Meet the finalists for Young TV Planner of the Year 2022

Being a TV planner is a role which carries enormous responsibility for a brand’s success, demanding creativity, curiosity and collaboration in addition to the rigorous craft skills that TV planning has always required.

Now in it's third year, our Young TV Planner of the Year category is for recognising future industry stars that are leading the way and flying the flag for TV. Rachel Douglas from One Agency Media was crowned the winner at our awards ceremony in July - here we chat to our five brilliant finalists that made the shortlist.

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What is the best thing you’ve watched this year?

James: Got to be Derry Girls.

Jessica: The Ipcress File - loved it!

Megan: Derry Girls on Ch4 and Ted Lasso on Apple TV - both amazing!

Rachel: It’s a Sin. I bawled my eyes out.

Rebecca: Channel 4’s Big Boys was my savior during a 3-hour flight delay.

What do you watch as your guilty pleasure?

James: Vera – an ITV3 staple.

Jessica: Love Island, I wait all year for it to come on!

Megan: Glow Up on the BBC.

Rachel: Benidorm! Don’t judge me, it’s the closest I’ve got to a holiday.

Rebecca: I’ve been re-watching Sex and The City on Sky – it never gets old.

Tell us about a TV campaign you worked on that you’re most proud of:

James: Right now I’m working on an exciting campaign within Love Island for Jet2. The campaign blurs the lines between advertising and content, is based around an exciting competition, sits across TV & VOD and proves 1634s can be reached at scale. Not to mention there is an exciting, potentially industry-first surprise yet to come…

Jessica: I’m most proud of the McDonald’s ‘McSpicy’ TV campaign.  The planning process required craft, with flighting strategies optimised to drive impact and detailed audience analysis to ensure maximum reach, whilst also leveraging AV tactics to extend scale and cover. The campaign was a huge success, delivering an AV ROI above and beyond our AV average, it proved so popular the product sold out in the first 2 weeks.

Megan: I’ve been lucky enough to work across some impactful and significant campaigns including the famous Kevin the Carrot Christmas campaign for Aldi. But one campaign I’m very proud of working on is Smyths Toys, ‘Snot, the Toy No One Wanted’. This campaign launched in 2017 for Christmas and all the profits from the Snot plush toy and storybooks went straight to both Great Ormond Street Hospital and Temple Street Foundation. It was a privilege to play a part in such a meaningful story.

Rachel: One of my favourites was the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk campaign. We went live in the UK, Germany, and the Republic of Ireland with the most gorgeous creatives. We managed to integrate some special formats on VOD in Germany which we’d never done before. The uplift in audience interaction was worth the stress of pulling together new formats. I love working with clients who want to explore options that enhance their TVC and make their creatives work even harder.

Rebecca: Across Co-op’s Summer Recycling campaign I was tasked with raising awareness of their new recycling initiative and encouraging shoppers to recycle with them. I was really proud of the rigour that went into the plan, the close collaboration with other teams and the overall objective being to promote a really positive cause. The campaign had fantastic results with Co-op maintaining their 10% lead in perceptions of sustainability and environmental action despite other supermarkets launching similar initiatives, and over half of respondents claimed to be more likely to buy from Co-op as a result. TV was identified as a key driver of increased consideration, as well as producing strong ROI and long-term net profits.

How do you persuade a sceptical client about the benefits of TV?

James: It depends on a case-by-case basis. It could be about positioning TV against other media to prove its cost effectiveness. Or it could be about using proprietary and industry studies & tools to demonstrate TV’s power in delivering results. There are also many options to test the water first – VOD, regional TV, DRTV are some of the lower-entry-cost ways to start the TV journey.

Jessica: I would start by understanding the reasons behind their doubts, to arm myself with real life case studies and statistics on the impact of TV advertising.  There is a vast amount of industry data, such as the research by Thinkbox, to support the reasons why TV advertising drives success like no other channel – for brand across all sectors – in both short and long term.  This data, coupled with showing clients the impact TV will have on their own business will be sure to build more confidence in TV advertising. 

Megan: Clients invest in TV because it works. It is the most trusted form of advertising and delivers fame for clients better than any other media. To help clients understand how TV can play a fundamental role for their brand, I’m a big believer in taking things back to basics. As the AV market future-proofs and grows more complex by the minute, the value of Linear TV can become diluted. It is important to put TV back into the eyes of the viewer and understand the role TV plays in their day-to-day video consumption, which (spoiler alert) is a big one! It is then important to frame this in the context of the client’s KPIs and demonstrate that TV can play an equally significant role in delivering on these objectives, irrelevant of budget.  

Rachel: A lot of our clients come to us with a digital advertising background and taking the step into above-the-line can be a daunting prospect. The key is to get a real understanding of the client’s business and to take a deep dive into their audience to make sure the plan is as comprehensive as possible. When it comes to stats and research, the Thinkbox website is a great tool that I would recommend to anyone working in TV. There are case studies for a range of different sectors and it provides a real-life example of the benefits of TV. 

