Marketer of the Year winner for AAI talk

Marketer of the Year (MotY) winner Brian Higgins, whose Darkness Into Light campaign for Pieta House highlighted the issue of suicide in Ireland, and runner-up Niall McGrath, co-founder of Fulfil protein bars, will share their success stories at an Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) Toolkit  seminar in the National Gallery at 8.30am on Tuesday, January 23.

Higgins is the person responsible for driving the charity’s strategy in helping to prevent suicide in Ireland. The judges described Pieta House’s achievements as “one of the most compelling pieces of work” they have seen in Irish marketing in recent years – a brand whose ultimate ambition is to go out of business in the hope its services will no longer be required.

Pieta House contributed to a 20 per cent drop in suicide rates across Ireland. The HSE reported 399 suicides in Ireland last year, compared to 451 in 2015 and 554 in 2011. The numbers of people taking part in Darkness Into Light was up by 150 per cent to 180,000 people. This year, €4.5m was raised, which is a third of Pieta House’s annual funding.

It is estimated that 54,000 people are impacted by suicide in Ireland. In a review of Higgins’s presentation, one judge said his work for Pieta House was “top drawer” which just “blew me away” – not least the way he took the Darkness Into Light event and turned into a movement. The results were “phenomenal” with a 20 per cent reduction in suicides.

With Fulfil protein bars, McGrath wanted to create a market for a healthy but popular snack – “taste trumps healthy every time”. What was out there on the market already tasted awful and the packs looked terrible. McGrath had to change the protein ‘bodybuilder’ image and create from scratch a credible and fun lifestyle brand delivering health and taste benefits.

The strategy focused on four pillars- distribution, visibility, trial and awareness. After just a year a half on the market, the confectionery is ranked 68th in the Checkout top 100 brands. Over 15 million bars have been sold – most as a healthy impulse purchase. The brand is now in 16 export markets and was recently listed for its bars on Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights.

Tickets for the MotY event are available from the AAI, by clicking on…

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