‘Fashion and Lifestyle’ Category

Is your brand festival ready?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015


While we can’t bank on the sun to make an appearance during the Irish summer, we certainly can count on having our pick of festivals to keep us entertained over the summer months.  From the foodie heaven that is Taste of Dublin, to the hipster mecca of Marley Park for Longitude, to the family fun on offer at the colourful Laya City Spectacular, there’s surely something for everyone.

Practically every town and village puts on a summer fest to bring the punters out in their droves.  If your taste is more niche in nature, we have the annual Twin Fest in August, the Matchmaker festival in Lisdoonvarna and a new one to us – pig racing at the Seabreeze Festival in Arklow. Festivals and events have always been a platform favoured by marketers and brand owners as a route to engage with a mass audience in a deep and engaging way.  Where the crowds go, brands follow.

Festival and event sponsorship can be a match made in brand heaven when the audience fit is right and the execution is impactful.

Whether you’re a brand owner looking for creative ways to amplify an existing festival or event sponsorship, or you’re on the hunt for a new sponsorship property that offers the perfect fit, here are a few pointers to make the most of it.   How to check is your brand festival ready:

  • Is it the fit right for your brand…. Really?
  • Is the target audience your bullseye?
  • Do you share brand values?
  • Have you allocated enough budget to amplify the sponsorship?  So many brands max their budget on sponsorship fees but there’s no point having a great partnership if no one hears about it!
  • Are you in it for the long haul?  The best brand event, festival and sporting partnerships have been in place for many years.  Robinsons have clocked up 80 years with Wimbledon and have just signed up for another five years.
  • What does success look like?  How will you evaluate the brand partnership in terms of reach and impact on brand equity?
  • Have you developed a bespoke PR plan to amplify your sponsorship amongst influencers and taste makers?
  • Lastly, be patient.  If you have your eye on headline sponsorship of a festival that’s already snapped up, be patient.  In the world of blue chip brands, global changes can mean local sponsorships come and go.

The beauty of festival and event sponsorship is that brands can get involved at many levels.  Some brands dip their toe in the water of experiential marketing by having a brand activation at a large scale event.  A creative and nimble execution can work beautifully and deliver real bang for buck.  For brands lucky enough to hold headline sponsorship of a top festival or event, keeping it fresh can be a year round job for an entire team but worth the investment due to the impact on brand equity.

With TedFest making waves in London from humble beginnings on Craggy Island ten years ago, who’s for the Mrs Brown Festival 2016 in Finglas?  

MCsquared are brand communications experts in sponsorship negotiation and amplification.  Most recently we have worked on Calors sponsorship of Macra na Feirma’s ‘Know Your Neighbour’ campaign, Ballygowan’s partnership as the official hydration partner of Dublin GAA, Kellogg’s’ sponsorship of Dublin Zoo and the inaugural Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder event at Tough Mudder 2015. 

Guest Post: Three Irish designers to watch

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In today’s struggling economy, many people view fashion as something frivolous – it is an industry that easily gets overlooked. However, in my opinion, it is quite the opposite. With more and more successful designers, models, writers and other industry insiders emerging from Ireland, it’s suffice to say that the Irish fashion industry is expanding rapidly with some incredible young talent emerging in the past year, garnering celebrity attention and prestigious awards.



Image via nymag.com/thecut

Young Derry designer, JW Anderson, is the perfect example of this. From bagging himself the eminent Emerging Talent Award for ready-to-wear at The British Fashion Awards to being unveiled as one of  Brown Thomas’s new designers as part of BT’s Spring Summer 2013 Collection, it is clear that this man is making a name for himself. At the fresh age of 28, he is quickly becoming recognized globally on the international fashion scene.

Exciting things are to come in 2013 for the son of Irish rugby player, Willie Anderson, including the launch of his second collaboration with high street giant, Topshop. His first collection with this retail power house proved to be a hit, accumulating the support of fashion icons such as Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe. This upcoming collection launches on February 15th and certainly looks very promising. Also in the near future is his collaboration with Versace’s sister label, Versus, which will be launched with a presentation event held in New York, in March or April of this year.

