Having worked in several different sectors of PR I think I'm
justified in saying I've paid my dues. From dancing with a rapping
cow all day in a field, to nights in the office late enough to
justify ordering breakfast… I've been there; written the pitch. But
working on more taxing campaigns just makes it all the
sweeter when such great projects comes along. Cue Cisco's BIG Awards.
When we began work on the British Innovation Gateway
(BIG) campaign - Cisco's legacy piece as the Official Network
Infrastructure Supporter of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
Games - we were clear on one point: we wanted to use Cisco's
position as an industry leader to inspire, discover and nurture
tech talent in the UK.
We live in a time of extraordinary technological advancement and
outstanding innovation. But there have been grumbles about how few
of the big ticket ideas come from the UK compared to our American
pals across the pond. We're a clever bunch, and Britain's
technology legacy is rich - the phone, the television, the WORLD
WIDE WEB - but there seems to be a limit sometimes to the level we
push ourselves to achieve. Tweetdeck, yes; Twitter, no. So what do
we do to bridge this gap?
We set out to find the unsung heroes of the UK tech scene by
launching a five year awards programme which tied into the wider
BIG campaign. The Cisco team was clear on one point when we began
planning the Cisco BIG Awards: a cash prize alone was not enough.
Feedback from SMEs over the years indicated that money is all well
and good, but without expert advice, mentoring and resources it
will only carry you so far. So Cisco lined up some tremendous
partners to help make the Cisco BIG Awards as beneficial to the
winner as possible - Bird & Bird, DNX and even us here at
Octopus will join Cisco to deliver legal, PR, digital and industry
mentoring, in addition to the cash prize.
The level of entry - as clichéd as it may sound - was
exceptional. This was compounded by Dragons' Den style
presentations by the six finalists last night at Cisco House. There
were some real 'oh I wish I'd thought of that' moments and the
judging panel - which included our very own Octopus MD, Jon Lonsdale - had a hard
task it must be said, but in the end three really stood out.
The winner in particular is AMAZING. Snap Fashion allows
users to search for clothing items via a visual search engine -
simply take a photograph of something you've seen or an item you
own and the app will scan more than 110 UK fashion retailers to
find a match. Impressive stuff. Runners up included Digital Shadows, a
clever cyber protection tool, and Six3, a very slick video
It's been a pleasure to work on this campaign and to meet all
the entrants - and we're excited to start working with Snap Fashion
very soon! With more projects like this, with more corporate buy in
and support, I'm sure the UK will be back on top of the tech map in