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The Wrap: Sarah Lawless, Associate Director at Big Partnership

Sarah Lawless

Each Friday in The Wrap, one of the North’s leading media and creative figures gives us their take on the week’s news covered by Prolific North. This week it’s the turn of Sarah Lawless, Associate Director at Big Partnership.

This week will widely be remembered for a particularly unlikely partnership between the ‘rocket man’ and the ‘dotard’ – as they affectionately referred to each other just a few months ago.

Yet while President Trump and North Korean leader Kim-Jong-Un have been playing pals, there has been another interesting opportunity for collaboration unveiled this week. Netflix, which we hear is seeking to grow its original content in the UK, held a European strategy meeting this week and rumours abound that MediaCity could be the site for a second UK base for the streaming giant. If that happens, it will undoubtedly be a great coup for the region, and could unlock a fantastic opportunity for North-West-based production companies. So, watch this space…

Elsewhere, it’s been virtually impossible to avoid the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off this week. If, like me, your interest in football extends to knowing David Beckham’s name and little else, you could be forgiven for eschewing much of the hype. Having said that, there was one interesting World Cup related story which hit the news this week about the world’s first use of virtual advertising.

During England’s World Cup warm up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road in Leeds, the Football Association used ‘virtual replacement technology’ LED perimeter advertising, which allowed advertising to be targeted to different broadcast audiences around the world. Given the widespread use of perimeter LED displays for advertising at sporting events the world over, and the ability this technology provides to segment that audience and tailor ads accordingly, there is sure to be huge demand for space from brands.

As the week draws to a close, thoughts across our Manchester team at BIG will slowly turn towards the weekend. Before that though, the team, and fellow marketers across the North, will need to get home. Let’s hope the perfect storm of Northern Rail chaos, or indeed the actual storm, Hector, which is currently battering the British Isles, don’t get in the way of that.

Over the course of a month which has seen a huge amount of criticism levelled at Britain’s rail networks in the North, legitimate questions have been raised about whether the idea of a Northern Powerhouse is genuine, or just a meaningless slogan.

While the Northern Powerhouse might have been struggling to wrestle with some bad PR recently, it was heartening this week to see that Manchester-based software company Pimberley secured a £2million investment thanks to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. Proof, perhaps, that there is some substance to the project.

On that note, I think it’s time to call it a wrap.


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