Best for a Cause 2017

A Ketchum and Whirlpool survey discovered that as many as one in five American students struggle with access to clean clothes. So Care Counts by Whirlpool was born.

Winner

Ketchum and Whirlpool
Care Counts

In 2015, an elementary school principal in Fairfield, California, asked Whirlpool to donate a washer and dryer to the school. The reason? Students weren’t going to school because they didn’t have clean clothes, staying home instead to avoid bullying and mockery.

A Ketchum and Whirlpool survey discovered that as many as one in five American students struggle with access to clean clothes. So Care Counts by Whirlpool was born.

The pilot program began in the 2015-16 school year with washers and dryers placed in 17 schools in two districts, St. Louis, Missouri, and Fairfield. Program leaders equipped with data-tracking tools let students manage the laundry schedule and the machines.

By the close of the school year, results demonstrated 93% of tracked students had increased attendance, averaging 6.1 more days in school than the previous year. Teachers surveyed said 89% of students had improved classroom participation and 95% of them had more motivation in class and participated in more extracurricular activities.

A documentary-style video, media materials, microsite, and school officials and brand spokespeople told the story of the program and shared its results with more than 600 earned stories in outlets including ABC World News Tonight, Today.com, Business Insider, U.S. News & World Report, and NPR. There were 64 broadcast segments across 18 states and more than 700 interested school representatives spanning 48 states.

Care Counts earned the eyes and ears of  Whirlpool’s CEO, board of directors, and investors. The PR team was challenged to come back with expansion ideas just one month after launch.

One judge called the program "a great example of appropriately connecting a brand with a cause. Such a simple solution done for the right reasons."

"Care Counts has it all," a second added, "creativity, tactics, flawless execution, and inspired results.


Honorable Mention

MSLGroup and The Home Depot Foundation
Celebration of Service: Creating Independence at Home for U.S. Veterans

With nearly one in four veterans living with a disability, The Home Depot Foundation created Celebration of Service, a two-month campaign focused on improving their lives. The team executed a nine-week media relations campaign in 210 markets. More than 13,000 Team Depot volunteers worked on 367 volunteer projects. The #ServiceSelfie raised $1 million for nine non­profits. Team Depot followers on social media increased by 18,000, and more than 140,000 attended workshops.

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