The very best of the North of England’s digital talent gathered to celebrate the annual Big Chip Awards for digital excellence at Manchester’s luxurious Palace Hotel lastnight
Hosted by up and coming North East comedian, Jason Cook, this year’s Big Chip saw a record number of submissions, with 261 entries from across 152 digital and creative organisations and freelancers from across the North.
The strength of entrants at the Big Chip Awards 2012 was evident, with 21 awards shared out between 12 agencies, as well as Greater Manchester Police, Manchester Metropolitan University and Tyneside Cinema.
A notable winner of the evening was TBWA\Manchester, winning Best Digital Marketing Campaign and Best On-line Brand Development for their project Join The Revolution, a multi-platform campaign aimed at increasing engagement with The Co-Operative. The judges cited the way traffic was driven to the social space, and the level of involvement customers showed once there, which in turn created a positive return on investment across the Co-Op’s family of businesses.
North East entrants had cause to celebrate this year too, with the most noteworthy winner outside of the North West being Tyneside Cinema, which won Best Not For Profit Project for its Time Machine, an alternate reality game which is the first of its kind to be used for classroom education. The cinema also received the prestigious Anthony Wilson Original Modern Award and Best Application of Technology.
Adding to their history of success at Big Chip was Manchester-based, Code Computerlove, who also did extremely well at the awards, picking up the special award for Best Digital Agency, which is given by the judges to the agency that they feel has done the best digital work throughout the year. Code Computerlove were also awarded for Best E-business Project for Customer-focussed Digital Innovations, and the Big Chip International Award for Innovation, given for best digital innovation of the last year and open to entries from anywhere in the world.
One of the most eye-catching winners of the evening however was Greater Manchester Police (GMP), picking up the award for Best Use of Social Media for their coverage of the Manchester and Salford riots in August 2011. The judges praised GMP for the planning and execution involved in its Twitter coverage of the disturbances, and were impressed by the use of video, PR and link-building which helped to build traffic on the site.
This year’s awards saw agencies from across the sector competing to win one of 17 categories, including the Little Chip Student Award, which was won by Michael Stephens of Manchester Metropolitan University for his Computer Science video, and Best Use of Gaming, a new category for 2012.
As well as the award for Best Digital Agency, and Grand Prix Award, a further special award was given in the form of the Anthony Wilson Original Modern Award, given in honour of the late Anthony Wilson, who was a committed supporter of the digital industries, and much-loved former compere of Big Chip. The award was judged by special-guest judge and legend of Aardman Animation, David Sproxton,
In addition, the Tasty Website award, which was announced on the night and was voted for via Twitter hashtag, went to Cahoona for their site James Anderson 613, a website designed to celebrate fast bowler James Anderson’s 10 years in cricket. Fans could follow James’ career through a series of stunning infographics on the site.
The awards are organised by trade association Manchester Digital, with support from regional bodies such as Liverpool Vision and Codeworks in the North East. For 2012, the awards also partnered with publishing group Trinity Mirror’s titles, the Liverpool Post, the Manchester Evening News and the Newcastle Journal.
This year’s expert judging panel was chaired by Michael Nutley, former editor-in-chief of New Media Age, and included Jon Myers from Yahoo, Steve Smith from Liverpool Vision, Herb Kim from Codeworks, Thinking Digital, Ajaz Ahmed, founder of Freeserve and Dr David Kreps from Salford University.
Chair of Manchester Digital, Shaun Fensom, said: “It’s been such a fantastic year for the Big Chip Awards, with digital organisations from right across the North of England from Liverpool to Newcastle stepping up to be recognised for their achievements, and providing us with the strongest shortlist to date – as well as a record number of entries.
“The event has continued to grow year on year, with the quality of agencies from across this digital sector being reflected in this year’s winners. We have truly established the North as a world showcase for the industry, creating forward-thinking projects and services and it is crucial that we celebrate those achievements.”
For more information on the event or on the winners, their projects and the judge’s comments visit www.bigchipawards.com