Tag Archives: ACE

APEX PR’s Jennifer Stein on the importance of celebrating success


Last year, APEX Public Relations & Walmart Canada took home the ACE Award for Best Creative for the innovation and creativity behind their “Back-To-School with Walmart” campaign. We sat down with Jennifer Stein, vice president of APEX Public Relations, to look back on the award-winning campaign and the importance of celebrating success.

  1. What inspired you to launch Back-To-School with Walmart?

The inspiration started with the Snack Report. In our research we found out people were talking about lunch and dinner solutions, but not snack solutions. When I think about kids I think of them trading snacks on the school ground. Kids have snack envy, and that really set the tone for what we did.

  1. Why do you think the campaign was so successful in the end?

We really touched on a nerve on something that was applicable. We had a hypothesis, we did a survey to prove the hypothesis and the hypothesis was true.

It wasn’t just 50 per cent of moms, it was 85 per cent of moms that have this problem, and we knew we needed to provide this solution for them. We worked with a recipe developer to create fun recipes that would resonate with everyone. The content was amazing and when you have amazing content the media is more apt to pick it up.

  1. You have your finger on the pulse with key industry trends. How important is it to know your audience?

Not only do you need to know your target audience, you need to know what their habits are. How much time they’re spending shopping, how much time they’re spending watching TV, online and listening to the radio so that they can really be targeted, otherwise your message isn’t getting to them.

  1. Was an ACE Award priority during the campaign, or was it after it ended that you decided to submit?

After. Even though we knew we really blew it out of the water with media impressions, we didn’t know until a couple of months later when all the sales data came in that we helped drive sales and in-store foot traffic. It’s not until you get that insight that you know you have a winner.

  1. Back-To-School with Walmart was completed and your client was satisfied. Why submit to the ACE Awards?

I think it’s a nice way to congratulate the team. Awards can be tedious, but everyone squeals when you get an e-mail and it tells you you’ve won an award. It’s a feel-good ending to a campaign and something you can show the client, too, that it was an award-winning success.

  1. Do you think it’s important to submit to recognition awards like ACE?

Yes, often in our industry we do a campaign, we wrap and then we’re on to the next. We don’t take the time to sit back and relish how amazing the campaign was because this industry is so fast and furious. This allows us to take a step back and reflect. Not enough people do.

  1. Why do you think APEX won last year?

We had amazing content, content that was backed by research. And the campaign helped drive sales and at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.

  1. What advice do you have for those PR campaigns being submitted this year?

If you have a sales stat, always use a sales stat to show your success. Or stakeholder analysis. The more you can dig deep into that the better your awards submission will be.

  1. When you found out you were competing for the highest ACE Award, how did you prepare for the Best in Show judging?

We treated it like a new business pitch to a panel of 12 people we didn’t know. We put together a presentation, we vetted it and then we rehearsed. We rehearsed three to four times as a group.

Written by Bianca Jimeno, Post-Graduate Student, Humber College

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.”


Changes to 2014 ACE Award Submission Protocol


It’s that time again! The annual ACE Awards are on the horizon and that means it’s time for you to start thinking about where you shone the brightest this year. The 2014 ACE Awards will feature a few important rule changes that you need to know about.


1) The submission process

This year the ACE Award submissions will not require the preliminary entry of an executive summary. Executive summaries will be submitted together with the full campaign binder. This is for two reasons. First, it will allow judges to spend more time on one set of submissions and offer better feedback to entrants looking to improve their work. Second, the application process will be streamlined for those submitting their work for judging.

2) Return of documents

Binders will not be returned after the ACE Awards Gala. Experience has shown us that many applicants produce an extra copy of the “big binder” submission for their records, and do not need the originals returned to them. Instead of returning the full binder, entrants will receive their completed marking rubrics via email in the week following the ACE Awards Gala.

3) Best in Show/Best Creative Entries
For Best in Show and Best Creative nominations, the judges will nominate 2-3 submissions for both categories. The entrants will be asked to present their work to the judging panel to be considered for the Best in Show and Best Creative awards. Portions of these presentations may be videotaped for future use at the ACE Awards Gala.


These changes have been made to help strengthen the ACE Awards program and ensure that the submission experience is as rewarding as possible for our members. Streamlining the submission process creates a simpler experience for applicants, guarantees continued quality feedback on their work and allows CPRS Toronto to stay current with other award programs.


