Prolific North Live 2017

Jackie Holt, Managing Partner at BJL and IPA's North West City Head, rounds up this year's Prolific North Live and the agency topics covered at the IPA Effectiveness Pavilion.

Ever had one of those lightbulb ideas that just seemed to work on so many levels...only to ponder weeks later 'what on earth was I thinking!' Such was my experience in the run up to Prolific North Live. Suffice to say, of course, it all turned out fine in the end - which in our world, it invariably does.

The story started on 16th September with a visit from the illustrious Nick Jaspen, the entrepreneurial driver of Prolific North and well-known business character in the North. His first event that year was deemed a success and 2017 was going to be bigger, better and even more credible. For that, he needed to ensure that the total creative, media, broadcast, production, social & digital landscape was represented. And the gap he needed to fill was the bigger, established agency brands – all of whom were part of the IPA.

As I listened to the pitch (he’s very good), I realised that if this event was becoming a showcase for the broader industry out of London, then it would be a shame if the great campaigns and expertise of the core agencies weren’t visible. We’d also just come out of IPA’s Eff Week massive success, and wanted to find ways of embracing and sharing the step-change towards foresight, data driven, predictive effectiveness across agencies & clients across the country.

And so, the IPA Effectiveness Pavilion was borne. Nine of the key creative and media agencies, each talking about their approach to effectiveness, evidencing their success, showcasing the great campaigns emanating from the North, sharing new thinking and different points of view.

Sounds easy? May be not, when we find ourselves four weeks out, trying to ‘herd cats’...(a phrase succinctly put by Fergus of TBWA\Manchester). We all know that client work takes precedent, and agency initiatives sit probably 23rd in the queue. So trying to get agreement from nine agencies, on conference calls where half were driving (safely obviously), others keeping close eye on emails in multi-tasking mode, and others absent – it all added to the fun. We did warn the organisers (Don’t Panic...which is a great name given the circumstances) that we would be a nightmare – and we tried hard to live up to the promise.

But we got there. Probably because we had commitment from the agency heads – it was the MDs, the CSDs, the Planning Directors, who were all personally committed – and that senior perspective really created the collaborative culture. There were no renegades – OK, just one, but there’s always one – we would expect nothing else.

The two-day event went smoothly. All the agencies turned up in good time. Their presentations were all from senior heads, which gave credibility and slickness. And everyone was supportive of each other.

Could things have gone better?  Obviously. We’ve created a long list of improvements we’d like to see. 

But, the most important thing that everyone has commented upon, was the pulling together of all the agencies. That’s probably a new thing to celebrate. We all usually turn up to events, sit on panels together. But this is probably the first time, we’ve all worked together to represent our own agency’s perspective, but within a single event that we’ve created together.

As succinctly put by Phil Coverdale of Cravens: ‘The IPA community came together, did something….tried something new’. And a dose of common sense from Chris Broadbent of Mediacom: 'Happy to contribute more and collaborate earlier in the process for 2017’.

"Earlier"? We’re agencies, that’ll be the day!


Agency topics covered at the IPA Effectiveness Pavilion at Prolific North Live, 15-16 February 2017:

BJL - Data big or data qual – it can all sharpen effectiveness.

Cravens - Giving life to purpose - how to drive real business and brand effectiveness

Dentsu Aegis - Total attribution: Holistic measurement

Different - Creating a culture of effectiveness

MEC - Are you ignoring half the purchase journey? How to build your brand.

McCann Manchester - Emotions and effectiveness in advertising – the Aldi Story

Mediacom Manchester - The importance of measuring emotive impact

TBWA\Manchester - Illusions of effectiveness?

Drummonds - Breaking things effectively.

This event was also supported by One and the Market Creative.

Last updated 21 January 2022