Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Zero Covid and the “Future Green List”

October 5, 2020

New Zealand lockdown

This is not working, this is not living and we shouldn’t accept any plan that doesn’t have us working towards a return to our normal lives – shopping without masks, having people to dinner from more than one household, having parties, going to gigs and the theatre… looking at others without judgement 24/7.

We need to go for Zero Covid just like they have managed it in New Zealand, but this can only happen if we do everything to starve the virus and ONLY do this if we have international cooperation with other countries that wish to be part of a “Future Green List“.

But it’s easy for them in New Zealand….they are different.” (Really?)

I hate when I hear people saying this is not possible “because of politics“.

When we think it’s not possible this is the first problem, because it is absolutely possible.

Which country in the world is sailing through this pandemic without people living in fear, getting sick, dying and their economies in free-fall?

We all have something in common, don’t we? – The prize for getting this right is big, it is GIGANTIC.

Background:

Please listen to some excellent podcasts hosted by Eamon Dunphy, The Stand with various guests who give some valuable perspectives to support this argument/approach: 

Dr. Niall Conroy, Consultant in Public Medicine in Queensland, talks to Eamon about how the combination of strong leadership and listening to the doctors suppressed Covid-19 across Australia.

Prof. Gerry Killeen, Chair of Applied Pathogen Ecology in UCC – Unless We Abandon Our Defeatist Strategy We’re Looking at 35,000 Deaths

Tomás Ryan, Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience – Get Real or Get Ready for a Terrible Winter

So…how do we do this?

  • We find out which countries want to be Covid free and want to restore normal life and their economies again – anyone interested?

Some strong common sense leadership is required for this part!

  • Then we agree a ‘Future Green List’ and put a target date for this to happen.
  • Let’s say 25th December, Christmas Day is the goal and at that point the objective is that countries in this ‘Future Green List’ are 100% back to normal: YEP – 100% BACK TO NORMAL!

Imagine living normally and being able to travel freely between these countries and doing all the things that we are dangerously close to forgetting?

For some stupid reason that idea seems preposterous right now, the most ridiculous, rubbish thinking by a mad man….right? It isn’t, listen to podcast with Dr. Niall Conroy, about a place with a population larger than Ireland. 

  • Once we agree who is in that ‘Future Green List’ each country closes their borders except for essential travel and a proper 14 day quarantine programme is put in place for other travellers.
  • Then each country goes about doing the hard yards to bring us to Zero Covid and try desperately to get everyone back to a “We are in this together” place, which has long since disappeared.

The 25th December, Christmas day, seeing friends and family normally might be a great motivator?

If we believe in the goal and witness the progress, people will hopefully stay the course.

I’ll gladly take that, if it is leading us towards a tangible worthwhile goal that we can all believe in, which certainly is nothing like where we are now, society is choking as we drift rudderless towards nowhere.

  • When Ireland hits Zero Covid we maintain our borders and start living again, fully living (not this current version)
  • When Spain hits Zero Covid we can open our borders to Spain and vice versa.
  • When the UK hits their Zero Covid we open to them and so on and so on

The countries outside the Green List will work hard to be on the list and will know how to get there from those who have got there – New Zealand have shown us what is possible.

If there are (inevitable) bumps along the way, just like in New Zealand you hunt them down and stamp them out just like they have done.

Are we in?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Just a Drop of a West Cork Story ..

September 3, 2020

Old Head KInsale

We were in the car all five of us on a Saturday morning, the last one of August, the last one of summer (I know it’s autumn, but I always consider August to be part of summer) taking a trip around West Cork.

The five of us was Dee and I, the two dogs Honey and Bert who have started to enjoy our summer excursions and Ayla, from New Zealand, my son’s girlfriend (he’s busy filming for Failte Ireland at the moment).

From a chat we had a few nights earlier we reckoned she hadn’t really experienced that wonderful part of Ireland, so this plan was hatched.

