2011 Platinum PR Awards: Branding Campaign

Winner: General Motors and Weber Shandwick An American Comeback Story: Resurgent Brands and Great Products Tell the Story of the New GM

As the new General Motors Co. began operation in July 2009, it faced a highly charged and mostly negative media environment fraught with criticism from multiple circles. Realizing that it was a difficult—if not impossible task—to alter the “corporate perception” of GM among industry media and consumers in the near term, GM and Weber Shandwick devised a new centralized news and storytelling approach—GM News Bureau—that would focus on telling positive stories about GM’s four remaining brands after bankruptcy. The News Bureau team concentrated almost entirely on brand and product stories, while emphasizing the positive attributes of the “New GM” as a company that designs, builds and sells the best vehicles in the world. A twofold approach to media outreach was devised: One team focused on mining stories and a second team focused on pitching stories to major media every day. For each story, content and assets were loaded to the media site and coordinated with social media teams. Over 200 mined stories led to 12,000 placements/reposts, increased readership of GM’s media site by 97.5%; and its four brands combined for 55% of the share of voice for 2010 versus Toyota and Ford. —BM

Honorable Mentions:

1-800-Flowers.com Operation Undercover: 1-800-Flowers.com targeted top-tier media and used social networks to share CEO Chris McCann’s experience on the TV show Undercover Boss.

AirTran Airways with Cramer-Krasselt Skip The Stampede: To establish a social media process for the airline through the use of video, Cramer-Krasselt and AirTran poked fun at a competitor’s “cattle call” boarding process and highlighted AirTran’s points of differentiation.

Alpaytac Inc. Bellator Fighting Championships Brand Building: To establish Bellator as a major player in the crowded MMA landscape, Alpaytac chose compelling stories of Bellator fighters and pitched newspapers and sports pubs while leveraging social media.

Coyne PR/Breastcancer.org – One Mission, One Voice: To drive visibility for breastcancer.org and Dr. Marisa Weiss—a prominent figure in the breast cancer community—Coyne PR engaged the media to tell Dr. Weiss’ personal cancer story.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited – A Force to be Reckoned With: The largest private professional services organization tapped MWW Group to create a campaign positioning DTTL as the preeminent industry leader via top-tier media exposure for global CEO Jim Quigley.

Edelman/Pantone – Pantone Color of the Year: Bringing Next Year’s Hot Hue to the Masses: In declaring Honeysuckle the 2011 Color of the Year, Pantone and Edelman capitalized on relationships with high-profile fashion and interior designers, and well-known consumer brands to increase mainstream visibility bolster Pantone’s color authority.

GE – GE’s healthymagination Consumer Launch: Using the 2010 Winter Olympics as a backdrop, GE executed a national and local media relations campaign, engaging Olympic spokespeople for a New York and Vancouver press event to inspire people to lead healthier lives.

GolinHarris – Legends of McRib: To bring back McDonald’s McRib on a national scale for the first time since 1994, GolinHarris engaged the McRib “superfan” community and built buzz through consumer and media discovery of McRib’s return, resulting in meaty McRib sales.

JELL-O – “Give it a Giggle” Tour Spreads Happiness Across America: Hunter PR reengaged the longest-running spokesperson in JELL-O history, Bill Cosby, and embarked on a 23-city mobile marketing tour searching for America best giggle to be featured in a national JELL-O TV spot.

King County Library System Take Time to Read: Residents were offered unexpected opportunities to encounter reading materials, like Quick Reads shelves in waiting rooms, winter reading programs and a Book Cover Walking Tour.

MS&L – Celebrating Heart Health Month with Metamucil: Dr. Oz drove home the importance of psyllium fiber, heart health and Metamucil, which served as a springboard for program and message extensions following his show air date.

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