It's not hard to see why. The Sun recorded its highest advertising revenue in its 40-year history. Ad revenues at Fabulous magazine were up by 25 per cent on last year. And in the depths of the recession, a new magazine launch, Eureka, was supported by more than 40 clients.
At The Times, a commitment to creative formats delivered an extra £1 million in incremental revenue, while strategic ad partnerships at The Sunday Times saw more than £2 million in solus incremental revenue.
But it wasn't just the figures that impressed the judges, it was also the creativity. For example, its work on the Microsoft Spelling Bee inspired more than 100 events and the involvement of more than 1,000 schools, with 1.4 million games played online.
NI's involvement with Morrisons'
award-winning "let's grow" campaign helped deliver 160,000 visitors to the Morrisons' garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, and its CEO Summit, held in July and sponsored by Deloitte, attracted more than 100 CEOs and the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
The World Cup also proved a boon for NI, doubling revenues compared with the 2006 event. The company estimates that of all the World Cup ad budget spent in the national press, 80 per cent of it was with NI titles.
Other innovations include partnerships with Lloyds, Chanel and IBM for the launch of The Times' iPad app; a 3D issue of The Sun, published during the World Cup, and sponsored by B&Q; and a new remuneration model based on campaign results to attract new advertisers to the print medium.
To inspire the sales teams, NI instigated a "Vision and Values" programme, to help promote fresh-thinking sales initiatives and foster a bold, ambitious approach to sales. It also encourages a collaborative and supportive attitude to working with commercial partners.
On a more practical level, it has a staff awards scheme, which has helped boost the level of staff who say they "live the values" of the company from 54 per cent a year ago to 79 per cent.
To improve relations with agencies, NI carries out research every six months, using the results to help drive a more collaborative practice. It has also developed innovative new insight projects, including Consumer Eye, Word of Mouth Influence and Brand Eye, adding value to the sales process. These have been used in more than 250 client and planner meetings and more than 200 sales proposals.
The upshot of all this activity was that every NI title grew its share of ad volumes. And across the board, volumes were up by 12.3 per cent, against a market average of 1.3 per cent. An impressive performance in anyone's book.
Metro has been commended in the Print Sales Team of the Year category after seeming to shrug off any talk of global recession to report a record-breaking year. Display revenues were up and June was its biggest month for sales to date.
Metro said that the stellar performance was delivered after a restructure that creates trios comprising of a press trader, a digital trader and a planner, who work alongside the client team. Other secrets to Metro's success include a commitment to create the right property to meet a client's brief, if the right one doesn't already exist, and innovations such as its 3D coverwrap, an augmented reality ad and a load of new display formats.
Stylist Magazine Commercial Team