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Prolific North Champions Awards Winners: Where are they now?

Prolific North Champions Awards 2024

Over the past 11 years, hundreds of talented people across the North’s digital, creative, marketing and tech sectors have gone on to do incredible things after emerging as winners at the Prolific North Champions Awards. 

As Prolific North’s flagship award event, the Champions Awards have become a staple of the industry calendar and will be returning once again on 9 May.

With the final entry deadline on 11 March, we’ve chatted to some of our previous winners to find out what they are up to now – and what winning means to them. 

Recode XR Studio

Last year, Recode XR Studio and ITV won Tech Innovation of the Year at the Champions Awards for its work on Coronation Street during Super Soap Week.

In 2021, SBS Audio Visual and MediaCity’s Carbon Digital united to create virtual production studio RecodeXR, which is used for immersive scenes on TV shows.

Sue McHugh, co-founder at Carbon Digital and Recode XR Studio, said: “Entering the Prolific North Champions Awards was a real moment of validation for the team at Recode. We made our entry just after delivering our first big virtual production for a drama series. It was a big deal for us with Coronation Street being a real household favourite! 

“Entering the awards, and later being shortlisted, felt like we’d come full circle. Winning the category alongside some strong competition was the real icing on the cake and a much appreciated reward for the team at Recode and ITV. For the team at Corrie, it was recognition for their leap of faith into using virtual production and seeing the results so well received was fantastic.”

The company’s win “comes up all the time” when presenting what they do. She adds: “In 2024, we open the doors to our shiny new space within the Space Studios facility and our award will be taking pride of place – hopefully it will be the first of many to come!

“Since the awards, we have since gone on to win some incredible virtual production projects with ITV’s Protection and Sky’s Brassic series.”


Steven Underwood is co-founder and managing director at Bonded, a digital and media agency headquartered in Newcastle. Bonded picked up numerous awards in 2023, including Medium Integrated Agency of the Year and B2C Campaign of the Year for its work with One Utility Bill.

On why Bonded entered the awards, Underwood says: “As a start-up agency, it was important to enter the awards to highlight the work of our fantastic team. The Prolific North Awards are highly prestigious across the region, so we wanted to invest the time in putting forward a stand-out nomination to catch judges’ attention and celebrate everything that makes Bonded so great.”

What did winning the award mean to the team? “The team was over the moon to win; it reinforced that we were doing everything right and that the team’s hard work had not gone unnoticed by some of the industry’s most respected leaders. We weren’t even two years old at the time, so winning such an award early on in our journey was really encouraging.”

Since winning at the Champions Awards, he says the agency has continued to go “from strength to strength”, hiring new members of staff and opening Scottish operations in Edinburgh.

Underwood adds: “We’ve also published our first ‘Future Trends’ report and will host our ‘Future Trends in Advertising Festival‘ on the 14th of March here in Newcastle, where we have invited X, Meta, Spotify, Pinterest and ThinkBox to share their thoughts with an audience of 200 marketing professionals. We’re also proud to be supporting NABS through the event. So, things have been quite busy since the win, and our commitment to invest in the region has stayed the same.”


As winners of Large PR Agency of the Year at the Prolific North Champions Awards 2023, Brazen’s managing director Sasha Makel shares what the win has meant to her agency.

“Winning awards like Prolific North’s Large PR Agency of the year is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work of our team, the JawToFloor impact we deliver to clients and provides a proof point of why brands should trust us. We set up Brazen 22 years ago to disrupt the agency world, be bold, do different, stand out and make brands famous.

“So, to win Best Agency two decades later cements our position as industry leaders and our ability to stay ahead of the curve, continually innovate and create long-lasting and impactful partnerships with clients. And who doesn’t want a shiny new trophy to add to the cabinet?”

At Prolific North’s Independent Agencies to Watch event last year, Dan Appleby, managing director at Drummond Central took to the stage. As a Newcastle agency that has plenty of trophies under its belt, he said: “Lots of us in the North are guilty of not shouting about how amazing we are, there’s so much talent up here.”

He added: “We get to work with some really exciting brands such as Greggs. To us, as an independent agency based in the North East, winning awards has been really helpful to showcase talent and work from the team.”

Take a look at all the categories this year here. Entries now open for the Prolific North Champions Awards 2024 and the final entry deadline is on 11 March. Good luck!

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