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DCC An idea to help light up Dublin

We were tasked with the responsibility for the naming, branding and comms strategy for Winter Lights brand around what has to become an annual Christmas event in the city.

The Challenge

Dublin City Council had the kind of problem many McCann clients (it’s safe to say) would not really consider a problem at all: too many customers. People were visiting the city in such numbers to experience the annual switching-on of the Christmas lights, that the large crowd in one small location was making it hard for young families to enjoy the spectacle in safety.

Dublin City Council’s solution was to spread the event across the entire city centre. It would be a festival of light that would illuminate thirteen iconic buildings all around the city for 30 days. The brief to McCann was to build a sense of anticipation around the event and communicate clearly what it was to the public.

Our Approach

We didn’t see the value in creating a one-off advertising campaign, only to bin it after a short period and come up with something new again the next year. That would have been wasteful.

Our strategy team’s research showed Irish consumers are conditioned to see “Christmas brands” return each year. In fact they wait for them, only viewing the season as having officially begun when they see certain products on the shelves and old advertising classics returning to our screens. Instead we would create a brand possessing some of that mandatory yuletide magic and mystique.

The Execution

Brand design

“Winter Lights” was the brand McCann developed for this illuminating event. With craft and that handmade feel being such an intrinsic component of Christmas, we thought it apt to bring a flavour of this to the design and typography in the Winter Lights logo.


Each of the venues illuminated in the Winter Lights festival was brought to life on a separate execution as part of a heavyweight, widespread outdoor 48 sheet and 6 sheet presence in Dublin city throughout November and December.

Social & video content

There was a strong social element to the awareness campaign with our content team at McCann producing a video content series showcasing each of the locations and their light installations.