Dessie, Tom and Liam, the likeable heroes of the Bulmers Cider ads, may be about to get their marching orders following a decision by the brand’s owner C&C to transfer some of the creative work to the UK agency The Red Brick Road.
Havas Dublin (formerly Young Euro RSCG) has worked on the Bulmers account for over ten years and was behind many memorable and highly praised campaigns for the brand which ultimately led to the growth in the Irish cider market. Bulmers was also one of the more visible Irish brands on TV over the past few years while it has also won considerable kudos for the digital work it created. While Havas will retain the account for the non-TV creative the next TV campaign will be made by The Red Brick Road which has been handling the Magners creative brief in the UK for the past five years. Magners is essentially the UK name for Bulmers and it has been running separate creative campaigns targeted at the UK market. The media buying for Bulmers, meanwhile, will continue to be managed by Carat/Aegis.
The decision to move some of the creative to the UK is unquestionably a blow for the Irish advertising industry. Over the past few years a number of international brands like Vodafone and O2 shipped their creative accounts back to the UK. In the case of Bulmers/C&C the decision was apparently driven by the commercial need to cut its marketing spend following a relatively difficult Summer period in 2012. The most recent trading statement for C&C shows that in the nine months to November 2012, cider volumes in Ireland were down by 4.4% on the back of a poor Summer. However there was a modest pick-up in the last quarter of 2012. Over the same period, the trading statement also noted that C&C’s Irish revenues were down by 10% .
It is understood that the new TV campaign for Bulmers and Magners, which is currently being finalized, will be broadcast in both markets and it remains to be seen whether Dessie, Tom and Liam will get a stay of execution. While Magners advertising in the UK has tapped into brands Clonmel heritage, it has been firmly focused firmly on winning over a UK audience which is culturally different to the Irish.