...latest news

5 Top tips for a Successful Photocall

June 11th, 2015

5 Top tips for a Successful Photocall

As all public relations practitioners know, the photocall is a very important tool in our PR toolbox. Here at MCsquared, we’ve spoken with Picture Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Bryan Walshe and News Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Catherine O’Mahony and captured their and our top tips for a successful photocall:

1.       Photographer & Key Messages

Firstly, it is extremely important to choose your photographer wisely. You should find one who is creative, professional and most of all, reliable. It is essential to work with a photographer who has a good record of obtaining coverage in the media outlets that you are targeting.

It is essential to set out a strong theme or key messages for your photocall – announcing an event, highlighting growth within a company or launching a new campaign or range for the brand. Think about how these key messages can be brought to life. At MCsquared, we keep a close eye on the various media outlets and have an in depth understanding of what types of images land and work best to portray a specific message. We also recommend having a few ideas to cover all publications on the day as tabloids and broadsheets require very different sets of images.

According to Catherine O’Mahony, News Editor of the Sunday Business Post, It’s important to capture photos that have ‘media appeal’:

From a news editor point of view, I have only three rules; no black and white pictures, no models in bikinis (or short skirts, or anything of that kind, unless you are writing a story about a model in a bikini) and no ministers popping up in a corporate shot.”

2.       Location

The most successful photocalls are taken outdoors. You should choose a location that is colourful and attractive to look at. Parks with trees and flowers in the background are quite popular, as well as the beach and well known monuments in a town or city. Wherever the location is, ensure that it is not surrounded by unwanted advertising, that there’s access to good lighting so the photographer can create some nice bright images, and be aware that for some parks you may need to apply for a permit to use it as a photocall location.

3.       Participants and Props

Plan well ahead of the photocall. Decide on how many people need to be in the photocall and what their role is; generally less is more, with two or three participants being the norm and five being an absolute maximum, unless it’s intended to be a crowd shot. Celebrities and models are popular in photocalls but can be over-used.

Brief the participants accordingly, and be mindful that if they’re under 18, you will need to get parental consent for their involvement.

Be creative – props are your friend for photocalls!  Depending on the concept you may decide to use anything from kitchen utensils to bath tubs, cute animals to sand sculptures.

4.       Captions and titles

It is essential to have a great caption and title to accompany your image. If there isn’t any branding in the image, include a brand name check in the caption or title. It should be short and concise to grab attention and have more of an effect on the reader.  For Bryan Walsh “Caption is King”, as he says that that many PR agencies forget to send captions into the picture desks to accompany their images.

5.       Client Expectations and types of images

As with all client activity, managing expectations is critical and photocalls are no different. The client may have a different set of expectations compared to those that can be achieved and Bryan Walshe advises to have a specific and agreed idea beforehand of how the brand or company is to be portrayed.  Clients need to be advised, he says, that models in a park with cut out signage doesn’t work anymore. Every publication has specific needs and it is important to remember what type of publication you are targeting. In terms of exposure, it is important to realise that there is a huge difference between the images that will work for the daily papers compared to the Sunday papers.

Relationship with Picture Editors 

Bryan Walshe advocates engagement with picture editors on a continuous basis. At MCsquared we know it’s important to communicate with picture editors and establish a good relationship to secure client coverage. Over the last year or so, many PRs have stopped sending images to picture editors but the picture editor has the power to make something happen within the publication. They don’t always have access to images that are sent to news editors only.

Bryan advises to call picture editors prior to planning a photocall to discuss what type of photo they require, what sort of props they would like to see, how many people should be in the photo and who the target audience are.

If the final picture is to communicate a thousand words, then it’s certainly worth the planning and prep work.

 

Murrays Website

Lisa Collins

Executive

MCsquared

Making global PR briefs work in a local market

June 4th, 2015

The development of a single marketing or PR campaign that will work in many different markets requires the right approach from planning to execution. As companies become increasingly streamlined and develop global communications strategies it is nevertheless important to implement activity in a manner which is suitable for the local market. The best communications strategies reflect the core beliefs of the company and for that reason it makes sense for companies to develop relevant communications campaigns that are imbued with the beliefs of the company.

