Well, what a night that was. The main room at The Point at Lancashire County Cricket Club has enough room for 800 people and at the fourth Prolific North Awards, we tested that to the absolute limit.
As ever, what was perhaps most remarkable was not simply the numbers that filled the room, but the breadth of industry talent that produced a genuine sense of vibrancy in the room.
The region’s finest were all there: digital agencies, production companies, app developers, PR and integrated agencies, magazines, news websites, research agencies, animation companies, TV stations, radio stations and many more.
A total of 23 categories allowed for a full appreciation of the creativity and innovation being produced by those agencies, companies and organisations, with representatives from every county in the North nominated.
Making his debut at the event, host Justin Moorhouse ensured the jostling egos were fully kept in check in hilarious fashion, while also doing an admirable job of keeping order with the notoriously “passionate” #PNA16 throng before him. And once again there was the familiar figure of Clint Boon on the decks, soundtracking a collective letting-down of hair ahead of the long Bank Holiday weekend.
A huge thanks must go to our headline sponsors Click Consult and Dock10, as well as our category sponsors Manchester Metropolitan University, CDi Yorkshire, Lucas Fettes, 422.tv, Visualsoft, Steamhaus, Active Win, Videoink, Orchard Digital, Creative and Marketing Recruitment, Beever and Struthers, Mustard Research and Pitch Consultants.
Thanks also to Pitch Consultants for looking after the Twitterwall, Met Marketing for providing the mini-golf entertainment, and Better Placed for the photobooth. A word too for Dock10 for putting together a video mash-up of the year’s big Prolific North headlines.
So down to the awards themselves. First up to collect the award for Animation/Graphics Company was Flipbook Studio, repeating the success they had enjoyed at the 2014 awards.
Independent Production Company went to Blakeway North, whose entry had included such fantastic programmes as Michael Jackson’s Thriller with Ashley Banjo and Benefits and Bypasses: Billion Pound Patients.
Small Integrated Agency saw the first winners of the night from across the Pennines, with Diva Creative picking up the award and the judges commenting that they had “re-engineered the business to suit the climate to ensure profit and growth”.
A second Yorkshire winner came in the shape of Intermarketing Agency, from Leeds, who picked up Large Integrated Agency, with the judges pointing to their “high profit margin” and the fact they “were entrepreneurial even with 100+ employees”.
MEC Manchester saw off all-comers in a highly competitive category to win best Media Agency, while Channel 4 triumphed in the Media Sales category with the judges particularly impressed with the “reinvestment of most of their revenue back into programming”.
In the PR categories, Leeds-based Prohibition PR took home the Small PR Agency prize, while Beattie Group – which has offices in both Leeds and Manchester – won Large PR Agency with the judges especially liking the way their “exceptional knowledge of the sector” had allowed them to retain a well known high-street name for 15 years.
Next up was BBC Sport editor Stuart Rowson, who announced Newcastle station Metro Radio as the winner of the Radio category.
Perhaps the loudest table cheer of the night came next with Return on Digital’s success in the SEO/PPC category, with judges highlighting the “passion and drive” that had allowed them to achieve strong growth.
Best Content Team went to Stein IAS thanks largely to its “outstanding performance and great results”, the judges said, while the Warrington Guardian won a closely fought battle in the News & Magazine category.
Over to the Broadcasting programme categories. True North’s incredible documentary for Channel 5 about the patients in need of life-saving organ transplants, Gift of Life, won the News & Factual award.
The decision was so tough in the Entertainment category that the judges decided to award their only Highly Commended of the night, to Made in Tyne & Wear TV for The Lowdown – Made on the Dancefloor.
The winner in the category was ITV Studios for Coronation Street Life Access All Areas, which the judges felt was “truly innovative and a landmark moment for immersive interactive TV”.
The Drama category went to Liverpool’s Lime Pictures for series 1 of The Evermoor Chronicles, which has now been recommissioned by Disney for a second outing.
Pizza Hut Restaurants won the Commercial category for its Taste Freedom Campaign, while the winner of the Website award was judged to be Chester’s Clicky Media for Darwin Escapes.
App of the year went to Modern English Digital’s “visually impressive” Scrubbables work for the BBC, while the Video documenting Bearded Fellows’ headline-generating attempt to launch LADBible’s app into space saw it take home that category.
Alliance Manchester Business School’s From MBS to Anywhere campaign convinced the judges it was a worthy winner of the B2B Marketing/Integrated Communications Campaign award.
And in the B2C category, Smoking Gun PR’s The Sleep Expert campaign for Silent Night came out on top, with the judges noting how it “started off with strong, clear objectives which were met thoroughly at the end”.
And finally, in the Digital categories, Liverpool’s Studio Mashbo claimed the Small Digital Agency prize while the Large category went to Social Chain in Manchester, with the judges hailing a “young company who are driven and passionate and who have come from virtually nowhere to achieve some fantastic results”.
Congratulations to all winners and nominees – and don’t forget we’re back at The Point in September for the first ever Northern eCommerce Awards.
Here are some more pictures from the night:
And some tweets from the night:
Just getting my tunes ready for my set tonight at the Prolific North Awards in Manchester. These people always know how to party xxx #PNA16
— Clint Boon (@therealboon) April 28, 2016
— Studio Mashbo (@StudioMashbo) April 29, 2016
Such a fun night at #PNA16 ??
— Claudia Wright (@CLAUDIAWRIGHTx) April 29, 2016
— Stuart Rowson (@StuartRowson) April 28, 2016
— Made in Tyne & Wear (@MadeinTyneWear) April 29, 2016
— Alan toner (@irishalan) April 28, 2016
Very much enjoying prolific north awards! Congrats to all the winners! #PNA16
— Glued_films (@gluedfilms) April 28, 2016
— Carrie Rose (@CarrieRosePR) April 29, 2016
— MEC UK (@MECUK) April 29, 2016
— Orchard (@Orchardtweets) April 29, 2016
— Steve Kuncewicz (@SteveKuncewicz) April 28, 2016
— Roz Hughes (@rozhughes) April 28, 2016
— Simon King (@SimonOKing) April 29, 2016
— Michael Taylor (@MarpleLeaf) April 28, 2016
— Yasmin Love (@yasminmclcreate) April 29, 2016
— Fuzzy Duck Creative (@fuzzyduckcreate) April 28, 2016
— Pro Motion (@promotionhire) April 28, 2016
— Pitch Consultants (@pitch_talk) April 28, 2016
And for most of the night, our #PNA16 hashtag was trending UK-wide, ahead of some other major industry awards happening at the same time: