John West: West X

A fresh take on John West's annual conference

The Brief

John West are the UK’s leading canned fish company. Having built a fantastic working relationship with them since 2013, we are au fait with how they operate, what they stand for and what their vision is. They know their fish!

As part of the wider Thai Union group, John West have embraced their parent company’s values and this year, wanted to explore how these enhance John West as a brand in their own right; the impetus on collaboration, innovation and responsibility.

For 2017, John West required some new and original ideas to bring their content to life, to engage and inspire delegates more than ever before. We needed this year’s conference to feel fresh and progressive whilst aligning and unifying communications across the company.


Our Action

Thinking both of John West’s pioneering heritage and it’s adopted, forward thinking values, the idea of West X was borne. Inspired by Ted X, we thought this the perfect theme for this year’s event. Ted X is an international community organising Ted style talks across the globe – “celebrating locally-driven ideas and elevating them to a global stage”. This seemed entirely fitting given that John West is a company and brand entrenched in local history and heritage yet is now on the world stage as part of Thai Union.

The nature of a Ted styled event is informal, engaging, immersive and relaxed. The exact style of presenting that we love here at Meet & Potato. Unlike many other conference themes, it required the production to be designed around the content, rather than the other way around. As content enthusiasts, this was music to our ears and an invigorating prospect to have creative license. No death by PowerPoint here! We jumped to the task at hand.

We felt it was key to immerse delegates in an environment that would communicate insightful and engaging content, whichever way you turned. The informal nature of the theme lent itself well to interaction and engagement throughout both the main plenary presentations and the breakout sessions. With that in mind we decided to keep the production of the room open-plan. Building a main stage centrally so the presenters could deliver in the round, we partitioned the rest of the space with white sails, creating clearly defined areas without losing a sense of inclusivity. Movement throughout the room was fluid and effortless and although the conference was well structured, it didn’t feel too regulated or restrictive.

For each breakout, we used different methods of communication specifically tailored to the content. This included an exhibition styled session, delivering content on beautifully designed pillars littered throughout the space, ending in a short, image-based PowerPoint presentation.  Another breakout used thought provoking video to engage delegates, generating word clouds using their mobile phones to engage with the platform, and the third used a scribing session to interact with delegates ensuring participation. We operated each of the breakouts through headsets to avoid noise transference and to further immerse delegates in the content being delivered.

Collaboration was one of the key values needing to be reinforced throughout the day so we decided to bring an element of fun to the conference, choosing a collaborative energizer. Talking Drums attended the event to facilitate a drum beating exercise which delegates wholeheartedly embraced. It was a fantastic effort and a true reflection of how effective and impactful collaboration actually is. Certainly a memorable reinforcement that delegates could take away with them.

The objective of this conference was to deliver engaging content in a fresh, innovative and immersive way. The communication of key messages was of equal importance to the celebration of the company’s success to date and their promising future. It was to create a fresh, slick and memorable environment and for delegates to enjoy every aspect of the day. We are happy to say that we achieved our objectives and thoroughly enjoyed producing West X.