According to Louise Sullivan, Director of External Communications for Kellogg Europe, trying to make the same campaign work across multiple markets can be challenging as good PR needs to be locally relevant, “From my experience of running a centrally-led, locally-activated brand PR approach, it has become clear that the creative idea needs to be developed with the activation markets in mind. Involving local teams in the ideation process in order develop plans that are fit for purpose is a must.”

When it comes to planning and executing local PR campaigns and activations, there are a number of things which we always bear in mind.

 

Borrow with pride

As the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. While it is important recognise opportunities to put a local stamp on a campaign, if there are aspects of a campaign that worked well in another market it is important to consider using these tools locally. You will benefit from the other markets trouble-shooting and may even be in a position to borrow collateral or materials, thus saving time and money.

 

Timing is everything

In-market dates will sometimes mean that the campaign may need to go live in different markets at different times. It is important to be aware of timelines and consider any threat of bleed-through from a neighbouring market. This is particularly pertinent in Ireland, as very frequently UK news stories also land in Irish media. Where possible, align the launch of a campaign with your nearest neighbours and at a minimum, be aware of the timing of their PR execution.

 

Recognise limitations

Working to a global PR brief for the Irish Market requires that you identify any stumbling blocks and look for ways to overcome them. If from the outset there is an area that is less relevant to, or less developed in, the Irish market it is important to flag this and adapt the communications plan accordingly. According to Louise Sullivan, “Spotting opportunities to put a local spin on the campaign is vital.  But equally, it’s important to recognize when a campaign is not going to work. Sometimes one size does not fit all – and when this happens, we shouldn’t continue to try to force a round peg into a square hole.”

 

Adapt as necessary

Each market has a different media landscape and as a result will have its own way of dealing with local media. It is important to remember what works for you market and adapt materials as necessary. Paddy Comyn, Head of PR for Volkswagen Group Ireland says that the Irish market, and specifically the Irish car market, is something that has to be handled differently and this is something that can sometimes be hard to explain to colleagues in Germany, “It is very important that we distill what can be very technical information and quite formally written copy into something a little bit more relaxed, yet professional for the Irish palate. We, together with MCsquared for Volkswagen tend to focus on writing press releases in a manner that we realistically feel they might appear. The modern journalists can be very time poor, so giving them the information in usable, jargon-free fashion can mean the difference between our message running or not.”

 

Add some local magic

The best way to make a global campaign work in a local market is to make sure that you bring something fresh to the table at the planning phase. Consider how the campaign will work best in Ireland and think about why it may be more relevant in this market, what unique points can the Irish market bring to the table? Can you localise the campaign with a relevant Irish ambassador or some local research? This is something which Louise Sullivan recognises when rolling out PR campaigns for Kellogg’s across Europe, “The toolbox plan needs to leave room for the local markets to adapt it and make it bigger and better, bringing in local insights to make it really resonate.  The creative idea should lend itself to this approach, and so should the budgeting approach – local amplification doesn’t come for free.”

 

Engage with local stakeholders

Emphasising the relevance of a campaign in a local market can sometimes be a challenge. Particularly if the activity is less well established locally. Engaging or partnering with local stakeholders allows you to demonstrate the real impact of the campaign locally. This is particularly helpful when activating CSR campaigns. If outputs have a real impact in Ireland the campaign will always be more newsworthy and of more interest locally.

 

The key thing about effective local activation is to play to your strengths, both local and global. Identify what you need and what you don’t – success will lie in your selection.

 

Niamh McCarthy

Niamh McCarthy

Account Director
MCsquared

This article was published in Marketing Magazine, Volume 26. No 5

Big brands now looking to experiential to create that special connection

May 7th, 2015

As you’d expect in any 1st Quarter, it’s ‘trends and forecasting’ season. From the macro economic perspective, to the more sectoral marketing view, ‘Cautious Optimism, is the theme of the day: In 2014 the advertising market grew by 4% and experts predict that this growth will continue in 2015 – though this does not bring us back to pre-2009 territory. And according to the most recent ESRI data, we are seeing a continuing improvement in consumer sentiment and perhaps more importantly, the Index of Consumer Expectations is shifting in the right direction, from 83.8 in December to 93.2 in January.

