IRISH media agencies will for the first time take part in the Sharks advertising awards festival in Kinsale next month.
Up to now, the Sharks was an adland event solely aimed at saluting creative work. But the organisers are keen to bring the festival in line with other international shows by honouring other advertising and marketing services.
Sharks organiser Tanya Cawley said the new media category comprises six sections -- integrated media strategy with budgets under €100,000 and another with spends over €100,000, a return on investment award and a prize for innovative media strategy.
There will also be awards for the best use of single media and best use of earned media.
The UK's Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) chairman Richard Eyre will head up the festival's media jury. He will be joined by Starcom MediaVest's Iain Jacob and Bartle Bogle Hegarty's planner Kevin Brown. Representing Ireland on the jury will be UCD Smurfit School of Business' marketing professor, Damien McLoughlin.
Chacho Puebla from Leo Burnett Madrid and Jake Walshe from Screen Scene in Dublin will judge creative entries.
Britain's top adman John Hegarty will return to Kinsale as honorary chairman. He has described the Sharks as "the Glastonbury of award shows".
Despite the continued economic downturn, Ms Cawley said the festival is fully booked in terms of delegates, and traditional entries are up on last year.
Next year's Sharks is the show's golden jubilee. Overseas media agencies will be invited to enter for the first time.