Some 200 of the most talent professionals in the PR industry filled the ballroom at New York City’s Hyatt Regency on Monday, Oct. 1 to celebrate the best of digital public relations, at the PR News Digital PR Awards luncheon.
From Best Blog to the WOW! Award, PR News honored the best in digital-and social-centric campaigns—as well as the people and teams behind them—in a total of 35 categories. Go to the PR News Web site for the full list of winners and honorable mentions.
And speaking of blog, ESPN’s ESPNFrontRow blog started off the proceedings by winning the Best Blog (organization) Award. The public-facing blog tells ESPN’s stories from the inside out while aggressively utilizing social media—specifically Twitter—to raise awareness and direct readers to Front Row posts.
The popular PBS series Downton Abbey, Season 2, won for Best Digital PR Campaign. The series drew 20,000 to 30,00 Twitter mentions per episode last season. “Social media is a big reason why Downton Abbey has become such a hit for PBS,” said Olivia Wong of WGBH/Masterpiece.
The luncheon’s keynote speaker, Frank Eliason, senior VP of social media at Citibank, told the crowd that social media has put the focus in companies on customer communications—a real opportunity for PR professionals. “Customer service in most institutions is broken,” said Eliason. “Someone has to fix that, and you in this room are the people to do it.”
Providing some comedy relief for the afternoon, in an attempt to pick up more followers, comedian Craig Baldo revealed some recent ironic tweets he’d sent from his Twitter account, @craigbaldo, like “Gymnasts have the best Tumblr pages."
For the WOW! Award, given to the most innovative digital campaign, co-winners BWK PR won for its amusingly profane video that promoted the launch of the Dollar Shave Club; and Linhart PR and partner Vermilion Design + Interactive won for their Rudi’s Organic Bakery Let’s Doodle Lunch campaign, in which more than 18,000 kids and moms entered artwork online. "In the next six months we’re looking to entertain and energize our customers even more," said Maggie Garner, digital marketing manager at Rudi’s Organic Bakery.
Finally, Weber Shandwick took home the prize for PR Firm of the Year, Digital. In 2011, the agency’s 400-plus digital experts worldwide created campaigns for brands like PepsiCo, U.S. Army and M&Ms. “The brands that we work for allow us to tell some amazing stories online, said Chris Vary, EVP of digital program innovation at Weber Shandwick. “We push digital every day, both externally and internally. It means a lot to us.”
It seems like the same could be said for all of our Digital Awards winners and runners-up.