My Digital Hero: James Kirkham: Antirom

The digital industry’s not really about technology, it’s about people. The digital economy is supported by technology but is conceived, created and developed by people, the heroes of digital.

But who are their heroes? Who inspired, supported and taught them along their journey and to become digital heroes?

We want to find out. So, we’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

James Kirkham is Chief Business Officer at football media brand COPA90, and one of the digital industry’s leading creative voices.

Who is your digital hero?

My digital hero isn’t a single person. It is a collective; The incomparable ANTIROM.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Antirom were my inspiration to start holler in 2001 with my co-founder Will Pyne; we simple adored their work. They brought art school avant-garde chaos into this emerging new media space. It was sound toys, interactive on-screen devices, as playful and free as painting which disrupted onscreen action previously so prosaic and limiting. 

Holler, our first digital agency, was genuinely inspired by everything they made and did. It gave us licence to design and create with a freedom, and to bring genuine creativity and excitement to our digital and new media activity with brands and clients. 

Without the likes of Antirom, AudioRom, or Tomato the space would have been hugely different and all the more boring for it. 

They spawned seemingly dozens of new companies, entities and agencies too – like Poke, the Roope brothers, and the late great Andy Cameron who worked at agencies like Wieden & Kennedy.

This was way beyond normal new media. This touched music via seminal dance band Underworld, and brands too like Nike and Levis.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Digital has a host of new challenges which a new hero or collective hero could solve, not least the idea of creative expression and artistic flair which Antirom kicked off so brilliantly. 

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

In an era dominated by multi-billion-dollar platforms, we should welcome the opportunity to usher in a new set off heroes who have a punk-ish attitude and pirate-like bravado to take on the established owners of our new media space and challenge the conventions and the status quo. 

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