2019 was an exceptional year for River for a huge number of reasons, client wins, exciting developments with existing clients and brand new launches. Oh and we turned the ripe old age of 25! Our anniversary year brought us the gift of 66 awards and nominations, as our omni-channel content goes from strength to strength. To celebrate we asked the people who make the magic happen, our River staff to pick their highlights of the year and share their reasons why.
In Part One, these include welcoming back the UK edition of WW, our first influencer campaign with B., Superdug’s own-brand range, and the Christmas payout party we hosted for Co-op.
Name: Fiona Mercer
Job title: Publisher
Client: Weight Watchers (WW)
There were lots of exciting moments on the WW account in 2019, but far and away the biggest was welcoming back the UK edition to The River Group in the summer. It was fantastic to get all the editions back into one agency, which ensured they were aligned to the global vision River had spearheaded in 2019. We even had our own Global Summit, which saw all three clients – UK, Germany and France – coming to the River offices to discuss ways we can work even more closely in 2020.
Name: Emily Maitland
Job title: Account Manager
Client: AS Watson (Superdrug B. influencer campaign)
My 2019 highlight was working on the B. Bronzing launch, the first self-tanning product range for Superdrug’s own-brand range, B. We harnessed the power of influencers from every level, from nanos with followings of 1,500 to household names with over a million followers. Our team of diverse, positive influencers perfectly embodied the B. brand and became authentic voices for the campaign. And the results spoke for themselves. We reached over 2.8m people, with an astonishing engagement rate of 4.2%, and provided a suite of authentic, quality content for the brand to use across their own channels and paid social, proving that, in the right hands, influencer marketing can deliver real results.
Name: Linzi Pucino
Job title: Food Editor
Project: Christmas payout party
Being a food editor in this industry means your seasons are back to front and upside down, which is why we were planning a Christmas party throughout the summer to host in September! Co-op’s ‘it’s what we do’ tagline has been threaded throughout our content this year, which was even more important for our Christmas issue. We hosted a gathering for five of Co-op’s causes, ranging from cycling to singing and swimming, and spent the day enjoying Co-op’s great range of Christmas products, and, of course, a glass or two of fizz! The location was Co-op’s head office in Manchester, so we spent the whole of the day before kitting out the room with trees, festive decs and fairy lights. Our brief was to create something beautiful editorially for the magazine, and then push that content out through other channels. As well as the photography, behind the scenes people were capturing sound bites, interviews and moving images, all to be used for Christmas or as evergreen content – just as long as you couldn’t see the Christmas jumpers! The content was inspiring. We celebrated the work that goes on in communities up and down the country, and highlighted the real difference that Co-op makes.
Name: Tom Rowley
Job title: Editor
Client: Healthy for Men (Holland & Barrett)
HFM is always trying to open up important dialogues about men’s health, so in our September/October issue we published a feature on how men can improve their sexual relationships, written by ‘sexpert’ Alix Fox. To support it, we recorded a double-podcast episode that included an interview with Fox, who talked in great detail about how men can have a fulfilling sex life and an interview with Love Island’s Dr Alex George, who focused on the medical side of male sex lives. It’s a fascinating topic, which many men are too afraid to discuss, so it was great to approach it in such a comprehensive omnichannel way.
Name: Lauren Carbran
Job title: Content Editor
Client: The Perfume Shop
Project: SCENTS on the Street: Christmas
Filming our YouTube and social media series SCENTS on the Street is always super-fun, but our Christmas gift sets episode filmed in Leamington Spa was particularly memorable. Everyone was so passionate about Christmas perfume gifts, and, even better, we saw people in the shopping centre go into The Perfume Shop to buy the gift set they had just tested out on camera.
Name: Louise Zecevic
Job title: Editor
Client: Diabetes UK, Balance magazine
Getting a UK beach to double as the Sahara Desert is easier said than done, but when we discovered our summer Balance cover star was going to run the gruelling Marathon des Sables, we had to show him in action. While Rob Brown conquered a 150-mile marathon, managing his type 1 diabetes every step of the way, we achieved the heroic feat of making a drizzly stretch of British beach resemble dusty desert dunes!
Name: Matt Ford
Job title: Creative Director
Client: Oxford Said Business School
The Oxford Review cover was an interesting brief as it required a highly conceptual solution. Once we had settled on ‘business for change’ as an overarching theme, we began experimenting with the idea of metamorphosis. It eventually led to this macro shot of a butterfly wing, which is both beautiful and totally in keeping with the subject matter.
Name: Tiffany Van Der Sande
Job title: Client Services Director
Client: Walk (Ramblers)
Walk’s highlight of 2019 is the autumn cover. River commissioned illustrator Chris Andrews to create a cover for the special edition, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of the legislation that sought to protect Britain’s natural assets and throw them open to the masses. Ramblers continues to campaign to keep the Act’s original ambitions alive. The illustration was used by Ramblers across its campaign material, and valued members could even obtain a copy of the illustration.
Don’t worry, our highlights aren’t over yet – look out for part two.