2014 PR News Agency Elite Awards: Public Affairs

Winner: APCO Worldwide

APCO paired with the U.S. Travel Association to reframe public and legislative opinion on the Customs and Border Protection entry process at U.S. gateway airports, which has long plagued travelers entering the United States with long lines and lengthy wait times. The campaign shifted the debate on the U.S. entry process by recasting international visitors as valued guests to the United States tourism industry, and proving it in an Overseas Traveler Survey which reported that as many as 43 percent of visitors would not recommend traveling to the U.S. due to the lengthy and unwelcoming entry process, which equates to $95 billion in lost traveler spending to the United States.

U.S. Travel’s Twitter campaigns reached nearly 10 million people and generated more than 150,000 engagements, driving nearly 20,000 visits to www.travelsvoice.org. APCO wound up not only making an heavy impact on social media, but came away with concrete proof of the effectiveness of their campaign via legislative changes enacted in the Omnibus Spending Bill, which passed in early 2014 with several meaningful pro-travel revisions.

The Business Roundtable approached APCO for a campaign that would both engage and shift public opinion on corporate tax reform. APCO chose a concept for the campaign that most Americans could agree on:  the importance of America’s fundamental economic competitiveness in the world. To demonstrate, APCO launched a clever and meticulously detailed campaign titled “The Home Court Advantage,” based on a sports analogy which they followed through fastidiously. Digital, social and print advertising depicted athletes facing an unbalanced set of rules and then urging viewers to reclaim America’s “home court advantage.” The campaign’s centerpiece was a hybrid tournament bracket/knowledge-testing game where visitors to Politico.com filled out countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation based on the competitiveness of their corporate tax rate systems. The BRT bracket was viewed 2.3 million times and completed by more than 38,000 visitors. APCO continuously proves its ability as a team of political and public affairs experts who formulate strategic PR campaigns capitalizing on the complex interplay of political audiences and government lobbying.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Davies Public Affairs
  • Resolute Consulting – Traffic Safety Coalition Ohio