave us? Well, I went back with an ad where the kids were graduating from chartered accountancy school because they’d eaten good wholesome food that fed mind and body. It was met with rapturous applause and was up on billboards before you could mutter ‘Huck Finn could’ve worked…’.

Emmet_Couch_New (002)

Emmet O’ Hanlon is CEO of DDB South Africa – a top 10 agency in the market. He develops work for a range of Africa’s leading brands across the continent.


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My experience of the EACA Summer School

What is the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) Summer School?

blog2The EACA International Summer School is an annual, week long school run in July and is held in a different European city each year. I was lucky enough to take part in the Summer School 2015 when it was held in Seville and was on the winning team in the advanced course. It was a fun but challenging week.

It is a week spent learning many of the key skills you will need to work successfully in the advertising and communications industry and comprises of interactive workshops that are given by leading advertising professionals in the industry such as Steve Henry and Richard Robinson. It is run over 5 days, Monday to Friday, and usually starts at 9 and finishes at 6 each day with an hour lunch. It is split into three groups: advanced, foundation and digital.


On the first day you are put into teams and are given a brief from an international client to work on over the week and on the final day you pitch your idea in front of a judging panel comprising the client, EACA’s Director General and EACA’s School Principal, as well as an agency representative.

On the first morning of the course everyone met at the university and from there we took a field trip to visit our client Barbadillo. Barbadillo is the industry leader in sherry and manzanilla wine exports and is one of the oldest family businesses in Spain. Here we were given a tour of the Barbadillo wine cellar and after watching a presentation about the company, we were given our brief for the week. After lunch we headed back to the university and had our first workshop. In the evening we had welcome drinks where the students and lecturers had a chance to mingle and I got to know the members of my team.

My team consisted of Rebecca, an Account Manager at Sudler & Hennessey in London; Roman, a junior marketing consultant at Jung von Matt in Zürich; Stephanie, a Media Planner at OMD Worldwide in Zürich and Sara, an Account Executive at Ketchum Public Relations in Rome. We decided to meet up later that night and start to work on our brief as we only had four days before we had to pitch to our client. For the remainder of the week, we would socialize after college and work on the project.


During the week we would also have to attend two 3 hour workshops per day which were inspiring and often challenging and usually we would be assigned various tasks. For example, in one workshop, ‘Breaking the Rules of Creativity’ with Steve Henry, we would be put in our project teams and given 20 mins to brainstorm ideas for a campaign for the search engine ‘Bing’ and then we would have to go in front of the class and present our ideas. This was one of many tasks during his workshop, and there were similar tasks in the other workshops during the week all of which were to push you out of your comfort zone and test your creativity.

On the Friday morning, before our main pitch, we had one final workshop, ‘Connecting your content to your audience’ with Siobhan Stanley, who had a long career as a ballet artist before moving into advertising and working with Saatchi and Saatchi for many years. Here she shared her insights and knowledge of performing and communication and gave us lots of vocal exercises to help us before we did our pitch.

After lunch, we had our pitch presentations. There were 8 teams in total doing the advanced course. Each team had roughly 10-15 mins to do their pitch and then answer questions from the judges. When everyone was finished presenting, the judges went off to deliberate and we all came back together an hour later for the result. Each team was given feedback until eventually a winner was announced, and we were the winning team. Each of us was presented with a trophy and certificate.

In the end, I would have to say the Summer School was a great experience and winning the competition made it an unforgettable week. While it was intense at times, overall I learned a lot. It gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the leading advertising professionals in the industry and meet new people from other European advertising agencies.

The only downside was that we could only work on the client project in the evenings as we were in college till 6 most days, so there was a lot of pressure to get it done in 4 evenings.

I would highly recommend the course to other students or to anyone working or hoping to work in advertising. It is a fun and challenging week where you will probably get very little sleep, but you will leave feeling inspired and having learnt a great deal about the real world of advertising.

Paul Shinnors is a designer working for Ignition in Dublin.

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JNLR Update from Michael Clancy

The JNLR committee in 2015 has focused mainly on the day to day issues affecting the construction and reporting of the survey.  While larger more progressive issues have been examined, such as digital measurement, using ‘peoplemeters’ or smart phone apps, there is currently no appetite, to fundamentally change way radio is measured.

