As part of its annual Platinum & Agency Elite Awards celebrating the best and brightest in communications, PR News handpicks a group of campaigns that will likely be remembered in years to come for their ingenuity, strategic messaging and measurable communications outcomes. These campaigns make up PR News’ Platinum Hall of Fame, and this year's winners will be officially inducted at the 2018 PR News' Platinum & Agency Elite Awards luncheon in New York City.
With the #MeToo movement continuing to shake up norms across every industry, it’s more important than ever for brands to effectively communicate around and promote women’s issues. That’s part of why P&G/Always’ #LikeAGirl and KFC’s Rotating Colonel Sanders campaigns made the cut in 2018.
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees also made ample use of striking, simple visuals. DoSomething.org’s CTA-driven website and the Human Rights Campaign’s simple red logo both show that sometimes the sparsest visual choices are also the most effective.
The Platinum & Agency Elite Awards program and luncheon will be hosted by ESPN’s Hannah Storm and will be held on Sept. 21, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. At the event, attendees will have an in-person opportunity to hear directly from Hall of Fame winners on exactly what made their winning campaigns so successful.
A full list of the 2018 Platinum Hall of Fame inductees is below.
CVS Health: CVS Quits Tobacco
The CVS Quits campaign spread awareness of CVS’ banning of cigarettes in its stores in 2015. As part of the campaign, the company ran and published a study following the ban to show that cigarette purchases in all pharmacies had decreased, leading to 95 million fewer packs sold and further establishing the brand as a leader in the health space. A video accompanying the campaign showed a range of individuals taking a deep breath to represent the company’s taking steps to promote lung health as well as a new smoking cessation program.
DoSomething.org: DoSomething.org website
People power is at the core of the DoSomething.org website, which catches the eye with images of its many campaign advocates, all working on causes they’re passionate about. The site is a case study in clear and simple calls to action. Website visitors have the option to get involved on a variety of causes using a simple dropdown filtering by time commitment, type of cause and format (donating, hosting an event, improving a space, etc.). Website copy is playful, linking to the company’s “Sexy Financials” and offering clickworthy headlines for each campaign (e.g., “Brake it Down: Take a quiz to increase road safety,” “Grab the Mic: Advocate against gender discrimination in your school”). Each campaign page features DoSomething’s sleek and easy-to-use design, allowing campaign creators’ work to be showcased to the fullest.
Human Rights Campaign: Red Equality Logo
In March 2013, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in two marriage equality cases, HRC shared a red version of its logo—selected because the color is synonymous with love—on Facebook and Twitter and asked supporters to change their profile photos to show their support. The campaign went viral, and celebrities like George Takei, Beyoncé, Martha Stewart and others helped draw attention to the movement. Millions of people shared the logo, countless memes were created in response and Facebook saw a 120 percent increase in profile photo updates. The internet was awash in red, displaying the growing support for marriage equality in the U.S. and around the world.
The campaign put the spotlight on HRC and spread awareness about the organization. Whether the logo is seen on a T-shirt or a lawmaker's lapel it sends a message that the Human Rights Campaign and its supporters remain vigilant in the fight for LGBTQ equality.
KFC: Rotating Colonel Sanders
Sometimes even the most beloved brand mascots need a taste of reinvention, and since 2015, KFC’s Rotating Colonel Sanders campaign has done just that. KFC, operating on the knowledge that online audiences crave a diversity of representation in their pop culture icons, has swapped out the actor playing the Colonel in its advertising several times in the last few years, with singer Reba McIntyre most notably being cast as the first female Colonel. “We always thought of it like James Bond. The actor that dons the white suit brings something of his [or her] own to the actual character,” KFC president Kevin Hochman told PRWeek.
“The colonel was probably the first millennial. Before becoming the world’s most famous chicken salesman, he held more than 15 different jobs and failed at many of them. Millennials love the idea of failing and learning until you find the right thing to do. Failing in a startup for that generation is a badge of honor,” added Hochman.
Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign sought to expose and address girls’ post-puberty downward shift in confidence—a relevant issue for a feminine care brand. A viral YouTube video (currently close to 66 million views) asked adult women, men and boys to act out the first thing that came to mind in running, fighting and throwing “like a girl”—and all of the subjects portrayed negative stereotypes (flailing, giggling, giving up). When young girls were asked to do the same thing, however, they ran, threw and fought without judgment, illustrating that when women reach puberty they begin internalizing negative gender roles.
In addition to winning a host of earned media accolades, a community of women’s advocates using the #LikeAGirl hashtag, and millions of views, the campaign turned an age-old schoolyard insult on its head by showing that being #LikeAGirl was something to be proud of.
Purina ONE & Golin: Purina ONE Cat Café
In 2014, Purina ONE and partner Golin launched a four-day pop-up Cat Café in New York City for cat lovers to frequent. With free coffee (including a “catuccino”) and food, the café was the first of its kind in North America, taking a cue from the popular cat café trend in Eastern Asia and Europe. The pet food brand partnered with the North Shore Animal League, which organized cat adoptions onsite, and won placements on “TODAY” and in Reuters.