News & Opinions

SubscribeRecent Posts | Archive

FH Dublin Leads the Way for Irish PR at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

FleishmanHillard, which celebrates 25 years in Ireland this year, was given due praise by Phil Thomas, CEO of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity during his visit to Dublin this week to deliver his ‘Creativity Matters’ talk. In 2013 FleishmanHillard Dublin became the first Irish PR firm to win a Cannes Lion for their ‘P&G Proud Sponsor of Mum’ campaign.

Speaking at the event Rhona Blake, MD of FH Dublin said it was in everybody’s interest – both advertising and public relations – to take part. “We know our clients want to win at Cannes and we know they are using the Festival to benchmark their own creativity and are watching closely how their agencies are supporting those ambitions. As a small country we are famed for our creativity and we should apply it at Cannes too”, she said.

Phil Thomas, CEO of of the Cannes Lions Festival, Brian Melarkey, Creative Director, FleishmanHillard Dublin, Rhona Blake, MD, FleishmanHillard Dublin, Tania Banotti, CEO, IAPI and John Saunders, Regional President, EMEA, FleishmanHillard

From left to right: Phil Thomas, CEO of of the Cannes Lions Festival, Brian Melarkey, Creative Director, FleishmanHillard Dublin, Rhona Blake, MD, FleishmanHillard Dublin, Tania Banotti, CEO, IAPI and John Saunders, Regional President, EMEA, FleishmanHillard


Read Post »

Topics: · ·

Day Three (Final) Web Summit Review

Web Summit likes to go out with a bang and Thursday was no exception with Peter Thiel of Paypal and Facebook courting the crowd, followed by U2’s Bono closing out proceedings at the event dubbed #DavosForGeeks.

During the day Lorraine Twohill, global VP of Marketing for Google, discussed programmatic buying. Precision programmatic buying is a marketing goal for Google itself, having set a target of 60% of digital spend globally to be bought programmatically. Programmatic buying has some limitations and until these are lifted, Google won’t make its target easily.

As the funding competitions wound up Codacy won the BETA startup pitch, having developed an automated code review tool. Using a “freemium” model, users can check code for security issues, accuracy, coding style and other metrics and lets the user get informed of his progress through rich visuals. Codacy currently has over 3,000 users and growing.

In the ALPHA startup pitch competition BaseStone was the winner. ALPHA is intended for technology companies in early stages of development. BaseStone is based in the UK and aims to streamline communication and speed up the design review process between architects, builders and developers. Both startups won 10,000 Euros and a pitch opportunity at the Coca Cola global HQ in Atlanta.

Bitcoin made news on both the Centre Stage and the Builders Stage. Gavin Andressen from the Bitcoin foundation discussed how Bitcoin is undergoing centralized mining but this could be reversed in the future. Regulatory issues are still his main concern for the cryptocurrency as there are major countries, like Russia and China, that he feels over-regulate in this field.

Peter Smith from Blockchain talked about the company’s journey to 2.5+ million users over the past few years. He emphasised Bitcoin’s utility for Countries where the population don’t have access to regular banking and currency transfers are still prohibitively expensive. Describing bitcoin as “magical internet money”, Peter denied any work in progress to integrate with Google wallet of Apple pay.

As one of the ‘Star’ billings of the Summit, Peter Thiel played the crowd beautifully saying that the Web Summit and its participants were not a representative of “slacker Europe”. This referenced a comment he made two months ago in a Financial Times interview about Europe in which he stated that Europe was “a slacker with low expectations, held back by a poor work ethic and held back by politicians who strangle technological progress.”.

Peter also discussed his views on Artificial Intelligence and his belief that it is very far in the future. He blieves that the challenge with Artificial Intelligence is not technological, but political. He gave the example of the ‘flying car’ that he gets pitched about by entrepreneurs around one to two times per year. A flying car can happen, but since “the world of bits is not regulated but the world of atoms is heavily regulated” it can be a big issue from the regulatory standpoint.

Artists, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Paul Hewson (Bono to his mates) was the last speaker for the day and of the conference as a whole. He discussed being “the most hated person on the Internet” for the three days after Apple released U2’s latest album for free on iTunes. He believes making a lot of people that were uninterested in U2 now hate U2 is still an improvement and one that he made Tim Cook pay handsomely to make this album end up free, exclusievely on iTunes.

