LIMERICK's prosperous future as a globally competitive, international city has been embraced in its first ever major brand, which was launched this Thursday with great fanfare.
The new locally-focused brand is borne out of intensive research undertaken by creative agency M&C Saatchi between late 2018 and early 2019, at a cost of around €70,000.
The result is a massive marketing and rebranding campaign that will focus on Limerick's strengths in terms of tourism, business, education and its many communities in the city and county.
The new brand, a lens into Limerick in the 21st century, was unveiled in the historic St Mary's Cathedral, one of the oldest used venues in the country.
The Limerick: Atlantic Edge, European Embrace will comprise a major multi-market and multimedia campaign, entitled Percentages, which aims to quantify the region's edginess and friendliness.
There will also be a huge emphasis on the people and culture of Limerick, articulated through Limerick 'heroes', the inspirational people of Limerick.
Some of these heroes include aeronautical engineer, Dr Norah Patten, Michelin-starred chef Michael Tweedie, acclaimed tattooist Ross Nagle, Ireland's style queen Celia Holman Lee, hurler Cian Lynch, and climate and environment activist, Saoirse Exton.
The MC of the big unveiling was RTE Lyric's Liz Nolan.
With every marketing campaign, there's a hashtag, and those leading the new brand are asking the people of Limerick and visitors to use the hashtags #Limerick, #LimerickEdgeEmbrace and #HowLimerick.
There will also be brand ambassadors who will help roll out the development of the brand, through tourism, education, business, local/community, culture and media.
There was also a stellar musical performance by spoken word artist Denise Chaila, rapper God Knows Jonas, and singer Michelle Grimes with a funky and orchestral backing, conducted by Music Generation's Boris Hunka.
To conclude the unveiling, Caherdavin folk singer Emma Langford delivered a powerful performance of The Cranberries' Dreams with a choral backing.
Delivering a lengthy speech, Mayor Michael Sheahan said that the rebrand reflects the confidence of the entire region.
“This is a real milestone for Limerick. We’ve had an economic transformation over the past decade and we are now rightly going out proudly to the rest of Ireland and the world and inviting them to experience our vibrant city and county.
"Whether through inward investment, coming here to enjoy our dynamic tourism offering or, indeed, coming to work in and enjoy the affordability of our city and county, we have a compelling offering here now and it’s right that we would take that to the world."
Limerick City and County Council chief executive, Dr Pat Daly: “This brand positioning and marketing campaign is a dynamic new asset for Limerick that will give us an edge to generate more inward investment, more tourism and more people to come and live and work here.
"In doing that they will join a city and county on a very exciting journey that will benefit all. Our ‘Limerick 2030: an Economic and Spatial Plan’ is a framework for the future. It was set in place in 2013 but we have already surpassed the job targets for it over a decade out. So now we go again and this brilliant new asset is a timely and exciting lever to propel us forward.”
Said Limerick City and County Council Head of Marketing & Communications Laura Ryan:
“A huge amount of work has gone into getting us here today but today is really just the start. We’ve captured the essence of Limerick and we now take that story to wherever we believe there are opportunities for Limerick. Today is a reflection of the new ambition that Limerick has. The brand reflects the confidence of a transformed Limerick. A city that welcomes all, that has grit, determination and resilience in abundance and one that is at the world’s most dynamic crossroads, where Europe and the Atlantic meets.”
Mary Harris, Managing Partner, M&C Saatchi, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have taken the creative lead on developing the first brand for Limerick City and County. The brand and campaign we have developed represents a major statement of intent for Limerick and sets out its global ambitions. ‘Atlantic Edge, European Embrace’ immediately locates Limerick in the world and captures its grit, determination, and warmth.
"It also helps establish the City and County as the gateway to Ireland’s premier tourist proposition – the Wild Atlantic Way whilst underlining Limerick’s strong cultural links to Europe, both now and in the past. Working with Limerick has been a true delight – everyone we have encountered has been so generous with their time and their insight. There is a palpable passion for the county and a belief that the time is now for Limerick to come into its own and take its place on a global stage. It’s a very special place and I’m looking forward to seeing it fulfil its potential.”
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BRAND
And voila! This is the NEW brand for Limerick — Atlantic Edge, European Embrace, the texture mirrors the Treaty Stone and the colours are inspired by the waterways and green landscapes pic.twitter.com/axifGECJdp— Fintan Walsh (@FintanYTWalsh) January 30, 2020
#Limerick: Where our edge has been sharpened as much by harsh Atlantic winds as by the tough trials of history… & where the embrace of millennia of European culture is warm and enduring— University Of Limerick (@UL) January 30, 2020
This is our Limerick. Where edge meets embrace #LimerickEdgeEmbrace pic.twitter.com/LKVZUnehCb