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Mark Denton’s Presidential Pearls of Wisdom



As he heads up the Kinsale Sharks jury this week, creative veteran and Thomas Thomas director explains his unique perspective on current advertising trends

Mark Denton’s Presidential Pearls of Wisdom
I’m heading back to the Shark Awards in Kinsale this week, only this time I’m the jury president (HOORAY!)

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what that entails but during the lead up I’ve been asked in a couple of interviews about my take on international trends in advertising. 

I don’t know why that question is totally relevant because in my book if you’re part of a trend then you’re not very original but also the truth is I really haven’t got much of a clue about what’s happening outside of my personal field of vision. 

You see I consume my advertising like the average punter, so while I don’t know what’s going down a storm in India, I can confidently report that fast-forwarding the adverts on the telly is currently ‘trending’ in our living room at home. 

Occasionally something interesting catches the eye and I rewind and watch it but sadly that hasn’t happened much over the last year. 

It’s not all negative news though. Since I’ve got my hands on a free bus and tube pass I’ve rediscovered the London Underground or, to be more specific, the Jubilee Line. 

So I’m delighted to announce another new trend that’s taking place between St. John’s Wood and Bond Street… Posters are getting better!

Yes, old fashioned, ink on paper posters. I do hope the best ones are entered into the Sharks.

That’s mainly because at Kinsale this year I’m attempting to throw the spotlight on ‘craft’. 

Craft in art direction, photography, illustration, writing, editing and all the rest. 

Fortunately, I think I’ll be pushing against an open door because the Sharks have got a terrific line up of juries, chock full of lovely, talented people who really know their stuff. 

For instance, they’ve got Dave Dye heading up the OOH and craft print juries and they even managed to enrol the celebrated designer Ben Casey of The Chase to chair the new and improved design categories.

I can’t list the lot of them but believe me they’re all world-class. 

That’s why, even though I’m the jury president, they really don’t need me to tell them ‘how to do it’. 

I might subtly remind them about a few things they know already, like how it’s harder to do a good advert for a tin of baked beans than a charity and that strapping an unrelated ‘good cause’ to a product is not an ‘idea’. 

And of course the easiest way to spot a scam press ad is to look at the size of the logo. If it’s any smaller than microscopic then that advert is definitely dodgy. 

After dropping those pearls of wisdom I’m going to walk away and let them get on with it, only reappearing if I need to step-in to break up an argument (oh, please God, let there be a few arguments). 
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