All in all, for an event that has gone from 400 people in a lecture theatre to a solid 20,000+ in four years is a remarkable achievement and given the numbers who headed off to hotels, pub, clubs and restaurants yesterday to make plans for Web Summit 2015, Collision 2015 in the US or Sync Conference in Asia (both siter events to Web Summit) next year will be an even bigger on for the Web Summi brand, the Technology industry and for Paddy Cosgrave.

Read Post »

Food For Thought At Web Summit

Thursday PM: It’s the final leg of the Web Summit and Bonin Bough bursts onto the Marketing Stage with a bounding enthusiasm and energy which lifts the entire room. As vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International, the world’s largest snacking company, Bough knows how to capture the attention of his audience.

He’s here to tell us about the difference between how old and new organisations operate. While newer organisations are creating growth and value at an astonishing speed, older, larger organisations need a change of culture to inject innovation into their business and to move forward. But how do you change the culture of an organization and unlock opportunity?

It has nothing to do with size, industry, geography, age or education. New organisations have tapped into a cultural phenomenon whereby they create value by breaking things and it’s all down to talent, according to Bough. He believes that you have to hack culture to create an environment that drives change – it’s about breaking your core business.

But how does Mondelez break its core business of snacking? With the explosion of mobile changing social media habits, it set out to look at the future of snacking distribution and after four days of hyper-brainstorming the team came up with the idea of vending while trending. This saw one of Mondelez’s brands, Oreo, conducting an experiment called ‘Trending Vending’ at this year’s SXSW festival, where they provided a customized consumer experience based on trending Twitter conversations.

Oreo’s vending machines used 3D printing technology and the hashtag #eatthetweet to create designs based on what was currently trending on Twitter. The result: 10,0000 attendees queued for up to two hours in the rain to create their own personal cookie and over 42 million impressions between online, print and social media. The experiment was such a success that Oreo is now taking it on the road.

Bough acknowledged that bringing to life new ideas is difficult, but that a talented team willing to not only embrace the future but to hack it is what will drive an organisation forward. According to computer scientist Alan Kay, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Bough concluded by re-coining this famous quote, suggesting that “The best way to predict the future is to hack it.” His vision should certainly provide marketers in larger organisations with food for thought.

Read Post »

Day Two Web Summit Review

The second day of the Web Summit in Dublin took the #DavosForGeeks tag seriously, with major announcements from some big players in the technology game.

Nest Labs CEO and founder Tony Fadell announced a deal that will provide Irish customers with a free Nest thermostat by signing a two year utility contract with Electric Ireland. The Irish deal is the first of several where consumers will have the cost of a Nest subsidized by their utility companies. Although Nest is now owned by Google, Tony Fadell claims it is operating independently from it’s new parent  and will not be sharing data with them. Time will tell.

OnePlus One founder and director Carl Pei was in town and announced that OnePlus One sales have now reached half a million. The low price, high specs smartphone is sold only by invitation. Pei mentioned that OnePlus One is only making a single-figure dollar amount per phone and though this is not the way the company will make money in the future, it will remain as their primary revenue stream in the short term.

Jonathan Klein , CEO Getty Images , argued that he can never see a world where intellectual property is free. Getty Images now claim that they self-disrupted as heritage and revenue model lay in the print photography age. When established it could take anytyhing up to seven weeks for approval to use images to reach their clients. Last year, the company sold 105 million images online and in real-time.

Paul Daugherty, CTO of Accenture pointed out that by 2020 there will be 50 billion digital devices around the world. This means that the Internet Of Things will dwarf the mobile industry in the near future. Meanwhile, Jeff Hagins, Founder & CTO of SmartThings criticized the lack of standards in IoT communication and asked for an open source language for local and remote access to devices.

Finally, Twitter President of Revenue, Adam Bain dismissed concerns about Twitter’s business model, saying Twitter “was just getting started”. Twitter is diversifying its revenue streams between advertising, data services and a new, currently in Beta, e-commerce function. Twitter came to an agreement with IBM to allow the technology group to use Twitter’s data in their enterprise tools and consulting services. This gives IBM access to “the largest set of public conversations available” by Twitter’s account.

284 million unique users use the Twitter site monthly and 600 million visit the site on a monthly basis. The new e-commerce product is hoping to bridge the gap between tweeting about a product and buying that product. By adding click-to-buy functionality Twitter hopes to prove that it can be a place that people buy products in addition to discussing about them.

