By Niki Wheeler, Director, Launch,
Launch was founded because our boss, Johnny, is passionate about ideas. Nuts about them. Well, only good ones which challenge perception, build reputation and have longevity to them – or so I’ve learnt over ten years of working with him!
Three years ago, I remember him talking to our management team about a business idea he’d had, called The Creative Shootout. A ‘done in a day creative show’ where agencies would respond to a charity brief – live, in front of an audience. Winner takes all. This challenge of creative chutzpah sounded like a TV reality show format to us – Britain’s Got (Creative) Talent anyone? And masterclass territory, as we the audience would also get to watch the action live.
Mischief won the inaugural Shootout crown in 2016, responding to a brief for Unicef. They were (literally) on a roll again in 2017 with their winning, loo focused #giveashit campaign for Time for Change. Last year, top teams also focused on ambitious brand partnerships (Ready10) and clever media takeovers (Hotwire).
In 2018, judges who included Johnny, Hello!’s Rosie Nixon, Newsquest’s CEO Henry Faure-Walker (a lead in media partner 1XL) and Jonathan Shalit OBE said they wanted a big idea, that could be followed from insight to result, would answer the brief AND work for FareShare – the food distribution charity.
RAW London, the 2018 winning agency, hailed from the branded content space and won with a cleverly packaged and highly shareable idea for FareShare which truly answered the brief – to recruit volunteers of all shapes and sizes. Runners up, experiential agency Ignis, focused on mobilising students by #gettingwasted. RAW scoop £250,000 in media spend from 1XL and £30k in fees from FareShare. Not bad right, for an afternoon’s work?
Under pressure to find a ‘big idea’ that would work for a lesser known charity – it seemed that traditional comms agencies defaulted to brand awareness campaigns that didn’t necessarily nail the volunteering brief or guarantee a unanimous ‘yes’ from the audience – equipped with handheld voting devices this year.
Four of the agencies presented identical (ish) campaigns. Two got #GettingHangry (not sure I’d make a charity donation after waiting for my dinner though…) and two were on a secret diet (got stats about hunger in the UK across but didn’t necessarily drive volunteer sign-ups). There were a good few ideas from Bottle as they’ve done in previous years (brand partnerships / pop ups) and an elephant in the room too, from Talker Tailor Trouble Maker. Perhaps short of rehearsal time, many of the teams read their presentations from the mobile phones… and a couple of finalists on stage didn’t say anything at all. Mind you, BAFTA isn’t for the faint hearted I guess.
So what does this tell us? Relevant, adaptable, thoughtful, bespoke and targeted creative content is king. And every single member of a pitch team must utterly love what they are presenting – in just ten minutes!
Photo: Raw London on stage at Bafta after winning the 2018 live final of The Creative Shootout with compere Scott Wimsett from Bespoke, Alyson Walsh, Commercial director of FareShare, Lindsay Boswell, CEO FareShare and Johnny Pitt, founder of The Creative Shootout.