ACE Award Lessons From Blair Peberdy


This blog post was written by Charzie Abendanio, a third-year student at the Humber College bachelor of public relations program and Vice President of CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee


Blair Peberdy

Blair Peberdy

As a judge for the ACE Awards and an award recipient during his time at Toronto Hydro, Blair Peberdy has a lot of valuable insight to applicants in this year’s 2015 ACE Award submissions. In the six times Blair has judged for ACE, he has seen the best that Toronto has to offer. Now with Weber Shandwick, Peberdy took time to shed some light on what judges will be looking for this year.


“The ACE Awards are a chance for organizations and companies to gauge how well they are doing compared to their peers,” said Blair. “Even if you don’t win, you gain creative inspiration from all the first-class submissions and winners.”


For Blair, the quality of submissions has continued to improve over the years. With new mediums changing how public relations professionals deliver their message, the award show is seeing more “cool and creative campaigns”. While judging, Blair enjoyed campaigns that involved classic corporate communication theory and practice. He recalls last year’s best PR campaign winner, Edelman Toronto, who stole the show with their integrated community relations campaign for client Ontario Graphite.


“A campaign like this one drew upon grassroots community around stakeholder issues and issues management,” said Blair, “and their use of new resources led to new and exciting marketing communication.”


Blair extolled the critical importance of clearly defined, measureable goals. When arranged logically and the thoughtfully aligned, the more successful the campaign will be. “Tie your measurements to your original objectives while explicitly identifying the measurements that determine the campaign’s success.”


A campaign must have all the major components: goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and measurements. “This disciplined PR management approach follows the criteria provided by the ACE Awards,” said Blair. “It goes a long way when a coherent entry allows judges to grasp the full breadth of a campaign.”


At the end of our time together, Blair was asked what exactly makes a great submission.


“Creativity is important but a great submission should also be organized around entry criteria, error-free, use good graphics, be professionally presented and must be easily navigated by the judges.” A campaign doesn’t necessarily need a large budget but combining the basics, as well as a creative aspect and being well-organized allows the judges to see the big picture.


“The ACE Awards showcases top talent in Canada,” said Blair. “It gives our industry the chance to learn from one another and recognize great work. We need to step back, congratulate each other and celebrate our accomplishments together.”


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