top of page
  • Writer's pictureCOY! Communications


Photography by Kevin Mallett

I’d genuinely fallen out of love with advertising awards. Thinking about it, I hadn’t entered any major ones for the best part of this century.

It all seemed a bit too political and definitely too bloody expensive. I’d even been to some recent award shows where they hadn’t read the creatives names out when the prizes were presented.

On the last craft jury I sat on, when it came to judging typography, one of the jurors announced that she was a copywriter and didn’t really understand type (yeah! I’m not kidding and it was a well known awards show too).

That was it, all the evidence I needed to decide to save my money and spend it on making creative stuff rather than wasting it on a lottery where even if I won, the chances were that I wouldn’t get a credit on the night.

And then I got a call from Kinsale or rather Kinsale Shark Awards.

Would I be up for doing a talk at their festival? And while I was at it would I like to be on the TV jury?

I do like talking and I’d heard that ‘Kinsale’ was great for networking, and I’d never been before so I thought ‘why not?’.

I asked them if I could swap the TV jury for the Outdoor and Press jury because they’re generally less gruelling and I’m not quite as patient as I used to be.

Besides, I still love print despite its relatively unfashionable status nowadays.

They said it was OK and I was signed up. Stupidly I hadn’t enquired what days the juries were on and whether they happened at the same time as the talks.

I later found out that my talk was much later than my print jury sitting so that meant that I’d have to spend the whole four days of the festival in Kinsale.

I thought “Oh well, in for a penny” and I packed a few more pairs of pants and socks and headed for the airport.

Kinsale was a revelation.

I could never have guessed how much I would enjoy my whole experience there.

The networking was every bit as great as everyone had said, but not in a cynical businessy sort of way, it felt warm and friendly and genuine.

On the print jury I was surrounded by people who had strong opinions and weren’t afraid to voice them. They knew what they were talking about even if I didn’t agree with them. It was argumentative, passionate and a right laugh too.

When I finally got round to doing the talk I’d had the time to get to meet a lot of the audience so it was like delivering it to a bunch of friends.

It was standing room only, nobody left to go to the pub, Nils Leonard even brought his kids along (which made it even better).

It’s probably the most fun I’d ever had delivering a lecture, and fortunately the audience seemed to like it as well.

That was it, I was definitely going to return the next year and maybe I’d even enter some work into a few categories. I just wanted to join in and be part of it.

So I was well pleased when out of the blue I was asked if I was interested in being Jury President in 2019 (thank you Zoe Brooks).

I think I said yes before the end of the question.

I don’t know if they knew what they were letting themselves in for at the time but we’re all on the same page now.

I explained that I want to make the focus of the 2019 Shark Awards all about CRAFT.

Craft in Copy Writing, Art Direction, Design, Typography, Illustration, Photography, Direction, Editing, Sound, etc, etc, etc.

I’ve got lots of ideas I’d love to put in place to make it the most creative advertising and design awards show on the planet (you’ve got to aim high, haven’t you).

My main idea is to enrol the very best creative brains in the business to help me make it happen, because one thing’s for sure, I can’t do it by myself.

Over the next couple of months I’ll be chatting to a lot of creatives around the world and potential sponsors, and random people at bus stops about how we can make the Sharks even better.

I’ve already been over to Dublin and met some smashing creative people and I’ll be flying over there again in the not too distant future to meet some more, because it’s important to maintain the show’s Irish heritage.

The ultimate aim though is to make it even more famous as a great International Creative Festival (that happens to be hosted in Ireland).

That’s about it for now. I’m looking forward to chatting to all you ‘crafty’ creative types out there.

But please don’t wait for me to ring your doorbell, please feel free to give me a shout if you’ve got any thoughts or ideas that will help further the cause.

It doesn’t have to be about the Sharks in particular it can be likes or gripes you’ve got about awards in general.

The phone lines are open, ‘I’m listening’.

Mark Denton Esq.

FIN (I thought that was appropriate given it’s the Shark awards).

356 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page