If you have any questions about the changes to the submission process, or about anything else related to judging and entries at the 2014 ACE Awards, please contact Leigh LePage or Charzie Abendanio, Judging & Entries co-chairs, at cprs.ace.awards@gmail.com.


A night of celebrating communications excellence


By: Miranda Germani

The ACE Awards, held on April 24 at Arcadian Court, truly lived up to its namesake of Achieving Communications Excellence. Fantastic examples of excellence were celebrated throughout the evening, with top campaign honours going to two particularly outstanding campaigns.

Winner of Best PR Campaign of the Year was Argyle Communications and Free for All for their “30% off Ontario Tuition” campaign.

“Receiving this honour from CPRS Toronto not only makes Argyle Communications and its clients feel proud, but also tells us that our professional peers believe we set and achieve high standards,” said Argyle Communications president Daniel Tisch.

“PR is at its best when practised in the public interest,” said Daniel, speaking to the importance of Argyle’s campaign. “The Ontario government had made its ‘30 per cent off tuition’ a priority, and needed support to get the message to students. PR was critical in getting this done. Like every great PR campaign, there were barriers to overcome, and a creative strategy was critical to success.”

The other star campaign of the evening was Strategic Objectives and Mondelēz Canada’s “100th Birthday of Oreo” campaign, which took home the award for Best Creative PR Campaign of the Year. Judy Lewis, Strategic Objectives co-founder and executive vice president, enthusiastically affirmed that winning the award gives her team the inspiration to continue to develop the most creative, breakthrough, and effective PR campaigns.

These two campaigns particularly epitomized achieving communications excellence for 2013. Who will win next year? The countdown begins now, so be sure to get ready to compile your amazing work into a submission for the 2014 ACE Awards.

Photos from the CPRS Toronto 2013 ACE Awards now available


This year’s ACE Awards gala was, as promised, a night to remember! Well, now you can reminisce as much and as often as you like because the pictures are available through CPRSToronto’s flickr.

Thank you to everyone who joined us this past Wednesday, and congratulations again to all of this year’s winners.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”CPRSToronto” id=”72157633353367492″]

Pics from #CPRSACE 2013 as taken by you


Pics from #CPRSACE 2013

Sights from the night, as posted by you during the CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Gala on April 24, 2013 at Arcadian Court.

