The Creative Committee, led by Mark Nutley and Ray Sheerin (but seeking extra helpers – see below) has set three priorities for the coming year:

  • Bigger Cannes ambition – and more success
  • Increasing the perceptions and profile of Irish creative in the marketing community
  • Greater participation in the industry

Bigger Cannes ambition

As a creative festival, for all its ills, Cannes is like no other. But, while Irish attendance has been increasing, the participation levels, not to mention the success rates, are too low for a country of our size. Too few people from Ireland attend; we don’t have nearly enough speaking slots; we’re never asked to judge; and our award wins are rare indeed. All of which are connected: the more attendees and entries we field, the better our chances of winning and, once we start doing so, the more we raise Ireland’s profile at Cannes and the more likely we are to be asked to judge. This has been the experience of other markets, when they made it a priority for their industry to perform better at Cannes, and there is widespread agreement that we need to make it a priority for the Irish advertising industry.

Not every agency has an ambition to win at Cannes and not every agency will even enter. But, again looking at the experience of markets analogous to our own, a few winning agencies will raise the tide for all agencies. So, it’s in the interests of the Irish advertising industry overall, and to the benefit of every agency in the market, that even a few Irish agencies bring home Cannes Lions.

To that end, a meeting to which all Creative Directors were invited agreed that we would redouble our efforts to perform better at Cannes, collectively rather than just individually. Initiatives were proposed such as automatic, free entry for ICAD Gold winners; hosting seminars by experienced Cannes winners and judges; having someone from the Cannes organisation talk about how to improve the standard of our entries; network agencies leveraging the expertise of their networks; and an open invitation to agencies intending to enter to seek input from CDs in other agencies.

Increasing the perceptions and profile of Irish creative

As an industry globally, we have invested heavily in proving the link between great creative and proven effectiveness… but we need to do a better job locally. Often at ADFX, the winning campaigns do not prove the point. To begin to address this, we are looking for creative representation on the ADFX jury, ideally from Irish creatives now working overseas.

We will also be inviting all agencies to showcase their best creative campaign with results (in that order of priority) which will be featured on the IAPI website so that clients and prospective clients can see the highest standard of creative work that market has to offer.

We will look for opportunities to socialise the market’s creativity and related effectiveness to other industry bodies, particularly those which address the ’C suite’. (All help with this would be most welcome.)

And we will also develop video content, again to be showcased on the IAPI website, in an initiative called ‘Creative Heroes’, where clients talk about their creative heroes including, but not limited to, Irish creatives.

Greater participation in the industry

Given the increased competition in the industry, not least for talent, we need to spread the net wider to include people who may not have considered Irish agencies as prospects for a career: those with creative talent in related industries and those from overseas working in Silicon Docks for example. Along with the IAPI FutureHeads group, we will be developing a programme to include outreach and a workshop.

We also need to continue running events with a creative focus, ones which have equal appeal to clients and agencies, the Phil Rumbol event being a great example. We will talk to ICAD about the possibility of co-hosting these.

One of the possibilities is a high-profile keynote speaker to talk about Brexit and the opportunities it might present for the Irish advertising sector. We are currently trying to source a speaker.

Some of these events could overlap with the Cannes initiative: we are hoping to host Akestam Holst, Ikea’s agency in Sweden, in the autumn. Sweden is a very relevant example of a country which takes on and beats the established creative powerhouses.

Can you help?

At the meeting on 1 February, we agreed to invite Creative Directors to meet once a quarter to explore new ideas and report on progress. We also asked CDs to ‘volunteer’ people from their departments who could help deliver on our plans. 

Please contact Mark - or Ray - if you would like to get involved.

Creative Committee
Creative Committee
Ray Sheerin
Ray Sheerin
Managing Director, Chemistry
Mark Nutley
Mark Nutley
Creative Director, BBDO Dublin