Tag Archives: 2012 ACE Awards

ACE Awards submissions reminder!


By Natasha Nitsopoulos

Awwh, the feeling of a fresh new year. It’s time to set your goals higher and reach for the stars! Why not improve your professional status with an ACE Award? It’s not too late to apply, though the deadline is fast approaching.

The annual ACE Awards recognize communications excellence in the public relations industry. Winning an Award is a great way to display your hard work in front of an audience of industry pros, give you and your company a competitive edge and strengthen your strategic planning skills. Not to mention it’s a fabulous social event with all your friends and colleagues.

Get started on your entry today and be sure to make that early bird deadline on January 9. Also, don’t forget to pencil April 24 into your busy agendas for this year’s gala!

More information on eligibility, submission requirements and campaign entry categories is available on the CPRS Toronto website.

Important Dates and Deadlines:

Early Bird Entry Deadline: enter at a discounted rate by January 9, 2013

Entry Deadline: January 23, 2013

Leadership Awards Deadline: February 24, 2013

Enter at www.cprstoronto.com!

Questions? Tweet #CPRSACE or e-mail ace@cprstoronto.com

Case study: MAVERICK Public Relations and the People for Good campaign


By Liza Butcher

On April 26, 2012 the Canadian Public Relations Society Toronto (CPRS Toronto) congratulated the PR industry’s elite at the annual Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards gala.

The ACE Awards gala was full of celebration for winning campaigns, including MAVERICK Public RelationsPeople for Good campaign, which picked up a bronze ACE Award for Best Use of Media Relations in the Under $50K category.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Kirsten Walkom, Senior Consultant at MAVERICK Public Relations, to discover more about the success around the People for Good campaign and the ongoing buzz and excitement spreading throughout Canada.

Can you tell me about your winning campaign? What was the objective and why was it so successful?

Each year MAVERICK Public Relations works with a variety of probono clients, including People for Good, founded by Mark Sherman of Media Experts and Zak Mroueh of Zulu Alpha Kilo.

The People for Good campaign was launched through a multifaceted creative advertising program, beginning with interest-sparking advertisements and week-long whisper campaign targeting citizens and media in major Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montréal and Halifax.

MAVERICK Public Relations and the People for Good campaign chose extremely engaging, interactive messages and images, with the purpose of challenging Canadians to be nicer to one another. Some acts of kindness suggested were smiling at a stranger; giving up your seat on the subway, bus or streetcar; while on Facebook, just pick up the phone and give your friend a call; and cutting grass or shoveling snow for your neighbour.

The success of the People for Good campaign was tied directly to the media coverage and creative strategy of the campaign, including outdoor, interactive, print, guerrilla and online advertising, and the engagement, positivity and interest of Canadians to be kinder to one another.

Since the launch of the People for Good campaign, Kirsten has continuously been receiving inquiries about how individuals can start a People for Good campaign within their own towns, communities, schools and other public places.

How did winning an award contribute to the agency’s brand?

MAVERICK Public Relations has had a great year, not only winning a bronze ACE Award for Best Use of Media Relations in the Under $50K category, but also winning an ACE Award for Best Use of Special Events and the International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) Small Agency of the Year award.

The success of winning an ACE Award has had a positive impact on the agency’s brand. The awards have helped MAVERICK Public Relations in market differentiation and raising their company’s profile, leading to the growth of existing relationships, helping attract new business and positive acknowledgement by peers and the public relations industry.

What inspired you to submit?

MAVERICK Public Relations knew they had something interesting, unique, thought-provoking and engaging which was proven in their results. The results proved that by utilizing the creative possibilities of the advertising world, social change was possible.

What were the challenges associated with submitting an award?

The process of submitting an award was fairly straightforward and gave the team a great opportunity to reflect on the campaign and really pull all the work they did together into a cohesive submission.

The only challenge mentioned, as many in the industry can relate to, is time can be a scarce resource, however Kirsten and her team are passionate and dedicated to the People for Good campaign and made time to submit.

What were you sure to include in your binder?

