Well People, we have long known that out beloved Top Of Coom is and shall ever be the highest pub in Ireland (Bar some major shift in the tectonic plates). To this end I wrote to Johnnie Fox’s Pub who claim falsely that they are the highest pub in Ireland. Below is the initial email I sent them, I go by the name of Susanne Boswell.
“To Whom It May Concern,
I was recently watching TV, RTE1 I think it was when I saw an ad for Johnnie Fox’s Pub. Imagine my surprise when at the end of the ad I heard clear as day “Come to Johnnie Fox’s Pub, the highest pub in Irelandâ€?!
I cannot believe you are still selling yourself, falsely, as the highest pub in Ireland! It has been proven that you are in fact the second highest pub in Ireland, after Top Of Coom in Kerry, FACT! Do you dispute this fact?
I felt compelled to contact the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and inform them of this blatant false advertising, but I said id contact yourselves first and give you a chance to change the ad or at least explain yourselves. I’m sure changing the ad and all advertising with ‘the highest pub in Ireland’ on it to ‘the second highest pub in Ireland’ might be costly and awkward but the truth is the truth and the truth hurts.
I look forward to your reply,
Susanne Boswell “
The reply I got was extensive and courteous, and it is clear that Johnnie Fox’s full public relations machine was swung into place to stop me in my tracks.
This was their response:
Thank you for your email question in reference to our advertising campaigns and in specific to our television campaign.
This question has arisen before and was officially investigated in full by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland on the 27th January 2003 by their Chief Executive Mr. Edward McCumiskey when we originally launched our television campaign.
Their report stated that we must conform to the requirements of the Code of Advertising Standards and the Code of Sales Promotion Practice which concluded by stating that we had not breached either of these codes or standards therein with our choice of wording used in our television campaigns.
Also our advertising campaigns which are seen in print & television as well as being heard on radio throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom and Europe have each been backed and permitted after being checked thoroughly by each advertising agency or company as they must also conform to legislation.
Susanne above is the official response but please do read on for a more informal response from myself.
The public houses which lay claim to the fame of height are as follows:
Top of Coom
“Highest Pub in Ireland”
Music Sessions on Thur. Nights
“Highest Pub & the Highest Village in Ireland”
Tel: +353 (0)1 281 8107
The Ponderosa Bar
“Highest Pub in all Ireland”
974 Glenshane Road
Johnnie Fox’s Pub
“The Highest Pub In Ireland”
Tel: +353 1 2955647
As you can see it is not just one pub making the famous claim, for example the pub in Roundwood lays the claim by default as it is situated in the highest village in Ireland and this is allowed to be claimed in advertising as it is the highest village and they are the highest pub in that village thereby in advertising acceptance by association. Equally the Ponderosa claims height due to their being the highest in Northern Ireland, again this is permitted in their advertising to make the claim. So as you can see fact does not always come in to play within advertising, (for another example, Guinness may state they are the best stout in Ireland” but one would assume that this is a matter of opinion and could not be proven, advertising allows this assumption, equally the “Oldest Pub in Ireland” has many laying claim there also) in fact when I last spoke on live radio with each owner of each of these four venues on a national radio show (which hosted the exact same debate but felt that each pub should give its perspective live on air whilst the other pubs listened in) it was agreed that all laid claim and all did so knowing of the existence of the others claims but no one minded or pursued anything individually in this matter as all agreed that at the end of the day it was all good for business all round, all agreed that it was always a good talking point and sure if we were not all claiming then we would not have ended up on the radio show.
Generally there is a good banter between all on the matter and all that matters to the businesses and the likes of Bord Failte and Dublin Tourism, Tourism Ireland, etc., is that the people frequenting or visiting only once to each venue get what they perceive as being top service and quality and a feeling of traditionalism throughout, I can say with certainty that our customers come here for the overall package, our tradition, our value, our location, our views, our live entertainment, our unique menu, our excellent service, our gold medals and awards of recognition for culinary achievements and so forth, they come for the famous museum like interior, they come for the happy smoking bus, the authentic paraphernalia etc., they come because local Irish people tell each other and guests to come here, not due to our advertising campaigns alone but due to our reputation Susanne.
As for actual heights Susanne, I can be very honest and say that I do not have the facts on the heights of the four individual pubs (of course I do have my own heights) laying the claim nor would I pursue the claims made by any other but if you do get the actual factual heights I would love to see them and where they came from as I am always open to information. As you stated in your letter, that we are the second highest pub in Ireland, and you stated this was fact, I would not be so rude as to presume to argue with you, I would rather say that I do not have your facts or your origin of facts, but, that all aside I would not argue with the public houses in third or fourth place laying claim either, as I said it is all in good taste, good spirit and it is also “permitted in Irish law” by governing bodies over advertising such as ASAI.
If I can be of any further assistance Susanne please do not hesitate in contacting me directly on this or in fact any other matter and I will do my level best to accommodate. I will be away on leave from Thursday evening 24th May until Thursday week.
Business & Marketing Manager
Johnnie Fox’s Pub
This isn’t over Mr Fox!! Not by a long shot.