As usual, we totally underestimated the amount of time it would take to explore but we did manage to take in the Old Head of Kinsale and then a scenic coastal drive that included Harbour View beach, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty via Ring.

The sun was shining and Clonakilty town was buzzing and we strolled through the town with our two four legged buddies, enviously looking at the patrons enjoying the selection of cafes and restaurants that were calling to us.

Eventually, the pangs of hunger and the gentle waft of a chipper called to us and we grabbed two bags of “proper” chips with some mouth watering, juicy, succulent chicken goujons from an immaculate place called the ‘Chunky Chip‘ and enjoyed those sitting on the grass on the green near Emmet Square.

Emmet Square, Clonakilty

Walking off those chips was a must so we headed on to Red Strand and then onto Long Strand at Owenahincha and went for a fabulous walk meandering through the sand dunes that go on forever and then onto the beach.

Owenincha

The dogs enjoyed the water, but did realise it wasn’t for drinking and we managed to sit for a few moments to enjoy a glass of white wine (Dee is always prepared!) looking out at the ocean, taking in all of it’s beauty and bidding farewell to this very strange summer.

Driving back home (there was a Liverpool match to get back for..) we were chatting about all sorts of everything including “wouldn’t it be great to live near the sea” which seemed to be the recurring topic of the day.

Throughout the journey we had the music playing with a mix of all our tastes along with the selection that the Spotify algorithm throws you and before we knew it we were listing to a fantastic song by one of my favourite bands, The 4 of Us, called “Just A Drop“.

I was able to tell Ayla and Dee (and the two dogs!) the story of the song, which not only brought it to life but it also gave them an insight into the character of the band and something that they could carry with them and tell others.

The reason I knew the story was because they told it to me via email.

Every week during “lockdown” the band have been sending an email featuring a different song, whereby they tell the story behind the song and they leave you with the gift of a free download.

This is the fantastic story behind the song in their own words:

Just A Drop. The story behind the song…

Dad was a big Johnny Cash fan and suggested, on more than one occasion, that our songs could benefit from a bit of the boom-chicka-boom rhythm that characterised Cash’s early recordings.

We eventually took up his suggestion, writing Just A Drop, for the Sugar Island album, as a tribute to him and his love for the Man in Black.

Before we recorded it, we headed home to Newry to play it for him.

“You are finally going to love a 4 Of Us song,” we told him.

To make sure he was in a suitably receptive mood, we bought some insurance – a bottle of his favourite whiskey.

He sipped a glass of it, relaxing in his favourite armchair as we played him the song.

Three minutes later, we waited to hear his opinion. He paused.

Then he looked up at us and said just two words:

“More whiskey.”

We insisted on playing it to him again, assuring him that sometimes it takes a while for a song to grow on you.

After three more performances – and three more whiskeys – he started getting into it.

So, if you don’t think our performance in the video below sounds anything like Johnny Cash, we understand.

But can we recommend that you combine it with a glass or two of Black Bush?

Brendan and Declan ❤

(you can watch the song on YouTube at the bottom of this post)

It’s such a very clever thing to do.

At a time when they can’t do gigs, they are still talking to us and what’s more, they are building a special bond and a connection that brings us closer to them and one that works when it comes to selling their music and their gigs.

It was nice to get an unexpected lesson in marketing from an unexpected source..

Are you taking the time to tell your interesting story?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Special Saturday nights..

November 5, 2019

Gay Byrne

The Irish Times morning update popped into my inbox with a powerful image of one of Ireland’s iconic figures.

Without having to read anything the moment when I see that image of Gay Byrne a thousand stories, memories and feelings invade my head.

For me, I guess the strongest is me as a young kid being at home with my family on Saturday nights, in my pyjamas, feeling warm and safe. That special thought brings tears to my eyes as time moved along pretty damn fast and I’d do anything to have dad in the room with me again.

