Tag Archives: ace awards

#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

Rendezvous with Veritas; Winner of the 2016 ACE Award for Best Use of Special Events


Rendezvous with Veritas; Winner of the 2016 ACE Award for Best Use of Special Events

Nina Szirmay-Kalos* is the Group Vice President at Veritas Communications. She is an award-winning media relations guru, PR extraordinaire, dedicated leader and a wise mentor. She is an experienced and highly motivated PR practitioner known for pitching ice to a snowman.

Kaur: Hi. I’m Suneet Kaur, a graduate of Public Relations at Seneca College. I’m talking today about the Award-Winning Sensorium by Stella Artois, a PR campaign planned and executed by Veritas Communications. It’s my pleasure to be speaking with Nina Szirmay-Kalos, Group Vice President of Veritas Communications.

Nina, first things first, what inspired you to launch Sensorium with Stella Artois?

Kalos: We’re always looking for new sources of inspiration. We knew our client wanted to be part of the circuit during TIFF but we needed to find a way to do that which was authentic to the brand and disruptive enough to break through the Festival clutter. Nothing is more authentic to the brand than the Stella Artois’ Chalice, so we used that as a jumping off point. The chalice is specifically designed to engage all senses – so we wondered what an event that did the same could look like. Sensorium was born.

Kaur: Like you mentioned, the campaign was timed around TIFF, and there was a lot of festival clutter. Not only did you break through the clutter, but won honours at the Ace Awards. Why do you think the campaign was such a huge success in the end?

Kalos: I think the campaign attracted so much attention and was a huge success because it was grounded in insight. We knew that our target demographic was more motivated by cool experiences than they were by cool things so we took our product and imagined a way for them to interact with it in a unique way. You need to always consider the needs of your market when building out campaigns and then ultimately deliver against those needs.

Kaur: You have your finger on the pulse with key industry trends. What is the most important aspect in PR campaign strategy design?

Kalos: Insights, insights, insights. You need to start from a smart place to end at an effective one!

Kaur: What was the significance, if any, of social media in your campaign?

Kalos: Social was of huge significance – an answer you’ll get 9 times out of 10 from most PR professionals. Our goal with this campaign was ultimately ticket sales and because of that we wanted to cast a wide media net to spread the word. By the time our media preview rolled around, the event was actually sold out, so the purpose of social went from driving ticket sales, to allowing all those who couldn’t actually attend to experience the event in some way. It also helped to drive interest in Sensorium, which Stella Artois has grown into a global adapt and reapply, largely based on the interest generated in Toronto.

Kaur: How did you pitch media and influencers to cover your event? Any tips for Public Relations students?

Kalos: We used the same insight we had for our consumers. We hosted a media preview before the launch of Sensorium, so media was enticed by also getting to experience this unique event. It was a huge draw given that this was all taking place during TIFF and the demands on media were so high – we really need to give them a reason to take notice of us.

Kaur: Did you have an ACE Award on your mind during the campaign, or was it only after that you thought to submit? Why did you think of submitting to the ACE Awards?

Kalos: Winning awards is wonderful. We love to celebrate great, smart partnerships with our clients – because don’t forget that none of what we do would be possible without engaged and collaborative clients.  But that’s not the basis of our campaigns. We work towards objectives that are clearly defined from the outset which rarely but sometimes includes getting industry recognition – but that’s less about the award itself and more about pushing ourselves to do something truly great and impactful.

Kaur: Do you think it’s important to submit to recognition awards like ACE?

Kalos: I think ACE awards serve a wonderful purpose. They inspire the industry community. It’s fantastic to see what your counterparts are doing and what they’re achieving. It motivates us all to find the next big thing.

Kaur: Why do you think VERITAS won last year?

Kalos: I think we were successful in last year’s awards competition because we had an awesome campaign that we presented to the judges in a clear, concise and illustrative way. Sometimes these awards submissions are difficult because you’re trying to bring to life a campaign that literately took months to conceive and execute through 2-3 written pages. Award submissions really are an art and the team takes them seriously.

