News & Views

The Irish Times / Fusion Initiative

by Contagious Team

An experiment to define the next wave of advertising

Newspaper The Irish Times has launched a five week experiment to explore the future of advertising.

The paper's FUSION initiative couples consumer-facing startups with no prior experience of brands with advertising creatives. Twenty startups have been shortlisted from over 100 entries to participate in the project hosted in the offices of The Irish Times.

The shortlisted startups have started working with leading advertising creatives, including Eoghan Nolan of Brand Artillery and Pearse McCaughey of Cawley/Nea, to develop and refine the pitches they will make to brand representatives. Next week the startups will take part in a version of digital accelerator, NDRC LaunchPad

The FUSION initiative is a follow up to The Irish Times Digital Challenge, an experiment with early stage digital startups that the media organisation ran in 2012. 

With advertising at a historic pivot point between conventional formats and new digital experiences, working with startups is a largely untapped avenue for experimentation by media organisations. Over the course of the FUSION project, the startups will make their pitches to global industry leaders including our very own Emily Hare, managing editor of Contagious magazine, plus The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, Cannes Lions, and WAN-IFRA, the world association of news publishers, which includes some 18,000 publications and 13,000 websites.