Clearly a multitude of other things come to mind like the interviews with Ireland’s biggest punk, Bob Geldof and of course “the rocker”, Phil Lynott and so many of the other interviews with stars, personalities and those in the middle of the controversies of the time (innocent times!).

The Toy Show went from being “toys for me” to being toys for my kids – it is like he was there as we grew up.

Gay, thank you for the memories and for being there on some special Saturday nights.   

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Mary Elmes, Cork’s bravest woman?

October 20, 2019

Prats-de-Mollo_Childrens_Home

Residents of the War Resisters’ International home in the French Pyrenees at Prats-de-Mollo, housing refugees from the Spanish Civil War

I’ve just finished editing and publishing the Win Happy podcast episode that I recorded with Clodagh Finn, author of “A time to risk all” and Deirdre Waldron, former president of Network Ireland, about the incredible life of the very much unknown Cork woman, Mary Elmes.

(Note: In 2016, having heard about Mary through the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee work, Deirdre in her role as President chose Mary Elmes for the Trish Murphy, Network Ireland Award, the first time it was given posthumously and the first time she was acknowledged in Ireland)

As I was listening to the podcast I was very close to tears when I heard Clodagh describe that moment when one of the children, Charlotte Berger-Greneche saved by Mary Elmes, saw a picture of her mother for the first time when she was 80 years of age.

Clodagh who is incredibly knowledgeable and clearly passionate about Mary Elmes, brings her story to life in the episode and I feel in some ways listening to her, that the spirit of Mary has changed her.

Charlotte Berger-Greneche and Georges Koltei

We were privileged to meet two of these children, Charlotte Berger-Greneche and Georges Koltei (pictured above with Mary’s son Patrick Danjou (on the left of the image)) who were saved by Mary from prison camps in France during World War 2.

They were in Cork city recently for the opening of the new bridge that was named in her honour.

Mary Elmes saved 432 children during the Spanish Civil War and World War 2.

Article by Eoin English, Irish Examiner

Article by Barry Roche, Irish Times

There was a beautiful and very poignant quote by her son, Patrick during the bridge opening:

“I think it’s better to have a bridge than a wall, like some friends of ours in America want to do”

Until very recently this story was one that very few people knew, including Mary’s own family – humble people do what they need to do in a huge time of need and then quietly go about their lives after.

Note: Paddy Butler has also written a book about Mary Elmes “The Extraordinary life of Mary Elmes: The Irish Oskar Schindler”

Mary_Elmes

About Mary

Mary Elmes was born on 5 May 1908 in Cork, Ireland to chemist Edward Elmes and Elizabeth Waters. Edward ran a pharmacy on Winthrop Street. The Elmes family went on to be a very prominent one in the business landscape of the city (The building where MacDonalds is located was an Elmes property).

She attended Rochelle School in Cork and in 1928 enrolled at Trinity College Dublin where she was elected a Scholar, and gained a first in Modern Literature (French and Spanish).

As a result of her academic achievements, she was awarded a scholarship in International Studies to study at London School of Economics and then a further scholarship  in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1937, she joined the University of London Ambulance Unit and was sent to a children’s hospital in Almeria in then war-torn Spain. She worked in hospitals as an administrator and carer and also helped  in homes looking after children (see picture above). She then moved to France during World War 2.

When it became clear that Jewish children were not legally allowed to be exempt from being sent to the concentration camps, as they had been, Mary, with the help from some colleagues, started to rescue children, taking them to safe houses or helping them flee the country altogether.

Stop for a momentCan you imagine as a parent, making a decision to hand your children over to someone else, in the full knowledge that you would never see them again and this was the only chance of them having a life?

It is a chilling and heartbreaking thought.

Well aware that she was putting herself at risk, she rescued many children by hiding them in the boot of her car and drove them to safe destinations and aided many others by securing documents, which allowed for them to escape through the undercover network in Vichy France.

While she was not a Quaker herself, she worked actively with local Quaker organisations and was often  described as the “head of the Quaker delegation at Perpignan,”.

