2008 PR News Platinum PR Issue Winner: Social Media Campaign

The winners and honorable mentions in this year's PR news Platinum PR awards issue exemplify the most innovative approaches to redefining traditional PR with anything-but- traditional strategies. From a marketing communications effort that united a country over the search for the stars of a 1950s TV commercial to an event that landed a flock of pink flamingos around the windy city, the following winner confirms that the PR profession has indeed stepped out from the shadows to take a front-and-center role in delivering business results to their own organizations, and to their clients. Below is the winner of the 2008 PR News Platinum PR award for social media campaign.

Cone LLC & Jockey International Inc.

Jockey International Launches Stopsquirming.com and Jockeyunderwars.com

Jockey is an iconic American apparel brand, but by 2007 it was time to launch a new brand positioning effort that targeted a younger audience with a "freedom to be you" theme. Partnering with Cone LLC, the team realized that reaching the target audience to increase awareness and boost sales would require leveraging social media to take the campaign viral.

Catching the New Media Bug

Our biggest challenge from a PR standpoint was breaking through the clutter in a very crowded space," says Amelia Ott of Cone. "When you think about the fact that viral marketing campaigns are a dime a dozen, we needed to find a way to draw attention to Jockey's campaigns and create traction with our audience."

The attention-grabbing tactic turned out to be the creation of two Web sites, Stopsquirming.com and Jockeyunderwars.com, which hosted consumer-generated videos of the kooky ways people try to alleviate discomfort caused by ill-fitting underwear, as well as a dance-off competition in which consumers could submit funny videos of them dancing in their underwear.

"We leveraged the sites' attention-grabbing video content and provided it to media and bloggers in a way that they could easily post the content on their sites and share it with others," Ott says. "We also specifically targeted the appropriate media and blogs to engage a younger consumer audience. We built a rapport with those targets through off- beat and unconventional outreach approaches that caught their attention and piqued their interest."

So You Think You Can Dance?

The unconventional approach succeeded in taking the campaign viral. Within less than three months, the effort garnered more than 310 media impressions in digital and traditional outlets. Both web sites saw an increase in traffic thanks to media coverage, thus enhancing the brand's new positioning among a younger consumer base.