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- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

The giant Expresso Ads coffee cup being cut from a styrofoam block

Facing the cameras and pitching your ideas to the ‘Dragons’ must be quite an unnerving experience, particularly if you haven’t practised your presentation or if you’re unsure of your figures.
However, the business people and entrepreneurs that appear on the programme face even bigger challenges in getting their businesses up and running. Sometimes that challenge is just getting themselves and an oversized 3D prop to the Dragons’ Den studio.

Ciara Crossan from, having made an appearance on Dragons’ Den herself, recommended our company to Diarmaid Twomey, the man behind Expresso Ads. He contacted us last November enquiring about producing a disposable coffee cup for his appearance on the prime-time TV show. His idea is to provide an innovative advertising platform for companies to advertise on disposable coffee cups and lids. Our idea was to “WOW” the potential investors with a giant takeaway cup that would make a strong visual statement.

The giant Expresso Ads coffee cup sitting in the snow ready to make it's journey to the Dragons' Den

We settled on a cup 5′ high with everything going to schedule, the wrapper had been printed and fitted to the polystyrene foam cup and was ready for delivery when snow, ice and freezing temperatures swept over Ireland, bringing the country to a virtual halt.

The programme was set to be recorded one Friday at the beginning of December, so Diarmaid planned to travel from Cork and collect the cup on the Thursday for his early morning recording slot the following day. However, treacherous road conditions and the closure of the M1 motorway meant that he would be unable to make the journey in time – this called for Plan B. The best solution we could find was to put the cup on the train in Dundalk and send it Dublin, where Diarmaid could collect it. So we slipped and skidded our way to the train station and got the packaged coffee cup onto the platform. Only to discover that it wouldn’t fit… aarghh! More phone calls ensued until Plan C was formed.

Diarmaid managed to delay his recording slot to late morning, but “no later than 12″.
We arranged for our courier to deliver the package early the following morning. We met him that evening and loaded the Expresso cup prop into the van. In the meantime, Diarmaid had arrived in Dublin and everything was set, only to receive a call later that night saying that the recording session was being postponed at the eleventh hour.

Diarmaid Twomey with Dragon investors Bobby Kerr and Norah Casey and the giant Expresso Ads display prop

This is only an example of one day in which the weather, people and unforeseen situations seem to conspire against our budding entrepreneur.

Diarmaid did finally get his day in the Dragons’ Den to pitch his novel concept to Bobby Kerr, Sean Gallagher, Niall O’Farrell, Gavin Duffy and Norah Casey. Although stressful, it would be no worse than some other days he had experienced trying to get there.
We wish Diarmaid and the Expresso Ads team every success with their new venture. If you are following in Diarmaid’s footsteps in the Dragons’ Den, why not speak to us and we’ll create a prop that will make you look the part?

Post a Comment


  1. David Quaid

    Posted April 11, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    It was a great idea and well done to you guys for the quality of the product but also the fantastic customer care and commitment!

    Hopefully they’ll commission some more from you!

  2. Fran

    Posted April 11, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the comments David.
    It was great to hear the Dragons praising the prop as well as the pitch.

  3. Brian aly

    Posted April 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I could only laugh when Diarmaid told me it would not fit in his already massive commercial jeep. I have seen the cup in real life it looks great. Diarmaid & Ciara of have both personally recommends you for my prop needs.

  4. Fran

    Posted April 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Brian.
    I didn’t want to mention that incident in the blog post as it was frustrating for Diarmaid at the time, we can laugh about it now.
    You can see the impact that the giant coffee cup has made for Diarmaid, hopefully we can do the same for you with a super-sized prop.