Creative director at KICK Dublin, Nicola Wielopolski on Irish humour and the similarities between Ireland and South Africa
Nicola Wielopolski, creative director at KICK Dublin - the latest agency to join the IAPI membership - is such an asset to Ireland’s commercial creative industry. Her experience in advertising, leadership, and female leadership is most welcome and I am so excited to see all the great creative Nicola and her team will do next - we are lucky to have her.” Charley Stoney, CEO, IAPI
LBB> As a South African coming to work in Ireland, how do you view the Irish market?
Nicola Wielopolski> The Irish and South African markets are similar, in that they both want communication that’s relevant to them. It’s about tapping into the nuances, lingo and humour that make content engaging and likeable to a viewer. This is the second time that I have lived in Ireland and the difference in the country from when I moved here 13 years ago is dramatic. Creativity, Ireland is now on the map, but back then, agencies weren’t even entering international awards. Now they are winning big. And it’s still evolving.
LBB> And how would you describe Irish culture and their approach to creativity?
Nicola> The humour definitely stands out. People don’t mind laughing at themselves, they don’t take themselves or things too seriously. It’ll be grand.
LBB> Can you tell us a little bit about what drew you to the advertising world?
Nicola> My parents. At 17, they knew me better than I knew myself. They knew I was creative and thought advertising would be a good outlet, so encouraged me to study art direction. And they were right! I hope they are reading this.
LBB> Has your approach or style of working evolved in any way since coming to work in Ireland? What has the Irish industry taught you?
Nicola> I started working during lockdown, so like everyone, I’ve had to evolve with that as well as being in a different country. It’s hard to even remember an old way of working, but it’s been fantastic to work here again. There are so many smart, talented people and given that we have been working remotely, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with talent from around the world too. This diversity brings an interesting dynamic to the mix.
The Irish industry has taught me to be nice to people (I knew that already of course), you never know when you’ll meet someone again. The connections and friendships I made 11 years ago have been incredible to have, and the advice and support has meant so much to me.
LBB> What do you most love about your role as creative director at KICK Dublin?
Nicola> I love that KICK is an independent agency and knowing that I can really help shape the culture and growth of the business is really exciting. I love working with a close team that’s so hands on.
LBB> You’ve won numerous awards throughout your career from Cannes Lions and Clios to D&ADs. But what projects have been some of your personal highlights so far?
Nicola> The campaigns I did over 2017-2018 for “The Commission for Gender Equality” stand out. As a woman with two daughters, I felt a personal connection to the brand and knew the message was important to get out there. It was a bonus that I was lucky enough to walk away with a Silver Cannes for it and it got the campaign more recognition.
LBB> Is there any work that has come out of Ireland that you wished the world had heard more about?
Nicola> I think the St Plastics Day campaign done for EPIC by The Public House is really lovely and simple. It speaks to me as a person who previously was a tourist in a green hat and now knows how much more Ireland has to offer. I also love the sustainability message it carries and hope that more brands start doing this.
LBB> What exciting projects are you working on next and how do you hope to see your career develop in the coming years?
Nicola> There’s lots on at the moment. A few really exciting pitches, as well as recently winning the Five Lamps account. It’s been a great account to work on - I mean it’s beer advertising - there are so many creative opportunities, and it’s the kind of brand that consumers really want to engage with. It is also a Dublin based brand so I’ve learnt all about some interesting Irish phrases, like “Do you know the five Lamps?”
There is so much opportunity at KICK - the team is so talented and have a real desire and passion to succeed and I see my future running parallel with that. We’ve also been working on the rebranding and will be launching soon, so watch this space.
LBB> What advice would you give to up and coming Irish creatives looking to take their work to the next level?
Nicola> Look at what’s being produced from around the world, there are amazing, creative, talented people doing awesome things, let that inspire you. Then realise that the idea is only step one, there is so much more to go, so stay inspired.