Meet the finalists for Young TV Planner of the Year

This year we have added a brand-new accolade to be won at the Thinkbox TV Planning Awards in the form of ‘Young TV Planner of the Year’. 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.

We wanted to find the future industry stars that are leading the way and it proved to be a very competitive category.

Here we chat to our six brilliant finalists.


What TV shows are you enjoying currently?

Aimee: Any form of Gogglebox.

Charlotte: Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You is the most powerful and necessary drama I have seen this year.

Gabriella: Currently watching This Is Us and really enjoying it.

George: Gangs of London.

Ian: Thankfully, the Premier League has come just at the right time to fill a void left by The Last Dance.

Jamie: The return of the Premier League (fake crowd noise on please).

What do you watch as your guilty pleasure?

Aimee: RuPaul’s Drag Race always makes me smile.

Charlotte: Netflix’s epic ‘real-estate-reality’ format Selling Sunset.

Gabriella: Any US crime/medical dramas. Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago PD, Blue Bloods, New Amsterdam…you name it, I’ve probably watched it.

George: Don’t Tell the Bride.

Ian: Friends and Entourage are my two go-to shows – American TV at its best…

Jamie: How It’s Made on Discovery. If you know you know.

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

Aimee: Nationwide’s ‘Pay Day Save Day’ campaign – it was all about affecting a behavioural change, speaking largely to people of my generation. The strategy and insight behind the campaign was thorough and stark, sparking something personally. From launching with a roadblock across Sky, to featuring on ITV and Channel 4 in top indexing programming and running integrated partnerships across Cinema and Podcasts, it was a campaign that was rigorous and featured creativity throughout. It ran our biggest suite of creative executions and programming strands to date and delivered our strongest audit quality score yet.

Charlotte: It would have to be Motorpoint’s ‘Buy Happy’ campaign, that launched on Boxing Day last year. ‘Buy Happy’ was new brand messaging for Motorpoint, and both ourselves and the client were excited to bring it to life on TV. The campaign marked 18 months of my working relationship with Motorpoint. With three previous TV campaigns under my belt, I was now able to weave everything I had learnt about the Motorpoint audience into the fabric of the TV plans. The strategy layered fame spots in the likes of ITV’s The Masked Singer alongside select Premier League games on Sky Sports. We wanted to ride the buzz of Christmas family TV rituals in households close to Motorpoint branches – a strategy which delivered great success.

Gabriella: I’m lucky to work with so many great brands but the one I am most proud to have been part of has to be the John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners ‘Excitable Edgar’ Christmas 2019 campaign. This was the first time the two brands had come together at Christmas for a joint campaign, and with different objectives, it placed different demands on a singular channel. Of course, there were challenges along the way, but the nation fell in love with Edgar as he appeared on screens in linear TV, entertaining viewers across the ITV idents, as well as the extensions of supplier and product ads to bolster the success.

Jamie: I would say the launch of McDelivery, which we have entered into this year’s ‘Best integrated campaign’ at the TV Planning Awards. The work myself and the OMD team did in collaboration with McDonald’s, Leo Burnett, Uber Eats and the TV broadcasters to make the platform a success in the UK has been one of the highlights of my career and is a fantastic demonstration of the power of TV.

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

Aimee: It’s key to first understand why they’re sceptical in the first place; to have an open and honest conversation on the marketplace & the opportunities within TV to deliver a stand-out campaign. From here, building a case through the wealth of industry-wide research on the power of TV, whilst utilising our internal tools & systems to showcase specifically which benefit of TV will be most apt to their business objectives.

Charlotte: TV makes brands famous, this all TV planners can agree. However, it can often be the sheer scale of TV that proves daunting to a client. Fame, although very attractive, sounds expensive. If TV means going big, does TV mean bigger budgets and therefore bigger risk? The key to convincing a TV sceptic is to propose small, but meaningful, steps. Whether that be in the form of regional TV tests or daytime-only strategies, it’s important to demonstrate efficiencies of cost to any advertiser questioning TV’s benefit.

George: In my experience, you must show TV sceptics how video consumption has evolved and how the definition of TV has expanded to include more formats (Broadcaster VOD etc). Viewed this way, one can see that TV remains a huge opportunity for advertisers. Reach (including BVOD) has remained constant over the years, TV still accounts for the majority of our video day and TV set usage is still growing, driven by BVOD. If clients are still sceptical after seeing these figures – I simply direct them to the Thinkbox website to peruse the many case studies and research pieces that show TV works. The numbers don’t lie!

Ian: Most clients haven’t needed persuading in my experience, but for those that have, we’re lucky enough to have access to a huge number of resources, both inside and outside the agency, that testify to the effectiveness of TV. Our job is to merely contextualise these resources and frame the use of TV, where relevant, as part of a broader response to brief.

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

Gabriella: The growth of mass addressable TV – this has been available for a while with Sky AdSmart, however with ITV and Channel 4 releasing solutions in this space, we will see a huge shift in our TV/AV plans. This is especially exciting because as the nature of TV buying solutions evolve, the variety of options we can offer clients increases, marrying up a long-standing established medium with all the benefits that come with even more granular targeting and tech integrations!

George: There is a lot of focus now on addressable TV (ADTV) with all the major broadcasters developing their offering in this area. The targeting benefits and buying efficiencies of ADTV are well documented - but I’m most excited about the potential for dynamic video creative. By ‘dynamic video’, I mean where the actual frames and script change based on a viewer’s consumption circumstances. As this type of execution becomes more commonplace, we will see greater efficiencies on TV and equally excitingly, TV will be able to integrate further with other media channels where dynamic creative is already established (e.g. audio, display).

Ian: From a day-to-day planning perspective I’m excited about BARB’s announcement last week of the Beta BVOD Planner; it’s a long-awaited step forward in cross-channel video planning, so it’ll be interesting to see what the outputs look like. More broadly, I’m intrigued to see whether this period of lockdown will have a lasting impact on TV viewing behaviour (and what the subsequent impact on the market will be).

Jamie: All the major broadcasters have upped their game in the addressable TV space in the last 6-12 months. The emergence of Planet V, Brandm4tch, and continued evolutions within the Sky ecosystem, show that the TV market is adopting the best elements of the digital industry. It’s an area that has lots of marketers excited, and I’ve been working with my clients to build out strategies around how we can use smart combinations of 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data in our targeting, messaging, and measurement. It’s an interesting time to be working in this space.

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