MAVERICK Public Relations was sure to include coverage from all mediums, including social, digital, print, and broadcast. In addition, MAVERICK Public Relations included numerous key messages, planning and tactical documents, which confirmed their strategy and how their approach led to the successful results expected by their client.

Also including the binder was Media Relations Rating Points (MRP) reports to give the judges a clearer picture of how MAVERICK Public Relations met their objectives.

How did it feel to receive your award at the gala?

Receiving an ACE Award was exciting and pleasing for the whole agency and the campaign team. “It was like the academy awards,” said Kirsten.

What advice would you give to other entrants?

Take a chance and be positive. It is a time commitment, but is a lot of fun to reflect and celebrate the success of the work done.

Congratulations 2012 CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Winners!


Ace Awards 2012 LogoWhat a night it was at the 2012 CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Gala! Toronto’s Top PR pros gathered together on Thursday, April 26 to honour the best and brightest campaigns of the year, and there was no shortage of celebration.

CPRS Toronto welcomed over 300 communications professionals at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon to congratulate each other on their amazing successes.

While the room was filled with feelings of pride an accomplishment, it’s easy to say that the benefits of collecting a sparkling ACE trophy extend far beyond this evening’s ceremony. The evening’s winners achieved merit, credibility, peer recognition and a quality reputation along with their awards.

Congratulations to all of the 2012 ACE Award recipients, and be sure to check back for more gala highlights next week.

PR Campaign of the Year

Best Creative PR Campaign

Leadership Awards

Best Use of Media Relations – Budget Over $50,000



  • APEX Public Relations – Rimmel’s Spring Summer Media Relations Launch
  • Broad Reach Communications – Broad Reach Communications (Deloitte Canada)
  • Edelman Canada – Make Your Face a Maynards
  • EdelmanCanada– Breaking News for the Caramilk Key to the Secret
  • Environics Communications – Coca-Cola Ltd.’s Arctic Home Campaign
  • Environics Communications – Advil Nighttime Launch
  • GolinHarris – McHappy Day 2011
  • GolinHarris – McCafe
  • Paradigm Public Relations – TD Leads  with Mortgage Advice
  • Polaris Public Relations Inc. –S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Canadian Regional Competition
  • PRAXIS – Launch of the Environmentally-Friendly 7Up EcoGreen Bottle
  • PRAXIS – 2011 Quaker Unlock Amazing PR Launch Campaign
  • Strategic Objectives – The WhiteCashmereCollection 2011: Fashion with Compassion
  • Strategic Objectives – Magnum Ice Cream Bars Canadian Launch
  • Temple Scott Associates – Clif Bar & Company Media Relations


  • Argyle Communications – Schneiders Country Naturals: Just the Good Stuff
  • Citizen Optimum L.P. – Future ShopHoliday 2011
  • EdelmanCanada–Holiday& Mom: The Chief Gift Buyer
  • EdelmanCanada– ArthritisAllianceofCanadaNational Media Launch
  • Shaw Media & UNIT:PR – Top Chef Canada
  • Strategic Objectives – TOPSHOP TOPMAN Takeover
  • Thornley Fallis Communications – ElectionsOntarioMakes Voting Easy
  • Thornley Fallis Communications – Taking Action Against Distracted Driving

Best Use of Media Relations – Budget Under $50,000



  • APEX Public Relations – “Get Going to Keep Going” Guide
  • APEX Public Relations/UPSCanada – Maintaining the Momentum:UPSCanada™’s Summer Survey Campaign
  • Fleishman-Hillard Toronto – The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Molson Canadian Introduces the Red Leaf Project
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Tenderflake Declares 2011 the Year of the Pie
  • Polaris Public Relations Inc. – The Lost Wallet Program


