#CPRSACE: Edelman’s Sarah McEvoy On The Power Of PR


“Imagine this. Picture yourself emerging from a dense jungle. In front of you? El Dorado, the lost city of gold.”

This sounds breathtaking, doesn’t it? This scene does have an end, and it was written by Edelman for their award-winning 20-Second Daydreams campaign.

Edelman and the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) took home the ACE Award for 2016’s PR Campaign of the Year. We tapped Edelman Vice President of Corporate Communications Sarah McEvoy to grab insight into the campaign’s creative process and learn how powerful PR can be.


  1. What inspired the 20-Second Daydreams campaign?

Our research. When we sat down with the OAO, the optometrists told us their patients most commonly ask about how computers affect their eyes. Then we learned about the 20/20/20 rule – look away from your computer every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, 20 feet away. We used this rule to anchor the campaign and educate the public about computer vision syndrome, an issue we know they care about.


  1. What was the biggest challenge the creative team faced while developing an idea to promote computer vision syndrome?

We know online channels are most effective in reaching Ontarians en masse. Ironically, this meant we needed people to use screens to tell people to look away from their screens. The challenge was crafting a compelling idea based on that irony. Instead of simply sharing our information, we used an audio theatre of the mind concept to create a way for them to enjoy it. “Edutainment” if you will.


  1. You launched your campaign and waited for the public to react. What was it like to watch the public respond?

We had speedy results, shares and comments on our five different videos. YouTube and Facebook delivered over 356,000 video views and the OAO’s “Find an Optometrist” locator tool saw clicks increase by 26,000. Seeing these kinds of numbers was gratifying for the team to realize we struck a cord with the public.


  1. The OAO said the 20-Second Daydreams campaign was a success.
    Why submit it to the ACE Awards?

We exceeded our objectives within the first couple months. That’s when we realized we really had an interesting story to tell. The traditional model of PR is evolving, where campaigns are far more integrated, combining research creative, earned, digital, paid and search all as part of the PR offering. Since our work fit perfectly into this evolving world of PR, we wanted to share it with our industry colleagues and beyond.


  1. Do you think it’s important to recognize work in PR?

Absolutely. PR, and by extension, communications marketing, is a powerful tool that can influence positive change. Working with the OAO to bring attention to an issue that affects nearly all Ontarians continues to be fulfilling. After our campaign, the OAO reported that an additional 198,843 optometry services were provided in 2014/2015 compared to 2013/2014. We were so pleased to have our campaign contribute to that increase.


  1. After all of this, do you see yourself taking more trips to the optometrist?

100 per cent. I have three kids at home who all go for comprehensive eye exams and I’m now more passionate than ever about children’s vision. I’m thrilled our campaign sent more people to the optometrist. It’s so rewarding when your work truly makes a difference.


Sarah’s PR Tip: Our research was the foundation for our campaign idea. You cannot underestimate the importance of insights and analytics.

To hear more Edelman voices on the 20-Second Daydreams campaign you can click here.

The CPRS Ace Awards Gala will be held on May 2, 2017.


By: Carolyn LoConte,
Humber College Postgraduate PR student

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