Storified by CPRS Toronto· Wed, Apr 24 2013 19:17:25

Getting everything set and ready to go (nice program, @michael0maniac) #CPRSACE instagram.com/p/YgCm2pPTs3/Nicole
Looking good! “@Toronto_PR_Guy: With the amazing @DebWeinstein at #CPRSACE pic.twitter.com/lrREfZL4TI”CPRS2013
The #CCPR crew celebrating at #CPRSACE pic.twitter.com/yRPwv1yyUDBarry Waite
The digital girls (minus Jordanna) @cprstoronto Ace Awards #CPRSAce @fleishmanca instagram.com/p/YgRa7YMxM0/Leah Blair
@CPRSToronto stylish venue! Let’s win some awards @msl_group #CPRSACE pic.twitter.com/fQc1YpgIfeCarolyn Greathead
Here with my awesome clients @AshleighMeilach @jessvanrooyen #CPRSACE instagram.com/p/YgS8CZOfF6/Andrew F Stewart
Team @so_pr at the #CPRSACE awards! instagram.com/p/YgTBlVk-fp/Strategic Objectives
Thanks for the chocolate, @Marketwired! We appreciate the gesture. ALMOST makes up for the lack of booze #CPRSACE pic.twitter.com/iT19N5QX2lMaverick PR
With an amazing group at #CPRSAce @LaurenCMore @FordChantelB @jayneerickson @ammar_ammar @CPRSToronto pic.twitter.com/gZV0Xel69zKerri Stoakley
Good looking @NATIONALPR seat mates at #CPRSAce. #alreadywinning @CPRSToronto pic.twitter.com/PddIUo3cshJoannaMWilson
Looking good Aaron, @robmanne & @andrewfstewart @cprstoronto #winning #cprsace @ Arcadian instagram.com/p/YgT_15uLQ0/Christine Lu
At the #CPRSAce Awards @CPRSToronto with the @fleishmanCA crew #PR pic.twitter.com/yyuwqiAxAoNare Tutundjian
It’s gonna be a good night @ashleighmeilach @jessvanrooyen @cprstoronto #cprsace #pr #gala #awards @… instagram.com/p/YgUsRmuLRu/Christine Lu
Let’s do this! Time to celebrate our successes. #pr #CPRSACE @ Arcadian instagram.com/p/YgU2ZPI6Qp/Philippe Gaudet
Wine makes for some very, very happy MAVERICKs #cprsace pic.twitter.com/7t92FhtwBDMaverick PR
“@daltonkaren: @CPRS2013 Promoting National Conference at ACE Awards. #cprsace pic.twitter.com/AMGTgt6aIU” Go @CPRS2013 Go! Let’s make it happenJean Valin
#CPRSACE underway! @consumersos Sean O’Shea taking the stage! instagram.com/p/Ygbw4rvTun/Nicole
Go @MAVERICK_PR ! RT @KellyOlivePR: The rap chicks of #PR checking out the @cprstoronto #cprsace awards! cc @koolkrys instagram.com/p/YgT2okMdI8/Kool Krys
@blogsley and @sejfitch representing @energiPR at the #CPRSACE awards! Congrats to all the winners! yfrog.com/odsl1wbjenergi PR, DigiComm
Sharing a laugh with @candipr @rosieships at #cprsace @cprstoronto instagram.com/p/YgcPeoTJkY/Rob Manne
Just took gold for Best Use of Communication Tools! @CPRSToronto #CPRSACE pic.twitter.com/O3tLfYSuZREnvironics PR
“@fleishmanCA: Congratulations to our @jacob_p and team for their #CPRSACE silver award for 1D world! So proud! pic.twitter.com/wqCZ0AVCm3” loveLeah Blair
A Gold for @ArgylePR in media relations! #cprsace pic.twitter.com/NQmLAOocXxDaniel Tisch APR
Woo! Our fabulous oreo client with our @CPRSToronto GOLD! #CPRSACE instagram.com/p/Yggbg6k-UO/Strategic Objectives
Congratulations @so_pr! @JudySLewis hits the stage for the #OreoMoment win #CPRSACE @ Arcadian instagram.com/p/YggWAsvXYr/Kelly Baita
Congrats to #GCIGROUP and Novo Nordisk (cli) who just won a silver award at #CPRSACE! What a night! pic.twitter.com/JFrcuAb1vCGCI Canada
Congrats heather_agnew #CPRSACE Volunteer of the Year Award recipient! instagram.com/p/YgizeYPToX/Nicole
@cprstoronto #CPRSACE Winning. #gold #studentprcampaign instagram.com/p/YgjBi0M_r2/Brenna
Wheeeo #BraveArtTO silver!! @CPRSStudents @VivienneMcCuaig #CPRSACE pic.twitter.com/6yW13EsMUeSarah MacKinnon
@ArgylePR wins @CPRSToronto Best Campaign of the Year! Congrats to all nominees, to our team & clients! #cprsace pic.twitter.com/HHp2LiKDYSArgyle
#cprsace award winners for crisis comms! Congrats @maverick_pr team! cc @michagoddard instagram.com/p/YgnxHisdDr/Kelly Olive
Regram from @andrewfstewart! @robmanne @jessvanrooyen @ashleighmeilach & Aaron! @cprstoronto #cprsace… instagram.com/p/Ygpm_7uLdO/Christine Lu

Why attending the ACE Awards is a must for Toronto’s PR professionals: Insight from a past attendee


By: Miranda Germani

Haven’t bought your ACE Awards gala ticket yet? What are you waiting for? The ACE Awards, the Toronto PR must-attend event, is fast approaching. Tracey Bochner, President of Paradigm Public Relations, helps us break down the benefits of attending the gala.

“It is important to support CPRS and the PR industry in Toronto in general, and attending the gala is good way to do this,” says Tracey. “The ACE Awards is a place to recognize the innovative work of the PR industry in Toronto.”

The gala isn’t just a fun event, it’s also a learning opportunity. “The ACE Awards showcases some of the best work being done by communications professionals in the city. Whether the award-winning work is from agencies, corporations, government or not-for-profits, there is always something that we can learn from the creative thinking and success of others,” says Tracey.

It is also a great opportunity for networking. Each year at the gala Tracey reconnects with industry colleagues.

“The ACE Awards is an important night for us at Paradigm PR. My business partner Mike Abbass and I look forward to the gala every year,” says Tracey. “We celebrate with our amazing clients, who give us the latitude to execute creative campaigns, which result in award-winning programs, we recognize our incredibly talented staff, and we connect with colleagues to toast their successes. We never miss it.”

