CTN Communications appointed by the FCO to help stage the G8 Summit 2013


CTN appointed for G8 Summit

CTN Communications has been appointed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, to help stage this month’s G8 Summit at Lough Erne, in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, on 17/18 June 2013.

The United Kingdom currently holds the presidency of the G8. The Summit, to be hosted by the Prime Minister, will be an opportunity for G8 leaders to have frank and open discussions about the important global issues of the day, especially how we can drive global economic growth.

CTN will manage all production aspects of delivering the Summit at the Lough Erne Resort – accommodating the leaders, their delegations and accredited media.   CTN will also provide the conference and media filing facilities for the Summit.  It will act as host broadcaster, providing pooled television pictures and the facilities necessary to help UK and international broadcasters cover the event.

CTN is a leading UK corporate communications and events agency, based in London. It has more than 20 years’ experience working with global businesses and brands, including more than fifteen FTSE 100 companies. CTN has extensive experience working with Government and is currently engaged by the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office on separate assignments. The CTN team delivering the G8 also produced the Thames River Pageant last year as part of the celebrations to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Bringing the G8 to Lough Erne will showcase to the world a modern Northern Ireland with huge potential for investment and tourism. CTN will work with more than twenty-five Northern Ireland based SMEs to help source the people and services necessary to stage the Summit.

Stephen Watson, Chief Executive of CTN Communications said;

‘CTN is delighted and honoured to have been asked to help produce the G8 Summit. This is a hugely important and high profile undertaking, which needs to be delivered to a very high standard, on time and within budget. Lough Erne is one of the most beautiful locations in the UK. It will be our task to help create a Summit that has an intimate feel in this breath taking location, while accommodating the people, facilities and infrastructure necessary for an event of this nature.’

 The G8 (Group of 8) is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and the UK. The EU is represented by the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council.

For more information contact:

 Anita Hamilton, PR Director


+44(0) 7768 778 772



Using stop frame animation to relay a serious message

Raising awareness of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme was a challenge put before CTN by our client, the Ministry of Defence. As producer Miranda Counsell reveals below, it took some heavy brainstorming at CTN to generate a truly innovative approach. Last week, the film won an IVCA Clarion Award – so here is the animation and below, the story of its creation.

The brief came to us because of the success of the ‘Think before You Share’ campaign. Our name had spread around the MOD offices.  We received a very clear and concise brief “To provide an inviting and engaging awareness video that will primarily appeal to junior ranks” With a just one simple message: “If you are injured or made ill as a result of service then you can receive compensation from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.”

The aim of the film was to not to over load the viewer with information but entertain them and place a memory in their mind so that if they injured themselves while serving they would remember that they are entitled to compensation. We didn’t have to go into any detail of the types of injury or any circumstantial information.

Taking the brief into consideration we brought together a couple of producers and directors and brainstormed ideas for getting this message across. No idea was a bad idea, we just bounced them around the table, inspiring each other to come up with different images and possible suggestions.

Using our experience of working with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines we knew that in order to get the information across affectively it needed to be set around a familiar environment or scenario that personnel might find themselves in so they could relate to it. Also that if we were to keep their attention and entertain them it would need and added comic twist.

From our experience we knew what the limitations for filming in a military environment, and also how realistic it would be to bring our ideas to life. With the MOD going through an intense period of restructure following the SDSR we also knew that budget would tight so we came up with 3-4 realistic ideas at different budget levels to allow our client to see the strength of our creativity.

All of our concepts had one thing in common; they used drama, suspense and/or comedy to guide the audience into thinking they are watching something that they would choose to watch in their own time; either on You Tube or on iTunes movie trailers. Just when we’d captured their imagination and have their complete attention the ‘cat is let out of the bag’ (so to speak) and the audience realise it’s actually a film dedicated to communicating key information about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Out of the 4 ideas we had outlined in our initial proposal the client really liked ‘Toy Solider’….

Based on a combination of elements – the plastic army men in Toy Story, (but here, classic British Airfix soldiers), homemade war and action films with a variety of toys and a surreal imagination – we fashion a stop motion animated film that follows the exploits of a soldier as he battles through some familiar territory.

The kitchen worktop becomes an urban landscape, the expanse of the living room carpet is a desert, (complete with cardboard FOB) and the back garden becomes a dense jungle, (alternately we could build various scenes from model houses, cardboard, miniature tress etc).

An elite group of soldiers, English, Scots, Welsh and a token yank embark on a perilous mission. Each of them has a distinctive voice that suits their character. We follow their secret mission as they get ambushed by the enemy, steal a plane and bail out as it’s hit by a missile, get pinned down behind the washing up, and finally overcome the enemy to extract the prisoner they’ve been sent to save.

There’s a great opportunity for funny and relevant dialog between the characters that will be all too familiar to the audience.Towards the end of this adventure one of the team, (a Brit) gets injured. This isn’t in some firefight or by a RPG, no. It’s in some daft accident – arm bitten off by a rogue toy dinosaur or something equally stupid.

The payoff would suggest that whilst we’re pretty sure you won’t get eaten by a dinosaur, whatever your injury, big or small, you can make a claim. We’d see our hero with his arm bandaged up back at base, his team around him, taking the micky, they soon shut up as the cheque arrives.

Once the concept had been approved the majority of time was spent working on the script in particularly the dialogue of our 4 main characters and the narrative if their journey. We wanted to ensure the dialogue was as realistic as possible so we held a focus group with Army personnel and asked them to complete questionnaires. Although the concept was based on a ‘toy soldier patrol’ we still wanted it to have a ring of truth to it so that personnel would find it funny.

Once the script and storyboard were finished everything else just fell in to place. As a Producer I had little experience of stop frame animation so it was a big learning curve in terms of what could be achieved within the shoot day time frame but we made sure we hired experienced animation freelancers who could help bring our idea to life.

CTN’s Danny Braunstein receives the IVCA Clarion Award