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Let’s do it: How IBM, Dennis Publishing, Linksys and more are going to change the world with The Drum on Do it Day

The Drum has made its position loud and clear in its newly redesigned print magazine, launched today (2 September). We believe marketing has the power to change the world. Now we need you to help us prove it. Some of the world’s biggest brands are joining forces with us to take on 12 real issues facing businesses, communities and the world at large. The question is, which challenge are you going to solve?

It’s one thing to write a manifesto, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. And with that old adage ringing in our ears, on 24 September we will host Plan It Day, the first of the two most ambitious events we’ve ever attempted. It is when we’ll find out whether we’ve been right – or wrong – about this whole thing all along.

At Plan It Day, 12 brands will spell out a dozen daunting real-life challenges they want to overcome – from planting an entire forest in a day to connecting youth in the US with youth in Cuba. And then they will hand over to you to come up with ingenious solutions to their problems that can be implemented in just 24 hours at our Do It Day event on 2 November. Sound intimidating? No one ever said this was going to be easy.

But don’t do a runner just yet. This is an opportunity to work on a brief like no other, with some of the biggest brands in the world, and to deploy your creativity in ways you’ve never been able to before. As Dave Birss, The Drum’s editor-at-large and Plan It Day organiser, says: “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to select which brief you want to work on.”

The Drum is publishing the briefs in advance so you can come to Plan It Day already armed with lots of good ideas. “Plan It Day is all about working out what we’re going to do,” says Birss. “We’ll kick off the day with some inspiration, some techniques and some briefings. And then, we’ll be splitting into groups to apply some serious strategic and creative thinking to the problems at hand. Clients and mentors will be working with each of the groups to help answer their questions and give them direction as they need it. At the end of the day, we’ll pick the best idea for each challenge to take forward to Do It Day. Then we’ll drink beer. Plenty of beer.”

We can reveal Linksys, Bozza, Dixons-Carphone, Dennis Publishing, IBM and Trinity Mirror as the first six brands taking part, and you can see their challenges on the following pages. It will come as no surprise that Dennis, which is run for the benefit of the Heart of England Forest charity, is the one wanting to plant a forest in a day.

“At its heart, Dennis is an agile, innovative, 21st century publisher, yet we are still in the business of building for the future,” says its chief executive James Tye. “That’s why we like this challenge, as it brings both these elements together. And as a company, we are committed to the Heart of England Forest charity, with its dizzyingly ambitious goal of creating the largest native forest in England; we hope that this single day challenge will give everyone a flavour of the scale and purpose of that ambition.”

While all the challenges are noble, we’re not turning into Greenpeace here. IBM’s mission, for instance, is to get more kids interested in careers in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors. As its vice-president of marketing Alison Orsi tells us: “As employers we’re worried about a lack of future capacity. There are reports that would suggest the UK is lagging behind our counterparts in building these core skills and some estimates predict we could be up to 40,000 graduates short every year moving forward as we start to think about how we fuel these industries in our economy.”

These are big issues and we need your help to tackle them. So pick a challenge from the six below and start thinking of some ideas. It might be the hardest brief you’ve ever worked on in your life. And it might just change the world.


How can we connect youth in the US with youth in Cuba?

Recently America relaxed its 50 year trade embargo with Cuba and has opened up diplomatic relations with it again. We’d like to use technology to help reconnect the people of each nation. Linksys has routers and internet of things technology that help people stay connected and communicate. And coder Dojo runs a network of free computer clubs for young people. We want to use Tech and the language of code to connect young people in America and Cuba.

What we hope to achieve

We want to end the day with an amazing activity that will connect youth in the Two countries, along with some ide as of the activities and marketing that go With it.

Resources available

Lots of amazing, cutting edge internet of things technology. The coder dojo Network and people. And a commitment of $50,000 to help make it happen.


Help us crowdfund a UK tour for emerging African artists

Sub-saharan Africa has an incredible array of musicians and poets who are embracing modern technology to share their art. They want their work to be discovered, listened to, appreciated and, ultimately, purchased. Bozza. Mobi is a platform for these artists. By partnering with we want to raise enough money and support to bring a group of artist to the UK to perform around the country, starting at do it day in London in November.