JW Anderson Spring/Summer 2013

Images via secretstylefile.wordpress.com


Another Irish designer to watch out for is Dublin born, Simone Rocha. Being the daughter of the esteemed fashion designer that is John Rocha, she grew up around the brilliance of this wondrous industry but in the past couple of years, she has come to shine under her own spotlight.

Image via classicwithcolour.com

Like Anderson, she has attracted much attention from celebrities and industry insiders including Lady Gaga and Lily Cole, and was also nominated for the Emerging Talent Award for ready-to-wear at The British Fashion Awards last year. Although being pipped at the post by Anderson, this talented 26 year old is receiving critical acclaim for her well refined, yet brilliantly vibrant creations. Having only been on the fashion scene for a little over two years, it’s become blatantly obvious that her innovative designs featuring the use of cutting edge materials like lace encased in plastic, and pyrex have secured her a spot as one to watch in the future.

Simone Rocha Spring/Summer 2013

Images via blog.stylesight.com


Image via laurajaynehalton.com

Hailing from Maynooth, Laura Jayne Halton has been dubbed the ‘one to watch’ by the Kerry Fashion Awards in association with IMAGE magasine. Her collections, which pride themselves on tailoring, the use of luxury fabrics and a noticeably distinctive colour palette, are propelling this young designer into the spotlight, achieving her attention from celebrities and other fashion insiders. Most notably, she has been chosen to design a dress to be worn by Academy Awards nominee, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, 26, from Cromane in West Kerry, at the upcoming Oscars. This honour is most likely the first of many for this talented Irish youngster who has also previously been nominated as a finalist in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro Moda Awards in association with Marco DiVincenzo.

Image via laurajaynehalton.com

These three exciting new prospects on both the Irish, and international fashion scene, have proven that they are destined for huge things in the coming years, and personally, I cannot wait to see what’s to come for them all!

Thanks to guest author  Hannah Hawkshaw from hannahsfashionblog

3 launch Xposé makeover experience

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Xposé beauties Karen Koster and Lisa Cannon today launched the new 3Changeover segment on Xposé – an opportunity for viewers to win a top to toe makeover – perfect in the lead up to Valentine’s Day!

Viewers of the glamorous show can experience the red carpet treatment for themselves courtesy of 3 on the new monthly 3Changeover segment.  In addition, Xposé viewers who switch to 3 and existing 3 customers who enter the competition will get exclusive discounts from leading high street stores and brands.              

Lucky winners will have their hair styled by a top stylist and colour technician at Toni&Guy, make-up applied by a Rimmel make-up artist and styled by a brand of Aurora Fashions which includes Oasis, Warehouse, Coast, and Karen Millen with the first monthly makeover kicking off with Oasis. The makeover experience will be captured in the studio of celebrity photogtrapher, Jenny McCarthy (PhotosbyJen).

Fashion, Celebrities and Social Media

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Celebrity endorsements have always been an important part of brand marketing in the fashion industry. High profile celebrities being paid by fashion and beauty labels to associate themselves with brands is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years fashion houses have paid more than ever before to have influential stars such as Beyonce and Rihanna attend fashion shows and wear new designs. Rihanna, can reportedly receive up to $100,000 to attend a fashion show. Social media has also emerged as a key area for fashion houses to be actively involved. The fashion industry has embraced social media and the celebrity influence that occasionally comes with it. We’ve taken a look at how celebrities and social media have affected fashion trends and brands; for better or for worse.

