RISING Beyond Award – Fresh Thinking

Neil Shah

July 22, 2015

For me, one of the many awesome things about working at Virgin Media is you get to work on some fantastic, category-defining projects that make a real disruptive impact in the market. Another amazing thing is that if you’re pro-active and demonstrate capability, you get to take true holistic ownership of these projects. Interestingly, these types of projects have seemed to pop up so often during my time on the Marketing Graduate Scheme, that I’ve often forget their impact, especially due to the speed we operate at.

It was one of these projects that led to me being nominated by the Head of Marketing Strategy and the Head of Advertising & Sponsorship, and subsequently winning the 2015 RISING Beyond Award for Fresh Thinking.

The project was leading our £150k partnership with the Huffington Post, who were  to produce 3-4 online articles per week showcasing the breath of eye-watering content Virgin Media has on TiVo, and was part of the wider Q4 marketing campaign. On the project, I used strategic insights from a number of sources to recommend content for the Huffington Post to cover, to ensure articles were not only timely, but relevant to our customers and prospects.

Throughout the partnership, I faced challenges with working with the Huffington Post due to conflicting objectives between Virgin Media and the publication. I was able to overcome these challenges by building strong relationships with both our media agency, which brokered the partnership, and the content editor at the Huffington Post. Due to some discrepancies with what was delivered compared to what was expected, I was able tonegotiate an extra week of articles and the reporting costs down from £20k to £5k.

Overall, the partnership was one of the most successful elements of the whole Q4 marketing campaign and delivered the following results:

  • Leading to the highesttime spent on VM site average (478 secs) across any channel and site for the last nine campaigns
  • 80% page viewability – the highest across the entire campaign (almost double the industry average of 43% page viewability)
  • 260k unique viewers with 730k page views
  • 48% more than the target views, equating to £48k additional value


Winning the award was incredibly humbling and the recognition from my peers and seniors made me feel genuinely rewarded. The certificate and £50 Virgin Experience voucher wasn’t bad either!

Me with Ed the Sofa Bear from the Q4 marketing campaign:

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