In 1943, Mary was arrested and was imprisoned in Toulouse and later was moved to the notorious Fresnes Prison run by the Gestapo near Paris, where she spent six months. She was never charged, but when she was released she continued her work with children in prison camps.

Note: In the podcast listen to Clodagh talking about an old blanket that Mary Elmes kept from that prison.

After the war she married and had two children, and lived in Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia),

She became the first Irish person to be named Righteous Among the Nations during a ceremony at Israel’s official memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Note: Despite gathering the requisite proof that he saved Jews we have been unable to achieve this honour for Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.

She passed away in 2002, one month before her 93rd birthday.

If you have the time you might click here to listen to the podcast, maybe read Clodagh’s or Paddy’s excellent books and even better, walk across the beautiful bridge in Cork and think about the bravery of a very special woman, Mary Elmes.

Bridges are better than walls…

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

BAM BAM …. Leo versus Theo

February 18, 2019

National Children's Hospital

The lyrics of the Lloyd Cole song “The sickest joke was the price of the medicine” is ringing in my head for some reason today.

It’s pretty much accepted now that the Children’s Hospital project is our latest and proudest Irish debacle; before it’s even begun it’s running at pretty much three times the originally projected cost … money that could easily be lent to Donald Trump who desperately needs it for his wall or maybe even some affordable housing here in Ireland?

The media and the opposition benches scream for answers and an expensive enquiry and while we are at it I think we would like to know how this is possible in an era of “transparency and accountability”.

Simon says (that was a kids game we all played, maybe it’s still a game?) very little except sorry – really puzzling why he seems to be protecting people he should be exposing and why he is so slow out of the communication blocks.

Leo is bold and brave and points accusing fingers at certain contractors he won’t name (he knows they have great solicitors) and accuses them of gaming the system “These low balling tricks are too much for our idiots to handle” (my interpretation of what he said!)

Bam

Pascal the man with the cheque book suggests that in future tender rules will be tightened up !!! (Doh …. as Homer Simpson would say!!)

Theo the contractor fights back at Leo with a big “you talking about me??” and bravely looks for clarity and offers to step away from the contract as he knows this whole insinuation is extremely smelly for his company.

All of this talk is really damaging to their reputation and he should fight to protect it.

It’s very likely that he knows full well that any cancellation of contracts will earn the company penalties that us mere mortals could live lavish lifestyles on.

So… what should happen next ??

The most likely scenario is that the contract will plough ahead and Leo will be nice to Theo and insist he didn’t mean them when he spoke about “low-balling contractors that should be banned from tendering” and no one will believe him.

However if Leo believes what he said he should show some balls, fire the team who wrote the tenders (this is a big part of the problem), pull the plug on the existing tender and start again with a water tight tender and a rigid process that is fair to contractors in the event of any legitimate changes to the work.

As for penalties for dismantling the current tender contracts they should most definitely be paid, but these amounts should be fair compensation for any losses incurred to date and nothing else – the PwC fee note might be better used officiating over this figure rather than on a report, which in all likelihood will go nowhere and will lead to nothing.

These penalties, valuable taxpayers money, will be the fault of those who were paid to oversee the tender process, not the contractors who were awarded them and they should be held accountable.

If Theo and his crew are still interested in doing some great work on a badly needed hospital then go for it and make your fair profit, you deserve that.

We need that hospital built as soon as possible but at a price that we can all believe was fair.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The wisdom of Louis Copeland

March 25, 2018

Louis Copeland - Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Sometime in 2004 I approached legendary Irish retailer, Louis Copeland to see if he was interested in coming on board with a high end fashion event called Catwalks that we were taking on tour around Ireland.

To be clear, I didn’t know him, I had never spoken to him before and after a quick ‘cold-call‘ (I can’t have been too bad a salesman!!) he asked would we call in to see him and tell him more about our event.

The following week we called in to see him and we were greeted by a warm, open, friendly Louis Copeland.