So now that we have increased optimism from marketers, and real signs of improved sentiment among consumers, how are brands behaving and where are they targeting their spend?

Digital aside, one clear area that is benefiting from additional resource is experiential. High profile local and global brands are diverting an increasing share of their annual marketing spend into creating meaningful experiences – with good amplification potential through digital channels – to bring consumers closer to their brands. While few local brands can match the bravery or the budgets of the Red Bull Stratos Jump, there’s been a quantum leap in this type of activity. And if you’ been out and about in Dublin in recent weeks, you can’t have missed the armies of brand ambassadors: Dine in Dublin took to the Luas Green Line in February to remind Dublin commuters about the merits of dining out in Dublin; Aldi and Dublin City Council partnered impressively to woo Dubliners on Valentine’s Day at three iconic Dublin bridges. Coca Cola Life took over Pearse Street station to introduce the new ‘healthier’ Coke offering to consumers; and Kellogg’s was out and about offering consumers an opportunity to take their own #spoonselfie to promote their personalised spoon promotion.

It’s virtually impossible these days to attend a sporting event, festival or shopping centre without bumping into a brand eager to engage. The end game is to make real, emotional connections with consumers, and convert awareness into advocacy that can be shared, pinned and posted. And in an environment where consumers are increasingly dual screening, the benefit of creating experiences and content at a lower cost than through traditional advertising approaches, is clearly an attractive one.

Head shots

Grainne O’Brien
Director
MCsquared at Murray.

This article was published in Marketing Magazine, Volume 26. No 3

WHEN CORPORATE AND CONSUMER COLLIDE

April 30th, 2015

There was a time when corporate meant ‘suited and booted’, and consumer meant ‘jeans and T-shirt’ and never the twain shall meet. But that day has long gone and the crossover between the two in terms of audience, messaging and brand is evident all around us. In particular the mediating role of consumers’ perceptions of the congruence between their (real or idealistic) values and that of a company or brand, cannot be underestimated: Lego’s ending of a consumer partnership and £68 million deal with Shell across 26 countries, as a direct result of Shell’s corporate plans in the Arctic (and a truly inspired video by Greenpeace) is a case in point.

Today, smart business is about synergistic practice – the seamless integration of what was once silo’d along the value chain as departments become cross functional, or at least cross communicative facilitated by technology, geographical, office and departmental boundaries are no longer appropriate or conducive to doing business.   And at the helm of the organisation, the CEO’s role is as pertinent to the consumer as it is to the corporate stakeholders. 66 percent of consumers say their perception of the CEO affects their opinions of the company’s reputation. When you consider the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Richard Branson’s personal and company’s reputation you see the point.

In particular, if there’s a word that belongs on every board’s agenda, and every brand’s story, it’s “trust”. Trust has become the aspirational but elusive outcome of consumer brand relationships.  It’s the by-word of success for the organisations that manage to capture it.   “Trust” features heavily in annual reports, and ‘guiding principles’ lists. But consumers don’t give brands their trust blindly.  It must be earned through an organisations’ actions and words …. which is where the communications strategy, both corporate and consumer comes in. A company may produce desirable and consumer-friendly products, but if its corporate practices are found to be unfriendly, consumers will react. Nike is probably still the best example of this, despite the decades that have passed since its sweatshop story days.

Trust’s trajectory can start with the product on the shelf, or the CEO’s comments to the market, and works its way up and down the ebb and flow of the communications in between. The CSR policies directed from senior management, inevitably translate to the shop or factory floor, and ultimately make their way onto the consumer’s radar. Conversely consumers’ views on all things corporate from suppliers to partners, inevitably get heard at board level.

