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12,500 global claps!


The challenge

395 people. 11 countries. One live event like no other.

The GSK Transformational Medicine Awards recognises team members from Research & Development who’ve made a leap in science, technology and culture. The awards began as a live event in 2019 but due to the pandemic, 2020 had to be virtual, presenting a huge creative and logistical challenge.

Research & Development is spread across the globe, spanning different cultures, disciplines and timelines. The winning projects included a vast range of transformational medicine areas, and with the pandemic still holding the world in its grasp there was a strong desire to unite everyone – and their groundbreaking work – under a single, global message.

We were asked to create an event to rival the real thing, bringing a worldwide family together virtually across continents. With such global reach, the occasion demanded meticulous event planning alongside a creative approach that would capture hearts and minds and encourage genuine global participation.

What we did

  • Virtual event planning
  • Full service event management
  • Internal comms management
  • Award design and manufacturing
  • Content creation
  • Film production
  • Live event streaming
  • Platform sourcing and management
  • Gift supplier sourcing

Our big idea

Toucan masterminded the whole event, from content creation to filming, virtual event management to gift box logistics. In just five full-on weeks, we designed and engineered from scratch a virtual platform to showcase the 20 winning projects, allowing participants to move around the ‘venue’, experience the stories and meet different team members.

Our ‘event in a box’ fully branded gift hamper went out to 400 attendees across 11 countries to be opened on the night. Mindful of cultural tastes and international logistics, we took a sustainable approach and sourced from local partners.

We also identified an opportunity to add value to the awards by creating a powerful legacy programme that would extend the reach of the awards way beyond the event itself. 

The impact we made

In stark contrast to what most people were expecting from a virtual event, the TMAs 2020 was an exceptional experiential event with larger and wider engagement than a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ awards.

This was largely down to Toucan’s imaginative approach to the virtual event planning, allowing people to really feel part of things on the night through live streams, comments, activations and ‘12,500 claps’.

Our legacy work extended that impact even further: top projects were viewed over 14,500 times across social media platforms.

Have a project that you need help with?

  • Planning for this annual R&D awards event began in mid-pandemic lockdown and we found ourselves in unknown territory. We brought in Toucan to help us navigate very quickly into the virtual space.

    Toucan worked with us to develop the concept and turn the entire experience into an engaging virtual event, whilst retaining credibility and stature for attendees and award-winners alike. The result was a resounding success.

    Head of Culture and Engagement

    R&D, GSK

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