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Meet the finalists for Young TV Planner of the Year 2024

Meet the finalists for Young TV Planner of the Year 2024

Posted on: June 27, 2024

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 its fifth 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. Here we chat to our six fabulous finalists.

What's the best thing you’ve watched so far this year?

Alex: Russell Brand: In Plain Sight – a powerful collaboration of investigative journalism.

Claire: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – it was such a unique show which was a real gritty representation of a tragic part of history.

Daniel: MasterChef – Gregg Wallace is a national treasure.

Ilaria: Big Mood is definitely the one for me this year!

Jamie: Fallout (reflecting my love for post-apocalyptic fiction).

Sophie: I will spend my last breath telling people to watch Wild, Wild Country on Netflix.

What do you watch as your guilty pleasure?

Alex: Mainly due to how much I criticised the concept originally, Gogglebox. Watching people watch TV? Who knew?!

Claire: Such a tricky one, but it must be Married at First Sight Australia. It was such a fantastic series this year … and every year!

Daniel: Below Deck, it’s addictive!

Ilaria: Naked Attraction – nothing more to say.

Jamie: Married at First Sight Australia.

Sophie: Every year I look forward to my annual Gilmore Girls rewatch, and I love any and all reality TV (Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck) but I don’t have an ounce of guilt about it!

Left: Claire Hicks at Sky. Right: Alex Onslow at Sky (third from left).
Left: Claire Hicks at Sky. Right: Alex Onslow at Sky (third from left).

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

Alex: Throughout my career, I’ve wanted to ensure our TV plans represent real Britain and reach all the different communities that make up the country, equally. For Compare the Market, we were gearing up to launch their new character, Carl the Wombat, and drive as much reach as possible on TV to get his name out there. I identified that certain communities only part-consumed community TV channels and so I found where these audiences were currently being underserved in our TV activity which refined our station mix. The result was a TV and AV plan that reached previously untapped, but valuable, communities in an impactful TV environment, and drove overall incremental reach.

Claire: Coppafeel! A breast cancer awareness charity that encourages you to get to know your body. It was their first time on TV, where we managed to negotiate spots in Love Island, and added value across BVOD partners for the brand. They saw such a strong uplift in their ‘check your chest’ text for 18-24’s and we also activated a bespoke piece of content with E! in a fun way to help engage 18-24’s. It was one I felt made a huge impact on their business and encouraged young people to check themselves through fun, tactical and exciting AV formats.

Daniel: I’m really proud of my work on Back Market’s launch on TV last year, which has also been shortlisted in the best TV newcomer category this year. Showcasing TV effectiveness and superpower to a new brand and seeing their business grow as a result of TV was something I thoroughly enjoyed.

Ilaria: I am particularly proud of the recently launched Aldi ‘Can’t Match This’ price campaign, which showcases that quality and affordability can coexist even amidst the storm of a cost-of-living crisis. The campaign aims to reassure consumers that they don’t have to compromise on the quality of their groceries to save money. All of this in the famous Aldi's cheeky tone (and charm). Since its launch, the campaign has featured in some of May's top TV programming such as ‘Britain's Got Talent’, and it has already achieved the best viewer perception results of the year, significantly boosting Aldi's brand awareness and market share.

Jamie: This past year, I've been proud to spearhead all things Müller from an AV awareness perspective. We evolved our communications approach from previously focusing on individual products, to a refreshed Masterbrand strategy. Within this approach, we leveraged TVs broad reach by creating a 'halo effect' that boosted awareness and consideration across all three flagship products whilst positively impacting products not currently on air. This campaign not only reinforced Müller's market presence but also showcased strategic cross-media planning in enhancing the brand's portfolio and driving business effects by TV being at the heart of our media plan.

Sophie: Recently Help for Heroes were involved in ITV’s creative ad break as part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), raising awareness about accessibility and inclusion for visual or sight impairments. Their ad featured subtitling and British Sign Language and was a change in strategy for Help for Heroes who hadn’t had much presence on linear TV prior to this. I was really proud that the team trusted our recommendation to feature in a contextually relevant environment and to see a client of mine be part of a new movement of accessible advertising.