There is now nowhere to hide as stakeholders permeate every on and off line channel related to your company/brand. The internet has levelled stakeholders’ stature giving every group an audience, and at the same time giving them a voice – which may well be of disproportionate volume. Take the instance of the 11 year old girl who sent a letter to DC Comics complaining about the lack of female superheroes which went viral and prompted the organisation to review their plans in this regard.

Brands are not in full control of the message any more, and a larger portion of what gets consumed is not generated by the communications team.  Sponsorship is another example where the crossover happens. The task of finding a suitable partnership may lie with either corporate or consumer personnel, but the impact of the deal will resonate with both audiences, and the fall out of a deal deemed to be inappropriate will also be felt by both – as the Out of Control campaign is proving for Diageo. In Ireland, in particular, the consumer and corporate media environment is blurred. Topics such as ‘fat cat’ salaries, staffing levels, supplier issues and even corporate tax bills, sit as comfortably on the consumer pages as they do in the business section.

The socially conscious consumer should be respected and embraced by companies. Now that the Irish economy is recovering it is likely that we will see a strengthening of ethically motivated purchasing among socially minded consumers in Ireland. The considerations for businesses are two fold, good corporate behaviour, acting with integrity and to the betterment of the society, will have a positive impact on consumers. However, on the flip side, bad corporate decision making will have an impact on consumers who will choose to shop or to do business elsewhere.

Consumers respect companies who act responsibly, however, if corporations are merely greenwashing, consumers will see through this. A company who over communicates or over claims its ethical footprint will truly alienate consumers. While Primark suffered significant criticism in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, the company’s response and subsequent support of the local community in creating a real and lasting compensation programmes for the families and survivors, was clearly a meaningful and sustainable response.

So, if corporations and brands want to win our trust and encourage consumers to engage by choosing one product over another then they must convince us that they walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk.

Avril Collins, Director, MCsquared at Murray.

 

Avril Collins.

Director

MCsquared at Murray.

 

This article was published in Marketing Magazine, Volume 26. No 4

Learnings from DMX Dublin…

March 16th, 2015

Learnings from DMX Dublin…

 

Content needs context

Marketing communications professionals are less loved than stockbrokers or lawyers! Marketing has become a dirty word and people no longer love it as a profession. Marketers have developed bad habits and have not listened to audiences in the right way or delivered content for them in the right format.

 

Content, which is always king, is lacking context, and personalised content delivered through inbound marketing techniques will deliver a greater return on investment than paid advertising. It needs to be fast, simple and free.

(CMO of Mike Volpe, CMO, Hubspot)

 

Mcsquared tweet - DMX

 

 

 

 

Reinvent digital to drive growth

Businesses should design for human experiences and not just to facilitate business processes. Heralding data as the new natural resource, marketers need to seek out opportunities to extend physical experiences with digital platform and create experiences for moments that matter.

(Matthew Candy, Partner in Global Business Services at IBM)

 

Create brand personality with integrated communications

50% of organisations do not have a clearly defined digital media strategy. A brand personality is not just what you stand for but how you choose to communicate it so having an integrated communications approach is important.

(Dave Chaffey, CEO & Co-Founder at Smart Insights)

 

Destination: You Tube

Ireland has the second highest level of penetration, second only to Israel, and consumers are watching 300% more videos.  YouTube clearly has a role to play in partnering brands and audiences in 2015 – see the site’s evolution chartered since the first video entitled “Me at the Zoo”.

(Ruth McEntee, Head of Display at YouTube)

Me at the Zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The free ride is over

0% organic reach is now forcing brands to think outside the box when it comes to engaging with its target audience.

(Brian Williamson, a digital strategist with Edelman UK)

 

“What Happens When The Music Stops?”

Television has turned a corner in terms of content as a reactive move following a decade of reality TV series.  Always consider the end result of any marketing strategy as poorly thought out goals cannot be saved by a great media plan.

(Former Vice President of Spotify, Chris Maples)

 

The soft and service complexities of the marketing landscape 2015

Marketing today has more software available to it than any other business function in the history of computing.  We are moving from providing communication services, to delivering communications experiences, as the lines between software companies and service providers become increasingly blurred.

