Thursday 8 December 2016

Feeding frenzy in shark festival row

Michael Cullen

Published 03/12/2015 | 02:30

Aoibhinn Lennon
Aoibhinn Lennon

While it's not quite the sequel to the Battle of Kinsale, it would appear that the waters around the Sharks creative festival held in the Cork harbour town every September have become rather stormy. Following this year's event, a strongly-worded email was sent from senior creatives in certain agencies and production houses to other adland colleagues.

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The email began by saying how a group got together in the aftermath of the festival to voice their "concerns" and "grievances". They said they were far from happy with what they regarded as the way the Sharks is run and the quality of the talks and speakers together with the level of the entry fees. "Knowing that all these points have been presented and discussed in previous years with the Kinsale organisers to no avail, it was agreed that a much tougher stance needs to be taken," the email continued. The contact effectively drew a line in the sand, claiming that the signatories to the email have no intention of being involved in next year's festival.

The email amounts to a loud call for change. One creative boss said while a few days in Kinsale in September watching "amazing ads" and networking with like-minded folk is valued, clients need to be made more aware of the Sharks. The festival is "crying out for coherent direction".

This year a new international short films and music videos category was added to the programme. Pop videos for Kodaline and Hozier were among the winners. But finding space for an extra category in a tight schedule isn't easy, without extending the festival. Many delegates can't justify more time 'on tour'. Ad agency Chemistry decided not to attend this year and its managing director, Ray Sheerin, who says the Sharks is irrelevant to his agency's business, questions the strength of the brand. "It has little status beyond some agencies and production companies," he added, claiming that winning a Shark award doesn't impress clients.

A festival spokesperson refused to comment about the unrest but said that talks about the Sharks' future were ongoing. Pictured at the Sharks awards show in Acton's Hotel is MC Baz Ashmawy, star of Sky 1's Emmy-winning '50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy' series.

Q Neil Walsh heads up the new Red Nova airtime, sponsorship and promotions sales house for Dublin rock music station Radio Nova and Cork's Red FM. The new venture follows the decision by Red FM to severe ties with Media Central. Red Nova sees Walsh link up again with former Irish Daily Star colleague, Diarmuid O'Leary, Red FM's chief executive.

A native of Mayo, Walsh worked with Independent News & Media (INM) in South Africa and on the agency side with MediaCom and Mindshare. Radio Nova hopes to extend its audience to a further 1.7m listeners after applying to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for a quasi-national licence. The expansion will require a €500k investment.

Q No one wants to go unnoticed. But what's it that makes some people stand out? That star quality which gets them plumb jobs, or asked out on date after date? What helps them get noticed at work, at the Marketing Society Christmas lunch, in life? In his new book, 'How to Stand Out' (inset), British psychologist Dr Rob Yeung explores body language, seductive words and confidence-building tricks that win influence. Young's advice is illustrated by studies and interviews with marketers, TV producers and ordinary folk who share tips for making the most of themselves. The book tackles the confidence con, with notes from sales execs to singer-songwriter Adele.

Q Core Media's deputy CEO Aidan Greene has replaced McCann Blue's Orlaith Blaney as president of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI). Four new directors have joined the IAPI board - Mark Nutley, Irish International, Garret O'Beirne and Chemistry's Ray Sheerin.

Other board directors include Core media financial boss Arthur Byrne, Jimmy Murphy, Publicis, Pat Meade, Boys and Girls, Emma O'Doherty, Mindshare and Stephen Quinn, Atomic. MediaVest's Aoibhin Lennon, pictured below, is the first director to graduate from IAPI's Futureheads initiative.

Q As the Christmas party season gears up, AdLib was impressed by the invite sent out by event agency Verve. Guests were asked to tweet a photo using the invite's funny face cut-out. No doubt, Verve's walls will soon be festooned with all sorts of weird and wonderful images.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: cullen@marketing.ie

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