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Opinion and Insight
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Creative Social X Kinsale Sharks: A Collaboration with Creative Bite

LBB Editorial, 1 month ago

James Kirk gives us a sneak peek ahead of this year’s Kinsale Sharks

Creative Social X Kinsale Sharks: A Collaboration with Creative Bite

With its candy wrapper-bright pubs and shops, it’s friendly locals and plenty of Irish  , the town of Kinsale in County Cork offers an interesting prospect for creative people in search of inspiration. It’s colourful and intimate – no wonder the team at Creative Social was drawn to the industry festival on the ‘Irish Riviera’. This year, for the first time, the creative club has collaborated with the Kinsale Sharks organisers to curate their first ever full festival schedule. The like of Laura Jordan Bambach, artist Fuschia MacAree and Nick Farnhill will be joined by provocative illustrator Mr Bingo. Oh, and Antonio Fernandez, notorious former leader of the Latin Kings gang in New York who now uses his story to help others. So it looks like a line up with a bit of a difference. LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with James Kirk (@otherjameskirk), Global Projects Director at Creative Social to find out more.


LBB> How did the collaboration come about?

JK> The wonderful Tim O'Kennedy recommended us because he felt we could bring something different to the Kinsale Shark Awards.  


LBB> What was it about Kinsale that appealed to the Creative Social team?

JK> For us it is an amazing opportunity to bring our skills of creative curation, honed over the last 12 years of delivering inspiring events to creative and brand leaders, to provide a fresh approach to the second oldest advertising festival in the world. It also provides our global Socials who can’t make our next CS Global in Mumbai this November, an opportunity to hop across to Ireland for some much needed inspiration.


LBB> Kinsale is a uniquely intimate festival. Why is it important that we have these more intimate, curated events at a time like this?

JK> Creative Social has always been a network that has grown from building deep and meaningful relationships. In our opinion the best environment for those connections are small, intimate events. That’s why the Shark Awards felt like such a perfect fit for us.


LBB> Is there a theme or a guiding idea to the speakers that you've put together for the event?

JK> We've put together a program that combines some of the most talented individuals within advertising with a mix of speakers from across other creativity industries. We believe creativity is driven by a blending of backgrounds and cultures and inspiration can be at its most potent when these elements are brought together.  


LBB> Is this the first time Creative Social has wholly taken over the schedule for a festival like this? If so, what extra challenges have you found?

JK> Yes it is. We knew that having another set of stakeholders could add challenges because curation can sometimes be a matter of personal tastes, but given that collaboration is at the heart of everything we do as Creative Social we were never worried. As soon as we started working with the Sharks team it was apparent that our views were aligned and the entire process has been a pleasure.


LBB> What do you think will be the big talking points of this year's festival?

JK> Diversity is an obvious one. The Kevin Roberts controversy has certainly fanned the flames of the conversation. The advertising industry has now reached a point where it cannot afford to just talk about this issue, it needs action. The reality is that this is much bigger than just talking about the male and female ratio within senior positions. Diversity needs to be across race, age, disability etc. In THIS recent post Create Social co-founder Daniele Fiandaca made a rallying call for heads of brands to look at the the diversity within the agencies they work with. If the creative department does not represent the audience the brand is trying to reach that needs to be fixed, otherwise its time to change agency. Diversity is incredibly important to us and we hope you agree that we have curated a very diverse set of speakers. 

Another talking point will be the future of the advertising agency. The industry is evolving at an incredibly rapid rate and this can be seen in the new award categories that are being launched at the Shark Awards this year. The challenges are becoming more complex and the battle to stay relevant and impactful has never been greater. It will be very interesting to hear the perspective of our industry speakers.


LBB> Of the speakers, who are you particularly excited about seeing?

JK> We are super excited about bringing Antonio Fernandez over from NYC. His experiences as the leader of the biggest street gang in New York will be fascinating and his insights on leadership and mobilisation of teams will be incredibly relevant for the agency leaders in attendance. Mr Bingo is one of our all time favourite speakers and is guaranteed to have the room in hysterics with his unique blend of humour, incredible work and lots and lots of swearing. And we are very happy to have just confirmed Fuchsia MacAree on the speaker line up, a young artist from Dublin who has already worked with brands like Google, Airbnb, Mercedes Benz and Guinness. Alongside our creativity speakers we have some brilliant minds from the adverting industry including previous D&AD President and creative partner at Mr President Laura Jordan Bambach and Susan Hoffman, ECD at Wieden + Kennedy and honorary president and overall jury chair of the awards. We will also be running panels with jury members including Best Piece of Advice Ever facilitated by Daniele Fiandaca and The Brilliant Lectures run by Poke founder Nick Farnhill. 


LBB> Outside of the festival itself, are you planning on doing a bit of exploring round the area? With the colourful buildings and wild walks I'm guessing the setting itself should be pretty inspiring for creative people!

JK> Yes! Everyone that has been has told us its stunning and full of lovely people. The speakers are just as excited as we are, especially Mr Bingo who said “I’ve never f**king heard of this place but it’s got colourful buildings and I expect the local people will be weird, so I’m interested”.