Core Values

Core values

Maurice Breen, marketing director, Bulmers Limited, has been awarded the Marketer of the Year primarily for the strategy devised to launch Magners Irish Cider in the UK market. The Marketer of the Year award is organised by Marketing in association with Alternatives marketing agency and is aimed at honouring Ireland's leading marketers.

Commenting on his winning the Marketer of the Year, Maurice Breen said: “I am really delighted to receive this award on behalf of the Magners marketing team. Along with everyone at Bulmers, we're making the most of a great Irish product and are only at the early stages of developing a powerful long-term brand.

“This award is recognition that marketing has been at the heart of Magners' development, backed by a managing director and a board which has been visionary and brave in providing the resources necessary to break the brand internationally.

“Much of what is good about Magners comes from Bulmers in Ireland and our brand has never been stronger. There's much more development to come from Magners as only the first couple of chapters of the case study has been written,” Breen added.

Bulmers was marketed in the UK as Magners because the brand name is owned there by the Hereford-based company, HP Bulmer. Asked if the market in Ireland could expect C&C to drop the Bulmers name here in favour of Magners, Breen replied: “We've invested a lot of time in Bulmers, so I wouldn't see a change for the foreseeable future.

Magners actually began as a drinks brand which followed overseas Irish communities in places like Boston and Spain's Costa del Sol, expatriates who wanted to enjoy drinking Bulmers while abroad. It soon became clear that Irish cider could be a major export success and as a result brand owner C&C decided on a more focused strategy.

Glasgow was chosen for the initial British roll out of Magners in 2003 and distribution across Scotland went ahead the following year. In 2005, C&C tested the brand in various parts of London and, due its huge popularity, Magners was finally launched throughout the United Kingdom in March of this year and was helped by a summer heatwave.

Magners had a total moving annual total (MAT) of 0.9 per cent of the on-trade long alcoholic drink (LAD) market across Britain, with three per cent in Scotland, 1.7 per cent in London and 0.5 per cent in the rest of Britain. Based on Nielsen data, Magners is now available in pubs which account for 59 per cent of turnover in Britain.

In the six months to August of this year, a 263 per cent increase in volumes of Magners helped boost profits at C&C to €113.5 million. As well as revitalising cider growth in the UK, Magners has become the leading packaged alcohol drink across the marketplace.

C&C has invested €30 million in promoting the Magners brand through extensive advertising and sponsorships campaigns. With creative work by Young Euro RSCG in Dublin and media concepts from MPG (now Havas Media) in London, Magners has been supported by innovative marketing to develop the brand's ‘natural apple' proposition.

A 96-sheet poster dispersed real apple blossoms. London's Waterloo Underground station was turned into a virtual orchard in spring and autumn. The entire length and breath of the Heathrow Airport tunnel was dressed with images of the Clonmel orchard – all giving commuters a realistic impression of the brand's source.

C&C decided that support for London Wasps rugby club was a perfect fit for the Magners brand. The idea was augmented for Wales and Scotland, with the creation of the Magners League, previously the Celtic League. C&C plans to invest €200 million in doubling Magners production to 500 million litres per year in the next 18 months.

Most of the money will go on adding two new high-speed bottling lines. It follows a €65m outlay on another new bottling facility last year, with C&C since having some problems in supplying Magners to the off-sales trade in the UK.

C&C is now facing a surge in competition from Scottish & Newcastle, whose Strongbow is the world's top selling cider brand, with 2.6 million hectalitres brewed each year. In May of this year, S&N re-launched Bulmers Original Vintage Cider and they are producing about seven million litres and are distributing to 8,000 pubs.

Bulmers marketing director John Keogh won the Marketer of the Year award in 2001. Breen won the award this year in competition with three other finalists, namely Deirdre Ashe, marketing director, Vivas Health, Loretta Lambkin, director of marketing, Dublin Docklands Development Authority and Fintan Lonergan, head of marketing, Aer Lingus.

The Marketer of the Year judging panel this year was chaired by Geraldine O'Leary, commercial director, RTE Television. She was joined by Michael Caraher, chief executive, Association of Advertisers in Ireland; David Courtney, marketing director, Bank of Ireland; Loretta Dignam, head of marketing – convenience division, Kerry Foods; John Concannon, director of regional development, Failte Ireland; Michael Hayes, marketing director, Meteor; Bernadette Coyne, managing director, Research Solutions and Pat Kinsley, director, Neworld Associates branding agency.

The Marketer of the Year award recognises work undertaken by marketers in Ireland and evidenced, in particular, in the past two years. The person is someone who through strategy, innovation, communication s and impact on the market has made their brand, product or service an outstanding success.

Breen's key marketing objectives for the UK were to build brand awareness and generate sales, become the number one bottled alcohol brand within four years, revitalise the category and change the perception of cider and position Magners Irish Cider as a premium long alcoholic drink (LAD) and a real alternative to beer.
The strategy was to motivate British consumers to re-appraise cider and build awareness of a new product by trying a market first – a pint bottle of cider served over ice. The aim was to achieve sales quickly to see off competitive threat and gain cut-through in a busy media environment and minimise waste as ad spend precedes distribution build.

The strategy was to be simple and to differentiate – here was essentially Ireland's favourite cider, Bulmers, but as Magners and served over ice. Breen and his team sought to establish premium positioning through imagery, price, packaging and product quality.

Five tactics were deployed to implement the strategy:

  1. Target Advertising and media innovation with creative impact.
  2. Extend reach through PR initiatives to motivate consumers
  3. Product trial at point of purchase, both trade and consumer
  4. Deliver premium experience through trade marketing
  5. Develop credible sponsorships, like the Magners League


Deirdre Ashe, marketing director, Vivas Health
Deirdre Ashe was recognised for developing a launch strategy for Vivas Health where the new arrival had to compete with the ‘big guns' of VHI and BUPA. The judges were impressed by the submission made by chief executive Oliver Tattan, not least the actions and tactics employed. Vivas derived good insights which were put to effective use.

Loretta Lambkin, director of marketing, Dublin Docklands Development Authority
Loretta Lambkin was honoured for her work with the DDDA in helping to develop what the judges called “creating a sense of place” in the capital's inner city. She did this by organising a series of strong events which increased footfall and were well publicised. The strategy brought positive focus on an area of Dublin city which had been largely ignored.

Fintan Lonergan, head of marketing, Aer Lingus
Fintan Lonergan put his marketing talent to use in repositioning the Aer Lingus brand during a turbulent time. The submission showed how marketing helped in producing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of Irish business – from losses of €2.5 million a day in 2001 to its position this year as a profitable national airline.


  • The marketing challenge faced
  • The key aims and objectives
  • The strategy adopted and implications for the business
  • Key consumer insights driving the strategy
  • The key actions taken or tactics used
  • The impact on the marketplace
  • How success was measured
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