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Big Chip 2010. Creative Tourist takes two awards.

Susie Stubbs
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Susie Stubbs reports on the Big Chip Awards – and Creative Tourist’s rather good result

Thursday night turned out to be a good one for the Creative Tourist team. Nominated for three prizes at the digital industry’s Big Chip Awards, Manchester Museums Consortium walked away with two for Creative Tourist: Best Online Brand Development and a special commendation for Best Public Sector Project.

The Big Chips are a big deal, particularly for a project such as Creative Tourist. Run by eight museums and galleries in Manchester and not yet a year old, Creative Tourist is designed to promote the city’s art and culture to national and international audiences. By and large it works – over 80% of our readers are based outside the North West and we’ve had write-ups in the Guardian, Telegraph, lastminute.com and Lonely Planet, as well as by some of the most influential travel bloggers in the UK and beyond. And now we have two shiny awards to add to our list of achievements.

Creative Tourist is all about the content – that’s where we spend our money. Our site is built on the blogging platform WordPress, and we work with a clutch of very talented freelancers and micro-agencies, specialists who not only know their stuff but deliver it for far less than a big old communications agency would.

For us to win Best Online Brand Development was particularly gratifying. Up against projects with bigger budgets, promoting commercial goods and services such as United Utilities and financial adviser Xentum, we proved that high quality content (rather than expensive technology or super-slick branding) can win the day. ‘In a category often dominated by agency-led campaigns to promote big-budget consumer brands,’ said the judges, ‘we felt that the winner of this category had clearly demonstrated how intelligent and cost-effective use of online media could significantly strengthen and develop a brand’s position, even in a highly competitive online sector.’

Thank you to everyone who has worked on Creative Tourist, to the eight museums and galleries that support it and to our funders Renaissance in the Regions, the Northwest Development Agency, as well as Visit Manchester. Particular thanks also go to Alex Saint, Kate Farmery, Helen Palmer, Maria Balshaw, Kate Feld, Chris Horkan, Katy Ratican, Catharine Braithwaite, Katie Moffat, Daniel O’Malley (SEO), Mat Bend, Julian Tait, Maria Ruban, Desmeana Johnson, and newbies Matthew Hull and Neil McQuillian.

Image: The Creative Tourist editor takes refuge behind one of the site’s awards. Picture by Catharine Braithwaite, blurry image courtesy of the iPhone’s dreadful camera.

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