Are you looking at my crisps?

by Nigel Heneghan

The weekend of the All-Ireland Hurling Final and since, you could not have missed Largo Foods’ advertisements for its crisp brand strewn across most of our national print titles. While it is a buyer’s market at present, the cost of the media purchased must be well into a six-figure sum.

The marketeers had simple objectives: to upset as many people as possible, to create controversy; initiate a debate about the rights or wrongs of this type of advertising. The overarching aim, to maximise brand recognition and value.

The ruler is out and the column inches, headlines, photos and brand-mentions are being measured. Using the advertising rate-card for each publication a fiscal value is being applied to the editorial coverage and multiplied. Negative, neutral and positive comments are being analysed.

The marketeers and agencies are giving themselves a massive pat-on-the-back for the value of editorial coverage achieved. They are absolutely comfortable in the “all publicity is good publicity” school. They join Paddy Power Bookmakers, Ryanair and Benetton in this view.

Consider the satisfaction around a press advert achieving a lot of national radio airtime, and columnists in those titles where the original adverts appeared writing damning critical pieces about the ads, and doing exactly what the brand owner had hoped and expected they would.

Remember the mileage accruing to the brand in 2010 when the IRFU decided to have its legal advisers look at the campaign by the Largo Foods. Happy brand owners. The Union played straight into their hands. The GAA is being somewhat more clever.

As you would expect, there has been a deluge of related activity on Twitter:!/search/hunky%20dory

Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the campaign, the objective has been achieved, not least because of unwitting and naïve journalists and media commentators.

From a technical viewpoint, the campaign is a good example of advertising being used as part of a wider public relations strategy.