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 Relations’ People 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.