1916 Rising + Chocolate Eggs = The Choclamation
“Nor Pearse, nor Clarke, MacDonagh or the Connolly we knew would rest were they remembered on a pedestal alone, Are they not the fathers of our nation proud and free? And our sisters and our brothers then, the Children of ’16”
Recent stats have found that, ‘two in five children will get five eggs this Easter; 23% will get six to 10 eggs, while 12% will be given 10 to 15 eggs’. With everyone focusing on the sugar and calorie content, the forgotten children of 1916 would not cross many minds. We must remember that innocent children were killed during the rising, were reported missing for weeks and some families were left with no answers. Thinking of the 1916 rebellion allowed me to reflect on what I consider to be the true meaning of Easter – And that is family time. I believe Easter should be a time of celebration, beautiful daffodils, new lambs, baby chicks, bright mornings and finally putting those winter coats into storage in the attic. In Ireland, Easter is the symbol of new life – with most people dressing their children in white & buttercream yellow clothing, marking the start of Spring.
This year marks the 100 year centenary of the Easter Rising, this is a once in a lifetime event. Life in 1916 was very different to what it is now, but the extreme poverty and housing crisis still transcends 100 years later. Almost 40% of the population of Ireland were aged under 15, reflecting on their lives – they had the same role as many adults. Working before and after school was a normal part of life in 1916, children still found time to play however. School was out for the Easter break, more than 75% of Dublins population lived in the city centre, the streets and alleyways were the childrens playground. A length of rope to play skipping was gold-dust, which is probably where James Joyce picked up the following street rhyme he used in Ulysses: “Give a thing and take it back, God’ll ask you where is that, You’ll say you don’t know. God’ll send you down below.”
Newspapers reported that Woolworths, Noblett’s Toffee House and the Maison Philippe’s chocolate shop were looted during the rising. One volunteer reported that the children poured into the stores, throwing sweets, chocolate boxes and slabs of toffee to the crowd. Imagine the feeling these children had, snatching bon bons, chocolates and toffees, possibly tasting these for the first time in their short lives. “Whoever did it”, wrote author James Stephens, “must have tasted sweetstuffs they have never toothed before and will never taste again in life. And until they die, the insurrection of 1916 will have a sweet savour for them”.
40 children aged under 16 were killed during the rising, there were 25 from tenements and 15 from well-off middle class families. It is no surprise to hear that there was looting during the rising, before you pass judgement – you must realize the poverty in Dublin at the time, these children were not robbing luxury goods such as xbox consoles and laptops, they were looting the bare essentials. Two women from the tenaments in Camden Street were sentenced to a month in prison each for being in possession of “3lbs of tea, 12 boxes of sweet herbs…some lemonade and cornflower.”
Participants of the rising recall not only the tenement occupiers looting, but also the working class society. ‘The Irish Life ‘Record of the Rebellion’, published soon afterwards, claimed that “the looters were by no means confined to the submerged slum population. A remarkable proportion were well dressed and belonged to the wage-earning working class, or perhaps to classes still more respectable.”
On Easter Sunday 27th, the 1916 Proclamation will be read under the GPO portico, the President will then lay a wreath in memory of those who died during the rising, followed by a minutes silence.
The national flag above the GPO will be raised to full mast and the national anthem played. The parade, led by the Defence Forces in full military display, will begin at St Stephen’s Green, pass the GPO and continue to Parnell Square. It will conclude with an Air Corps flypast and a 21-gun salute. I feel this will be a great day out for everyone, if you’re not feeling that patriotic, I have some information on events to keep the little ones entertained later on in the article.
In Ireland, a Sunday roast dinner and an overdose of chocolate eggs are at the core of all families getting together. Cue the much anticipated Marks & Spencer add, their adverts are extremely captivating, and are instantly recognisable as M&S through their mouth-watering images of food.
They have successfully created a luxurious brand identity, changing the public perception of own brand goods. Previously, own brand groceries were considered cheap and of a lesser quality, but Marks & Sparks (as they are more commonly known as) have quashed this theory. ‘They have improved the definition of own brand, focusing on product innovation and a superior quality’.
Marks & Spencer have positioned themselves as a supplier of superior quality foods, this is again done through extensive research and product innovation. ‘The company’s product developers travel all over the world researching ingredients to give customers an exciting, innovative range. For example, they recently travelled to India with top Indian chef Atul Kochhar to discover a new range of regional Indian food. These have been replicated in recipes that have proven very popular’.
The Marks & Sparks adverts strongly reinforce their brand image and position in the market, they have evolved from targeting the ‘aging’ customer, to targeting a younger customer profile. ‘Featuring young, fun music in their ads, and delicious food, that can excite younger consumers’.
This change in perception is all thanks to their investment in brand building, their strong and consistent advertising campaigns are used to reinforce the aura of luxury. Instilling a feeling of quality, trust and a worthwhile investment is done through their advertising campaigns. Namely their ‘Dine In For €14’ promotion, this campaign targets younger couples and families, in that the whole meal is prepped, all they need to do is put it in the oven. This strategy taps into the convenience aspect, whilst also directly competing with restaurants. 3 courses, including a bottle of wine for 2 people for just €14 is an amazing deal.
This strategy also in-turn raised the image of superior quality, as many customers who would not shop there, will purchase the special offer ‘dine in for 2’ simply just to try it. This strategy results in a change in perceptions, as people who would not normally shop there have now experienced the superior quality and taste, they may in turn become regular ‘weekly shoppers’. ‘Despite being a promotional mechanic, this actually raised quality perceptions and positioned the food as worth paying more for, not only among core customers but crucially among occasional food customers too, helping drive footfall and basket size’.
M&S are well known for their bespoke Easter eggs, they are both innovative, creative. Everything is zoomed in and recorded in slow motion to show the chocolate egg being cracked, fragments of chocolate flying through the air, the steam and doughy texture of the hot cross buns being pulled apart for example. M&S really capitalize on every holiday and event in the calendar year, making full use of the advertising opportunities. From hot dogs and slider burgers for the 4th of July, Asian cuisine for the Chinese New Year to exploding strawberries for the summer season.
I must say, I do look forward to the Marks & Spencer adverts, they really are truly encapsulating and unique. I feel they are very clever using the phrase ‘Only At Your M&S’, giving customers a feeling of exclusivity, and premium quality whilst also reinforcing that they are an own brand product.
Green grass, longer days and colorful eggs are a welcome reminder that winter is gone and better days are here. Below are some events taking place over the weekend, which are sure to keep the kids entertained.
Winter is gone and that means it’s time to enjoy a well-deserved long weekend, on behalf of all the team at CDG, I would like to wish you all a happy and peaceful Easter.
There are also plenty of things to do with the kids, to make Easter as magical and special as it was when we were young. The most popular event would be the Easter Egg Hunt in Dublin Zoo, clues will be placed around the zoo, there will also be a bunny hop disco, and special talks from the zoo keepers.
Another great event to keep the kids entertained is the Greenan Farm and Maze Co.Wicklow. The Easter bunny will host an egg hunt in the maze with two chicks, promising tons of fun for all the family. The event is on both Sunday and Monday, with a special egg hunt for toddlers. Enjoy chocolates and cakes in the tea rooms with face painters on hand to entertain the children.
Belvedere gardens Westmeath are also hosting an Easter event, their treasure hunts will be held on both Easter Sunday and Monday. Children will be supplied with a map of the estate with clues for the Easter treasure hunt, they will meet the Easter bunny and collect prizes along the trail.
More events can be found here