Conference communications

From the original teaser animation to the closing inspirational video, conferences rack up a lot of communications collateral. Not only does it all need to be consistent in look and tone, everything has to support a theme that reflects the purpose of the event.

At Barnaby Benson Ltd, we have stacks of experience writing conference materials, including scripts for host speeches, presentations, videos, animations, invites, teasers, emails, itineraries, guide books, menus, newspapers, poems, horoscopes… You get the point. Basically, if you need something written for a conference, we can help.

Scroll down for case studies on:

  • O2 street theatre
  • Novartis Animal Health
  • Novartis 2014 Team Conference
  • Novartis Ophtha

O2 street theatre

The challenge:

"Can street theatre spread the love?"

The brief: At their upcoming annual Managers’ Conference, O2 wanted both their digital and retail teams to appreciate how essential they were to the company’s success. The conference agency thought that putting on a play would be the best way of spreading this message.

The solution: We recommended street theatre over a formal play for the bustle of a conference. So we wrote and directed three entertaining sketches which would grab the attention of passers by at the crowded conference. The series followed two characters - Miss Digital and Mr Retail - and drew parallels between their relationship and that of O2’s two sectors. We used a light touch on the corporate messaging, allowing the audience to come to their own conclusions.

The writing:

MR RETAIL: I’m going to ask Miss Digital to marry me….

Another pause

MR RETAIL: Tonight!

MR RETAIL (mischievously): Don’t tell her, she doesn’t have a clue!

He wipes his brow.

MR RETAIL: A lifelong commitment…blimey, no wonder I’m nervous! My longest relationship so far is with my mobile network. I need some advice from a man who really knows what he’s doing when it comes to women…

He scans the crowd

MR RETAIL: I picked the wrong conference!

He picks on a man in the audience

MR RETAIL: You’ll have to do


The results: Not at all what the client was expecting….but it worked a treat, appealing to the youthful audience and holding their attention to the end.

The credits: Copywriter agency: Barnaby Benson London. Copywriter: Joseph Richardson and Barnaby Benson. Brand agency: Sledge. Client: O2.


Novartis Animal Health

The challenge:

"How can you make a low budget video about figures highly watchable?"

The brief:Novartis Animal Health asked us to write the script for a short animation for the start of their national conference. It needed to instil a sense of pride among employees about the huge number of animals their efforts have helped.

The solution: With an exceptionally lean budget, the video couldn’t rely on fancy graphics or jazzy music. It’s success hinged on the writing. This meant avoiding simply listing last year’s achievements and instead working in some images to bring the large numbers alive. For instance, we pointed out that if you stacked the six million tablets Novartis had dispensed that year, they would reach into space – twice.

The results:

The credits: Copywriter agency: Barnaby Benson London. Copywriter: Joseph Richardson. Brand agency: Brands at work. Client: Novartis.

Novartis 2014 Team Conference

The challenge:

“How can copywriting boost team morale?”

Ka-PowThe brief: Done right, corporate conferences are the ideal stage for strengthening team morale. With this in mind, the Novartis 2014 Team Conference adopted the theme, ‘Everyday Heroes’, and focused on celebrating their employees’ achievements throughout the previous year. Our job was to bring it to life throughout the conference literature.

The solution: The various triumphs of Novartis’ people provided some rich content. We took this material, gave it a tongue-in-cheek superhero spin and ZAP! their deeds sounded even more heroic. By writing everything - from posters to menus, quizzes to horoscopes - in an irreverent, comic book style we elevated the theme, making the conference memorable, entertaining and morale-boosting.

The writing:

“Batman has Gotham City. Aquaman has loads of water. And Michelle van der Valt has London’s Charing Cross Hospital.”

The result: Happy agency, happy client and very happy conference goers.

The credits: Copywriter agency: Barnaby Benson, London. Copywriters: Joseph Richardson and Sam O’Flaherty. Brand agency: Brands at work. Client: Novartis.

Novartis Ophtha

The challenge:

“How to explain departmental restructuring ramifications so it’s interesting for an internal audience?”

The brief: Ophtha, a branch of Novartis International AG, was restructuring. That meant new personnel, new teams and a new world order. They needed their employees to understand just what these changes were and how they’d be affected. To keep things as light as possible, the brand agency decided to do it in the style of a glitzy talk show. And it all needed to be scripted.

The solution: Humour is one of the most effective ways of holding people’s attention. So the internal communications conference agency asked for a spoof of Oprah Winfrey. We weaved jokes and frivolity into all the important messaging we needed to convey. By making the event memorable, we made the messaging memorable too.

The writing:

“Hello and welcome to a very special edition of Oprah of Ophtha. My name is Oprah, I’m the undisputed Queen of Pharmaceutical chat shows, and this afternoon I’ve got a great selection of articulate, sophisticated and glamorous guests lined up for you. Well, kind of.”

The result: The client liked it. Then it went down a storm with the audience. Then the client loved it.

The credits: Copywriter agency: Barnaby Benson London. Copywriter: Joseph Richardson. Client: Novartis. Agency: Brands at Work.

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