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June 2, 2010 / davebirss

The Kinsale Sharks explained

I was rather hungover today. It really hit me just before I did a presentation to a roomful of clients. But I don’t think any of them noticed. Or, at least, I hope they didn’t.

The reason for last night’s over-consumption of alcohol was that I was in Dublin for the launch of this year’s Kinsale Sharks Awards (there’s an awful picture of me on the front page of their website). They wanted me to talk about the brand new digital awards categories that I helped to develop. And I thought I should maybe explain my thinking behind them on here as well.

The Sharks are global awards, attracting entries from every continent (apart from possibly Antarctica). This is the 48th year of the awards – but the first year they’ve included digital. So I was incredibly flattered when I was asked to help sort out the digital categories. Having been frustrated by digital categories in other awards, I realised this was an opportunity to rethink how they should be structured. And that’s just what I did.

My issue with the majority of digital awards is that they’re structured just like traditional advertising awards – where the categories are divided up according to media type. And, in my experience, that just isn’t the way good digital work happens. The best work has a great engaging idea at its core – and that idea is then expressed across a number of online and offline channels. That doesn’t seem to have been recognised by any awards. Until now, that is.

To make sure we award the best in digital creativity, we’ve split the digital part of the awards into three sections:

Digital Channel

This recognises excellence in the digital media channels that it makes sense to award. Like banners, websites and digital outdoor. But it’s the other two sections that really excite me!

Digital Craft

I don’t think there’s been enough concentration on the crafting of digital work. We want to award outstanding writing, graphic design and interaction design. One of the things that interests me here is that it starts to acknowledge the importance of tech people in producing a great creative product.

Digital Fresh Thinking

This is the category that I’m most excited about. It’s there to recognise true innovation and ground-breaking stuff. In fact, we’ve even created a WTF?! award for work that’s so out there that it doesn’t fit into any of the other categories. In my mind, that’s the most prestigeous award of the lot.

I’m now really looking forward to going over to Kinsale to judge the awards (and earn a few more hangovers) in September. And I’ll be in brilliant company with jury members that include Trevor Beattie, Dan Harrison and Tom Richards (all three of whom I’ve earned previous hangovers with).

If you want to enter the awards, you can find out more on the Sharks site.

Also please tell me what you think about the categories by email or in the comments.

And finally, big thanks to the very lovely Tanya Cawley and Carol Lambert for being nothing short of incredible.

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