Tom Keighley

Plumbing firm goes viral with student help

A North East design college has joined forces with one of the UK’s largest independent plumbing firms to create a series of promotional online animations.

Students from Cleveland College of Art & Design in Middlesbrough were set a brief to create the web-based promotions for London-based Pimlico Plumbers, in an exercise that was designed to provide experience in dealing with commercial commissions.

Those studying on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design (Interactive Media) course had to translate the brief and work to real-life deadlines, with cash prizes awarded for the best animations.

Based around Pimlico Plumbers’ managing director Charlie Mullins, also recognisable as the star of Channel 4’s ’Secret Millionaire, the works will appear on the internet and be used for marketing campaigns.

Charlie, also known as “plumber to the stars,” for his celebrity client list, said: “As a plumber by trade I didn’t know much about viral animations, but what these students have come up with has been spectacular.

“I was amazed with the quality of their work and how they have understood our business and the messages we project to our customers.

“We are always keen to find ways to engage young people with what it’s like in the commercial world.

“We already operate apprenticeships and have a successful partnership with the Prince’s Trust and this project fitted perfectly with that philosophy.

“It was immediately obvious that the students thrived on working on a real-world project, which demonstrated the benefits of businesses and educational institutions working together.”

Top prize was scooped by 18-year-old Andrew Bell, who collected £250 for his celeb-filled animation which features Charlie rescuing Elton John, Susan Boyle and Jedward from a burst pipe, and can be viewed here.

Second place went to Richard Desmond for his “Heavenly Plumber” animation, and third went to Bethany Wood.

A further five students received £50 each, as well as having their work used in the course of Pimlico Plumbers promotions.

The project was the work of Recognition PR, who approached the college with the idea.

Andrew Conway, Tutor at Cleveland College of Art & Design said: “It’s important for our students to understand how to deliver a commercial brief.

“Many will work for design agencies in the future where they will have to interpret a client brief creatively while meeting the branding guidelines and commercial focus of the company.

“We really appreciate Pimlico Plumbers giving our students the opportunity to work on this project. It really enhanced our curriculum and gave them a real challenge, which they have handled very well.”

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