April 2024

Agency behind Commonwealth Games tourism campaign gets creative with students

By Melanie Hall

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Read time: approx 6 mins

Undergraduates from across the Business School had a full day of riveting guest talks and workshops with the creative marketing agency behind the campaign to promote Birmingham and the region beyond the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Epigram visited the University to deliver three insightful sessions, exploring everything from a day in the life working for a creative agency and taking a project from concept to completion to potential marketing careers and creating exceptional CVs.

Students were also inspired by the story of one of the company’s star staff.

Tara Turnpenny originally wanted to become a lawyer, but found a deep love for creative design after joining Epigram, a multi-channel creative studio that helps brands communicate through design, animation and film, as an intern, going on to become a middleweight designer and social media lead for the firm.  

Epigram CEO Susan Pettit said they had been keen to put some social value back into the community as part of their work with the West Midlands Growth Company around the iconic Commonwealth Games, which saw a record-breaking 41.2 million people visit the region.

Helping local students succeed in their future careers was an obvious choice.  

“We thought about who might need it most and after learning more about the University and building relationships with the team there, we wanted to find a way to support the students,” she said.

“Over the day of talks and workshops, we gave them an insight into the industry and walked them through a day in the life of working for an agency, the exciting bits and the not so glamorous parts too, the hard graft and processes.

“It was great to see students so interested and engaged in what they could do.”

"They were absolutely amazing! They presented well and showed us good insight into the industry."

Luke Tatchell Digital Marketing BA (Hons) undergraduate

Creative director Katie Cavalier delivered a workshop on design principles and creative thinking to students on aviation and tourism degree courses, helping them prepare for one of their module assessments to design an infographic.

Account director Pippa Harley focused on careers advice, how to apply for jobs and preparing for interviews in her session with business and marketing students.

She said: “The students really benefited from understanding the skills they needed for industry and opportunities in the creative sector, as well as how to make the very best impression.”

Katie added: “When I was doing my degree, I discovered the importance of getting out into industry, picking people’s brains, and how vital it was to put yourself out there and get your foot in the door. It’s about getting lots of work experience, volunteer to go into a studio for the day.”

The day wrapped up with a presentation for digital marketing students on powerful digital campaigns.

This included shedding light on how the agency developed the tourism campaign for the West Midlands Growth Company to drive long-term economic benefits by boosting the West Midlands’ and UK’s global reputation as a world-class destination for tourism, trade and investment.

Supported by comprehensive research that delved deeply into each demographic, the campaign was formed around a ‘Connected by...’ theme and involved the creation of animations, sub-campaign assets and a new microsite, which attracted 1.1 million link clicks, 146 million impressions and 30 million video views.

Luke Tatchell, who is studying for a Digital Marketing BA (Hons) degree at the University, said: "They were absolutely amazing! They presented well and showed us good insight into the industry."

Top takeaways

Susan said one of the biggest takeaways for students was how the team worked together to often achieve the seemingly impossible at very short notice. “They are learning how to meet deadlines themselves right now, and were very interested in how we can turn projects around in 24 hours, if needed.

“It was also important for them to know this is a growing sector. Yes, it’s changed over the years, from print jobs, brochures and billboards to interactive digital media, but it’s exciting to adapt to what comes next. And AI isn’t stealing creative jobs, it’s giving us tools to make things even more efficient for our clients.

“All in all, it was a great day and we hope the students got plenty from it. We also hope to continue our relationship with the University in the future, whether this is through providing internships or delivering more creative sessions.”

Epigram, a finalist at the Northern Digital Awards 2024, has offices in Manchester and Kuala Lumpur to be able to cover all time zones for clients. To find out more, visit epigram.co.uk.

Our Business School offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, as well as college level courses for school leavers, within our departments of business and enterprise, hospitality and tourism and creative industries

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