Channel 4 and the 2012 London Paralympic Games were one of the big winners at the MRS Awards in a night which demonstrated just how competitive media owners are at understanding their audiences, taking home the newly-instigated Grand Prix award.
This year’s awards in London played host to over 800 of the research and insight sector’s major players – the highest ever recorded number of guests – to celebrate its impact over the past year and the encouraging signs of economic recovery within the sector that are beginning to emerge.
The Grand Prix award was introduced to showcase projects that demonstrate the powerful impact that research can have at all levels when properly commissioned, designed, delivered and acted upon. Channel 4 and the 2012 London Paralympic Games beat off strong competition from four other nominees with their emotive and powerful advertising campaign, ‘Meet the superhumans’, that was steeped in research, which ran throughout the London 2012 games to challenge attitudes to disability.
The research showed that most people were uncomfortable seeing disabled people on TV and approached disability with awkwardness. The campaign aimed to make a real difference to public perception by using adverts to confront prejudices and showcase the Paralympians as equal athletes. The adverts were phenomenally successful in altering the way that people approached and understood disability, with 75% of young viewers aged 12-16 being more comfortable talking about disabilities, and 91% of viewers perceiving Paralympians as just as talented as Olympians.
The other big winners on the night were 2CV in collaboration with Girl Hub Rwanda who were awarded the highly coveted President’s Medal. Girl Hub Rwanda is a catalyst organisation, created by the Nike Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development, to enable Rwanda's one million adolescent girls to fulfill their potential.
2CV worked with Girl Hub Rwanda in a unique effort to train young Rwandan women as primary researchers. It helped support the development of six young women with the Girl Research Unit, who conduct peer-to-peer qualitative research with girls, boys and adults around Rwanda. The initiative has provided an incredible opportunity for the women to work towards a career in research and becoming MRS accredited.
Big Sofa was awarded the Best Innovation award for providing a solution to the challenge of making video-based insights more accessible and actionable. In other categories, TNS UK won the award for Best Agency (with turnover over £20 million), while BSkyB scooped three awards; the Best In-house Research team, Client of the Year and the Insight Management award.
Jane Frost CBE, chief executive of MRS, comments: “The awards this year were a testament to the sheer talent within the sector which has delivered creativity and innovation, despite challenging times. The celebrated organisations and individuals inspire and drive change, and recognising them is crucial in driving the sector forward by spurring others to raise the bar and deliver research and insight excellence.
“I was particularly pleased with the number of client-side entries, with more submissions than there has ever been, reflecting an acknowledgement of the vital importance of understanding the customer in creating competitive advantage. The range of new techniques demonstrated clearly shows how intelligent client buying and sophisticated marketing demands are driving innovation and creativity in the sector.”
Jane continues: “The calibre of entrants this year emphasises the importance of research for providing insight with real life impact for society, as well as for commercial purposes.”
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