It seems now more than ever it’s becoming vital for brands to be associated with the right celebrity in order to connect with their chosen market. In some cases fashion models have been kicked to the curb as top fashion houses opt for celebrity models and ambassadors. Madonna is the (airbrushed) face of Louis Vuitton, Victoria Beckham has followed in her husband’s footsteps appearing in the Armani Lingerie campaign, fresh out of jail Lindsay Lohan modeled for Fornarina and Harry Potter star, Emma Watson, became the face of the newest Burberry campaign giving much needed youthfulness and edginess to the classic British label. Successful celebrity endorsements can work wonders for a product such as Cheryl Cole’s endorsement for L’Oreal and even more controversial endorsements like Lily Allen as spokeswoman for Chanel’s spring/summer 2010 handbag collection. At first some were divided as to whether Allen’s heavy drinking, drug taking, party girl image would cheapen the Chanel brand however despite this seeming an odd choice initially the pairing succeeded in cleaning up Allen’s image and brought a fun element to the Chanel line for a younger audience.

Lily Allen for Chanel Spring/Summer 2010

The classic Chanel handbag was embraced by a whole new generation as a result of appearing on the arm of Lauren Conrad on MTV’s The Hills. The Chanel bag first appeared as part of the storyline when our heroine LC discusses what she wants for Christmas amongst her friends, her boyfriend Jason surprises her with the coveted Chanel handbag and from that day until her departure from the series the Chanel bag accompanies her to night clubs, to work and to numerous trendy coffee shops and restaurants. The popularity of the MTV show was partly due to the beautiful stars and cat fighting but mostly because viewers are intrigued to see just want to see what the stars are wearing and where the latest hotspots are. The Chanel bag has been established as a classic staple to an audience who have witnessed its versatility.

Lauren Conrad with Chanel bag

Fashion houses are engaging with ‘the hills generation’ through a variety of media, with online activity seeing a dramatic rise. In recent years we have witnessed an explosion in fashion blogs all across the globe, blogs of worldwide fame such as The Satorialist and Fashionista have earned recognition from Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry and leading publications such as Vogue. They’ve received front-row, international Fashion Week seats next to some of the most notable figures in the couture world. More humorous fashion blogs like GoFugYourself which follows celebrity fashion has recently covered Fashion week for New York Magazine. Closer to home, Irish blogs such as thesavvyshopper.ie and beaut.ie have thousands of readers and positioned themselves as influential voices in the Irish fashion and beauty market with beauty brands eager to have their products reviewed, favorably of course, on these blogs. Fashion and beauty brands send sample products, hold one-on-one blogger briefings and hold exclusive blogger seminars and events in an attempt to influence and gain favour with these websites. Twitter is another media that fashion brands are advertising through, celebrities like Nicole Richie can make $10,000 to tweet about a particular product. It was recently rumored that Kim Kardashian was paid $20,000 to tweet about a pair of Versace pants, nice work if you can get it!

Fashion houses have also embraced iPhone apps, Chanel shows its runway collections via an iPhone app as do Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci and Ralph Lauren. You can watch runway footage, mix music, buy clothing and in the case of Chanel spy on the models backstage at the runway shows via a camera hidden in a model’s hair!

Chanel iPhone App

Other iPhone apps like trendstop.com provide professional fashion trend forecasts, instant coverage from the fashion shows and daily catwalk trend analysis. Another, MyFendi is a virtual wardrobe that enables you to mix and match your own outfits, by adding an image of them, with the images of the Fendi products already present within the application. Lastly chicfeed.com brings together photos from the web’s top fashion blogs and puts them on one site, blogs/sites currently include; The Sartorialist, Face Hunter and Cherry Blossom Girl.


Fashion brands have always represented social class and self expression but perhaps now more than ever fashion labels have become embedded in customers psyche as a form of self-identity and association to social groups and trends. More and more high street fashion chains are turning to celebrity fashion lines as a way to bond themselves with popular trends, for example Taylor Momson for New Look, Kate Moss for Topshop and most recently Joss Stone for Nine West in the States. With this, the rise of social media, although slow to begin with has ensured that the fashion industry must stay current and interesting in order to hold weight and communicate with customers.

Kate Moss for Topshop