Brand Purpose Communications The Drum Awards

‘Limitless’ campaign idea wins first Creative Futures 2022


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

December 14, 2022 | 7 min read

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Henry Plumridge and Ollie Bartlett of Transmission won the ‘Creative Futures: The Omnichannel Marketing Excellence Award’, in partnership with Canon Europe, at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose 2022. Here, we learn more about their winning campaign idea for the YMCA.

Creative duo from Transmission crowned Creative Futures 2022

Creative duo from Transmission crowned Creative Futures 2022

Emerging creatives Henry Plumridge and Ollie Bartlett from B2B marketing agency Transmission have been crowned the first ‘Creative Futures’ for their “original and impactful” omnichannel campaign idea for the YMCA, powered by print and personalization, announced at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose.

The ‘Limitless’ campaign idea was built on the idea of diversifying the ‘M’ in YMCA, reimagining the messaging for the brand around the infinity sign. The centerpiece for this inclusive, ambitious, hopeful, and defiant omnichannel campaign was print, using OOH, paid social, direct mail and experiential activity to drive online donations via a tool inspired by savings app Moneybox.

The brief

This bespoke awards competition, created in partnership with Canon Europe, invited students, junior creatives and marketers to design and submit a bespoke omnichannel marketing campaign plan, including print, that responded to a carefully curated brief for the 178-year-old youth charity YMCA.

Judges were specifically looking for evidence of clear strategic, data-driven thinking combined with creativity and innovation, while aligning to the YMCA’s purpose and brand guidelines. Entrants were tasked with showcasing the customer journey throughout the campaign with variations of creative copy and messaging to reflect the core target audience demographics based on the objectives.

The charity was looking to embark on a new donor acquisition drive among a younger audience, while building engagement for long-term supporters. YMCA is inclusive of people of all backgrounds and so it was important that this was taken into consideration for the purposes of the competition.

The idea

Data from Market Reach and JICMAIL shows that print and digital have a powerful symbiotic relationship. The YMCA’s audience of 24-44 year olds, as well as being likely to engage with mail, are also a technology-led generation. It was important that the direct mail involved for this campaign used innovative technology alongside its tactile appeal, driving action online and further engaging our target audience.

The marketing duo explain: “Our ‘Limitless’ campaign started from one, simple idea: what if the ‘m’ for male of YMCA was reimagined as an infinity sign for all? From here, we built our limitless messaging: inclusive, ambitious, hopeful, and defiant. Our process was then to utilize creativity, data, personalization, and an omnichannel strategy to address YMCA’s business and marketing challenges.”

Henry Plumridge and Ollie Bartlett, Transmission - ‘Limitless’
Henry Plumridge and Ollie Bartlett, Transmission - ‘Limitless’ 2

A key part of the ‘Limitless’ campaign is the direct mail’s recipient journey – offering a completely new way to encourage donations that wouldn’t be possible outside the realm of an omnichannel strategy. Here, Plumridge and Bartlett took inspiration from savings app, Moneybox: a tool to help people save by simply rounding up each of their purchases to the nearest pound and depositing the remaining amount in a savings fund. For the campaign, this remaining amount is deposited to YMCA, also using other media channels to drive traffic to both this donation page and the YMCA website.

Henry Plumridge and Ollie Bartlett, Transmission - ‘Limitless’ 3

“Our messaging and visuals work to convey the comprehensive and important work YMCA do for young people,” they explain. “Emotive in its hopefulness, the look and feel of this campaign will resonate with our audience and drive traffic to YMCA’s website and our ‘limitless support’ web pages too.”

All in all, the campaign idea combines data, creativity, and personalization to deliver measurable impact for YMCA. The duo stated: “Its method of donating drives loyalty and encourages long-term engagement and donations amongst our audience; its technology will attract our audience; personalization will be used to resonate with them; and our creative, copy, and strategy all works to break down the barriers of engagement. In essence, we bring YMCA’s brand and marketing up to date with the ambitious, inclusive, and powerful work it does every day.”

Henry Plumridge and Ollie Bartlett, Transmission - ‘Limitless’ 4

The judges view

Debating over the competition entries, the judges were impressed by a “clever design idea and concept” that is “visually brilliant and addresses some of the misconceptions with the brand”. One judge highlighted how it “clearly broke down the barriers to engagement”, with strong creative elements and the inclusion of local stories to drive loyalty and long-term engagement. With an “inspiring look and feel”, the work was praised for integrating across print and digital channels.

The winning work was judged by a specialist working group of industry leaders from Canon, YMCA, Nutshell Creative, The Strategic Mailing Partnership, Join the Dots, JICMAIL, Latcham, Royal Mail Marketreach and AutLay. They developed the competition brief and hosted a series of workshops on creating data-driven marketing campaigns, designing for digital print, and the story of sustainable print, to support entrants as they developed their ideas across multiple channels and touchpoints.

Also highly commended in this category were Benjamin Mckay and Charlie Wall Palmer from Ravensbourne University for their campaign entry ‘The Block’. The double metaphor for this campaign highlights each brick’s importance in every build and the link between a community and the block they live on or nearby. Using location-specific, data-led solutions, the campaign idea used the power of print with posters and a personalized letter drop inviting the public to donate and create a bespoke ‘block’ sticker with a name or dedication on it.

Other finalists on the shortlist included Bela Pitamber from King's College London for ‘Mirror Moments’ and Martha Omasoro from ACNE London for ‘Home today, home tomorrow’ - both of which were also praised by the judges for their “unbelievable creativity”.

The Creative Futures competition ran as part of The Drum Awards for Social Purpose 2022. See all the winners here.

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