Just before the end of the year, the Irish Independent published a magazine supplement on Great Irish Brands. Naturally, I was intrigued. The paper itself is one of the great Irish brands and had duly included itself in the list (I did say great rather than modest!) but, not unsurprisingly, they'd left another out: their competitor The Irish Times.
This wasn't the only great brand that was excluded. Whilst I know 'greatest-this and top-that' lists always give rise to some controversy, I was disappointed to see that their lineup was very hit and miss. For the record the list is: Avonmore, Bord Na Mona, Brown Thomas, Denny, Douglas Newman Good, Guaranteed Irish, Guinness, Homestead, Irish Independent, Jameson, Kerrygold, Lyons Tea, National Lottery, O'Briens Wines, Paddy Power, Paddy Whiskey, Powers Whiskey, Quinn Group, RDS, RTE, Tayto.
Missing in action are brands such as Bulmers, Baileys, O'Brien's Sandwich Bars, Club Orange, Abbey Theatre whilst a number of the brands included suggested that this was more of a ploy to keep advertisers or cronies happy than it was a true celebration of Irish brands.
How did Quinn Group make it in there? Can the RDS truly claim to be a great brand? The Dublin Horse Show maybe. But the venue itself hardly commands either great customer affection or loyalty (it's simply there). Finally, it's the inclusion of three whiskey brands and the exclusion of Baileys that really has this brand-builder quivering with indignation. Again, Jameson is the only one that demands to be included in such a shortlist.
Where are Louis Copeland, Elvery's, Eason's and the other great mainstays of Irish retail? Perhaps they don't advertise?
I could go on but I'd much rather throw it open to you: which do you think are the great Irish brands? Let's keep it at 22 like the Independent did (although we're not limited by page numbers as they are). Working from the shortlist of 22, which brands would you turf out and which would you include in their place?