PR News 2016 Nonprofit PR Awards: PR on a Shoestring Budget

Winner: Girl Scouts of the USA—Girl Scouts Adds a ‘Byte’ to Its Iconic Cookie Program

In 2014, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) launched “Digital Cookie,” a groundbreaking addition to its iconic cookie program, adding a digital layer teaching girls vital new eCommerce skills for the modern economy. It lets girls market cookies, process payments, and place shipment orders digitally through a national digital platform for first time in the history of the Cookie Program.

Major media in select outlets were given an exclusive advanced screening of the initiative in early November 2014, hosted by girls from local councils. Media planning and research included creating and carefully vetting potential media outlets, including long-lead publications covering general news, business news, the technology space, girls, youth, and parenting. The strategy culminated with Girl Scouts showcasing Digital Cookie to the tech world at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

An embargo was lifted at 10 p.m. on November 31, with substantial pickup across platforms. GSUSA measured earned media coverage from The New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Fast Company, Mashable, and Entrepreneur.

To date, Digital Cookie has received nearly 4 billion unique local and national media impressions.  The strategy of allowing girls to tell the Digital Cookie story was hugely successful; nearly 70% of coverage included messaging around the girl-centric aspect and what girls learn through Digital Cookie.

“Digital Cookie” and “Girl Scouts” trended at #1 on Facebook on Dec. 1, 2014, and the program received mention on all morning news shows and Saturday Night Live. The Wall Street Journal called Digital Cookie the one item from CES 2015 “that will change our lives or habits forever.”

Honorable Mentions:

•    Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing - Fair Pricing for Libraries

•    Havas PR North America - Huerta Scholarship: The First Hour for the First Americans

•    Imprenta Communications Group - I Can Afford College

•    Johanniterhjälpen - Challenge Ebola

•    Lymphoma Research Foundation - Light it Red for Lymphoma

•    National Association of Insurance Commissioners - Small Business

•    United Nations Foundation - Girl Up