After about five minutes, when we were in full flight in the middle of our sales pitch he unexpectedly declared “I’ll do it” and then quickly changed the topic..”Tell me about you two?

We spent at least another hour with him and he showed a genuine interest in us, our project, why we were doing it and what else were we up to. When the meeting finished (more like a friendly chat really) I asked Dee if she thought he had actually agreed to come on board, because he had barely got details about the event.

This was the beginning of my great journey with King Louis, as I call him! (or King Louis 2nd – his dad was also Louis).

Since then he has come in and out of our lives at different times. He did the event on that occasion and supported us on many other things since. He seems to follow us with interest and he will always call out of the blue when he might read about us or hear something on the radio.

When the recession clouds gathered around all of us, I heard him being interviewed on the radio and he offered a powerful piece of advice as to how people should cope.

Get up earlier, work harder and work later” was his advice, and something that I embraced.

My own Monday morning social media mantra, inspired by Louis (for anyone who has seen my tweets for the last decade will confirm) is:

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in and have a great week #Positivity”.

When I arrived to record the session for this podcast he probed and probed me to learn more about podcasts, the process, who is listening to them and why. His natural curiosity and openness is just one of the ways he always stays relevant and successful.

Louis is an inspiration, he is a mentor, who is always at the end of a phone to bounce things off and offer assistance or provide a helpful contact.

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

In this podcast I’ve done my best to capture his story, the secret sauce behind the success of his great business, his approach to marketing, what he does to stay relevant, his approach to online and who his favourite celebrity customer is!

You can listen by clicking here, or by subscribing on iTunesThe Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

A huge thanks once again to the retail legend, Louis Copeland for being a good friend and for taking part and being so open and generous.

Enjoy…

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Facing homelessness in 2018

January 10, 2018

After a very surprising and unexpected conversation with a fellow member of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, I asked her to write a guest blog post for me. This is the first time I have done this on my blog.

The very lovely, intelligent and highly qualified, Jensine-Bethna Wall has recently started her own business, Hyphenate, and is facing the prospect of being homeless.

Dublin, we have a serious problem..

Ireland, we have a serious problem..

Blog post by Jensine:

The New Year has just begun and already fear has nestled itself tightly into the pit of my stomach.

After eight years of calling the house I rent my home in a few months time I have to move out, and find a new place to stay. So unlike so many who look towards 2018 full of hope and optimism my mind is clogged with trying to figure out what to do once the 1st of May has arrived, and I no longer have a roof over my head.

Moving has always been a traumatic event in anyone’s life but now for many, who live and work in Dublin (and the rest of Ireland), moving has become a fiscally impossible task. Irish rents are rising at six times the European median (The Irish Times 8th January 2018) which means that salaries don’t go far in this new Irish rental market.

Ironically the rental market is also the reason why I have to move.

My landlord claims it has to do with me being late with my rent a few time over the years but I know, from what he has said and from how he kept bringing ‘market value’ up, that he wants me out so he can hike up the price.

Since I’ve been living in the property since 2010 he can only increase the rent little by little so now he wants me out. He doesn’t care that I have been a vital part in creating a community in the street, or that I have increased the value of his property by helping to get rid of drug dealers in the neighbourhood, nor is he interested in the fact that after eight years of me living in the cottage all it needs is a lick of paint and someone could move right back in – no major refurbishment required!

So during these sleepless nights trying to figure out what I can afford and where I could go I can’t help but feel forgotten by the government and those who don’t seem to recognise how problematic the rental market is in Ireland. And sadly, as a single, female who lives on her own I am also not a high priority for the media.

And while of course I understand the need to house children, I can’t help but feel that a roof over my head and a place to feel safe and secure in, is just as important for me. But with the lack of housing and the need for single occupancy living quarters, single people are at the bottom of everyone’s priority list.

My recent visit to the Dublin City Council Housing Services proves just how low a priority I am, as I was told that I would have to wait 12 years before ‘affordable rented housing for people on low income’ would become available for me, even though all the forms I had to fill in and were stamped, deemed me eligible.

