Ringsend’s Mad Men

Ringsend's Mad Men

Ireland’s most awarded commercials production company, Blinder Films, was founded in 2005 by directors Richie Smyth and Kieron J Walsh, later joined by Executive Producer/Managing Director Michael Duffy, in an office on Irishtown Road.

The outfit quickly established themselves, producing commercials for international clients like Heineken, Coors Light and Club Orange. No other Irish production company has won as many awards for creativity as Blinder, who have been recognised with awards for their work for clients as disparate as Heineken and the ISPCC, including a prestigious Cannes Lion at the advertising world’s equivalent of the famous film festival.

Earlier this year, Blinder merged with fellow Dublin outfit Max Films to form a new production company under the title Pull the Trigger.

Maxine Brady, Pull the Trigger’s Managing Director, tells NewsFour the process through which a commercial reaches our TV screens.

“The client will brief an ad agency who will work up a script, a process that can take anywhere from two weeks to two years, and then send it to us,” she says. “We receive an A4 sheet of paper from the agency which contains the visuals and voiceover, and it’s up to the director to interpret that creatively. Our job then is to figure out which director makes the most sense for that commercial, how much it will cost and how long it will take to produce.”

According to Brady, the most important element in producing a great commercial is preparation. “Every single aspect has to be carefully controlled so you can deliver what you promised to the client, and one extra hour can cost us quite a bit of money.”

The success of any campaign, Brady informs us, is how it equates to sales of the featured product. “If sales go up it means the campaign is working.”

In recent years, we’ve seen a proliferation of online advertising, but Brady believes TV will always be the main outlet for advertisers. “Web users are a disparate group, whereas TV advertising allows for a more specific focus,” she says. “You can stick your commercial on during the Nine O’Clock News or in the middle of the All Ireland final, depending on what your target market is.”

Brady cites the current Guinness Sapeurs commercial as an example of a highly effective campaign. “It’s actually using real people, it’s colourful, the voice over has gravitas and authority, and the music sticks in your head,” she says. “It’s a really great piece of communication.”

Commercial directing, Brady believes, is a highly specific talent. “If you can get your message across in 30 seconds then you can pretty much direct anything.”

Pictured: Last year’s Strongbow commercial, shot on location in South Africa.

Image courtesy Blinder Films.

By Eric Hillis