Arif Durrani, head of media at Campaign and editor of Media Week
Arif Durrani, head of media at Campaign and editor of Media Week
A view from Arif Durrani

Sometimes collaboration, not innovation, can be the key to winning campaigns

Media Week Awards entries used to be awash with companies claiming "media firsts"...

They ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous - from takeovers of Coronation Street to aromatic front covers and microsites for apps. Being first and owning the idea featured highly.

In 2014, the UK’s commercial media still boast more than their fair share of industry firsts, but something far more meaningful has entered the fray too: collaboration.

One campaign embodying this trend was for humble Yorkshire Tea. Armed with a small budget of less than £250,000, but with bags of insight and goodwill, the brand set about promoting its new role as the official brew of the England cricket team.

Drawing on the success of shows such as MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off, the idea for The Great Cricket Tea Challenge was born. Who owned the idea became a moot point, as a cohort from Channel 5, Goodstuff and BMB hunted for the best cricket club tea.

It resulted in five two-minute films being aired around Channel 5’s Ashes coverage. Fronted by Michael Vaughan, each dealt with a different aspect of the best cricket tea, with the eventual winner being chosen from a cook-off show between four finalists.

The choice of Vaughan and the TV chef Rosemary Shrager struck the right note. The upshot was charming snapshots of cricket club life, all resplendent whites and luscious greens. Bang-on message for the brand, and all on a shoestring [You can view video from the Yorkshire Tea's Great Cricket Tea Challenge here].

Goodstuff’s planners worked with Channel 5 to ensure that strategic 20-second TV trails, print ads and online video activity helped drive viewers to the films. From concept to execution, it required the kind of joined-up thinking that went beyond any brief.

It reminded me of a conversation I’d had days earlier with M2M’s newly promoted chief executive, Ali MacCallum. His agency had been at the heart of arguably the most talked-about print campaign of the year for its client Paddy Power.

Metro’s "rainbow laces" takeover to tackle homophobia in football on 8 September was the first time the paper had dedicated an entire edition to a campaign. From its bespoke masthead to the rainbow artwork running throughout the editorial and advertising, it was a powerful way to highlight support for the cause.

Conceived through collaboration between M2M, Lucky Generals, Stonewall and Paddy Power, the campaign’s provenance rightly played second fiddle to its impact. Expect more like this.