What we hope to achieve

To generate interest in African music and poetry in the UK. And use that to bring some of the rising stars to the UK. In doing so, we want to help change perceptions of the continent from one of disease, famine and war to one of creativity, music, talent, youth and technology.

Resources available

The Bozza platform ( and its 7,000 artists and over 10,000 pieces of original content. The platform to help select African artists and fund a UK tour for them.

Dennis Publishing and Heart of England Forest

Plant a forest in a day

Britain’s beautiful native woodland is under threat. In fact, Britain has one of the lowest percentages of tree cover in Europe. This has taken a terrible toll on the environment, people and wildlife. The Heart of England Forest was founded by the late Felix Dennis in 2003 with a massively ambitious goal. We aim to create a huge, 30,000 acre unbroken woodland – a refuge from the modern world where people and nature can flourish.

What we hope to achieve

To plant 10,000 trees in a day to help raise awareness of the UK’s lack of woodland. We hope to plant 25 acres of woodland in just one day. We’ll do that by planting a tree for every email sign-up we get. That will help us to raise awareness for the Heart of England Forest and gather a group of ongoing supporters that can help us over the next few years of the project.

Resources available

Along with the forestry expertise, land and 10,000 saplings, we also have a number of celebrity supporters we can call on. On top this, Dennis Publishing can offer staff, editorial expertise, a large audience, filming resource and PR support.

Dixons Carphone Foundation

Help us show schools how technology can improve the way they deliver education

Used properly, technology has the power to transform education. It can make it easier for teachers to organise and deliver their lessons and offers wonderful ways to help students learn at their own pace and in the way that suits them best.‘Techknowledge for Schools’, run in conjunction with the Dixons Carphone Foundation, is focused on this very thing. So we’re looking for ideas to bring this innovative proposition to life through a fully integrated live experience campaign using both online and offline tools.

What we hope to achieve

To create a piece of integrated digital and live experiential work that brings the activity to life, helps engage more schools in the overall mission of the charity and supports those schools to use technology to transform learning. To do that effectively it should offer experiences to our existing audiences of Dixons Carphone customers and employees and it should spark the imaginations of parents, teachers and students.

Resources available

In-depth research within schools with children, parents and teachers over a three year period. Experts in experiential, digital, research, retail marketing and tech to assist on the day. The collective audiences of Dixons Carphone customers and staff.


Get more kids interested in careers in the science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) sectors

A 2014 study suggests that nearly four out of five 14 to 16-year-olds would consider a career in a Stem related industry, but more than half of those surveyed admitted that they knew very little about the types of jobs on offer. Many teachers admit that they don’t know what employers are looking for. And most employers in these sectors believe that the UK has a worrying skills gap that will fail to meet future demand. We must act now.

What we hope to achieve

Increased awareness and excitement around the way technology, design and fashion are increasingly interweaving and the potential this creates for a generation of students who understand that interlinkage. We want to challenge students to create and design an IoT wearable garment.

Resources available

Support from IBM staff. Access to IBM resources like the Bluemix, which lets you build an app in minutes.

Trinity Mirror Solutions

Taking the taboo out of death so that people can start planning for it

Every year billions of pounds are wasted and families are put through unnecessary distress by loved ones passing away without proper plans. We want to face head-on a topic no one likes to talk about and does their best to avoid. A subject that, if fronted head on, can save heartache later.

What we hope to achieve

We’re hoping for a campaign that is so compelling it moves people to take 20 minutes to talk to their loved ones, get it out in the open and do something proactive to plan for the unthinkable. To make the subject less of a taboo and something that’s OK to talk about. We want to offer information, inspiration and advice that prevents people putting it off until another day.

Resources available

Editorial content support, ad space in relevant titles across the portfolio, access to audience research panel of over 3,000 members and support and advice from a hand-picked selection of our super skilled workforce.

To find out more and get involved go to

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