Rebecca: Education is really key in honing a client’s perception of TV. I think it’s really pertinent that revenue increases have been driven by online-born brands which saw a boom in sales during the pandemic – from all of the potential media they could invest in they’re still going for TV. This is because they know that what hasn’t changed is that TV ads evoke more emotion than other forms of advertising and drive more fame, and that ultimately fame and emotion generate the most sales and profits. So to persuade a sceptical client all that’s really needed is proof of the effectiveness of TV and data to back up these assertions which can come in the form of case studies, industry research or insights from our bespoke agency tools.

Tell us about an agency or industry social initiative that has particularly resonated with you over the last year:

James: At Wavemaker we are about to begin an “Avenger Fortnight”, an initiative to get every member of staff in the office for 2 consecutive weeks. I’ve enjoyed the benefits the new hybrid way of working has brought, but I’m also looking forward to being in a full office again and experiencing the culture that brings.

Jessica: At OMD UK, we have a number of Diversity and Inclusion partners, one of which is Eastside Young Leaders Academy, whose aim is to nurture young people from all backgrounds to become successful leaders.  I coordinated an insight day where the students at Eastside Academy got to experience the media world, learn the best ways to fill out a CV, apply for a job and show up at an interview.  This really resonated with me. As someone who only finished Sixth Form 3 years ago, I felt best placed to help students prepare for their future careers. 

Megan: Republic of Media are a long-standing supporter of Wood Street Mission, a children’s charity helping children and families living on a low income in Manchester and Salford. As an independent charity, Wood Street Mission relies on supporters to raise funds and awareness of their extremely important work. As an agency we’ve provided support for the charity through volunteering and sizeable donations for various appeals, including their Christmas gifting and Books Forever appeals. Every child deserves equal opportunity and I’m proud to work for an agency that helps drive change so desperately needed.

Rachel: Channel 4’s Black to Front. Lack of representation in media of the BAME community is still a huge problem that our industry needs to continually work to overcome. Black to Front brought this conversation in to studios and onto our screens. This is key to encouraging young people of all backgrounds to feel confident in applying for roles in media.

Rebecca: I’d say it’s my agency’s increased focus on sustainability – we have punchy net zero targets and Dentsu is one of the first companies in the world to have its target recognised and formally validated by the SBTi. Sustainability and environmentalism are issues that have been brought up in a lot of new business pitches as well, so it’s front of mind across the industry – as it should be. It’s also great to work on clients who focus on sustainability and social causes. Similar to Co-op and their focus on environmental initiatives, Vodafone engage with social causes and promoting sustainability with campaigns like Reboxing Day, which encouraged the British public to donate their old devices to help tackle digital exclusion in the UK and reduce disposal of technology. It feels great to work with brands and as part of an agency doing some good in the world!

What is the most exciting development in TV that people should keep an eye on?

James: The continuing move toward connected/addressable. This already gives the consumer much more choice and control over what and when they watch. But it also gives brands much more opportunity in the TV space: enhanced targeting, dynamic messaging, and general accessibility for all types of brands (lower cost entry point, bespoke geo, zero-wastage TV). The growth of the streaming platforms and their seemingly ever-more likely switch into ad-funded/part-ad funded models should turbo-charge CTV inventory. Initiatives such as CFlight are more important than ever to prove the reach & scale of multi-platform buys.

Jessica: One thing to keep an eye on is the development of advertisements on SVOD platforms such as Netflix.  These platforms couple scale with the insights of digital, making it exciting for an AV planner to navigate, but we must be clear on measurement – I would love this to be measured under the BARB gold standard. Watch this space!

Megan: The AV market is continuously developing, with C-Flight launching earlier this year, and further addressable solutions on the horizon, it’s an exciting time to be an AV planner! There is so much to keep an eye on, but here are a few things I’m excited for… The further development of C-Flight, specifically regional reporting, which will make this tool more relevant for my agency and our clients. ITV recently showcased their commitment to the Metaverse - after John Lewis delved into this space in Christmas 2021, I’m excited to see how this develops and becomes a scalable opportunity for smaller brands. Finally, addressability moving into other spaces. Sky’s Smart Sponsorship offering will allow brands to tailor their idents to different audiences/locations, shifting the value of sponsorship for many regional advertisers.

Rachel: I loved hearing about the ITV Metaverse studios at the Showcase this year. As brands look for new ways to reach younger audiences, TV advertising must adapt to new technologies and this is an exciting new platform to explore. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Rebecca: I think the development that has caught my eye the most is the rise of AVOD as part of the wider TV ecosystem. Even the most successful SVOD suppliers in the world, like Netflix, are looking at ad-funded models to bolster their viewership. It will be really interesting to see how ads are incorporated into the platform and the response it gets from viewers – it will be a delicate balance between keeping paying subscribers happy but also not having aggressive ads on the ad-funded platform that will ruin the experience. It should be a great opportunity for advertisers to associate themselves with SVOD content and reach an even wider audience pool.

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