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stories of compassion


The Challenge

The GSK IMPACT Awards is the global pharmaceutical company’s flagship charitable programme in the UK. It recognises small to medium charities that are making a difference to the health of their communities. Toucan has been a key member of the entire programme from shortlisting award applications to creating films for all 10 winners and producing the awards event since 2011.

In 2021, however, in probably one of our most challenging years, we filmed and produced a live awards ceremony in the midst of the pandemic. We worked with GSK, and its partner, The King’s Fund, to ensure we kept everyone safe from charity staff and service users, to our own crew, whilst still telling their stories through film.

Our aim was to continue our style of creative storytelling and leave audiences ‘astounded by the capacity of the human spirit to innovate and lift up those less able’. Naturally, we stepped up despite the difficult circumstances.

What we did

  • Strategy
  • Film creation
  • Speech writing
  • Photography
  • Event production
  • Event management
  • Speaker training

Our big idea

The Toucan creative team is involved at every stage of the annual programme and the event’s life from event planning, script writing and film production through pre-publicity to supporting its on-going legacy campaign. We had one thing in mind: to create compelling stories to support the winning charities and design a memorable event that would generate more exposure and engagement than ever before.

Each year our input starts with our role on the awards shortlisting team where we help to whittle down the entries from 400 to 20 before the panel of prestigious judges finally select the 10 winners. Next, come the films themselves – 10 powerfully charged four minute films showcasing how each winner has made a real difference to their community. Following the difficulties presented to so many during the pandemic, 2021 saw us focus on how the charities had to rebuild momentum despite the extraordinary circumstances.

As ever, we took time to get to know the service users and the charities so we could tell their stories with intelligence and compassion. The trust and friendship we built up paid off in the collection of heartfelt and moving films that we produced. As well as the film-making, we produced individual packs of stills photography that were valuable promotional tools for the charities going forward. Technically too, we raised the bar with cinematic quality sound, visuals, editing and post-production that allowed each story to really come alive on screen.

For the 90-minute 2021 hybrid awards event, which took place at The King’s Fund, we produced the whole ceremony from writing the scripts to managing all on-site production, logistics, along with a sustainable vegan menu. We enlisted the help of a team of 10 industrial placement students from GSK as event ambassadors to whom we gave health and safety training to ensure that the 150 audience members, while having the best experience, were kept safe at all times. Each volunteer was allocated a winner to look after for the entire evening, from arrival through auditorium seating and post-awards photography at the step & repeat.

Ever mindful of what added value we can offer our clients, to draw an even larger audience, this year we suggested GSK showcase the event on Facebook Live, whilst our collection of behind the scenes photography taken on the filming days was used by GSK and the charities on social media leading up to the awards night.

The impact we made

As a direct result of our transformational work on the GSK IMPACT Awards, the event has grown in importance and stature. Over the years, we’ve seen more high profile advocates in health and social care feature in the films we make, and year on year, the awards have developed an ever-increasing social media presence.

The 2021 awards was our most successful year to date attracting a new remote audience to its live broadcast stream and all photography used by GSK in its twitter feed. Today, the highly respected GSK IMPACT Awards is the company’s leading UK charitable programme.

  • 150 Live event attendees (reduction due to COVID-19)
  • 2,500 Remote livestream viewers

Have a project that you need help with?

  • Toucan has been an integral part of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme since 2011 and have played a key role in the development of the scheme. They produce empathic, moving and engaging films that connect with audiences, taking pride in rising to challenges, even when the subject matter could be controversial or sensitive.

    Their approach is always warm, friendly, inclusive and professional, with an attention to detail which is second to none. I would have no hesitation in recommending Toucan to other potential partners and am delighted that they are now a preferred supplier for GSK.

    Katie Pinnock

    Director, UK and Ireland Charitable Partnerships, GSK

  • We have been very impressed with the quality of films, commitment to the project, ability to deal with sensitive issues and the way Toucan have worked with us to really understand the brief.

    Lisa Weaks

    Assistant Director Leadership and Organisational Development/Head of Third Sector, The King’s Fund

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