Something happened somewhere along the line that we all missed.  We missed that meeting, we slept through it.  We meant to spend a bit of time getting our heads around it, but somehow it kept slipping off the urgent list.  I remember when there was no Google and I know that it’s everywhere now.  It’s just the in-between bit that I’m sketchy on.

I’m also convinced that there’s nothing we can do about it.  So, really, questioning the rights and wrongs and moralities of it, whilst it might be interesting (or not?) is kind of an irrelevance.  It rains a lot in Ireland.  In some ways I wish it didn’t, it’s pretty annoying.  In other ways I’m glad that it does, the green landscape is really beautiful.  But I’d never sit around debating whether or not it should rain so much here or not.  What’s the point?  There’s no ‘should’ about it – it just does.  Rainfall is up to God, Superman, ComReg, the BAI, ClearCast or whoever it is that regulates our weather.


Back to Google.  They’re on the cusp of being the single biggest ‘media’ vendor in this market and beyond.  As I asked at the beginning, when the hell did that happen?  It doesn’t matter when it happened.  How did it happen?  Doesn’t really matter either, it just did.  So what are we going to do about?  Well, nothing we can do about it.  They went straight to the client on this one – that is the consumer, the public, the people using the world wide web.  They voted with their traffic and that’s the way it is. 


As long as they have a monopoly on the audience, we haven’t a leg to stand on.  Imagine a world in which the biggest media vendor doesn’t give you a percentage of discount, a percentage of media commission.  No volume deal, no share deal, no early payment deal, no annualised incentive.  Even talking to them is on their terms.  Depending on which of their client categories you fit into, you get to speak with a specific layer of their sales organisation.  Thanks for your business.  Paulie in Goodfellas had a similar service ethos.


And yet, and yet, and yet…  Flip this on its’ head and is this not the best thing to ever happen to a media agency?  We don’t want to be commoditised, we don’t want a race to the bottom, we want to add value and be rewarded for more than just bulk buying media space as if it were paper clips or ink cartridges, right? We said that, didn’t we?  Alright then, let’s get on with it.  Google is a level playing field for every agency, every client, everyone who wants to do business with them.  The only differentiator is how well you use their products and services.  In other words, the only differentiator is you, the agency, through your people.  Which is what we said we wanted all along. 


So get out there and start differentiating, get a competitive advantage and leave the moral navel-gazing to someone else.

John Clancy.


Happy Christmas!


Meeting the New Year

December 13, 2011


It’s that time of year where my mind meanders towards lists. I’m not alone in this pursuit, although I suspect somewhere closer to the domestique end of list writers rather than the maillot jeune end of the spectrum, to use a cycling analogy. As most productivity style courses will tell you, there is a power to list writing, in particular in the achievement of goals. They bring with them a sense of purpose; the opportunity to refine and hone, to reflect a true ambition that doesn’t exist as a vague thought bouncing around one’s mind; and can act as a reminder and catalyst for impetus when revisited at a later time if focus has been found to be waning.

A related enabler of action is the much-maligned meeting. We’ve all been in good ones and bad ones, but invariably little gets done without having gone through a series of filters, over coffee and croissants in the meeting rooms of the land.

There is an event coming to Ireland next year that will use both of these techniques, the list and the meeting, to act as a catalyst for long-term social change. The Change Nation Summit in Dublin aims to gather 50 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs to address Ireland’s most pressing social challenges (effectively the list, albeit a far more grandiose one than my usual new year’s resolutions), and at the same time facilitate for each of them building a team of the best placed people to implement their solutions (the meetings).

Thinking of all this led me to compose my first list for next year. My desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable meetings that could/should/would happen next year were the world to be a better place:

  1. Enda Kenny meets Sheikh Mansour, owner of Manchester City, who decides that winning the Premier League, is no longer a sufficient display of his financial prowess, and that he wants to take on a small under performing country and lead them to European domination, eradicating all debt along the way.
  2. The NNI, the OMA, who knows even the odd TV station, getting together and espousing their respective media.
  3. Our legislators get together with our industry and understand the benefits that a strong advertising industry brings to our country.
  4. Media owners’ cross media sales teams, actually meeting each other in advance of presenting client solutions
  5. Robbie Keane shaking hands with John Terry in Kiev on 1st July, to commiserate with the Englishman as Ireland triumph in Euro 2012


Who knows, 2012 maybe looking better already



Giving Back

December 5, 2011

After reading Claire’s post last week about how people are now donating more than ever before, I couldn’t help but notice charity in unexpected places.  Small scale Samaritan  is a blog that was set up with the goal of giving something back. In each post, a different item is described which is being given away to the person that wants it the most. Items include sunglasses, dresses and other random pieces once bought, but no longer needed by the owner. Whoever writes in with the most persuasive case is then sent the item. A nice way of doing good deeds – on a larger scale than most.

This year, Movember saw men both at home and abroad sprouting somewhat unsightly facial hair in aid of a good cause. In 2010, 12,700 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas raised €1.6 million to raise awareness of prostate cancer and to fund research in the area. The Movember website allows people to donate money, read the live ‘mo’ tweet stream and also find about more about men’s health issues. A good site, but a great cause.

It seems that now, more than ever before, it’s easier to give something back, with online channels facilitating both individuals and organisations to do good.  The recently recorded charity single, tipped for this year’s Christmas no. 1, was put together when @BrendaDrumm crowdsourced volunteers through Twitter.   So while we’re now donating more than in previous years, is it really true that we’ve become more generous, or is it simply because the opportunities for giving are more plentiful and engaging than ever before?

Whatever the reason, in a world of depressing statistics on soaring unemployment rates and a stagnating economy, this is one good news story.




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