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Churning through lockdowns with UKTV and Peter Allinson - #AnnualSpotlight

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"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." It is with these immortal words by Billy Ocean that Head of Design at UKTV Peter Allinson recounts his own experience with the past year of lockdowns and restrictions, moments of doubt and anxiety for the entire industry.

UKTV had never entered the Annual awards before, but the year they did, they managed to grab two beautiful Bronzes for two equally amazing projects. According to Peter, this gave even more motivation to the team to get going, churning through the lockdowns and eagerly waiting for the moment we could go back to hugging our beloved once again. 

We even did a wonderful Behind the Idea on one of these winning projects some time ago – you can read more about We Hunt Together here.

For this Annual Spotlight, we had a chat with Peter to learn more about his own experience with the Annual, his hopes for the year ahead and his team's personal story with the Covid restrictions.

Time is ticking! Annual 2021 is accepting standard submissions until Thursday 27th May. Enter now to grab your slice of creative immortality!

What feels unique about The Annual?

The Creativepool Annual Awards are honest and inclusive and reward a broad spectrum of creative work. 

They prove that you don’t always need large blue-chip clients with multi-million-pound budgets to be recognised and rewarded for creative work. It generates a level playing field, with creative work being judged on its overall quality, relevance and effectiveness.

Another thing that I love about the Creativepool awards is that they take time to share feedback from the judging panel. The effort to share this feels unique to Creativepool and something I don’t often experience with other award schemes. It's incredibly helpful and provides an opportunity to truly understand why the judges awarded the prizes… or not.

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How does it feel to have won the Creativepool Annual Awards?

It’s a great honour to have won at the Creativepool Annual Awards and to be recognised amongst some of the greatest work and talent that the creative industry has to offer.

More importantly, our wins came at a rather poignant moment in the year, as we were due to go into a second national lockdown, with everyone feeling a little anxious and down in the dumps.

This win helped to raise spirts and inspired us all to keep pushing the bar even higher. Giving us all a renewed hunger to create more award worthy creative work.

There’s no higher accolade to reinforcement that you are doing a good job than winning awards and being recognised by your industry peers.

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Will you be entering again this year? If so, what are your hopes?

If we enter the awards again this year it will be because we want to continue to be an active part of the Creativepool community. It’s important to keep momentum amongst our creative teams and demonstrate that the work is valued and that we see potential in it.

We will only enter work that has created a new buzz, and work that is different to anything we’ve done before and has helped us reach new creative heights. Every piece of work fulfils a different purpose so it also has to have met the business needs and generated a sense of pride. When there’s pride from ourselves and our colleagues,  – we feel we have won already – but an actual, proper award is always a cherry on the top!

This year the global pandemic has resulted in a slightly different body of work, and I’m sure that will be evident in this year’s submissions across the board; but the creative industry always seems to rise above adversity and come up with the goods. In the immortal words of Billy Ocean – “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. 

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Can you tell us more about your winning submissions and what you think impressed the judges?

We were lucky enough to win in two different categories for two different pieces of work. The first winning submission was in the best production category for the opening title sequence for We Hunt Together, a crime drama TV show. Most of the feedback from the judging panel praised the unique style and art direction of the title sequence; mainly focusing on the grading, the Neon signs and the distinct style in representing London. All of which resulted in a sequence that held excitement and intrigue whilst deftly avoiding cliché.

Our second winning submission was in the best animation category for an animated UKTV brand promo that represented all of our channels. The judging panel praised the overall animation style, the watercolour brush aesthetic, the beautifully drawn environments and the clever transitions, as well as the perfectly suited musical score and sound design.

They thought the flow of the animation was perfect and cleverly demonstrated what each channel was about, by unifying all the brands seamlessly together, despite their huge differences in personality and content.

As I mentioned before, the judge’s feedback is incredibly useful to receive and helps to reaffirm why the work was awarded in the first place. 

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What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab a prize?

My advice would be that you carefully select the category in which to enter your work. Really think about why a certain piece of work is outstanding and the specific areas that will give you the greatest chance of being nominated.

If your piece of work has a specific execution (such as illustration or motion graphics) make sure you enter it into the more craft-driven categories, rather than the more general ones.

In terms of selecting work in the first place… there’s no magic formular to tell you what is award-winning and what is not. I usually go with my gut. If you have great pride in a certain piece of work - enter it - and see if the judges appreciate it as much as you do.

When you enter work, give as much detail and background to the project as you can to ensure the judges really understand your reasoning behind the execution and how it answers the brief. Also, any additional material or behind the scenes photos could help to strengthen your submission and give the judges a good impression of the work that was involved.

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How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?

I think the scale of the output may be a little more refined and scaled-down this year, as the majority of the work will have been largely created while working from home. I also think that budget cuts across creative and marketing departments during the pandemic might have an impact of the types of work we see entered.

Media plans across the board have been forced to adapt and change according to the way we interact and engage with creative work and advertising. Areas such as out of home advertising, for example, have been greatly impacted and scaled back while in lockdown.

However, that’s not to say that the work will be any lesser because of all of this. I have seen some incredible work over the last year - work that I have been very jealous of (… a great to gauge how much I actually appreciate the work!)

I have no doubt that the Annual will continue to celebrate all the great work that has been produced this year and will serve as a reminder of how lucky we are to be a part of this incredible and inspiring creative community.

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What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?

My hopes for 2021 will be the safe transition back to the office later this year. In doing so I will ensure that any new ways of working will continue to generate outstanding creative work and improve collaboration across the teams. I expect this to involve a new hybrid way of working with some members of the team working in the office and some members working from home.

Although this transition might be challenging at first, I also think it will improve everyone’s wellbeing and empowerment over how people would prefer to work and enable more of a work / life balance for all.

I think this is going to be an important moment for everyone and will define new ways of working forevermore. Five days a week in the office is certain to be a thing of the past and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

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What is your most exciting project in the next year?

We have some really exciting new projects coming up this year and we have lots of new shows coming in now that production is up and running, so the year ahead is looking busy. Alibi has a whole host of gripping new crime series in production including AnnikaRagdollThe Diplomat, and second series of We Hunt Together and Traces.

On Dave, the successful arrival of Mel Giedroyc: Unforgiveable heralds a new wave of comedy entertainment shows in the coming months including Big Zuu's Big Eats, and a new series of Samson Kayo's Sliced.

French and Saunders: Funny Women, a brand new special for Gold is coming soon, as well as Murder, They Hope starring Sian Gibson and Johnny Vegas.

Our Creativepool wins have really helped us to gain recognition and continue to build our reputation as a multi-award winning in-house creative team.

There are some fantastic opportunities for new title sequences with some pretty big-name clients, which may not have been possible had we not won awards for our previous work.

Winning these awards has really helped to embrace our challenger mindset amongst our teams, as we try to adopt a more fearless approach to creative problem solving. An approach I would like us to continue to improve for years to come. And hopefully resulting in more Creativepool nominations along the way!

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