James Kirkham

James Kirkham is a cultural futurist with extensive expertise in social, digital, advertising, sports, music and much more.

To book James Kirkham for your event call 0203 773 1996 or book online


James Kirkham

Acknowledged widely as an authority on all things marketing, James Kirkham’s position as a cultural futurist has emerged from the backdrop of his unrivalled career in social, digital, advertising, sports and music.

Most recently, James was on the board at legendary house music label Defected Records as their Chief Business Officer, making the move to the label from an advertising and marketing background. James had just concluded four years at the football media business COPA90, where during his successful tenure as CBO he oversaw a 100% increase in revenue year-on-year, and coordinated partnerships with brands such as Uber, Budweiser, Nike, Pepsi and EA Sports.

As well as his impressive work with COPA90, where James and his team built a vast audience of young fans, peaking at 650 million monthly views in 2019, James established himself over this time as a media innovator and specialist voice on the industry, providing insights for news outlets such as The Guardian, CNN, Sky News and the BBC.

As one of the world’s foremost media industry speakers, he has appeared on stage 8 times at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, featured in BIMA’s prestigious Top 100 for three years running and was recently selected as one of the top Leaders Under 40 in the sports business. He was also named in Campaign Magazine’s esteemed ‘Power 100’ in July 2019 and A-list.

Prior to COPA90, James founded his own digital agency Holler when aged just 23. It was the first agency in the world to market a TV show using social media (‘Skins’, on E4), and the trailblazing nature of the business was noticed by industry leaders Publicis Group, who acquired Holler in 2010. James was promoted to Leo Burnett Worldwide’s Global Head of Social and Mobile, working with clients such as Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s.

In January 2020 James started his chapter in music at Defected Records, joining the label as it entered its third decade. James oversaw all social, content, marketing and PR activations, and made an invaluable addition to the company as it navigated its position as an industry leader in a new era for the music industry. In March 2020 Defected launched their Virtual Festival, a standalone event that evolved into a weekly residency in response to multiple event cancellations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Within ten weeks the online residency accumulated over 55 million views and gained worldwide recognition and acclaim, gaining media coverage in Creative Review, The Telegraph, BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Evening Standard, Le Monde France and Sky News.

In 2022, James went back to his entrepreneurial routes and started again; his business ICONIC being the embodiment of all the knowhow he acquired for over twenty years, giving brands a queue-jump to the front of popular culture.