Defying the Ordinary: Channel 4’s Plannertarium

Last week Clemmie Marcel and I represented OMD UK at Channel 4’s seventh annual “Plannertarium” training course in Newbury alongside 40 other individuals from all areas of the media, marketing and communications industry. The course had a jam packed agenda with talks, workshops and other sources of inspiration that aimed to get us to think differently and more importantly, deliver ground-breaking ideas and campaigns for our clients.

This year’s theme was to “Defy Ordinary”.

First up was a Q&A with David Abraham, Chief Executive at Channel 4, facilitated by Jonathan Allan, Sales Director at Channel 4. This session gave us a good introduction into the culture at Channel 4, how they like to position themselves as a business and brand as well as what makes them tick creatively.

The next session was a “Master Class in Creative Thinking” presented by legendary creative force Dave Trott – my personal highlight of the day. Mr Trott highlighted that in this day and age, creativity has become a case of “keeping up with the complexity of the media landscape”. He then went on to comment that we should see the word “creative” as an adjective: it should reflect the way in which we do our jobs. We should question everything, break the rules and think the unthinkable – this is something that really struck a chord with me given that our mission at OMD UK is to gain greater share of people’s lives through creating impact and helping our brands become a more integral part of consumer’s day-to-day lives.

I was truly inspired by Dave Trott’s matter-of-fact approach to advertising and comms which appear so obvious once you hear them being said;

“Spend more time solving the problem to get to the solution, which should then be inevitable”

“You need to create a conversation with the human brain through impact, communication and persuasion. This is the same in your personal life, and so it should be in media and communications”

“You don’t have to like an ad for it to work, if it creates impact it will work, be remembered and re-position your brand within its category as a point of difference.”

After a short coffee break we then returned for a presentation by Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s Deputy Chief Creative Officer, who explained the process behind programming decisions at Channel 4 and where their great ideas come from. We were then joined by Duncan Smith, Managing Director at MindLab who dived into the world of insight and explained how innovative research techniques, if used in the correct way, can help fuel creativity. Again, something we place a lot of importance on here at OMD UK.

The afternoon was then an opportunity for us to get our creative juices flowing and take to the stage. We were split out into teams and had just a short amount of time to develop and present a brand partnership with one of Channel 4’s staple programmes, taking into consideration what we had learnt from the morning session.

We returned to London the next day stimulated by the creative thinking we had been exposed to and ready to execute what we had learnt.  It’s a great course to attend for those who have worked in the industry for 2-5 years, not only to learn a lot from influential members of the industry both past and present, but to also spend time with like-minded peers who may one day themselves become influential personalities within the media and communications industry.


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