  • Argyle Communications –MarkhamStouffvilleHospitalFoundation: The Climb to Conquer
  • Edelman Canada – Alexander Keith’s Green Initiative “Show Your Plaid”
  • Environics Communications – Protecting First Responders:CSA Standards CBRN Launch
  • G Adventures – G Adventures Career Break Campaign
  • MAVERICK Public Relations – People for Good
  • Paradigm Public Relations – If I Had a Million Dollars: It’s Within Reach for Savers Who Start Early
  • Paradigm Public Relations – TD Brings E-Recycling to Local Communities
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Renter’s Insurance 101
  • PRAXIS –Alberta Premium 30 Year Old: The Unveiling of a Rare and Affordable Canadian Whisky
  • Temple Scott Associates – Motorcyclists Hall of Fame 2011

Best Use of Special Events




New Product or Service Launch Campaign of the Year


  • dvCommunications – Martha Stewart Clean Makes Green Homekeeping Easy: Introducing Martha Stewart’s  New Line of Natural Household Cleaners
  • NATIONAL Public Relations – Smart Shopping is in the Palm of Your Hand
  • Paradigm Public Relations – TIMEX Opens its Archives: The Launch of TIMEX Originals
  • PRAXIS – Launch of the Environmentally-Friendly 7UP EcoGreen Bottle


Employee Communications Campaign of the Year



  • Meridian Credit Union –MeridianCredit Union


  • TVO – myTVO 2.0

Community Relations Campaign of the Year



  • Faye Clack Communications –Ontario Apple Growers’ Winter Apple Ball
  • PRAXIS – The Courvoisier Collective: Artist Collective To Foster Community, Access to Space and Exposure for Bright Talent
  • Strategic Objectives – The Creation of Koodonation:Canada’s First-Ever Microvolunteering Community
  • Strategic Objectives – The Body Shop “Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People” Petition


Public Affairs / Government Campaign of the Year


Best Digital Communications Campaign of the Year



  • Argyle Communications – New Transit forToronto: The Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown
  • RBC – Royal Bank ofCanada (Canadian Banking) – The Sales Experience Social Media Initiative


Best Use of Communication Tools



Brand Development Campaign of the Year



  • GCI Group – Barbie and Ken’s Reunion in Celebration of Ken’s 50th
  • Narrative – Let the Saving Begin


Crisis or Issues Management Campaign of the Year



Student PR Campaign of the Year


  • Cora Timofte – TelLaurentide Communications Plan



  • CentennialCollege– UglyHolidaySweater Party

Where is my ACE Submission?


By Nicole Laoutaris

You spent hours perfecting your entry for the CPRS 2012 ACE Awards and you made darn sure you got your submission in before the deadline, but what the heck happened to it?

If you’ve ever been riddled with such wonder about where your submission goes after you hit the send button, then read on to assuage your curiosity!

The journey of your ACE submission starts and ends with the judging panel. This panel – a group of more than 20 experienced communications professionals, many of them accredited – engages in a methodical process for both the executive summary and full submission stages.

Stage 1: The Executive Summary Submission

This stage is really an initial screening and allows the judges to narrow down the sheer number of entries before the next, more cumbersome step of reviewing the “big binder” submissions. After you submit your executive summary, it is divided at random to be assessed by two independent judges. For this portion of the process, the judges have a few days to complete the evaluation.

Your final score is then determined by the average of those two evaluations. Once all the numbers are in, those who have met a threshold score of 70 per cent move on to the next round. There is no limit to the number of submissions that can be put through to the next stage.

Stage 2: The Full Submission – “The Big Binder”

The full submission stage is the time and place for you to provide all of the shining evidence of the success of your campaigns for the judges’ consideration. These submission are larger, longer and far more detailed; this is the Big Kahuna.

Imagine this: one room with piles upon piles of huge binders containing budgets, media clippings, photos, research summaries and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears – figuratively, of course.

How many days must it take to evaluate these submissions? 10 days? eight days? It can’t be less than five days, right? Surprisingly, the full submission judging takes place in only a single day.

The judging panel meet all together and then are divided into teams with submissions divided equally amongst them. Everyone randomly selects binders for their team to tackle. At least two judges evaluate each binder and, once again, the average score between them determines the final success level.

