PR, Marketing & Advertising, Creatives & Freelancers

How to Disrupt and Influence People – Things I learnt from The Creative Shootout

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Last month was the very first Creative Shootout; a newly formatted creativity competition, designed to test the creative mettle of PR agencies over the course of a day.  Six short-listed agencies were gathered at The China Exchange on 21st January to pitch for a powerful campaign, tapping into 70 years of Unicef’s dedication to saving the lives of vulnerable children all over the world.  They had four hours to respond to the brief in private rooms before returning to deliver their 15 minute pitches to the judging panel and 250 strong live audience.  Scary, right? WardWilliams Creative Director Erin had the difficult task of helping to judge the final.  As reported last month Mischief PR took first prize, with Frank PR as runner up.


Being a member of the audience was a privilege, as it always is to be in a room buzzing with creatives, but it was by no means a passive experience.  Perhaps because the campaign was for charity, perhaps because the pitches were live, perhaps because of the absolute vodka cocktails.   After the pitches and before the results were announced we were all able to swap our opinions at the relaxed after party over beef dumplings from True Deli and the sounds of DJ Count Indigo.  Then came Shed Simove, who was entertaining, enlightening, and who (unbeknown to me) had invented so many of my novelty secret santa purchases over the years.  Shed had a thing or two to say about ideas and creativity, and thanks to him I will never be able to look at the Fed Ex logo again without seeing the spoon and the arrow.  I urge you to check out his YouTube video.


The strongest message I took from the whole experience of The Creative Shootout was the concept of Disruption. It is a word used in PR, Marketing and Business often.  It was part of the Creative Shootout brief and was a key focus in many of the pitches.  For me, the biggest disruption of the event was being handed a blindfold by PLMR and told to put it on in a room full of strangers.  There was something humbling in the vulnerability of it.  In not being able to see, I felt exposed. We were then told the story of Joe, how Joe is loved, lives in a caring warm home but is unable to say how he feels.  Joe has never spoken.  We took off  the blindfold and see that Joe is a dog.

Disruption uproots and changes how we think, behave, do business, learn and go about our day-to-day lives.  The more I thought about and researched it, I realised disruption was everywhere. Uber has disrupted the taxi service, Airbnb the hotel service, Amazon disrupted bookshops, Apple music and Spotify the music industry, Facebook, Insta and Snapchat have disrupted friendships, online dating disrupted romance – in fact the internet has disrupted a lot. The Creative Shootout has started to pave the way for disrupting the traditional pitching format, and the new Unicef campaign looks to disrupt birthdays.  I can’t wait to see what they do next year.


“The first ever Creative Shootout generated huge interest and engagement from the marketing and creative community.  Done for a cause, in a brand new one day format, the Shootout ripped up the marketing awards and showcase rulebook.  Bigger and better, we’ll launch again in September 2016”

Johnny Pitt, Founder, The Creative Shootout

One Response to “How to Disrupt and Influence People – Things I learnt from The Creative Shootout”

October 31, 2019 at 10:48 am, Crisis and The Creative Shootout 2020 - Ward Williams Creative said:

[…] my children’s birthdays, when they blow out the candles on their cakes, I am reminded of the very first shootout for Unicef’s 70th Birthday. I think about the vulnerable children in the world who do not know when their birthday […]


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