2012 Platinum PR Awards: WOW! Award

Winner: Co-Winner: H&R Block - The ’Stache Act, a case study of the greatest
mustache campaign in history 

The public relations business is full of creative, talented people, so we come to expect great campaigns. Every once in a while, though, a campaign comes along that just blows you away. Take the case of Wow! Award winner H&R Block. H&R Block teamed with their agency Elasticity to expand awareness of the brand to the critical 21-35 year-old male demographic. Face it, when you think of H&R Block, words like stodgy, staid and venerable come to mind. Not exactly the words you’d associate with this target audience. So, how do you reach them? Through humor.

Using a mixture of politics, whimsy and genius, H&R Block created a campaign involving a proposed bill (the ‘Stache Act) that would provide a $250 tax cut to anyone sporting a mustache. Mixing an array of staged events, social media blasts, media outreach and a charity tie-in, H&R Block kicked off the campaign with a President’s Day announcement from the steps of the United States Capitol. The impact was immediate. The story was initially picked up by 17 national media outlets and then the buzz grew exponentially when a long segment aired on Neil Cavuto’s Fox broadcast.

The ultimate numbers are staggering: Reach= 255 million impressions, national media stories= 91, app views= 43,700, earned Facebook reach= 9 million. The most important number, though, could be seen on the bottom line. H&R Block reported a record number of tax returns for the 2012 tax season. —JG

Co-Winner: OWS with Workhouse Publicity - Occupy Wall Street: The Revolution Will Be Editorialized

It’s hard to believe now, but the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement went unreported in New York and national news outlets for weeks after the initial encampment. It wasn’t until the OWS organizers reached out to Workhouse, late in September 2011, that the word began to get out about what was happening in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Workhouse first visited the site on September 26 and, after some quick, intensive research, decided that the best way to get the world’s attention was to photograph the scene and events surrounding the occupation.

Workhouse created multiple, topic-based, photo galleries. The photos were graphic and powerful. These images were then distributed to Workhouse’s database of over 500,000 subscribers, including journalists, celebrities and government officials. They were further promoted through Workhouse’s network of social media accounts.

It was the brilliant use of these photographs that showed the nation and the world that the events happening at OWS were not only happening, they signified the birth of a major international social and political movement. 

The results, obviously, have been spectacular. There’s hardly a newspaper, Internet or broadcast media outlet that hasn’t covered OWS. There have been “Occupy” demonstrations in over 900 cities around the world. At the close of 2011, Time magazine named “The Protester” as its Person of the Year. —JG

Honorable Mentions:


Downy with DeVries Public Relations –  Downy Puts Mike in the Window for Clean Sheet Week: Putting comedian Mike Birbiglia in Macy’s window for seven days to promote “seven days of freshness” allowed Downy to clean up to the tune of a 14% increase in sales and more than 550 million media impressions.

GM Western Region Communications & Weber Shandwick – Chevy Drive N Date Revs Up Speed Dating Like Never Before:  In an interesting take on speed dating, an event was set up where attendees hopped from car to car to see which one they fell in love with. Videos of the event have had over 52,000 views to date.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies – The Force is Strong with “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” on Blu-Ray: Using the 2010 Star Wars Celebration at a launch venue, George Lucas and R2D2 announced the fall 2011 release of the Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blue-ray. It has gone on to become the best-selling catalog Blue-ray disc of all time.

Jennie-O Turkey Store – Jennie-O Creates Turkey Burger Converts One Switch at a Time: Jumping on the hottest trend in food, food trucks, Jennie-O Turkey gave away free turkey burgers from a re-outfitted New York City food truck. The promotion, along with social media and traditional media outreach, created buzz, coverage and converts.

Major League Baseball – MLB Fan Cave: What do you get when you put two bloggers in one storefront, put them in front of 15 TV screens and have them watch every game of the Major League Baseball season? You get several billion media impressions, 400,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter and a whole new generation of fans.

The Venetian Resort-Hotel Casino – The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas Announce First-Ever Winter in Venice Holiday Celebration: To lure holiday season travelers to Las Vegas, the Venetian turned its two properties into winter wonderlands, even putting in an ice rink. Not only did the media pay attention, travelers did as well.


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