Kaur: What advice do you have for those PR campaigns being submitted this year?

Kalos: Make sure your submissions are grounded in insights and that your objectives link to tangible results. You can have an interesting campaign, but if it didn’t move the needle for your client, you’ll have real trouble showing business-minded people why their investment in PR was a valuable spend.


By Suneet Kaur Lamba, Seneca College


*Nina Szirmay-Kalos




2016 was a doozy! But a lot of hard work was accomplished, so why not reflect on your past achievements and celebrate with an Ace Award!  Display your hard work and strategic success with your peers – a room of industry pros and innovators!

The annual ACE Awards recognize communications excellence in the public relations industry. It’s not too late to apply, though the deadline is fast approaching.

Get started on your entry today and be sure to make that early bird deadline on February 3. Also, don’t forget to mark May 2nd in 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:

2017 Key Dates

  • February 03, 2017 – Early Bird Submission Deadline
  • February 24, 2017 – Full Submission Deadline
  • February 27, 2017 – Leadership Award Submission Deadline
  • May 2, 2017 – ACE Awards Gala

Enter at www.cprstoronto.com!

Questions? e-mail ace@cprstoronto.com

2016 CPRS ACE Award PR Campaign of the Year: Edelman for Ontario Association of Optometrists


2016 CPRS ACE Award Creative Campaign of the Year: Narrative PR for Scotiabank


2016 CPRS ACE Award Best in Show Contender: APEX PR for Polysporin


2016 CPRS ACE Award Best in Show Contender: Narrative PR for Bacardi


2016 CPRS ACE Award Best in Show Contender: APEX PR for Walmart Canada


2016 CPRS ACE Award Best in Show Contender: Veritas for Stella Artois


Banking and Optometry Come out on Top at the 2016 CPRS Toronto ACE Gala


CPRS Toronto Recognizes Award-Winning PR Campaigns

TORONTO, May 5, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) in Toronto hosted the Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards Gala and recognized award-winning public relations campaigns from across the Greater Toronto Area. More than 360 professionals attended the event at the Arcadian Court to celebrate their campaigns, showcase client work, and support their colleagues.

“The industry continues to evolve in many ways and the work presented this evening reflects that evolution and dedication behind the public relations profession,” said Diane Bégin, Co-President, CPRS Toronto. Jeff Rohrer, Co-President, CPRS Toronto added, “There is an immense amount of talent found within the Toronto community of public relations professionals and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of a ceremony that recognizes that.”

The Best in Show awards two outstanding campaigns with creative approaches to meeting the clients’ business and brand needs. Narrative PR received the Best Creative Campaign of the Year for their work with Scotiabank and its SCENE Fall campaign targeting millenials during Frosh Week, combining experiential and creative marketing. The Public Relations Campaign of the Year Award went to Edelman Toronto for its informative and engaging 20-second Daydreams campaign, which brings awareness to computer vision syndrome for the Ontario Association of Optometrists.

“We introduced a new category this year called Marketing Communications Campaign of the Year in response to the shift underway in our industry. The long list of winners in this category is proof of how far we’ve come,” said Carolyn Merchant, ACE Awards Chair, CPRS Toronto. “It is a pleasure to once again lead a team of committed volunteers and judges dedicated to the advancement of the communications profession.”