Stage 3: Best in Show

Once the full submission scores are compiled, the four highest rated campaigns are judged yet again for two coveted prizes: Best Creative Campaign and Best Overall Campaign. Only the full submission scores are taken into account for Best in Show.

If your submission has risen above the rest, then you will be invited to present your work in person before the judges. This is your opportunity to compete against the other stand-out entries of the year by delivering one last pitch to highlight your campaign’s excellence for the judging panel.

That’s all, folks! Now that you know what goes on behind those judging doors, you can appreciate the daunting task the panel faces each year. Be sure to check out Preparing Your Ace Submission and Your ACE Submission: Round Two! for tips and tricks to make your submission stand out.

And what’s the best way to celebrate all of this hard work? By attending this year’s gala on Thursday, April 26, 2012! Be sure to save the date.

Preparing Your ACE Submission: Sometimes the Most Common Mistakes Are the Easiest to Avoid


By Nicole Laoutaris

Winning an ACE Award will earn you industry recognition, strengthen your strategic communications skills and allow you to celebrate your work with your peers in Toronto’s public relations community. But, before you can earn such a distinction, you need to enter a submission.

Whether it is your first year applying or you are a seasoned pro, preparing your CPRS ACE Awards submission can be a daunting task.

What are the judges looking for?

CPRS Board member and ACE Awards judge, Lawrence Stevenson, APR, weighs in on how you can get your submission to rise above the rest. Lawrence, who has been judging the Awards for the past five years, shares some of his top tips to help you on your way to ACE.

1. Read the requirements.

Too often, submissions do not even meet the eligibility criteria for the executive summary. The judges are very stringent about details like the page length and font size.

The guidelines require the entrant to prepare, in only two-pages and minimum 10 pt font, an executive summary that includes a brief description of the strategy, quantifiable objectives, audiences, plans and tactics, budget and restraints, and the results. For full ACE Awards 2012 Entry Guidelines, click here.

2. RACE can take you from ‘good’ to ‘great’

Many submissions fail because they do a few things poorly. First and foremost, follow the RACE formula: Research, Analysis, Communications and Evaluation. Be clear about the components and set measurable objectives. ‘Raising awareness by xyz’ is not a measurable objective. Objectives should be SMART.

Poorly articulated research can negatively affect your submission. You may have done primary or secondary research, but how did it impact your decisions? You may have done a media scan, but what does that mean? Did you look at similar campaigns, or last year’s campaign? Tell the judges.

Then, did you evaluate based on your SMART objectives? The very best submissions restate objectives and discuss what was actually achieved from them. Conversely, if you didn’t achieve them, explain why because it could be due to some compelling mitigating circumstances. Mistakes do not negate the work of the campaign; being able to identify your mistakes can still result in high scores.

3. Do not gloss over (or completely leave out) your budget

Budgets are sometimes confidential, but there are ways of presenting it in such a way that is representative of your work, without breaking confidentiality. Without giving a specific dollar amount, illustrate where you spent your money.

For example, you could simply document that you spent 90 per cent of your budget on a guest speaker. This does not disclose your actual dollars, but it is a large portion of your budget and needs to be presented. If you’re a not-for-profit with a smaller budget, a guest speaker could be the strongest element to your campaign and well-worth 90 per cent of it. Clearly explaining this will earn you a higher score.

4. Know your campaign

Entrants are more than welcome to submit their campaign to more than one category, but be selective. If you have a special event campaign that also excels in media relations and you decide to submit it to both categories, then make sure you illustrate the difference for each. Do not just copy and paste your entry for both categories.

5. Edit your work!

First impressions are everything. That goes for your ACE Award submissions too, and it is very difficult to undo a bad first impression. Your initial executive summary is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the judges. The small details are important. You could provide an award-winning campaign, but the judges will not be able to see it through an entry that is riddled with errors.

Remember, this is your best work in a campaign, so it should be your best work in the submission.

So, what are you waiting for? Submissions are due on January 26, 2012. You can enter here through the online entry form. And be sure to save the date for this year’s gala on Thursday, April 26, 2012.

