The Big TV Festival is a brilliant live event, which brings together young executives from across the world of advertising and looks to inspire them. The event successfully challenged preconceptions and laid solid groundwork for motivating long-term change, ensuring that TV is at the forefront of young execs’ minds as they continue to rise through the industry.

Category: Best Leadership Event

Sponsor: GES

Winner: ITV, Channel 4 & Sky in partnership with Thinkbox

Event: The Big TV Festival

Location : Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

The Objectives
In 2018, the unprecedented collaboration, ‘TV United’, was formed between the UK’s biggest broadcasters: ITV, Channel 4 & Sky, in partnership with Thinkbox. The collaboration’s core objective promotes the power of TV advertising in an increasingly competitive market and rapidly evolving media landscape. 

The collaboration’s flagship event The Big TV Festival, targets advertising’s rising stars, challenging their perceptions about television, motivating greater collaboration with the broadcasters and creating long-term evangelists for the power of TV. 

With a new generation rising through the ranks annually, UK broadcasters must continue to demonstrate that TV is the most powerful medium to grow and transform brands. 

The event has become a highly anticipated event within the industry so the team needs to ensure the event continues to evolve and feels fresh for a new audience, keeping sentiment and tone, whilst inspiring and educating the next generation of clients and planners, providing them with tangible, practical knowledge to take back to their jobs. 

By showcasing the continuing, unprecedented collaboration between the UK’s biggest commercial TV broadcasters and sharing their message about TV’s creativity, tech innovation and effectiveness, they needed to bringing together a host of perspectives and talents to present a compelling vision of TV, proving that TV is the most powerful marketing platform available. They needed to open minds, challenge the myths about TV viewing habits and encourage guests to rethink preconceptions about TV, motivating them to apply this information for maximum brand effectiveness whilst motivating behavioural change within the industry. 

Creating an inspirational event that cut through to a young audience which captured their attention was necessary. The team also needed to challenge preconceptions, demonstrate the power and effectiveness of TV, motivate behavioural change and generate greater spend with TV.

A further challenge arose when several days of heavy rain resulted in the ground conditions being unstable and very poor. The team needed to build infrastructure and large scale event structures in a forest in less than 5 days. Installation and site build was interrupted and new locations within the site needed to be found at short notice as well as the strict timetable for unloading and reloading which needed to be revised quickly to ensure they hit deadlines. 

The Event
After two consecutive years of building a successful brand, the team knew the festival format was the perfect way to engage their target audience. Education and entertainment remains the best mechanic to land their compelling messaging in an authentic way, immersing delegates in the magic of television. 

The event content was carefully crafted to inspire their audience with fantastic speakers and case studies, educate the audience via evidence-based content, encourage collaboration and idea sharing via practical breakout sessions, showcase TV and its technology as an essential medium for brands and drive behavioural change by reappraising broadcasters as creative partners. 

Their young audience were invited to “The ultimate TV event” – a two day festival in Sherwood Forest, taking them out of their London media bubble, into magical surroundings capturing their full attention. The luxury accommodation was provided at Forest Holidays and nearby Sherwood Pines was the perfect location to build their boutique festival site.  

Targeting over 200 of the industry’s young clients and planners with senior figures from agencies and brands who nominate their rising stars gave the invitations a sense of exclusivity as well as the celebrity TV stars who provided high energy as hosts.

The Results
Knowing the festival format was the best medium to captivate their young audience, they spirited their guests away to a magical forest location which meant the team had the delegate’s full attention. The event offered all the hallmarks of an exclusive festival with beautiful surroundings, luxury accommodation, great food and drink, great entertainment and access to TV talent! 

Following the exclusive invitation as part of a select audience, every element of their VIP experience was taken care of from luxury forest cabins (with hot tubs!), delicious food to luxury transport, ensuring engagement was high throughout. 

Young presenters, Kem Cetinay (Love Island) and Georgia Toffolo (Made in Chelsea), peers to their audience, provided a recognisable and authentic tone, reinforcing the key message of the power of TV throughout.  

An interactive ‘State of the Nation’ quiz sought to dispel any preconceptions guests had by challenging what they really knew about UK audience behaviour. Case studies from top brands showcased the impact TV can have on brand success and research from external industry experts demonstrated the evidence behind the power of TV. 

Despite the unforeseeable weather conditions, solutions were devised to minimise damage to the land such as reworking trackway plans and changing site layout. Extra fauna was deployed to conceal the churned up ground ensuring the site still looked premium.

The event provided networking opportunities amongst delegates and broadcasters, including a huge evening party where sales teams could consolidate their message and generate business.

Yet again, the UK’s biggest broadcasters have collaborated to create something really special. 

The Big TV Festival is unique. Nobody else within the industry offers a VIP experience like this to young execs, so early in their careers. In exchange, guests attend with enthusiasm and open minds which cements strong working relationships and creates evangelists for the power of TV across advertising. 

The strong event feedback demonstrated they have successfully challenged preconceptions and laid solid groundwork for motivating long term change, ensuring that TV is at the forefront of young execs’ minds as they continue to rise through the industry. 

Judges’ Comments 
The winner of the Best Leadership Event category for this year’s ICE Awards is the Big TV Festival 2020, created by ITV, Channel 4 & Sky, in partnership with Thinkbox. This is a brilliant live event, which brings together young executives from across the world of TV and looks to inspire them into collective action. 

It’s easy to get carried away with the glamour of the event; the celebrity attendance, the high profile content, and the well-executed ‘festival’ environment that formed the venue for the conference; based in the middle of Sherwood Forest.  However, at its core, this is an event that was created to inspire and motivate the next generation of TV professionals, and did so with interesting content, excellent networking opportunities and engaging pre and post-event dialogue. 

From the outset, the event was very clear on what it wanted to achieve and the messages that it wanted to send to its audience. These objectives were intelligently tracked throughout the event cycle and its lasting impact on its attendees was both powerful and quantifiable. 

Lastly, this was an event that wasn’t afraid to have fun, to take its content lightly and mix serious corporate messaging with the chance to give attendees an interesting and engaging experience. This is what modern corporate events now look like. Congratulations.