The 2016 ACE Award recipients include:

Best PR Campaign of the Year

  • Edelman Canada – Ontario Association of Optometrists 20-Second Daydreams

Best Creative Campaign of the Year Award

  • Narrative PR – Scotiabank SCENE Fall

Leadership Awards

  • Lois Marsh Award: Christina Marshall, APR, Vivant Communications
  • CPRS Toronto PR Professional of the Year Award: Lauren Dineen-Duarte, American Express Canada
  • Volunteer of the Year: Terrence Freeman, Humber College
  • CPRS Toronto Public Relations Student of the Year: Charzie Abendanio, Humber College

Investor / Financial Relations Campaign of the Year


  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – PUDO Lists on the CSE

Crisis or Issues Management Campaign of the Year


  • De Beers Group of Companies – Closure of Snap Lake Mine

Community Relations Campaign of the Year


  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – Sears Canada Milestone Celebrations Program


  • Edelman Canada – Canadian Women’s Foundation Get Consent Campaign
  • Veritas Communications – Microsoft Code Generation
  • Weber Shandwick – Ronald McDonald House Charities

Government Relations / Public Affairs Campaign of the Year


  • Counsel Public Affairs – Ontario Real Estate Association


  • Sussex Strategy Group – Dairy Farmers of Canada “Canadian Milk Matters”

New Product or Service Launch Campaign of the Year


  • MAVERICK Public Relations – Amope PediPark
  • Weber Shandwick – WOW Air Canadian Launch Announcement
  • Weber Shandwick – McDonald’s Canada Restaurant of the Future Launch


  • Weber Shandwick – McCafe Standalone Launch
  • Narrative PR – The Journey Begins Here: Scotiabank GM VISA Launch

Brand Development Campaign of the Year


  • Edelman Canada – KD Rebrand
  • DDB Public Relations – CIL Beauty on a Small Budget


  • PRAXIS – Quaker Canada “The Recital”
  • Weber Shandwick – McDonald’s Canada Restaurant of the Future Launch


  • Weber Shandwick – McCafe Standalone Launch
  • Edelman – Go RVing Canada #BringBackWildhood”
  • North Strategic – AIR MILES “Brand Rejuvenation”

Best Use of Special Events


  • Narrative PR – BACARDI PALADAR
  • North Strategic – Airbnb “Stay At Air Canada Centre”
  • Veritas Communications – Stella Artois’ Sensorium
  • Weber Shandwick Canada – McFlurry 20th Anniversary


  • Media Profile – Google Canada “Youtube FanFest”


  • Canadian Tire – “Canadian Tire presents Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2015”
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Maytag Ultimate Laundry Room, 2015 Pan Am Games Sponsorship
  • FleishmanHillard – Temptations “Just for Cats”

Best Use of Media Relations Under $50,000


  • Paradigm Public Relations – Kid Poker Documentary Debut
  • Weber Shandwick – WOW Air Canadian Launch Announcement
  • High Road – American Express Canada “Entertainment on Cloud 10”
  • Kwittken Canada – Re-introducing The Keg to Canadians
  • FleishmanHillard – Concord Adex “Nineteen Century Schooner Discovery”


  • Porter Novelli Canada – Kids Help Phone’s BroTalk launch
  • Strategic Objectives – MEGA BLOKS “Building Kids Up Through Play”
  • MSLGROUP – RandStad Workmonitor: from thought leader to game changer
  • Narrative PR – NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto
  • Argyle Public Relationships – Beating the ‘Cancer Blues’ on World Cancer Day
  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – Sears Canada Holiday Media Relations

Best Use of Media Relations Over $50,000


  • APEX Public Relations – Get Ready for Back-to-School with Walmart Canada


  • Argyle Public Relationships – Sugary September: Diabetes and the Canadian Election
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies – FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Add A Little Joy with Nutella: 2015 Truck Tour
  • Edelman Canada – Canadian Women’s Foundation Get Consent Campaign
  • Strategic Objectives – Kellogg’s Breakfasts for Better Days
  • APEX Public Relations – Discover Another Side of Walmart Canada
  • Strategic Objectives – #YouAreWelcome from MNCFN: The Official Host First Nation of TO2015
  • APEX Public Relations – Nestle Canada launch of the new SMARTIES packaging
  • MSLGROUP Canada – P&G Always #LikeAGirl: Turning an insult into a confidence