(Scott Brinker)

Marketing Technology Landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind the metrics

Employing the right measurement strategy, that adapts to the stages of the campaign, is critical.  Think about content in terms of “See, Think, Do, Care” and when it comes to converting awareness to sales, it’s all about the power of the combined.

(Cera Ward from Google)

 

Feel the fear… (and here’s how you do it)

For companies who want to embrace and create a culture for digital but are not used to the digital environment, the advice is, ‘Light up the Runway’ and focus on three areas; having the right People, the correct Processes in place and getting Proof of outcome in terms  of ROI.  Digital cannot simply be an add-on but must be integrated, and RoI measured, with a focus on increase in sales, market share, online interaction (views, likes etc.) keyword searches and awards won.

(Fiona Sweeney of Kerry Foods)

 

#MomentsMatter

Stories remain the same but how we tell them is fundamentally different. From Twitter users’ reaction to Ireland winning the Six Nations in 2014 to the more recent conversations and debate surrounding #TheDress, planned and unplanned moments play out in different ways for audiences worldwide.  “Moments Matter” to the 284 million active monthly Twitter users – 76% of whom are accessing from a mobile device.

(Dennis Bree from Twitter)

 

How to have a job in ten years’ time

The rise of artificial intelligence is much closer than we think and five strategic marketing disruptors that are just around the corner include; Artificial intelligence/Deep learning, next generation computing, 3D printing, Real time personal data and virtual reality…. You have been warned!

(John Straw of iDisrupted)

VOLKSWAGEN IRELAND LAUNCHES VOLKSWAGEN JUNIOR MASTERS IRELAND

August 7th, 2014

Holly Carpenter was on hand with some of the soccer stars of the future to help Volkswagen Ireland launch the Volkswagen Junior Masters at the AUL complex. This exciting new grassroots initiative further strengthens Volkswagen’s support for Irish Soccer which already includes sponsorship agreements with a number of top Irish teams including Shelbourne FC, Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers.

 

Simon Elliott, CEO of Volkswagen Group Ireland commented: “We are strong supporters of Irish soccer and believe this new tournament, in which teams from across Ireland are participating, is a wonderful way to support and connect with Irish soccer communities. We are delighted to have this opportunity to support the soccer stars of the future and to help them on their way. It is with great pleasure that I will welcome all our teams, managements, referees, media, parents and supporters to the A.U.L complex for the inaugural Volkswagen Junior Masters Ireland competition.”

 

“We are delighted to become part of such a prestigious competition and look forward to growing the tournament in the upcoming years. I would like to wish all the players the very best of luck over what I am sure will be a very exciting weekend of soccer. While the winning of trophies is the aim, sport provides a wonderful opportunity to build long lasting friendships, learn important life skills and create memories,” added Simon Elliott.

 

There are sixteen teams participating in this 11-a-side tournament played according to official FIFA rules on regular sized pitches with regular size goals.  The group stages, in which there are four groups of four teams, will be played on Saturday 9th August with the semi-finals and finals taking place on Sunday 10th August. The Grand Final will take place at 2.30pm on Sunday.

VW Juniors Masters Launch 1

ŠKODA renews partnership with Dogs Trust

July 30th, 2014

ŠKODA is delighted to announce the renewal of its partnership with Dogs Trust as the official vehicle supplier to the charity.

As Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, the core function of Dogs Trust is to reduce the number of stray dogs that are destroyed in Irish pounds each year and to educate the public about responsible dog ownership. Since opening its state of the art rehoming centre in Finglas, Dublin in November 2009, Dogs Trust has helped save the lives of over 4,000 stray and abandoned puppies and dogs. Dogs Trust also launched a new Puppy Wing this summer, in response to surging levels of puppies being abandoned in Ireland.  The new wing spans over 300 sq ft and will save the lives of an additional 500 puppies and their Mammies each year.

The partnership sees ŠKODA adding a ŠKODA Yeti and a ŠKODA Roomster to the charity’s existing fleet of ŠKODA vehicles.