Radio wave

Survey construction

Over the past 6 months, there have been changes made to the SIG (Special Interest Group) part of the JNLR questionnaire and to the reporting of the JNLR data come publication day.

Firstly, the SIG questionnaire was amended in July 2015. New questions were added to help create a picture of cross media consumption in Ireland. The SIG questionnaire collects greater level of detail about the types of music being listened to – respondents are asked how frequently they listen to personal music, audio streaming services and podcasts. The survey now also includes questions relating to on demand video content, live vs. recorded TV viewing and establishes the frequency with which respondents engage with and share content through social media.

With the launch of both the Irish Radio Player and Apple Music’s ApMichael_clancyple Beats 1 in 2015, the JNLR survey also aims to establish how often these types of services are being consumed among the Irish population aged 15+.


The latter part of 2015 also saw a change to the JNLR reporting structure. The JNLR App was suspended, pending an ongoing review by the JNLR Management Committee from April. This provided an opportunity to review the way in which the JNLR data was being used amongst the radio community. It was decided that an Executive Summary report was to be made available to the User Group. This report contains Reach and Share data for all stations for key audiences similar to the Press Release but available at the earlier time of 12.45pm. In order to be of greater use, the JNLR Infographic, also produced by Ipsos MRBI, was also made available at 12.45pm rather than at 5pm.

Moving forward to 2016, in addition to the changes outlined above, the publication time of the JNLR report will change to 11am on Wednesday, instead of 12.45pm on Thursday (These publication dates can be found on the JNLR website). As usual, the press embargo remains in place until 5pm.

Company Incorporation

It is felt that the way the JNLR currently operates, as a club of members rather than a legally incorporate body puts it at a disadvantage when it comes to sanctioning members for offences such as breaches or late payment.  Furthermore for signing up to initiatives such as cross media are hampered by a club structure.  The committee is investigating becoming an incorporated company.


The Committee has accepted an offer by Ipsos/MRBI to roll over the contract for 2016 on the existing terms. If the contract goes to tender, this will be the best option to look at digital measurement as an option.

Michael Clancy is Managing Director of Mediavest and the IAPI representative on the JNLR committee.

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Big Data – Too Much to Process

1374_490717871023065_1545987716_nThe topic of ‘Big Data’ has been sparking industry-wide debate over the past few years as to the limits of its potential; advertisers and researchers alike have confessed both their excitement and bewilderment over its capabilities. To some, Big Data has the power to help generate meaningful consumer insights, test bolder concepts, and quantify creative work.

Additionally, it can provide agencies with a bigger safety net, making it easier for creatives to take bigger and bolder leaps within agencies. Others contend that too much excitement is placed on its potential, perceiving the term itself primarily as a buzzword. The topic is widely discussed, yet ambiguity even lies within a shared understanding of the term’s core meaning. I spoke to Les Binet, co-author of the IPA published: The Long and the Short of It, to add some clarity on Big Data’s place within advertising as well as a few other things. Read More

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JNRS Committee update

Head Shot - Jessica KingSome might say that press is being taken over by digital in this day and age however, it is still very much a prominent part of our lives as both media experts and consumers.

The JNRS committee has been working hard this year to ensure that all planners and clients are getting the best out of the survey in order to deliver the best press plans for their client’s needs.

I joined the JNRS committee about a year ago and really hit the ground running. There were a number of issues I had wanted to bring to the table but when I went to my first committee meeting, I found that most of them had actually already been discussed before my arrival. This was a great start for me as I knew everyone else was on the same page. Read More

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Digital Specs, the bane of our lives

Pic of Leonie HowlinDigital specs, the bane of many of our lives are about to be standardised and in one place! An online directory that will be accessible to Irish media and creative agencies also supported by industry news will be hosted on The site has been designed and UX has been completed but due to unforeseen circumstances the partner due to build the site has had to withdraw so we are looking for your help!

 Essentially the site will require publishers to fill out templates of their specs in a standardised manner which completion from supplier side will be driven by Leonie Howlin of ZenithOptimedia. The rest of the site is quite basic including a simple homepage

If you have additional resource over the coming months to help out with this project please contact

Leonie Howlin is Senior Digital Media Manager in ZenithOptimedia

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Contact IAPI

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Dublin 2, D02 CD51, Ireland.
T: 01 676 5991

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