Early Bird Submissions Reminder for CPRS Toronto 2012 ACE Awards


The New Year may have only just begun, but time is already running out to get your CPRS Toronto 2012 ACE Awards submission in before the early bird deadline! Submit your entry by January 13, 2012 to qualify for a special discounted rate.

Are you thinking you won’t be able to enter in time? Don’t fret; you could be on your way to ACE in just two easy steps!

Simply enter an executive summary of your project and payment electronically through the online entry form.

Once a team of experienced communicators have reviewed the applications, those who have been short-listed will be asked to submit a full entry.

Winning an ACE Award will earn you industry recognition, raise your organization’s profile, get your work known by Toronto’s public relations community and will allow you to celebrate your work with colleagues and friends at the CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Gala – the hottest PR event in town!

Don’t hesitate, get started on your entry today! And be sure to save the date for this year’s gala on Thursday, April 26, 2012!

For more information on eligibility, campaign entry categories, submission requirements and deadlines, click here to download the ACE Awards 2012 Entry Guidelines Package.

Questions? Contact us at ace@cprstoronto.com or Tweet your questions to @CPRSToronto

Important Dates and Deadlines:

Early Bird Entries Deadline: January 13, 2012

Entries Deadline: January 26, 2012

Leadership Awards Deadline: February 24, 2012

Early Bird Entry Fee (received on or before Friday, January 13, 2012, 5:00 pm EST)

  • $75 CPRS Member
  • $100 Non-Member
  • $25 CPRS Student Member
  • $35 Student Non-Member

Entry Fee (received after January 13, 2012, on or before Thursday, January 26, 2012, 5:00 pm EST)

  • $100 CPRS Member
  • $120 Non-Member
  • $25 CPRS Student Member
  • $35 Student Non-Member

Please note that payment is only accepted via credit card through the online entry form.

Secret to Argyle Communications’ ACE Success


Kelly BaitaBy Kelly Baita

What is it that sets any PR firm apart from the pack? Is it size? Client base? Years in the business? According to Daniel Tisch, president of Argyle Communications, it’s about setting high standards and treating people well.

This philosophy has contributed to Argyle’s success and multiple CPRS ACE Awards, including an impressive six ACE trophies in 2011 alone.

A method for success

If you think there is a method to this level of achievement, you’re right. For Argyle, it’s about being meticulously selective in the submission process. During awards season, Dan and his team look for the best campaigns in each of their four areas of practice: consumer marketing, corporate communications, health and wellness and public affairs. Deciding on the right projects to submit is a process, and Argyle seems to get it just right.  “Last year we entered seven campaigns in total,” says Dan. “Six of them won ACE awards.” This has been a continued trend with Argyle; in 2010 the company had its proudest ACE moment, winning PR Campaign of the Year for Peanuts in Crisis.

Winning more than trophies

After more than 30 years in business, Argyle continues to strive for greatness with CPRS. “What others say about you is most important,” says Dan. “Being recognized by your peers is the highest of honours.”

So has this continued recognition contributed to the company’s business? Looks like it. Ask any employee at Argyle, and they’ll express 100 per cent confidence in the agency’s reputation. Everyone on the Argyle team is proud to be there, especially as their work is celebrated by CPRS year after year. Beyond celebration and validation, winning multiple ACE Awards “helps us to tell our stories,” explains Dan. Each new award contributes to Argyle’s visibility within the industry.

Last year, Argyle even participated in our ACE WebN’R to share the Peanuts in Crisis case and award entry with other PR professionals. How better to show your expertise than that?

Looking ahead

Dan plans to submit to the ACE Awards again this year, with the same high standards as always. You’ll be likely to find the Argyle team at the 2012 gala on April 26.

Words of wisdom

If you’re new to the ACE Awards, take some advice straight from Daniel Tisch himself. To decide on which campaigns to enter, he suggests you:

  1. Consider your best campaigns.
  2. Consider the extent to which those campaigns are measurable.

If your results align with your set objectives, then go ahead and submit it!

The Early Bird entry deadline is January 13, 2012.