Ready to reap the benefits of attending the ACE Awards? Hurry, tickets are almost sold out. More information is available on the ACE Awards page.

Tweeting about the ACE Awards? Follow @CPRSToronto and use the hashtag #CPRSACE.

One more week to get your ACE Award tickets!


Don’t wait any longer before getting your tickets for the 2013 ACE Awards gala, which will be held one week from today! It’s the Oscars of PR – a chance to recognize and celebrate the excellence in public relations and communications. It will be a fabulous night of networking with colleagues, while enjoying a delicious three-course dinner. Tickets are selling fast, so make sure to reserve your spot at this prestigious event you don’t want to miss.

Our host for the night will be Global Toronto’s Sean O’Shea, award-winning investigative and consumer reporter who is regarded as one of the most tenacious reporters on local television.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

  • 5:15 p.m. Registration and Cocktail Reception
  • 6 p.m. Dinner and Awards Ceremony


Arcadian Court
401 Bay Street
Simpson Tower, 8th floor
Toronto, ON
M5H 2Y4

Ticket costs:

  • Member: $130
  • Table of 10: $1,250
  • Non-member: $165
  • Student member: $70
  • Student non-member: $85

For more information, and to buy your ticket, visit the CPRS Toronto website.


Quick! Time is running out to get your CPRS Toronto 2013 ACE Awards Tickets!


By: Barbara Loureiro

It’s that time of year again – the CPRS Toronto Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards are fast approaching!

On April 24th join Toronto’s top PR practitioners to celebrate the best of public relations and communications. Held at the Arcadian Court, the ACE awards will commence at 5:15 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and the award ceremony at 6 p.m. Hosted by Sean O’Shea, award-winning investigative and consumer reporter on GlobalTV Toronto, the 2013 ACE Awards is guaranteed to be a great time.

ACE has always been the hottest ticket in the Toronto PR industry, so don’t miss out. Tickets sell out every year, make sure you get yours now!

Ticket costs:

  • Member: $130
  • Table of 10: $1,250
  • Non-member: $165
  • Student member: $70
  • Student non-member: $85

For more information, and to buy your ticket, visit the CPRS Toronto website.

Inside the ACE Awards Gala – Thoughts from a veteran attendee


By: Miranda Germani

Are you considering attending the hottest PR event in town but aren’t quite sure what to expect? Blair Peberdy, vice-president, marketing, communications and public affairs, Toronto Hydro-Electric System, has attended every ACE Awards Gala for the past decade. Blair gives us the inside scoop on what it’s like to join more than 300 of Toronto’s PR practitioners and students to celebrate the best in PR, network with colleagues, and enjoy a delicious meal.

For those who haven’t attended an ACE Awards gala before, this repeat guest and award-winner describes the event as “one of the few opportunities for Toronto’s PR and communications professionals to get together to celebrate excellence in our business. There’s always a fantastic buzz in the room and the quality of the awards submissions is very impressive.”

Blair thinks it’s important for communications professionals to attend the ACE Awards gala, regardless of whether they’re winning an award.

“Attendees have the opportunity to network with some of the best communicators in the country from the agency, corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors at an event that is fun and well attended by senior, intermediate and entry-level practitioners,” said Blair. “The atmosphere is friendly and it’s the best event in Canada featuring top creative and strategic communications programs, executed exceptionally well.”

The ACE Awards gala is a great way to celebrate with colleagues and friends, and everyone can learn something to use in their professional career. As Blair explains, “Great campaigns are always featured and well-presented in a fast-paced format. I usually come away with one or two great ideas. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to quietly gauge how your own communications programs stack-up against some of the top PR professionals in Canada — and it’s usually a pleasant surprise!”

Blair concluded explaining why he has been a loyal attendee. “I like to attend because I enjoy the networking, but most importantly I find the quality of the awards submissions and the excitement at the event to be inspiring.”

The ACE Awards gala is fast-approaching. This year’s ACE Awards is being held on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at the Arcadian Court, hosted by Global Toronto’s Sean O’Shea.

Eager to get your hands on the hottest PR ticket in town? More information is available on the ACE Awards page. But don’t delay – this event always sells out!

Tweeting about the ACE Awards? Follow @CPRSToronto and use the hashtag #CPRSACE