Great global work from fearless PR leaders

Last night's winners at PRWeek's inspirational celebration of global communications represent an excellent benchmark for the industry.

The PRWeek Global Awards for 2017 were handed out in London last night and proved to be a sensational night for Weber Shandwick.

The IPG firm won a total of seven awards, including the high-profile feat of once again being named Agency of the Year and the win of Campaign of the Year for its Daughters of Mother India activation for Vibha Bakshi. It was also honored for its efforts on #BrutalCut for Action Aid, Music Makes It Home for Sonos, and Alphabet of Illiteracy for Pearson.

Publicis’ MSLGroup also had a good night, picking up multiple awards for its work on Netflix Everywhere and continuing work on two activations for Procter & Gamble’s Always #LikeAGirl campaign – Keep Playing and Girl Emojis.

Zeno CEO Barby Siegel was named Global Professional – Agency in a very competitive category and Instinctif won International Agency of the Year.

The night was a genuine celebration of inspirational work that covers multiple regions around the world, and I fully expect to see some of these campaigns figuring strongly in Cannes next month.

Weber’s Campaign of the Year victory dealt with the important topic of rape victims in India, who not only suffer at the hands of their attackers but then also face another ordeal because of their treatment by police. This was brought into sharp focus by award-winning documentary filmmaker Vibha Bakshi and the reaction to the brutal rape of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, who became known as Nirbhaya - meaning fearless - underpinned the project, which aimed to bring hope for change on the back of public demands.

The film generated tens of millions of Twitter impressions and is now mandatory viewing at the National Police Academy, where it has been seen by more than 150,000 officers. Daughters of Mother India gave a loud voice to a movement of hope demanded by millions of people and Weber played a big part in that.

Another important piece of work by Weber was for ActionAid UK, which turned the spotlight on to the painful subject of female genital mutilation. Millions of people saw and talked about #BrutalCut, a campaign featuring video messages from Kenyan girls facing the process incorporated, or cut, into content by vloggers, influencers and publishers.

Weber’s Alphabet of Illiteracy work for educational media company Pearson propelled the plight of 758 million people worldwide who cannot read or write to the top of the international political and media agenda. Creative use of the alphabet spelled out the problems letter by letter with the help of A-list celebrities and high-ranking politicians. UNESCO now has literacy at the forefront of its sustainable development program. The campaign helped Project Literacy start achieving its mission that no child should be born facing the risk of illiteracy.

The big idea for Music Makes It Home for Sonos was grounded in research about the benefits of listening to music out loud, at a time when most of us experience it on smart phones and headphones.

MSL extended the impact of Procter & Gamble’s iconic Always #LikeAGirl campaign through Keep Playing at the Olympic Games in Rio and Girl Emojis a suite of 13 new emojis approved by the Unicode Consortium to better represent and empower girls.

Ten consecutive years of growth, added to a formidable client base and a culture of innovation, paid dividends for UK-headquartered Instinctif Partners, which took home International Agency of the Year.

And the inspirational and fearless Barby Siegel was honored for overseeing seven consecutive years of double digit growth.

Great work that matters activated on a global stage by fearless and committed leaders: that’s what great PR is all about and that’s what was celebrated at last night’s ceremony.

Congratulations to all the winners, highly commended, and shortlisted work. All these case studies bear close analysis and help take the practice of communications to another level.

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