Strategic Mailing Partnership Awards return for bumper celebration

Ellie Taylor of Strictly fame kicked off proceedings with a stand-up comedy set
Ellie Taylor of Strictly fame kicked off proceedings with a stand-up comedy set

The Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP) Awards returned last night (28 September) to celebrate the successes of the mailing industry.

This year’s celebration was a bumper affair, with nearly double the number of guests on last year – around 400 attended – and two brand new categories, the Bright Futures award for up-and-comers, and the Sustainability award.

“It’s our biggest event ever,” Lucy Swanston, SMP chair, told Printweek.

“It has been incredible, especially to see the Bright Futures awards – all our entrants were women, too, and our three winners were of an absolutely impeccable standard.

“We should be incredibly proud of their performance, given what they have achieved at their age.”

The awards’ first gold medal winner was Ellie McBeath, account manager at The Dragonfly Agency.

Second up was Webmart, which took the top prize in sustainability for achieving 57% carbon reductions on its ‘Spring into Adventure’ campaign.

For the awards’ top prize overall – the Performance category’s platinum envelope award – Paperplanes walked away the winner, with judges praising the firm’s ability to innovate.

The Dragonfly Agency scooped up two further gold awards for performance alongside Propack and Join the Dots. 

The evening was held at the Steelworks nightclub in central London, and started with networking drinks and canapés, before Strictly star Ellie Taylor kicked off the evening’s formal proceedings with a quick stand-up set.

Industry guests then took to the stage for the first of two fireside chats, led by Swanston, and including Philip Ricketts, wholesale commercial director at the Royal Mail, Ben Briggs, MD of Join the Dots, Lance Hill of Eight Days a Week, and Gemma Mitchell of Paragon.

The panel was then followed by a discussion from the SMP’s headline sponsors, with representatives joining from DBS Data, Go Inspire, and UK Mail.

Despite the lively crowd, the panels managed to delve into some of the significant issues of the day, including the need for mailers to educate those outside the industry on print's key wins in sustainability, data gathering and strong conversion rates.

Ricketts, one of the Performance awards’ six judges, told Printweek that it had been fantastic to see so many in the industry come together under the same roof.

He said: “It’s brilliant to see the great work the industry does – there are plenty of awards for the media brands and agencies, but this is really focused on the mail producers and supply chain.

“It’s really about trying to create that platform for the industry to share best practice. We deliberately structured the evening as a networking event, something informal.

“It’s all about having fun and encouraging people to make new connections.”

The winning campaigns for the awards were: 

Platinum Envelope Winner 

  •       Paperplanes for its campaign with Bower Collective  

Golden Envelope winners 

  •       Propack for Tui  
  •       Join the Dots for RSPCA  
  •       Dragonfly for CHAS  
  •       Dragonfly for Knight Frank

Highly Commended 

  • Go Inspire for Lakeland  

Sustainability Award  

  •       Webmart for ‘Spring into Adventure’  

Bright Futures  

  •       Ellie McBeath, account manager at The Dragonfly Agency