AdLib: Putting the bite back into Sharks
Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen
The organisers of the Sharks creative festival are to run this year's event as a two-legged affair in a bid to attract more entries and win back support from critics in adland who voiced their dissatisfaction after last year's show. Sharks director Peter Brady said the festival will be split, with entries showcased in Kinsale followed by a gala awards night in Dublin.
Brady said the idea of splitting the awards makes sense. Registration gets under way and the festival proper starts on Thursday, September 22, with workshops, screenings and networking events. Brady says the new timing will allow UK agencies and production houses to submit their entries later, as summer holidays tend to "get in the way of things".
The Sharks gala awards dinner will be held in the Mansion House on Thursday, October 27. Delegates can either buy a ticket to the show in Kinsale or a twin ticket for both events. The new format was introduced following a major review of the festival and the need for change after outbursts criticising how the Sharks is run and amid threats of a boycott. The festival's organising committee has undergone a reshuffle. Publicis creative director Carol Lambert has resigned as a director and shareholder. The fact that an agency director was directly involved irked some people in adland. Chemistry managing director Ray Sheerin claimed it was seen as "a clear conflict" - regardless that it was not used to any advantage.
Along with Brady - who is business development director at Windmill Lane Pictures - the other four shareholders are Dave Murphy and Gerry Kennedy, both formerly of McConnells, freelance creative Eugene Ruane and London producer Mark Hanrahan. All but Kennedy are festival directors. Up to 26 judges adjudicate on Shark entries, including TV, cinema and radio ads, plus promos.
While the new short films and music videos category was largely welcomed, finding space for an extra slot in a tight schedule is not easy. Many delegates said they could not justify more time 'on tour'. Amid the heat generated after last year's festival, one of the more conciliatory comments came from someone who said the Sharks was "crying out for coherent direction".
To help shape the revamped festival, the organisers hired TenCents marketing consultant and former agency planner Tim O'Kennedy, pictured right. O'Kennedy's client and agency work includes Apple, Nike, Porsche, Dyson, P&G, the BBC and Coca-Cola. He was one of the first planners - number four, as best he can tell - in American advertising.
O'Kennedy says the Sharks needed a revamp. Staging a major international creative festival over a few days was impractical. Delegates need to spend time watching new work and "get the wiring of ideas". "It was obvious the festival needed to go to another level and not just tinker around the edges," the former D&AD boss added.
* Windmill Lane Pictures has agreed a tie-up with Whirligig, run by executive producers Samantha Plaisted and Julie Murnaghan. Whirligig gives advertisers access to work by top Irish and international illustrators and animators. Illustrators include Fatti Burke, Paula McGloin, Ruan van Vliet, Alan Clarke and Orla Roche - some of whose work is pictured above.
On the animation front, Whirligig commissions from Brown Bag Films, Cartoon Saloon, Eat the Danger, Paper Panther, Nine Acre Films and Wiggleywoo. Plaisted said the market is not just about TV any more, it's about creating content across digital and out of home.
"Advertisers demand great work - bigger, better, faster, cheaper," Plaisted said. At Passion Pictures in the UK, Plaisted produced campaigns for Compare the Market, Kinder chocolate, American vitamin brand EnergenC and the animated Lynx Instinct deodorant ad where Flex's leathery stench sends cavegirls wild.
* Operating as a graphic design agency for over 25 years, BFK has been repositioned as a specialist in brand consultancy, development and management, with Martin Crotty as managing director. Crotty joined BFK 15 years ago, having run Crotty Design Management (CDM) and Vismark Communications.
Crotty is joined by Kevin Barry, who co-founded BFK with former directors Johnny Frey and Howard Kent in 1989. BFK has worked for AIB, Aurivo, Bord Bia's Origin Green, Luas, Irish Stock Exchange, Smyths and UCD.
* Friends First returns with a new €400k ad campaign with an initial three-week burst from next Monday. A sequel to last year's 'Amongst Friends', the new TV, radio, print and online activity focuses on income protection. Created by Owens DDB with media by OMD, the ads feature actor and co-presenter of TV3's Saturday AM show, Simon Delaney, pictured above with Anna Daly.
* MCCP's picks of the week ezine reminds marketers that Moneysupermarket's 'Epic strut' was the TV ad which sparked the biggest consumer backlash in the UK last year with 1,500 complaints. The ad shows a middle-aged man twerking in high heels and hot pants to the strains of The Pussycat Dolls' 'Don't Cha'. Worth checking out on YouTube.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: firstname.lastname@example.org