It’s going to be hard to top that but I’m sure with Bono making the closing address and hundreds of presentations across the multiple arenas and stages we’ll see some major messages during the course of the final day, today.

Read Post »

Security & Authenticity Are Key At Web Summit

Contributed by Maria McGrath

Day 2, Wednesday afternoon and the same day that brings the news of yet another technology company relocating to Ireland.  Usually, welcoming a tech company to our shores sees government ministers and CEO’s ‘grip and grin’ opposite press photographers to announce ‘one hundred new jobs’ – not so today., the controversial social networking app which allows anonymous posting and was linked to the suicide of an Irish teenage girl in 2012 is to relocate from Latvia to Dublin.

Reflecting this news, it seems that at the Enterprise Stage at the RDS Simmonscourt, security, authentication and replacing antiquated methods of self-identification promise to be the next wave of e-products worldwide.

At a lecture entitled ‘Death of the Password?’ Emmanuel Shalit spoke about how we humans use, or more aptly misuse passwords, begging the question ‘how many have you got?’ Somewhat of a misnomer in the supposed digital marketplace where everything is so easily accessible and at your fingertips. Not so if you can’t recall your amazon password ahead of your iTunes one. Or, are you one of the clever ones, you use one password for everything? No. You’re not clever. You’re at significantly increased risk of data breach and deservedly so.

The excitement du jour suggests that hardware, your fingerprint or your retina scan will replace your password for accessing personal profiles online however as this hardware is, in many cases, prohibitively expensive, for now Dashlane has you covered with one centralised app that houses all of your passwords and changes them all individually and sporadically, you don’t even know what they are.

Interviewed on stage by Lisa Fleisher of the Wall Street Journal, John MacIlwaine CTO of Lending Club, Brett Meyers of Currency Fair and Sebastian Diemer, founder of Kreditech spoke about ‘Breaking the Bank’ – and how banking, unlike, books, music and news is the most prominent product and service yet to be fully digitised.

Banks rely on legacy software to transfer your funds abroad charging a disproportionately high and according to Brett ‘unjustified’ percentage on the fx rate. Banks rely on dated systems and the input of credit bureaus hampered by regulatory requirements to identify your credit score. This, according these FinTech experts is like using past weather to predict future weather and so – irrelevant and unreliable.

With companies like Currency Fair who allow you to elect your own rate when transferring money abroad, and Kreditech who use your digital footprint to determine if you’re a reliable borrower, and your Facebook profile to flag potential fraud, it seems banking, as we know it is a dying art.

These technology experts agree that one of the most serious challenges facing the FinTech industry that of trust. Like Bitcoin, once one variety is found to be less than honourable, the entire concept is damaged. Unlike which offers a unique ‘anonymous’ platform, the evolution of FinTech hinges on the ability to authenticate and identify ourselves digitally.

Read Post »

Day One Web Summit Review

Web Summit, now one of the largest technology conferences in Europe opened Tuesday, with the great and the good from the technology and business world, like Peter Thiel, Drew Houston and Anna Patterson flocking to the event now billed as #DavosForGeeks. This year’s Web Summit kicked off with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Paddy Cosgrave ringing the NASDAQ’s opening bell for the second year running.

Oculus VR CEO announced that a consumer version of the Rift headset is expected in the next months. As vague as that sounds, it appears to be a progress for the company that got acquired by Facebook in March, just two years after the initial kickstarter campaign.

Dropbox announced a new partnership with Microsoft in an effort to bring Office files closer to Dropbox users.

Evernote announced that a new pricing structure will take place starting from early next year. The company currently offers a free version and a $5 per month paid version of the product but this pricing decision back in 2007 was basically picked at random.

Love and Robots, a 3D printing company that specializes in personalizing, tweaking and editing products to customers’ liking won the ESB spark of genius award. Love and Robots CEO, Emer O’Daly argued that using selective laser sintering technology is positioning them in a good position against the big brands in the field like cafepress and zazzle.

And as part of the new #SportsSummit Guy Easterby described how Leinster use GPS data and player self-assessment to improve their strategies. Even though he views data analysis used in rugby as lagging behind compared to other sports, he claims that he is putting emphasis on analyzing these numbers in a sense that they can give better results, faster.

As with many events of this size, there were problems with WiFI, though for an event about the web it shouldn’t happen. The fact this was happening after 4 years of the event was criticized by attendees throughout the day. Guinness responded with some apt real time advertising, socially newsjacking the situation but the tweets have been since deleted.

Read Post »