What is TV’s superpower?

Alex: It's invincible. What superpower is better than that? It continuously proves to be number one and refuses to budge. Whether that’s related to scale, effectiveness, ROI, attention, shared live viewing experiences, or even just the impact it has on people’s lives; it’s the superhero everyone is trying to be. Just look at how the streamers are slowly adopting the same ad models as TV. It can’t be beaten, only imitated.

Claire: TV’s superpower for me is that it brings people together and its choice. There is nothing better than a Eurovision or Traitors viewing party with the family, or a Friday night in watching Gogglebox; it’s letting us get together to watch the content we want to watch with the people we want to watch it with, which I think is something pretty special. We have access to a huge amount of content from so many different companies, and the opportunity to go from watching a big production drama like House of the Dragon on Sky, to Selling Sunset on Netflix.  

Daniel: TV has the power to unite audiences through cultural moments. It is ingrained into our day to day lives and drives conversation. There’s nothing better than discussing a new show and latest episode with friends and colleagues. Getting stuck into the gossip around who is entering the jungle to judging contestants’ baking skills from your sofa. It’s no wonder why our brands want to be associated with the biggest cultural moments on TV.

Ilaria: I think television possesses a remarkable superpower: the ability to shape opinions, spark conversations, and address societal issues in a profound way. I believe its influence arises from being everywhere in our lives, seeping into households and minds daily. Whether it's shedding tears over a climate change documentary or cheering for a fictional character overcoming adversity, TV moves us in ways that mere words cannot.

Jamie: For me, TV always comes back to connection, specifically through the shared viewing of professional (quality) TV content. As expressed within the Context Effects research "people don't gather to watch TV, they watch TV to gather". Personally, I couldn’t agree more. For me and my family, we regularly watch The 1% Club to gather and discuss throughout the show; to see who can get to the 1% question. As a viewer, these shows create a moment to gather for our households.

Sophie: There’s a myth with TV advertising that it demands high budgets to access and create a high-impact campaign. Of course it helps to have the bigger budgets, but budget limitations can be a catalyst for creativity and innovation instead of a barrier. TV bolsters unmatchable scale and reach in an environment where audiences are captivated, and there really is opportunity for every client to reap its rewards if you’re clever about your route to planning.

Left: Daniel Trout at an awards evening (far right). Right: Ilaria Gallo on set.
Left: Daniel Trout at an awards evening (far right). Right: Ilaria Gallo on set.

Tell us about a societal issue that you have seen TV having a positive impact on …

Alex: You only have to look back a few weeks at shows like Mr Bates vs The Post Office or Baby Reindeer to see just how impactful TV can be on society, how it stirs debate and encourages positive action, but what I think is often overlooked is the news. It consistently delivers scaled updates on important and credible national, local and international stories, doing the public a service and often risking journalists’ well-being in the process. With so much happening over the last five years, coinciding with the rise of ‘fake news’, it’s fortunate we still have broadcaster news to rely on and trust.

Claire: The viral show Baby Reindeer on Netflix this year, I think had a real positive impact on discussing taboo subjects. We saw on Google Trends surges of searches around sexual abuse and transgender increase by +300%. Seeing this increase in searches I think shows that TV opens up and starts conversations. This type of content is so raw and authentic, it’ll inspire others to tell their stories. These types of TV shows are some that years ago may not have been given the platform, but these are the shows which encourage more diversity in content and give people the voice and representation they deserve.

Daniel: Mental health is a huge issue across many people’s day to days lives, with many people suffering in silence. ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign used simple but powerful messaging across TV. Using the most trusted medium, the reach achieved helped normalise mental health and aided people to stop suffering in silence.

Ilaria: Impossible beauty standards affect everyone today, no matter their age or gender. It's been incredibly refreshing to see TV challenge these norms and bring this issue to the forefront of public attention. Shows like Channel 4’s Body Stories and BBC's Beauty Laid Bare have been game-changers. Body Stories really hit home for me, as it tackled body shaming head-on by featuring unedited images of diverse women, promoting a healthier body image. Beauty Laid Bare took it a step further by exposing the beauty industry's hidden flaws. Overall, these programs have been inspiring, helping to foster body positivity, inclusivity, and self-acceptance.

