2014 Platinum PR Awards: On a Shoestring Budget

Winner: Weber Shandwick - Taking a Tech Detox: Nat’l Day of Unplugging

Weber Shandwick found plenty of inspiration for its 2014 promotion of the fifth annual National Day of Unplugging, an initiative from nonprofit organization Reboot to encourage people to let go of technology for a day: a study by Bridgewater State University found found that 83% of middle schoolers, 39% of fifth-graders and 20% of third-graders have mobile phones; another study, published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, found that checking a smartphone after 9 p.m. disrupts sleep patterns, making people feel depleted in the morning and less productive and engaged at work the next day.

Based on this research, Weber Shandwick developed a media outreach strategy that highlighted these key data points and also challenged members of the media to take an active part in the NDU by sharing their own 24-hour unplugging experiences with their audiences. Weber Shandwick and Reboot also aligned with Randi Zuckerberg to act as a spokesperson who supports the NDU message of consciously taking time to unplug and invest in ourselves and our most important relationships.

Weber Shandwick assisted Reboot in writing and editing NDU press materials; drafted and placed a bylined piece in Portland Family Magazine; distributes the NDU announcement on the wire to maximize reach; and develoedp a strategic media list of parenting, consumer, lifestyle, travel and tech media, specifically targeting large outlets that are likely to be widely syndicated.

Weber Shandwick executed strategic media outreach by targeting parenting outlets, as well as consumer, lifestyle, travel and technology outlets. The agency developed individually tailored pitches to key media targets, piquing interest with specific data about the need to unplug and challenging the media to fill out an “I Unplug To ___” sign to share why they unplug from technology with their readers.

Reboot far exceeded the original goals set for the campaign by garnering more than 804 million impressions with 227 online and 262 broadcast hits, including placements in the following top-tier outlets: Boston Globe, Bustle, CNN, Huffington Post, NBC News, Real Simple, Teen Vogue and Today. We also saw positive coverage from parenting outlets such as Babble, Parents and Pop Sugar.

The 2014 campaign resulted in a 240% increase in broadcast coverage netting a total of 23 million impressions. Social media activity on Twitter included more than 11,600 posts using the #unplug hashtag and/or related to the unplugging movement and the NDU.

Honorable Mentions:

  • AARP Tek
  • Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard
  • Camino Public Relations - Raising Latina Voices
  • Eastwick - Women's Startup Lab
  • Erwin Penland - Eggs and a Side of “I Do” at Denny’s First Wedding
  • IHG - Candlewood Suites Lending Locker Consumer Launch
  • Makovsky - JedCampus: Encouraging Safer Campuses and Creating a National Authority
  • RF Binder - edX Seeks to Educate the World (for Free)