What brands don’t advertise in Ireland but still sell?

I’ve asked this before on Twitter but I’ll ask it here too to a larger reach of people. Besides tobacco brands who can’t advertise in Ireland, are there any products in Ireland that don’t advertise but still sell well? I’d guess for a lot of chocolate the instore display might be enough to live off and perhaps some personal hygiene products that are just the default to use would also sell well. Just trying to figure out some things with advertising and marketing.

38 Responses to “What brands don’t advertise in Ireland but still sell?”

  1. Graham O Maonaigh says:

    In the choclate department. Kraft Food products such as Daim/Dime, Marabou and a few other niche Scandinavian brands.

    Pepsi Co

    Google(biggest brand in the world with no self advertising)

    I’ll take a look round the shop and have a think

  2. The Beer Nut says:


    Irish micros like Carlow brewing, and well-known imports like Fuller’s and Sam Adams and Tyskie, all fly off the shelves with zero promotion.

  3. Gavin says:

    Vegemite – If Tesco is stocking it, it must be selling…

  4. Mark Webster says:

    Apple do very little direct. UK adverts on TV give them some coverage, but coming from the print advertising side it’s a long time since they have done anything specific to the Irish market.

  5. Colm says:

    Don’t recall ever seeing ads for Dutch Gold. Except some point of sale stuff.

  6. cathy says:

    The one that always gets me is Abercrombie and Fitch. They don’t advertise here, they don’t even sell here, and yet you see their clothes on every single teenager in Ireland.

  7. Potatoes are advertised. They have that lovely “worth the wait” advert. Don’t microwave potatoes is the message. Or is that ad for butter? Can’t remember now.

  8. One thing that struck me when i worked for them a few years ago is how Irish Yogurts don’t advertise, they have gone from strength to strength from a tiny company of a few people to being stocked in nearly every supermarket in Ireland and still growing!

  9. David Quaid says:

    Lot’s of things are sold without advertising. Advertising is used most frequently when selling things that people don’t absolutely need or aren’t aware they need – because advertising is about creating demand as much as it is about creating awareness. Products that compete with bigger brands on lower price points often dont need to advertise.

    Companies that advertise tend to sell an average product at an inflated price because they create a dominant brand message: e.g.: eircom are always advertising but have a crappy customer service, slow broadband, and are the most expensive telco in Ireland. Essentially people pay more to use their products because it costs so much to sell it to them.

    I could never figure out why ESB always advertised, years before Bord Gais came into Electricity Supply.

  10. The majority of products sold in the likes of Lidl and Aldi are not advertised although the products on display look similar to big brand names ie. Twix, Mars, snickers, Pantene (shampoo), Cornflakes etc.

  11. mick dillon says:

    the ESB is a weird one right enough. they used to advertise asking people to conserve electricity. I honestly believe that if you have a product which offers a superior user experience (this could be based around pricing, technical innovation, ease of use, etc, etc) you don’t need to spend above the line. Google, AVG, Hotmail, facebook are all examples of this. Of course these companies did use their products viral nature, PR, contra deals and other strategic tie-ups to help get the good karma out there but fundamentally I believe it was the superior user experience that won them the market share.

  12. kerryview says:

    That stretched me.

  13. Sandra Egan says:

    Impulse icecream and car washes – good weather is better than any marketing activity to increase sales.

    Baby products – you spend the 9 months prior to delivery researching and seeking out advice e.g. buggies, prams, cots, playpens, highchairs and not an ad in sight! How many other industries get the end user to do all the work to find the right product? And don’t even start on products that solve nappy rashes or any other baby ailment which are discussed in hushed tones at mother & baby groups….

    Medicines – the “I used x and it made me feel great” phenomenon.

    Seasonal Products – e.g. ‘Mallowe’ens’ – you didn’t even know what they were, let alone need an entire box of them but you just get caught up in the whole season! (But I can highly recommend them just stop half way thru the box).

  14. paul says:

    Zara, I believe, have a reputation for advertising far less than their competitors. Their high turnover of new clothes keeps customers coming back without the need for ads to drive people instore.

  15. Cormac says:

    Google actually do advertise. They constantly promote their own products using Google Adwords. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=google+apps&aq=f&oq=&aqi= for example.

    Petrol Stations used to be big on advertising about 5 or so years ago. I have never seen an advert for Topaz but they seemed to arrive over night with a bit of a bang.

  16. Michele says:

    Most companies seem to advertise somewhere, even if it’s only at certain times of the year.

    Google didn’t advertise for the first few years, but they do a stupid amount of it these days.

    I’ve never understood why some companies spend as much as they do when they are the clear market leaders (Coca Cola springs to mind), while the ESB didn’t have any competition until recently.

    A lot of wine, beer and alcohol companies don’t seem to do much advertising. I suspect they sell based off their position in the supermarket aisles and piggyback off the advertising spend of some of the others.

