The Week in Influence 26th Sep

September 26, 2012

The Week in Influence 26th Sep


Over a year ago now, Enda Kenny attacked the Vatican in an unprecedented manner. Yesterday he disrespected the Pope again, but this time in a manner all too familiar – by means of mobile phone. No, he didn’t berate him by telephone call, nor did he send him a nasty text. He simply ignored him, in favour of his iPhone. Maybe he was being intentionally disrespectful, but in all likelihood, he didn’t think twice about it. For many, this is now a natural way of behaving.



Technology is changing how we interact, all the time. Of course, we interact through technology, but technology also affects how we interact in person. In the past, when you were at a presentation, your attention was on the presenter. Now, it’s usually on their slides.  When you were at a dinner, or a lunch, the only thing that might interrupt proceedings was a waiter or a trip to the bathroom. Any meeting can now be interrupted by a call, email, text, tweet, Whatsapp, Heytell, Facebook message…..the means are endless.

The readiness with which people will embrace outside communication in a meeting is a function of many things; how important the meeting is, how much of their attention is required, what urgent issues they are simultaneously dealing with, and ultimately, how much respect they have for the person or people they are meeting (and how easily they’ll be forgiven).

Some of this is forgivable and some is not. Trying to look busy and important, for example, is not forgivable. Happening to have an emergency on the boil while you’re at another meeting, is understandable. A quick; ‘I’m very sorry, but I’m going to have to keep an eye on my email and might have to take a call during this, please excuse me if I do’, doesn’t take much. 

Maybe I’m being overreacting. Recently at a planning day, one member of our group spent much of his time on his iPad, presumably reading and writing emails. He wasn’t crucial to proceedings, so apart from being vaguely miffed, I thought little of it. It transpired a few days later that he was in fact, taking detailed notes. My bad. I should actually have been flattered. 

So maybe Enda Kenny was taking detailed notes, or maybe he was using Voice Record to capture ever word. But, people should take more care in considering the impression they give in these situations. When they’ve accepted a meeting invitation, it shouldn’t be too much to expect their undivided attention. 




The Week in Influence

September 18, 2012

The Week in Influence

The Battle for Smartphones

September 18, 2012

The battle for smartphones

The launch of the iPhone 5 has seen the usual rush to find out information on the new devise and users scrambling to pre-register to buy one. Smartphones are becoming so important in everyday life in Ireland that more and more mobile apps that make our lives easier are being advertised in offline media. From public transport apps, to taxi apps, to apps that help you join in with your favorite TV show, the smartphone that you use allows you to orgainse your life and interact with friends and brand like never before. The chart below shows the search volumes in Ireland for the term ‘iPhone 5’ over the last year and illustrates the demand for such a high end product. From the first whispers in 2011 (which turned out to be the iPhone 4S) users have been keeping tabs and looking for information on when the devise will be launched, right up to September 2012 where we see a sudden surge in interest as, despite no official word, ‘leaks’ about the new devise began to emerge.


Smartphone penetration in Ireland is currently estimated at somewhere between 40-60%, depending which resource you reference, and is generally high when compared internationally. The US is estimated to have reached 50% penetration in March 2012 according to Nielsen. There are endless reports and stats that show how important our mobiles are in our daily lives, for example:

  • A mobile phone is the most important digital possession to a 10 – 15 year old (Amaze Generation Study)
  • Users are switching to mobile devises for research, as mobile phone and tablet searches have more than doubled since July 2011 (eDigital research)

and these reports and trends show the importance of mobile devices to consumers. So it is clear to see why there is such competition for top end mobile phones. Top smartphones sell for hundreds of euro in some cases, and their appeal is enough to sway users from one mobile operator to another. The competition at the top end of the market was exemplified by the recent court battle (one of many) between Apple and Samsung over patent rights., which Apple have won.

Battles for patents go on mostly behind the scenes, while the battle for the consumer is out in the open. With the run up to Christmas traditionally the biggest for mobile phone suppliers, and the launch of the iPhone 5 being so close to the recent Samsung offering (Galaxy SIII), it is no surprise that the two biggest mobile phone manufacturers would try to out-do each other. Below is a recent ad from Samsung highlighting the benefits of the iPhone 5 in comparison to the Galaxy SIII, run in press last week according to Mashable.

People feel so strongly about their mobile phone of choice that conversations, and arguments, can often be heard in offices about the merits of one phone over another. Samsung clearly feel that a debate over benefits and features is one that they can win. The run up to Christmas promises to be interesting.






September 11, 2012

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard about the attacks, me? I had just started secondary school and was making my way from French class to P.E. Odd that I can remember that but couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday!

It hadn’t really dawned on me that today was September 11th until when listening to the radio this morning I heard that US President Barack Obama and his rival Mitt Romney have pulled their attack ads on each other as the country marks the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. 

I also hadn’t realised that many of the major American broadcast and cable news networks went ad free on September 11th following the tragedy. In 2002 for example a Kantar study revealed that ad spending on local, network and cable TV totalled $57.8 million on September 11th a whopping 54.6% cut from the average amount spent in the five weekdays prior to that date.

It got me to thinking what have advertisers done to mark the passing of September 11th? Over the last eleven years there have been a number ads centred around the theme of the attack, some good, others bad and some just downright ugly – 

The Good

One of the most revered advertisements comes from Budweiser who remade their 2002 Superbowl ad which featured the Clydesdales paying their respect to New York City. The new version is almost identical except when the horses kneel in respect one World Trade Centre can be seen under construction. Although not everyone liked the ad, it is certainly amongst the most tasteful I have come across. Add to that the fact that it was aired only once, to mark the tenth of the anniversary of the attacks I think Budweiser are one of the select few to get it right.

The Bad 

On the sixth anniversary of the attacks, the Khaleej Times, “the No. 1 English language daily paper published in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,” ran this full-page, anti-smoking advertisement as a matter of ‘public interest’ to remind us that smoking is much worse than 9/11.



The Ugly

According to Brazilian mattress company Ortobom Mattresses it’s your lousy mattress, not your memories of September 11th that are keeping you up at night. To me, this is amongst the most distasteful of the ads. 


Text reads: There is always something that takes away your sleep. Choose your mattress well. 

In my opinion I think companies should just let the moment pass, anything that companies do could be perceived as self-serving or disrespectful. Better to air on the side of caution. 




This week, we’re posting the final of a three part instalment from our friends at Amarach Research.
This video takes a look at people’s daily online behaviours (including banking and social media), predictions for the increase in revenue for paid app content and finally the change in the way we incorporate smartphones and tablets into our online lives. This is as topical as ever, so we hope you enjoy!



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