The Immortal Awards in association withJSM
Here's What's Exciting The Public House About Irish Creativity Right Now
Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, UK
Founder Colin Hart and managing partner Catrióna Campbell on the people and projects that you should know about in 2022

This autumn, the Immortal Awards will return to in-person judging sessions for the first time since 2019. Following two years of jury Zooms rather than rooms, we'll be judging on the ground with local communities again - with things for 2022 kicking off in Dublin for our Irish jury day. 

We're delighted to say that the day of debates, discussions and deliberations is being supported by independent creative agency The Public House, who are are Irish partner for this year's competition.

Fresh off the back of a hugely successful night for the agency at this year's ICADs, we caught up with founder Colin Hart and managing partner Catrióna Campbell to find out what's hot in the market right now...

What's exciting you most about Irish creativity right now?

Colin > There is quite a shake up in terms of people moving from one agency to the next (The Great Reshuffle is real) or from one country to the next and that works both ways, so agencies with instilled attitude and edge are all set for all that new energy to explode into exciting work. 

I also think that we need to focus on the best of our work as a country to remind ourselves how much fun this job is, the impact it can create and to restart that momentum that Irish agencies had and continue to have.

Cat > There’s been more new startups over the past year or so than there has been in the last decade and that’s great news for Irish creativity. Whether it’s the Brill Building, Tenth Man, or BBH Dublin it’s a sign of strength of Irish creativity and confidence in the market here. We love new people coming in because it forces self-reflection and reset, and who in this industry doesn’t love a bit of competition... but rising tides and all that, it’s genuinely an exciting time.

Which Irish creatives and companies should we be keeping an eye on this year?

Colin > Apart from all our own creatives obviously, we’re excited for some of the new talent coming into this market. We’ll not mention names because there are a lot of agencies with strong recruitment strategies and we don’t want to give it away. I’m also excited about the more integrated production partners we’re working with who are really challenging the norm and getting more in line with how the actual ad world actually works. Companies like Tiny Ark, Taller Stories and Motherland are all shaking it up with a new model and very exciting work.  

The new entrance to the Irish market of agencies like BBH and Acne are going to challenge all of the many networked agencies here, it will be exciting to see how that shuffle settles.

Cat > We define ourselves as creative entrepreneurs - and love it when we see people making a go of it, and so we’re big fans of both Will Farrell at Blast Audio and Dean Jones at Scimitar Sound. Both guys are bloody brilliant at what they do and they are also real problem solvers. Will’s back garden shed is also pretty sweet. We are always interested in what the Brill Building does - their work is always insightful and beautifully executed. We’ve a few nordies in the agency so a bit of a shout out (courtesy of Mikey, our Senior Copywriter) to Cathy Brady, the film director from Newry, whose Irish border based drama thriller Wildfire picked up an IFTA for Best Director last year. She’s starting to make a move into advertising direction and she’s on our wish list to partner. Finally, Ruby Corcoran won ICAD Greenhorn for Design in 2020 and it's easy to see why. She has an enviable portfolio for someone so fresh out the gates and I'd be surprised if we don't start hearing her name everywhere soon.

Which projects should our Irish jury be looking out for at this year's Immortal Awards? 

Colin > There are a few campaigns that have already gained some nice international exposure for Irish work. There is some lovely work like the carbon billboard from BBDO and The Strongest Women ad which is haunting and very unexpected and then of course… all of our work! I still think the best is to come however.

The World's Strongest Woman for Allianz and Women's Aid, by In the Company of Huskies

Cat > I'm confident there will be a bigger list come October/November but the highlight this year has been the Strongest Woman campaign from Huskies for Allianz and Women’s Aid. The work from Boys+Girls for both Skoda and Three is, as always, flawlessly executed. And we feel our Unicef campaign, spotlighting on the plight of the children of Ukraine, is up there.  

Innocence is in the Firing Line for Unicef, by The Public House

Way to Zero for Volkswagen, by BBDO Dublin

Why do you believe creativity is so important for the Irish market right now?

Colin > Not unlike most markets ‘Boring’ is everywhere. Throughout the pandemic the use of wit suffered. But it’s come back in most markets and not so much here in Ireland where wit is intrinsic to our culture and our consumption of ads. Wit gives people a laugh, it challenges and all of these feelings create energy which is exactly what we need right now. If we can use creativity to give some renewed energy to brands and people then we’ll be flying.

Cat > Well, our job is to use creativity to stimulate demand, and with inflation at record levels and an incoming recession being touted, it’s never been tougher… and amidst that backdrop, then how can we use creativity to make people actually feel good about themselves. Particularly in categories that lack differentiation, where brand is the difference, then creativity is what gives our clients space between their competitors. And the Irish market is gonna need that as we batten down the hatches.

Why are you supporting the Immortal Awards in Ireland this year?

Colin > You guys are great, you’ve set up an awards campaign that is simple, clear and has one clear focus… the work. It’s not a revenue generating spaghetti junction of categories. We think the clarity of a competition like yours keeps it all about the work and less about the show itself. 

We also love the decentralised side of it. You award culturally relevant work in that market, by that market, then you bring that together. I’m not quite sure the large award shows have nailed that yet.

Cat > We’re big big fans of under-complicating things and that’s what you guys do. The Immortals is pure, single minded focus on the best ideas, nothing else.

And finally, it wouldn't be the Immortal Awards without asking you for one project that you believe to be an Immortal piece of creativity from Ireland? 

Colin > Honestly, there are so many, really smart thinking things happening in this market and it’s only really been in the past five years where agencies have really invested in the international awards scene (and done well at it). If you go back further the landscape is littered with some really smart thinking. Our agency created a 40ft high-drive through confessional booth for Irish people ahead of the Pope coming to visit. If the Immortal Awards had existed at the time, this would have picked something up I’m sure, as it had the country in stitches, but as I mentioned there is only so much you can explain in a case study about how it was culturally relevant!

Drive Thru Confession Box for Paddy Power, by The Public House

Cat > Great creative is about being really tenacious, and the team behind ‘JFK unsilenced’ in Rothco must have had that in spades. It’s not always about having a great idea, it’s about protecting the purity of that idea whilst you get to the finish line.

JFK Unsilenced for The Times/News UK & Ireland, by ROTHCO, part of Accenture Song

The Immortal Awards entry system is now open, with entry into the competition free for all Little Black Book members. If you’re not yet a member and want to enter The Immortal Awards 2022, you can join Little Black Book here today.