    @Mark Webster – Apple don’t do print ads in the Irish tech media – they do plenty in the UK and with the number of Apple specific titles available I somehow doubt they need to do a huge amount more. Online Apple do quite a bit via the affiliate channel


  17. Thinking of a few beers – Brooklyn, leffe, erdinger, etc.

    But also coffee. Take away coffee. Butlers? Not sure they advertise. OK, they have a good store network but it is the product quality which drives WOM and repeat visits. Coffee is also one of those things that people care about and recommend once they find one they love.

    In store, I always seek out Lavazza, but don’t recall any advertising apart from branded cups and POS in coffee houses.

  18. Amy says:

    Contact Lenses

    Very little advertising for them in this country, on TV at least. UK have a bit more with Johnson and Johnson Acuvue sponsoring Grey’s Anatomy! In saying that, they have in last month begun some TV ads! Ciba did do a campaign few years back with your one from SClub 7-not sure how effective! As an Optician no one has ever said they saw an ad and its a massive market!

  19. Michele says:

    @Neil – there are coffee ads in a lot of the magazines 🙂

  20. And there is daft-as-muck Nescafe capturing the gold/light ad on telly. Insults ones intelligence it does.

  21. Green Of Eye says:

    Off the top of my head:
    MAC Cosmetics
    Roses Marmalade
    Urban Decay Cosmetics
    Knorr Aromat

  22. Thaedydal says:

    They don’t have an advertisement budget in any country.

  23. @Michele One of the main reasons market leaders such as Coca Cola spend so much on advertising is to make it too cost prohibitive for new entrants to the market. Not only would a newcomer have to come up with a superior product but they would also to spend a considerable sum to displace the current market leader from the forefront of the consumers mind when they are ready to make a purchase.

  24. Michele says:

    @Derry very good point.

  25. Merrill says:

    @Cormac “I have never seen an advert for Topaz but they seemed to arrive over night with a bit of a bang.”

    Topaz is the new name for Shell in Ireland. They rebranded after the Shell to sea campaigns. They don’t really want to advertise by fear of people making the connection

  26. Cormac says:


    Not exactly. Topaz purchased Shell’s retail fuel business in Ireland and some of its distribution business. Topaz is a private Irish company that also purchased the Statoil stations.

    Topaz is not a “new brand” owned by Shell. Nothing to do with Shell Ireland.

  27. Advertising ‘above the line’ (what ad types call conventional old-fashioned advertising) is really not a great way to go. There are plenty of other ways to get brand presence and to explain products apart from that.

    Why do Coca Cola advertise? Because that is what they are, that is what they do. The advertising is the product. Coca Cola ‘refreshes the world in body, mind and spirit’. They can’t do that through brown sugary water alone. Their proposition is essentially psychological.

    Retail presence has also been a big thing in the last ten years. Vodafone’s main marketing is through its retail presence – they spend vast amounts on it -. Retail FMCG (fast moving consumer goods like food, toothpaste and shampoo) have their marketing rooted in retail, rather than advertising. If it’s on the shelf in a prominent place, there is a good chance you will sell some. If you’re not in the supermarkets at all, you won’t.

    Conventional advertising really means very little at this stage.

  28. Google. 😉

    Google generally do not advertise themselves.

  29. Neasa says:

    Interesting question! We found last year in our youth research (www.idyouth.ie) that a lot of the top brands for Irish 18-29s fell between the two extremes – either not at all advertising reliant eg. Apple, Abercrombie or highly intertwined with good advertising eg. Guinness, O2, Sony.

    I think Antoin makes a good point though about “advertising” and even “marketing” losing meaning. All the brands leading in being considered cool at the moment are technology brands like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Sky+. And in these case the lines betwen marketing and product are blurred. The products do the marketing largely (though that said, Sky+ put a lot of above the line budget in!)

  30. Marketing as we know it today is something very different to advertising and promotion. It is worth reading the definitions at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing

  31. Alexia says:

    Heh, Antoin. Are you serious linking to a wiki article? 🙂

    Marketing is a catch-all term. Isn’t advertising a form of promotional marketing?

  32. Everyone assumes marketing is some sort of catch all term and it is often used that way. But it does have a strict sense and the definitions given in the WP article are pretty good and from authoritative sources.

    Advertising is an aspect of marketing, but it is not really all that close to the core of what marketing is all about. Whilst marketing is not a catch-all term, it is pretty broad.

  33. Everyone assumes marketing is some sort of catch all term and it is often used that way. But it does have a strict sense and the definitions given in the WP article are pretty good and from authoritative sources.

    Advertising is an aspect of marketing, but it is not really all that close to the core of what marketing is all about. Whilst marketing is not a catch-all term, it is pretty broad.

  34. Sean says:

    Green Of Eye says:
    October 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Off the top of my head:
    MAC Cosmetics
    Roses Marmalade
    Urban Decay Cosmetics
    Knorr Aromat

    Aromat, now theres something I’ve NEVER seen an advert for but still buy.. Then again does MSG need any adverts? 😛

  35. John says:

    I’m probably not the target market (certainly not for the cosmetics), but I’ve never heard of any of these.

  36. @Sean: I hadn’t realised that anyone still bothered to sell MSG, certainly not under a brand name.