Ed Tranter, MD of 73 Media, tells EN how the events agency has been giving back during the Covid-19 pandemic
At 73 Media’s conception, the events agency pledged that it would donate a portion of its profits after every event to a grassroots charity either in the city where the event took place, or on the subject matter that the event covered. With the Covid-19 pandemic preventing in-person events from taking place for the foreseeable future, MD Ed Tranter began to consider what 73 Media could do instead.
Tranter consulted with his team in an attempt to find a charity partner that could really benefit from 73 Media’s services. He says: “I wanted to look for a local charity that we could support this year. I spoke to the team, and said: ‘Look, I want to find a charity, and I want us to support them for the whole year, where we give our services – creative video design, build, run, through the virtual platform – and we do it for free.’”
Taylor Made Dreams was selected following the suggestion of a friend of Tranter’s. Created by Susie Mitchell for her son, Taylor, Taylor Made Dreams works with families of children who have life-limiting illnesses and helps them have once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The charity began after Mitchell watched the film The Bucket List with her son and decided to create and complete a bucket list for Taylor. After helping her son complete his dreams of training with Tottenham Hotspur, having lunch with David Beckham and meeting the Red Arrows, Mitchell decided to help others with life limiting illnesses to have their dream experiences.
Tranter explains that Covid-19 has fundamentally impacted the way the charity can operate, not only in terms of funding, but in terms of creating experiences. He says: “Not only does funding dry up when you can’t run supportive events, but if your charity is about delivering once-in-a-lifetime, meet-your-hero experiences, and you are so sick that you’re at the most extreme level of shielding, especially with Covid-19 about, then you can’t do any of them. So, that’s where a virtual platform becomes perfect.”
Tranter first came in to contact with Taylor Made Dreams when asked whether he could arrange for a child to meet rugby player Joe Marler. There was clearly an opportunity to do much more, so Tranter suggested to Taylor Made Dreams that it could use 73 Media’s virtual platform to help children meet their heroes during the pandemic.
Using virtual event software Hop-In and vMix, 73 Media helps Taylor Made Dreams create closed video calls which allow children to have a surprise meeting with their heroes, while also allowing their families to watch securely and privately.
Tranter described how a surprise meeting can be orchestrated via a video call: He says: “The child will be talking to the chief executive of the charity, and they think it’s about their bucket list, but then they will move from that bucket list conversation to ‘Well actually, I’ve got someone here that wants to talk to you’, and then we’ll bring [their hero] in.”
73 Media also produces keepsakes of the event to allow the children and their families to relive the experience.
“We will record the whole thing, and edit it into a single video,” explains Tranter. “It will have the intro, any photos of any other dreams that have been made possible, and the video of the meeting at the end. Then it goes off to the child for them to enjoy and is also a lasting memory for the family. We’re trying to create something that makes their tailor-made experiences really become something they can hold onto and can be a comfort for the families as well.”
Tranter says that he hopes that 73 Media’s actions will inspire other event organisers to support charities in the same way: “The aim is not to say ‘aren’t we brilliant’ or ‘aren’t we wonderful’, the aim is to do something good. If there’s one thing 2020 has shown us, and the events industry as a whole, it’s that we all need to help each other to keep going.”
He also expressed that any company can undertake this effort, and help make a difference to charities during the pandemic.
“What we’re doing is hardly rocket science in terms of virtual events.” He said. “We have a platform, we understand how it works, we have abilities and skills in-house, and all it’s costing us really is time, and it makes such a difference. It has really empowered the team, they’re all really excited to be a part of a business that sort of thing, and they’re really pleased to do it.”
Tranter continues: “There’s so much we can do, any one of us could go to a charity and say: ‘Look, you can’t run your events, we’ll run the virtual ones for you, for free’, so they don’t have all the cost and implementation and you can really make a difference. So, just pick a charity that you’re passionate about.”
Suzi Mitchell, founder of Taylor Made Dreams said of the partnership: “Having 73 Media select Taylor Made Dreams as their chosen charity partner for 2021 was incredible, the company have already delivered a priceless surprise to one of our brave children and we have more experiences planned for children in the near future.
“In these very challenging times, partnering with a highly reputable company such as 73 Media is invaluable, it provides us with a golden opportunity to deliver our work; 73 Media have gone above and beyond to help us to fulfil the bucket lists wishes for children with life limiting illness all across the South East of England who wish to meet their heroes whilst maintaining a safe social distance via a special video link experience.”
Reflecting on the current situation, Tranter concluded: “I think, in the age where ‘be kind’ is more important than ever, I think we should all take a look, and if we can do something, we should.”