One of the strange anomalies of Ireland in the 1950s was the influx of great Dutch designers. For those of you who – like me – wondered why so many trendy Hollanders would leave Amsterdam for the dark, repressed Ireland of the 50s, you’ll get an insight into their thinking here in Oranje & Green: Holland - Ireland Design Connections 1951 - 2002 by Conor Clarke of Design Factory.
When the Dutch came to Ireland, they certainly made an impact as the author explained in a recent interview: “Many of them had been trained with Bauhaus principles and introduced the use of flat colours, sans serif typography and the grid. They also did unusual things like turn up on time for meetings, meet their deadlines and produce work of such a high standard that some would later remark that this work from the 1950s and '60s was probably 'the most notable graphic design ever produced in Ireland'.
The key figures from this period – figures that undoubtedly gave Irish advertising a continental perspective in terms of design – included: Guus Melai, Jan de Fouw, Bert van Embden, Willem van Velzen and Gerrit van Gelderen. And with Irish copywriters of the time starting to develop a distinct style, it all paved the way for a terrific period in Irish advertising.
It’s nice when marketing campaigns get really tangible results. We’ve been working on the Danske Bank account in Northern Ireland for about 8 years now, and this is certainly one of the highlight advertising campaigns from that period. It appeared largely on outdoor, radio and web, and take-up of the offer has been incredible so far.
I think every copywriter has a wish list of the types of account they would like to work on. Personally, I’ve always wanted to write some ads that necessitated a long research trip to several Hawaiian beaches. Unfortunately, gigs like that don’t come up every day.
But next on the hit list are ads that involve beer. After all, could a copywriter have more fun than researching all those different levels of ‘hoppiness’ in competing brews?
There is now actually a plethora of craft beers being produced in micro-breweries all over the world. And in Northern Ireland, we’re no different. If you travel from Belfast in any direction, you’ll pass a host of these micro-breweries before you can say “Fancy a cool one?”
So I was delighted to get an opportunity to do some copywriting and design for one of the finest beers to be found in Northern Ireland – Inishmacsaint, the Fermanagh-based brewer.
The area in which Inishmacsaint is produced – on the shores of Lough Erne – has a long-standing association with brewing, with ancient monks having brewed their own craft beers there, long before the term ‘craft beer’ was ever imagined.
Brewery owner Gordon Fallis is a man well known for his laid back wit and humour and he was keen to have that come to the fore in the planned advertising and design. We produced a series of ads, wrote content for his website and arranged a PR launch. We also wrote and produced a web video which had 10,000 views in the first week. I think that calls for a beer!
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