2012 Digital PR Awards: Public Affairs

Winner: International Franchise Association - Operation Enduring Opportunity

As hundreds of thousands of young men and women returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, including many wounded warriors, the International Franchise Association and franchised businesses launched Operation Enduring Opportunity, a campaign to hire and recruit —as franchise restaurant owners—75,000 veterans and their spouses, and 5,000 wounded warriors, by 2014.

Partnering with the White House Joining Forces Initiative, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Wounded Warrior Project, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Small Business Administration and others, the campaign’s objective was to increase visibility for this hiring effort, featuring opportunities offered by nearly 500 franchise companies.

With limited resources, the IFA team, which included Steve Caldeira, Beth Solomon, Matt Haller, Josh Merin, Alisa Harrison, Jenna Weisbord, Courtney Moore and Dan Gibson, relied on traditional PR and digital media to raise awareness of the campaign. Launching the campaign Nov. 10, 2011 in nine cities, the IFA forged content sharing partnerships with military associations and military media organizations. For Memorial Day, IFA ran digital advertising highlighting veteran unemployment rates and franchise opportunities, and released new statistics on veteran franchise business ownership.

To date, Operation Enduring Opportunity has led to careers in franchising for 7,200 veterans, including more than 4,200 new veteran franchise business owners. In the process, the franchise industry has established a reputation for corporate responsibility—for stepping forward to assist the nation's veterans and our nation's economy at a critical time. 

Honorable Mentions

  • APCO Worldwide - Shot@Life Campaign

  • Property Casualty Insurers Association of American - Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud

  • Southwest Airlines - Free Hobby Campaign

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