  • Weber Shandwick Canada – PetSmart Charities of Canada National Adoption Weekends 2015”
  • Edelman Canada – Baking with Becel ® and Demystifying Margarine News Bureau
  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – Royal LePage “Thought Leadership in Canadian Real Estate”
  • North Strategic – Cadillac Fairview National Black Friday 2015 Campaign
  • FleishmanHillard – MARS Pet Mixed Feeding
  • Woods Canada – Ultimate Dream Job
  • Strategic Objectives – Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats for Toys Holiday Program
  • Edelman Canada – KD Rebrand
  • MSLGROUP Canada – Indigo Holiday 2015
  • Citizen Relations and Loblaw Companies Ltd. – President’s Choice® Insiders Collection™ Holiday Boutique

Best Digital Communications Campaign of the Year


  • APEX Public Relations – POLYSPORIN®: Targeting the Quebec Market on Facebook


  • Strategic Objectives – Second Cup Coffee Co. Hot Chocolate: #TasteItRateIt
  • High Road – Canadian Labour Congress “Better Choice”
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Edgewell Personal Care “Be Carefree. Everyday”
  • MSLGROUP Canada – P&G Always #LikeAGirl: Turning an insult into a confidence
  • Cohn & Wolfe – Coleman Canada “Get Outside Day”
  • MSLGROUP Canada – P&G’s “Pantene #ShineStrong Tag Challenge


  • Edelman Canada – Canadian Women’s Foundation Get Consent campaign
  • Veritas Communications – Kimberly-Clark “Buckle Up, Creampuff”
  • Sussex Strategy Group – Dairy Farmers of Canada TPP Campaign

Marketing Communications Campaign of the Year


  • Edelman Canada – Ontario Association of Optometrists 20-Second Daydreams
  • APEX Public Relations – Get Ready for Back-to-School with Walmart Canada
  • Narrative PR – Scotiabank SCENE Fall
  • APEX Public Relations – Discover Another Side of Walmart Canada”\


  • Edelman Canada – Intuit Canada “Know Your Worth”
  • FleishmanHillard – Uncle Ben’s for “Ben’s Beginners”
  • Media Profile – “Starbucks Canada Sparkle Shop”
  • Toronto Public Health – “The Truth about Smoking Hookah”
  • Government of Ontario – Public Education Campaign to Prevent Sexual Violence and Harassment”
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Add A Little Joy With Nutella: 2015 Truck Tour
  • Weber Shandwick – McCafe Standalone Launch
  • Woods Canada – “Ultimate Dream Job”
  • Media Profile – Cancer Care Ontario “My CancerIQ Online Risk Assessment Tool”
  • Weber Shandwick – McDonald’s Canada Restaurant of the Future Launch
  • PRAXIS – Quaker Canada’s “The Recital”


  • Narrative PR – Bayer “Break up and move”
  • Veritas Communications – Microsoft Canada for “Microsoft Surface Studio”
  • Engagers – Bay of Quinte: Isn’t It time
  • Cohn & Wolfe – Coleman Canada “Get Outside Day”
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Tim Hortons Warm Wishes

Student Public Relations Communications Plan of the Year


  • Centennial College – Civic Action “Up All Night”
  • Centennial College – Civic Action/Project Fusion “Know the Signs”

The Canadian Public Relations Society is a national professional organization focused on establishing and upholding educational and ethical standards in Public Relations. CPRS Toronto is one of the largest local societies with nearly 600 members. For more information, please visit: http://www.cprstoronto.com.

Special thanks to our sponsors:

CNW, the ACE Awards title sponsor

Business Wire

CNW Creative


Fifth Story

Freeman Audio Visual Canada

Leger Marketing


McMaster University

The Canadian Press


The Edelman Team with their PR Campaign of the Year Award for Ontario Association of Optometrists: 20-Second Daydreams


The Narrative PR Team with their Creative Campaign of the Year Award for Scotiabank SCENE Fall


For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Charzie Abendanio
Lead, ACE Marketing/Communications
CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Committee