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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

Three agencies refused to put up this billboard advertisement for Griffith College Dublin

“It could easily come across as a mistake in the posting of the creativity resulting in unnecessary criticism of the industry.”

Image: Shutterstock/Soonthorn Wongsaita

IN AN ATTEMPT to attract postgraduate students to their courses, Griffith College designed this advertisement in conjunction with the design agency Atomic, intended to be printed and mounted on a giant billboard.

The idea was that it would encourage those who aren’t happy in their jobs to think about enrolling in a postgraduate course, which might allow them to work in a job they love.

“The message behind the campaign is that people should be in careers that they love,” a spokesperson from Griffith College said. “The use of outdoor advertising is key for us to communicate with our audience and to catch their attention on their commute.”

The campaign was going to cost €50,000 and was going to see ads on radio, outdoor and online.

Griffith College Advertising Three different agencies refused to put up this billboard advertisement. Source: Griffith College

Sounds normal enough.

Only, three advertising agencies have refused to put it up.

“Clear Channel, Exterion and JCDecaux have refused to carry this [billboard],” said the Griffith College spokesperson.

The commercial director of JCDecaux Pat Mannion said that this was because it reflected badly on their employees and their industry – and might imply that they do a sloppy job.

Unfortunately I don’t think it reflects our industry in a very favourable light and I wouldn’t be happy for this design to run on JCDecaux billboards.

Chief operations officer at Clear Channel Declan O’Carroll said something similar.

“We had a look at this proposed copy – and while we appreciate the message that they are trying to convey, we believe that our product and the quality service that we offer would not be well portrayed by this design.”

Barry Dooley, CEO of the Association of Advertisers in Ireland, said that although he can see both sides of the argument, he agrees with the agencies who refused to run the advertisement.

It would denigrate their business. It could easily come across as a mistake in the posting of the creativity resulting in unnecessary criticism of the industry.
Whilst it is a nice idea, I don’t think that the advertiser and/or agency thought it through and planned for these consequences – maybe they should have approached the outdoor people in advance to see if they were comfortable with it before incurring the production costs.

In the end, outdoor advertising agency Pzazz Media agreed to carried out the work, and three billboards have been put up on South Circular Road in Rialto, East Wall Road, and Amiens Street, all in Dublin.

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