Ciara Walsh, Marketing Communications Manager, ŠKODA Ireland said; “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Dogs Trust. Both the Yeti and the Roomster are designed for those with an active lifestyle boasting impressive interior spaciousness and functionality which makes them perfect for dog-loving families. The Dogs Trust team are on the road every day rehoming stray and abandoned dogs and we’re proud to be part of this journey helping thousands of dogs find loving homes in Ireland.”

Mark Beazley, Executive Director, Dogs Trust added “Our mission is to prevent the unnecessary destruction of dogs and to allow the dogs that we do re-home to live long and happy lives in their new homes. Fundraising is crucial to Dogs Trust as we re-home over 1,500 dogs a year yet we receive no government funding, so the help from ŠKODA is hugely appreciated. Our new Puppy Wing, which will cost an additional €400,000 a year to run,  will be home to 6 mothers, their puppies and up to an additional 30 puppies at any one time, providing the veterinary care, socialisation and, most importantly, a safe and loving environment to get these puppies on their paws and ultimately into loving homes.”

 

NO FEE SKODA DOGS TRUST 2

Love Irish Food brands at Bloom

May 30th, 2014

Love Irish Food

Love Irish Food brands with annual sales of over €50 million will take part in this year’s Bloom festival. The Love Irish Food area in Bloom will feature fifteen member brands, which employ approximately 3,000 people, between them.

Brands attending the event this year will be showcasing the very best in Irish food and drink manufacturing. The expected 100,000 visitors to Bloom over the course of the weekend will be able to meet the brand owners, enjoy delicious tasters and avail of special offers unique to Bloom.

Kieran Rumley, Executive Director, Love Irish Food said: “We have surveyed our members brands attending Bloom and the good news is that the majority of them are optimistic about growth and many companies are hoping to create new jobs, locally and internationally, in 2014 and 2015. If consumers continue to support Love Irish Food brands when they are making purchasing decisions this pays a real dividend for local producers and communities alike.”

This year the Love Irish Food area will be located in the Bloom food village beside the ever popular Chef Demo area. Fifteen individual exhibitors will give a “farmers market” feel to the area with visitors encouraged to relax and enjoy the surroundings. In addition, Love Irish Food has commissioned a specially designed sand sculpture by Daniel Doyle – creating the perfect setting to enjoy a seasonal summer picnic of Irish produce.

Brands attending this year’s event include:

Avonmore
Big Al’s
Britvic Ireland
Dairymaid
Ballymaloe
Jelly Bean Factory
Coole Swan
Broderick’s
Golden Irish Eggs
Skoff Pies
TJ Crowe
Spice of Life
Gran Clarkes
Empire DonutsBallygowan/Irish Cancer Society 

Barretstown & Glanbia at Bloom

May 29th, 2014

NO FEE BARRETSTOWN BLOOM 2

Barretstown and Glanbia will once again join forces and host a unique Barretstown garden experience at Bloom in the Phoenix Park over the June bank holiday weekend. Designed by the award winning landscape architect Tim Austen, the garden will recognise the five year partnership between Glanbia and Barretstown which has raised an amazing €1.6 million for the children’s charity.

Inspired by the magic that campers experience at Barretstown, three time gold star winner at Bloom, Tim Austen has designed an interactive fun-filled garden. References are made throughout the landscape design to Barretstown in Kildare and interactive installations including the Wishing Tree and the artwork wall will enable visitors to Bloom to add their own creative touch to the garden and leave their mark on the Barretstown and Glanbia garden.

“We know from medical experts that intensive cancer treatment for children can last up to three years,” according to Chief Executive of Barretstown Dee Ahearn. “While such treatment now produces so many very positive outcomes medically, its intensity and duration can seriously disrupt childhood. Through the Barretstown camps and our Hospital Outreach Programme we enable children to just be children, even while undergoing such disruptive treatment.”  She added “We’re looking forward to bringing some Barretstown magic to this year’s Bloom and thank Glanbia for its longstanding partnership and dedicated employees who have raised €1.6 million for Barretstown.