After I burst out laughing, the horror of the situation demanded tears or laughter, I was told that I may be eligible for HAP (Housing Assistance Payment). But this brief moment of hope was shattered with the added statement “if you can find a landlord who will accept it’”

Not understanding why landlords wouldn’t accept a regular payment from the State and that it is actually illegal not to, I asked around and found three reasons why:

1) The rent is paid in arrears, so the landlord won’t receive payment until the end of the month, which for many doesn’t coincide with their mortgage payments and why wait when so many pay up front?

2) The landlord will have to register their property and many don’t as they avoid taxes by not doing so

3) There is some paperwork involved and landlords won’t want to do that if there is no need when queues form for every viewing

Scouring the Internet for any suitable housing is eating up hours of my days, adding to my stress and increasing the crippling fear that has taken up residency in my stomach.

I set up my own business in October 2017 and work from home, office space is too expensive, but this means that sharing accommodation isn’t desirable.

And since I am in my forties and have lived on my own most of my adult life forcing me to cohabit due to financial strain will not benefit my mental health.

Recently the NHS completed a study on the effects that housing has on peoples health and found that  “good quality, affordable, safe housing underpins our mental and physical well-being”, so when there is no affordable housing, let alone safe and quality ones, people suffer more from depression and anxiety.

As the year grows older by the day I can’t help but wonder how I, an educated, socially conscious and community oriented single woman, have ended up facing homelessness in 2018.

Jensine

 

Jenny, Oh Jenny – what have we done?

September 8, 2017

Gilabbey Park, Jenny Dennehy

Thank God it’s Friday we all think..

It’s been the end of another busy week as we all go about our thing.

In my case its been hectic, another week working between our Dublin and Cork offices, team meetings, lots of work, busy meeting clients and prospects.

Friday night means a trip to Dunnes Stores on our way home to do the shopping and to stock up on lots of nice goodies and tasty treats for the weekend as well as the basics. Yes, of course there will be bottles of nice wine, some beer and maybe even a bottle of gin, if we are running low.

The dogs are always thrilled to see us and they seem to sense that it’s Friday and they will see more of us in the next few days.

We’ll put the shopping away and take them for a stroll and when we come back it’s on with the grub and either head to the local for a drink or three or get together with our great friends.

The weekend is full of possibilities, things to do, fun to be had, visits to my folks, catch up with my kids and watch some football.

Before we turn off the light we will probably watch something on Netflix until those eyelids get too heavy.

Eventually the light is turned off and we comfortably slip under the covers waiting on a blissful Saturday morning to greet us…

 

…Jenny was evicted from her flat.

Jenny managed to get a tent from Cork Simon and she found a nice spot in Gilabbey Park to pitch it.

Jenny turned in on this same Friday night but never saw Saturday morning.

Jenny – God knows why everything started to go wrong for you and God knows why no one was there to give you the help you needed.

Jennifer (Jenny) Dennehy was found dead in a tent in Gilabbey Park, in our city in the early hours of Saturday, 2nd September 2017. According to all the reports there were no “unusual circumstances” – if you think about it, this is the most ridiculous statement ever.

There were all the usual declarations of shock and horror by politicians and a family asks for us to respect their privacy.

For a few days we all talk about the shocking housing crisis (we can build commercial buildings efficiently and without a problem but when it comes to housing our “people”, well that’s just something we are not very good at, or  being very truthful it just isn’t lucrative enough) and then move onto another topic until we have another Jenny.

Jenny, we are all to blame.

Jenny, Rest In Peace

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Consumer confidence stats and avoiding self fulfilling prophecies

August 14, 2017

Consumer Confidence

I just received an industry update from one of the key business sector publications in Ireland.

It led with a headline about “Consumer Confidence” statistics.

