Jim Beam looked to Edelman to expand its existing military-focused cause marketing program and connect to its brand's specific consumer in a more meaningful way.
Based on research, Edelman identified the target consumer as males aged 21 to 29 who wanted to show support for the troops in an easy, casual, and personal way.
Using social media, the effort allowed the target consumers to nominate a deserving soldier to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Super Bowl XLIV, the US Open in Pebble Beach, a Chicago White Sox game, a Kid Rock Patriot Day Concert, or Breeders' Cup races at Churchill Downs.
The campaign also added a personal touch by transforming Jim Beam's Facebook wall into a virtual "toast the troops" page where consumers could write toasts to service members.
"The campaign is highly resonant with the brand," said one judge. "It was impactful and done in a highly tasteful, non-exploitative way."
The campaign resulted in 240 million media impressions, placements in key outlets such as CBS' The Early Show and Fox & Friends and men's lifestyle, sports, and military websites and blogs. There were 400 service member nominations submitted online.
"Exceptional program - strong strategy based on good use of research with very good results that clearly benefit the brand," another judge added.
The most impactful results from the campaign were the reactions of the troops.
"Other than meeting my wife, this has been the best day of my life," said a service member who won a trip to the White Sox game.
"The memories from this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life," another troop member and his friend said. They both attended Super Bowl XLIV.
Honorable Mention: Atomic PR and Trust for Public Land: Save the Famed Hollywood Sign's Land
In 2008, The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation group, was faced with the challenge of saving the 138-acre plot of land adjacent to the Hollywood sign from being turned into mansions during the height of the economic recession. The nonprofit had to raise $12.5 million by April 14, 2010, to purchase the land back. It covered the sign with a giant banner and used celebrities to draw attention to the cause in order to raise the remaining $6.2 million from February to April 2010. "Bold and highly effective," one judge said.
The Award Honors a campaign or ongoing project that utilizes or integrates a social cause to promote or enhance corporate image or specific products/services.
Atomic PR and Trust for Public Land: Save the Famed Hollywood Sign's Land
Cone and Deloitte: Think, Invest, Advance
DeVries Public Relations and Procter & Gamble: The Downy Touch of Comfort Program
Edelman and Jim Beam: Salute Soldiers with the Spirit of America
Kaplow Communications and Avon Products: Hello Green Tomorrow: Empowering a Global Women's Environmental Movement to Nurture Nature
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