“I am delighted that our contribution has made a tangible difference to the lives of over 350 families,” according to Siobhán Talbot, Group Managing Director Glanbia Plc

“Since 2008 we have proudly partnered with Barretstown. Our contribution means that Barretstown is now reaching even more families with camp capacity increasing by 75% since our partnership began.” She added “As a global performance nutrition and ingredients group, we are conscious of our corporate responsibility and in Ireland we always partnered with an organization that worked with children. To this end, Barretstown has been a hugely deserving partner.”

2014 marks Barretstown’s 20th anniversary and the children’s charity has welcomed over 27,000 children and their families since its foundation in 1994. Barretstown would like to thank Glanbia for its longstanding support and welcome visitors to Bloom to visit the magical garden over the bank holiday weekend. News and photos of the garden will be shared on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #Seedsofmagic.

Woodie’s prepares for Bloom 2014

May 29th, 2014

Bloom_Woodies 004

Gardening is back in business, according to Ireland’s leading gardening and DIY retailer, Woodie’s. As a result of the mild spring/summer weather and the improvement in consumer sentiment, Irish consumers are returning to their gardens and they are rolling their sleeves up, to get neglected gardens back in shape, this summer.

To celebrate its presence at Bloom this week, Woodie’s has compiled a list of the current trends in gardening;

  • Irish gardeners are going back to  basics, opting for more planting and less structure in their gardens
  • Colour is in high demand with colourful, flowering  bedding plants proving most popular with consumers
  • As optimism levels rise, home owners are happy to spend up to €20 or €30 per store visit, purchasing high impact bedding plants which will deliver immediate colour to their gardens
  • Raised flower beds, hanging baskets and window boxes are on trend again as consumers continue their love affair with container planting
  • Roses are making a comeback in gardens particularly many varieties in the modern range. Disease resistant varieties have now come on stream and are proving popular with many customers.
  • Other on-trend plants include ‘old favourites’ like geraniums, hebes, lavender and a wide range of perennials such as foxgloves etc. The popular bedding plant busy lizzie is again making a return to traditional planting schemes.

Those attending this year’s Bloom Festival can enjoy the Woodie’s show gardens which capture the journey gardening has taken throughout the ages with the ‘Past, Present and Future’ of gardening running as a central theme.

As one of the main sponsors of the festival, Woodie’s will occupy two spaces within the 70 acre site to create its show garden with each section representing past, present and future. Woodie’s has teamed up with Kildare Garden Designer, Anthony Ryan, who designed and created each of the gardens in conjunction with Woodie’s horticultural team.

The Victorian-inspired garden blends ornate embellishments, manicured hedges and clean lines with colourful plants and delicate ironwork. By contrast, the garden of the future portrays an ultra-modern futuristic theme by relying on suttle shapes and a neutral colour palette made up of cool blues, it serves as a contrast to the rigid structure and formality of the Victorian garden.

In contrast to the two alternatively themed large centre gardens, Woodie’s present day garden captures the typical requirements of the average urban dweller. Features include a relaxing area, a lawn space and room for outdoor entertaining.

Ruth Brett, Woodie’s Marketing Director, commented: “Not only do we feel that Anthony’s designs accurately capture the journey gardening has taken down through the years, we are also confident that his innovative yet contemporary take on the past, present and future of gardening will produce a crowd pleasing success.”

Visitors to Bloom can also attend regular demonstrations from Woodie’s expert horticulturist Paddy Gleeson, who will be on hand to offer advice and demonstrations on the techniques required to achieve a simple garden which can be enjoyed by the whole family.“Typically people try to do too much when they start a garden and very often they dive in without a plan. Before they put a spade in the ground they need a plan and a simple sketch. If they start this way and build it up over time that is the best approach”

2014 marks Woodie’s eighth year as sponsor of the Bloom Festival. Woodie’s is an Irish owned company and a retail division of Grafton Group PLC. Over 90% of their plants are sourced from Irish nurseries throughout the country.

Bloom 2014 is taking place in the Phoenix Park Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend, from Thursday 29th May until Monday 2nd June 2014.