Jamie: Public health is a societal issue often featured on our televisions, with the intention of driving a positive impact on health and wellness education. TV remains a trusted source for health education, largely due to the credibility of its presenters, as well as Ofcom accountability. Figures such as the late Michael Mosley made substantial contributions throughout his career in various TV shows/documentaries. Mosley's appearances on ITV’s This Morning reinforced his role as a trusted health expert, promoting health education. The reaction of viewers from the recent tragic loss of such an iconic TV figure and healthcare professional signifies exactly how television has played a key role in inspiring positive lifestyle changes within the lives of these viewers.

Sophie: It’s a Sin restarted conversations about HIV and worked as its own call to action. It’s not that there wasn’t any gay representation on TV prior to this, but Russell T Davies counters the harsh reality of the AIDs epidemic in the UK with queer friendship, love and joy, presenting characters as people, not just victims of crisis. The Terrance Higgins trust reported that following the first episode alone Google searches for HIV related queries massively spiked, helplines saw 30% increases in calls and their web traffic doubled. The media pickup following the show further supported the momentum of breaking down the stigma and encouraged further research into the progress made since the 80’s. The lasting impact of It’s a Sin shows the influence that TV has on activism and fostering tangible change.

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

Alex: We’re probably all aware of the exciting new developments in TV/AV measurement and data. However, I’m quite excited about the prospect of Freely. If executed properly, it could capture younger audiences across a broadcast viewer experience and provide us with the addressability and data that only Sky usually has to offer. It has the potential to elevate live viewer experiences to new, digital-first audiences whilst also allowing for the capability to re-connect with them throughout their customer journeys in other broadcast content.

Claire: I think the SVOD offering is an exciting development in an ever-expanding AV landscape. If this becomes more addressable and targeting continues to develop it could be a really interesting space. It’s great to hear brands are sponsoring SVOD content and interacting with this additional content in ways we have never been able to before, so it’s a great opportunity to complement our AV plans and maximise reach.

Daniel: I’m looking forward to seeing how the battle of BVOD and SVOD shapes up. With Prime coming to the market broadcasters cannot ignore SVOD moving forwards. It’s going to be interesting to see how the broadcasters develop their products, targeting and content to keep themselves leaders in the video market.

Ilaria: Without a doubt I think Advanced TV advertising is something to definitely look forward to. The ability to target audiences with pinpoint accuracy, personalise ads in real-time, and measure campaign effectiveness in detail will be game-changing. It's not just about reaching viewers anymore; it's about engaging with them on a whole new level. As someone who loves seeing how technology shapes the advertising landscape, I'm genuinely excited to see how Advanced TV continues to progress and how it will redefine the way brands connect with their audiences.

Jamie: Whilst dynamic creatives are still making their way into the BVOD realm, there is yet to be a true BOOM within this space comparative to that of aMillionAds within in the audio realm. Several years ago, STV demonstrated to me the importance of localising to your audience, which has resonated with me throughout my career. There is still plenty of untapped potential to personalise at scale to factors such as regionality, weather, cultural events and more. Even within linear TV there is a significant portion of airtime still traded at a regional level; this benefit is not fully realised. There is a perception that addressable and dynamic creative means thousands of variations across multiple different audiences. But it really can be as simple or intricate as you can. Increasing relevance to our consumers will be key to cut-through our vast video landscape as technology, processes and understanding evolves in this exciting space.

Sophie: I don’t think we can ignore how AI is taking over and it’s quite exciting to see this being built into measurement strategies and audience targeting, with new AI-driven offerings from Sky and ITV tailoring content to the preferences and behaviours of viewers like never before.

Left: Jamie Smith with Dulux. Right: Sophie Gildert at a recording studio.
Left: Jamie Smith with Dulux. Right: Sophie Gildert at a recording studio.

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