It went on explain:

In the last month, two key indicators of consumer confidence in Ireland and the UK have been released showing a decline in confidence since the first quarter of 2017

In went on to discuss Ireland: “In Ireland, the B&A consumer confidence tracker found that whilst consumers remain positive, the levels of this positivity have fallen from the optimism shown in the first quarter of the year. This was particularly true for consumers within Dublin, who showed a significant decline in this period

It then went on to discuss consumer sentiment the UK: “In the UK, market research firm Gfk’s consumer confidence index fell to -12 in July from -10 in June. According to Reuters despite low levels of unemployment, household’s assessment of the economic situation was a major component of the decline in confidence for this period

It then summarised both positions: “It is clear that the uncertainty around Brexit has continued to affect consumers and the B&A and Gfk trackers will be a good measure to keep an eye on as negotiations progress

While thankfully they avoided a negative headline the piece did leave me in a negative frame of mind.

While this information is valuable the way it was delivered only succeeds in making everyone who reads it pessimistic about the future and behaving conservatively.

Suddenly ‘negative consumer sentiment‘ becomes a self fulfilling prophecy with industry reacting negatively and so on and so on.

I am not for softening up bad news but when we deliver negative statistics we need to communicate a full story that is never as bad as the potential doomsday outcome in our heads, unless we want it to be.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Making sure that ‘Great Taste’ is never lost

August 3, 2017

The Great Taste awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world are organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

They are the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink, and when a consumer sees the Great Taste logo on an item it is a sign that they will be buying a great tasting product.

This year (2017) Food and drink producers entered 12,300 products with 4,347 earning 3, 2 and 1 star ratings of which 444 originated from Ireland.

Overall just 165 products earned a 3 Star rating and 1,011 a 2 star rating with Irish products well represented in both of these categories.

PatWhelan, james Whelan Butchers - Great Taste Awards

The Golden Forks (the big winners) will be announced at a celebration dinner at the International Park Lane Hotel, London on the 4 September.

Great Taste, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their packaging, wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. Furthermore the judges have no idea the price that these products normally retail at.

It’s all about the taste!

The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2, or 3 star award.

As you can imagine the judging panel is very illustrious and this year it included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners and will finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, which will be announced in August, with the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion unveiled on the 4th September.

Just Taste!

Judging the food and drink products on their taste seems very fair and as you would expect – the packaging and branding is removed so that the judges are able to experience the products in their pure, true state, without any interference or bias.

Sunnes Stores - Sticky Toffee Pudding

When do we ever, truly taste anything?

The minute that award winning cake goes into a wrapper, it changes the taste for the consumer.

  • Once we see the packaging, the colours, the type of paper and the visuals, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see the brand name, it changes the taste.
  • Once we read where the product is made and we see the ingredients, it changes the taste.
  • Once the product is placed in a retail outlet, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see where it is placed in the store, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see some POS and the product displayed on a promotional stand, it changes the taste.
  • Once a price is put on the product, it changes the taste.
  • When the product is on special offer, it changes the taste.
  • When a well dressed sampling person invites you to taste a thumbnail of the product, it changes the taste.
  • When we see that the brand is endorsed by a well known personality, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a newspaper, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a glossy magazine, it changes the taste
  • When a respected food journalist tells you the product is superb, it changes the taste.
  • When we open the pack at home and we are in a great mood, it changes the taste.

Today’s consumer is influenced by everything they see, hear and taste. We are also influenced by a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, by our peers and we all carry with us a lorry load of biases.

With great products our job and the job of everyone else in the chain that brings the product to the consumer, is to make sure that person can actually ‘taste’ the product.

The Great Taste Awards and that big round logo that you will see on products will also help!

Congratulations to two of our clients, James Whelan Butchers and Simply Better by Dunnes Stores who scooped up Great Taste Awards, once again this year.

James Whelan Butchers are Great Taste 3-star winners with their Pork Lard, a natural and clear lard made from slowly rendered back fat, with a “fabulous long lasting and clean pork flavour” – it’s all about taste!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland