In the depths of 2017’s lingering winter bigO was tasked with finding the voice of and creating the content via which Ireland could spout loud and proud about its creative, cultural, business, innovation and educational prowess. The shout n’ spout was scheduled for spring and the spotlight was set to shine on the country and its first international all-under-one-digital-roof website This is Ireland, in time for St Patrick’s Day.
But how do you big up a small nation to the world via an online megaphone without cranking the innate Irish aversion to back-slappery, self-congratulation and of course, the cringe-o-meter, up to 11? By treading the thin green line between local and global very softly.
They say it’s not easy being green. It was no mean feat to create and launch Ireland’s first one-stop nation branding site on time for the greenest day of the year either. Unveiled in tandem with the Taoiseach’s St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington, the website’s inspiring launch video with its roster of innovators, creators and makers, quickly spread the word web-wide to almost 8 million social feeds. With coverage on the Irish Times, Joe.ie, Independent.ie, Irish Central and more, the video’s blend of beautiful footage and lyrical script pointed users to a sleek and polished website brimming with 60+ unique stories reflecting Ireland’s muscle in the realms of culture, creativity, education, innovation, business, tourism and achievements abroad.
With its stories profiling cultural tastemakers and artistic luminaries, not to mention up and comers in literature, tech, design and beyond, Ireland.ie enjoyed 15,000 page views within two days of launch and some 250,000 views in the website’s first 10 months. The site’s stories proved a true encapsulation of the country’s trademark dynamism and spirit.
The aim was to give due focus to this island as a real force to be reckoned with, we did this by creating a content cocktail of pitch perfect tone and brand voice that delivers genuinely engaging subject matter. Showcasing Ireland, not selling it, was the name of the game. By creating a bespoke style guide and tone/voice guidelines we were able to ensure that the content resonated with both the domestic and overseas audience. We kept the tone rooted in authenticity, its aim was to effectively win over the Irish person by avoiding any twee, stereotypical representations of Irishness while informing and guiding the non-Irish user along the way.
As the website was a first for Ireland: a one-stop site that contained everything anyone would need to know about its society, culture, achievements, attitudes, industry and more, the content strategy involved creating content that spanned the categories of living, visiting, investing and studying here. bigO devised, created and curated over 60 pieces of content on everything from Irish-led world-firsts to our thriving animation industry to the scientists, artists and architects representing us on the world stage.
To coincide with the website, a video was produced based around the idea that this land ain’t just the Republic of Ireland but the Republic of Creativity too. Directed by the multi award-winning Ruán Magan, the video features a host of contributions by creative dynamos such as Lenny Abrahamson, Ruairí de Blacam, the Laureate for Irish Fiction Anne Enright, Easkey Britton, Clare Langan, Aoibheann McNamara, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Niamh Scanlon, Eamonn Sinnott, Enda Walsh and Bill Whelan. Add some stunning footage and a poetic script to the mix and the end result was a video that reached more than 7,982,928 hearts and social feeds around the world.