Jamie Oliver is Client of the Year at 2009 Benchmarks

Jamie Oliver’s culinary empire took Client of the Year at the fifth annual Design Week Benchmarks awards last night. The accolade was established in 2007 to celebrate excellence in commissioning design.

Since his TV debut in 1996, Oliver has proved to have a highly commercial bent, developing a range of products, packaging and brands through Jamie Oliver Holdings. At this year’s Benchmarks, Pearlfisher, which developed the Jme lifestyle brand, collected an award in the Household Goods section, while Williams Murray Hamm scooped an award for Oliver’s Recipease food kit in the Retailers category and was runner-up for Best of Show. The judges deemed both projects ‘beautifully crafted, interesting and strong’.

UKTV, meanwhile, was runner-up for Client of the Year after its ongoing collaboration with broadcast design group Red Bee Media, which last year created Benchmarks award-winning branding for ‘lads’ channel Dave. This year the consultancy won in the Media category for UKTV’s Red Dwarf: Back to Earth campaign, and received shortlist recognition for new UKTV channels Alibi and Blighty.

The Benchmarks awards, sponsored by Sohnar’s Traffic System, were held on Tuesday evening at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. As suggested by last year’s judges, the 2009 awards now run across two parallel streams: branding programmes and campaigns. This reflects the mood among clients in a recession who are looking to keep their brands alive by running campaigns instead of undergoing brand overhauls.

Turner Duckworth’s branding for Coca-Cola and Hat-Trick Design’s project The Small Creature for British Heart Foundation shared the honours for Best of Show. They won for best branding programme and best campaign respectively.

Coca-Cola was taken back to its roots by Turner Duckworth, in its refreshment of the drink manufacturer’s branding, collecting an award in the Food and Drink category. The Anglo-US consultancy also received a commendation for the identity programme at the Design Week Awards earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Hat-Trick Design collected an award for its ‘outstanding’ campaign for the British Heart Foundation in the Not-for-profit category. The consultancy’s The Small Creature campaign encourages children to express their grief, helping them come to terms with their loss. The judges cited ‘creative excellence’ and unanimously named the campaign Best of Show.

Hat-Trick won an award for the Natural History Museum’s branding programme Opal open-air laboratories and picked up an award in the Property and Construction section for its work on Oxford Brookes University’s Space to Think hoarding campaign.

The Partners also had a triumphant year in the awards. Its Planet Saver campaign for Deloitte received an award in the Financial Services category and its Eagle Clean branding programme took top prize in Professional Services. Last month, The Partners also took the top spot in Design Week’s annual Creative Survey.

While 2009 saw design hit by recession, the Benchmarks had a relatively healthy year, with nearly twice as many award-winners as there was in 2008 – 16 winners in 13 categories. Only three categories failed to produce winners – Automotive, Pharmaceuticals and the new category Stakeholder Communications – although all had entries that made it into the Benchmarks book.

Benchmarks Winners
Client of the Year
– Jamie Oliver Holdings
Best of Show – Coca-Cola, Turner Duckworth P; The Small Creature for British Heart Foundation, Hat-Trick Design C
Computer Hardware and Software – Symbian Foundation, Landor Associates P
Financial Services – Planet Saver for Deloitte, The Partners C
Food and Drink – Coca-Cola, Turner Duckworth P
Household Goods – Jme, Pearlfisher P
Manufacturing – Endless Possibilities for Arjowiggins, Blast Design C
Media – Red Dwarf/ Back to Earth for UKTV, Red Bee Media C; Tying together BBC News, Lambie-Nairn P
Not-for-profit – The Small Creature for British Heart Foundation, Hat-Trick Design C
Professional Services – Eagle Clean, The Partners P
Property and Construction – Space to Think for Oxford Brookes University, Hat-Trick Design C
Public Sector – Eva Rothschild: Cold Corners for Tate Britain, Rose C; Opal open-air laboratories for Natural History Museum, Hat-Trick Design P
Retailers – Recipease food kit for Jamie Oliver Enterprises, Williams Murray Hamm P
Sports, Leisure and Travel – Manchester City Football Club, Music C
Telecommunications – Swisscom rebrand, Moving Brands P
P = Programmes, C = Campaigns

For full results, visit www.designweek.co.uk

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