The IPR PRide Awards 2004/5: North West

Welcome to the North West region's first Book of the Night. Yet again the North West generated one of the highest number of award entries of any region and the standard remains consistently high. As this year's Chairman of the IPR North West, I am very proud to represent a region that continues to produce creative and newsworthy campaigns, that are not just excellent on a regional level but are truly of a national standard.

As a region we have an enormous amount to offer the public relations and comms industry. It is pleasing to see that more North West professionals have the opportunity to work on national and international campaigns.

The North West is an energetic, vibrant place to do business, full of talented people who aren't shy of hard work, and this is reflected in the campaigns showcased here.

The 2004 PRide Awards ceremony in Manchester once more proved to be a highly enjoyable evening. For those not able to join us, this book gives a flavour of the quality of this year's winners. And for the award winners, it's a lasting reminder of their success.

Let's hope 2005 brings more opportunities for North West PROs to get their teeth into exciting, challenging campaigns, so that next year's entries raise the bar even higher.

Sally Sykes, chairman, IPR North West

If the activities of 2004 reflect the future of the North West PR scene, companies in the region and beyond should cover their ears - agencies have begun to holler with gusto as the scene becomes ever more young, vibrant and diverse. Failing to do your own PR now equals invisibility - a fact a few long-standing agencies found out in the nick of time.

Rumblings from a cross-section of agencies in the North West have drowned out counterparts in other regions, as fledgling outfits such as Manchester-based Brazen PR storm the industry and win enviable accounts. The rise of the smaller practitioner may have been last year's story, but consolidation is the buzz word at the established end of the scale, with Mason Williams the only agency not part of a national network. Staniforth, Communique, Mason Williams and Euro RSCG Leedex may be the top performers in terms of income, but newer outfits such as Sadler PR, MC2 and Fido continue to bag high-profile accounts.

An emerging theme is corporate social responsibility. Manchester's Tangerine and Creative Concern, as well as Liverpool's Leapfrog, all specialise in these issues, which add another twist to the North West mix.

Michael Taylor, editor, North West Business Insider

AWARD WINNERS PICK UP THEIR ACCOLADES

PR TEAM OF THE YEAR - CONSULTANCY - GOLD AWARD

Brazen PR This was a unanimous decision by the judges - the out-and-out favourite. Brazen PR stands head and shoulders above the competition, with consistently high standards of creative campaigns across a number of entry categories. A pleasure to judge, they said. Its cheeky, well-targeted programmes, such as the highly successful one for clothing retailer Footie Chick, were spot on. Celebrity involvement was employed sensibly where appropriate. Extensive coverage, often from a standing start, has been the cornerstone of this agency's work for clients, from the fun of National Game Playing Week to the sober topic of missing persons. One of its executives was also highly commended as a young communicator, indicating that there is much more to come from Brazen.

PR TEAM OF THE YEAR - IN-HOUSE - GOLD AWARD

Cumbria County Council This is a team that clearly work hard to deliver a range of solutions across a wide range of issues, both internally and externally. The judges agreed that their performance showed a commitment to delivering key messages with a strong work ethic, a broad range of skills and the employment of sound evaluation techniques. Internal comms activities were particularly strong, with the Front line Focus campaign a key help in the council achieving Investors in People accreditation.

The content of its internal publication, Newsroom, was also highly praised.

Campaigns on non-existent budgets, such as the use of cartoon brand ambassador Katie Chemical, which appealed to children and adults alike, demonstrated an ability to target effectively. In all, the team produced successful outcomes on a range of activity.

GRAND PRIX - GOLD AWARD

Communique PR BigD Says Nuts to Testicular Cancer (BigD) was really good value, targeting with cheek and style an audience that is notorious for turning out health messages to 20- to 35-year-old men.

Communique's approach to making males aware of testicular cancer wrapped hard-headed information in a laddish exterior in a bid to make men 'have a feel and check yourself regularly'. Using pubs as the battleground, information displays at bars and in urinals explained the importance of self-checking.

A website, checkyournuts.com, was fun and irreverent, but contained enough serious facts to make the target group think. This excellent campaign clearly increased sales and was in the best traditions of British smut.

All in all, this drive has been a great way to get people talking about a difficult issue.

CONSULTANCY VALUE - SPONSORED BY THE PRCA

GOLD AWARD - COMMUNIQUe PR

Going Nuts for BigD

This excellent campaign clearly increased sales. It was a cheeky,

appropriately smutty approach to a serious issue - testicular cancer.

SILVER AWARD - CATAPULT PR

Send Shirts to Skopje (Yorkshire Building Society)

A clever campaign using the competitive spirit of football to get people

to donate old sports shirts for disadvantaged and disabled children and

adults in Macedonia.

CHARITY OR NON-PROFIT CAMPAIGN

GOLD AWARD - CONNECTPOINT

Super Heroes

Clever drive persuading people to become community heroes.

GOLD AWARD - COMMUNIQUe PR

BigD says Nuts to Testicular Cancer

Great way to get people talking about a difficult issue.

SILVER AWARD - BRAZEN PR

Missing Persons Wall (Printworks)

Effective visuals and positive results.

SILVER AWARD - MERE COMMUNICATION

Healthy Eyes (Healthsure)

Great visuals and a clever booklet.

NEWSLETTER

GOLD AWARD - BOLTON METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL

Bolton Scene

The presentation is determined by the publishing deal with the local

newspaper. This newsletter has very good content.

SILVER AWARD - CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL

Newsroom

Although some judges considered the publication to be a little

old-fashioned in appearance, the content and use of colour was appealing

and appropriate for staff. Good evaluation techniques have been

employed.

COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN

GOLD AWARD - SPIN MEDIA

Oldham Beyond (Oldham LSP)

The repositioning of the thought bubble was an intelligent and creative

idea that impressed the team of judges and resulted in high community

buy-in to the project. The agency's claim that it has a powerful

understanding of what the media requires was backed up by impressive

coverage achieved on a local, national and trade level.

INTEGRATED PR CAMPAIGN

GOLD AWARD - BRAZEN PR

National Game Playing Week (Hasbro)

Standing head and shoulders above the rest, this wide-ranging programme

involved lots of user participation. Outstanding results across a wide

range of media.

SILVER AWARD - STOCKPORT METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL

Kooth.com 24/7 Counselling

A campaign that was specifically targeted at a difficult-to-reach

audience. The approach provided decent results - in fact, a good job

considering the budget.

USE OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

GOLD AWARD - CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL

Frontline Focus

The judges felt that the wide range of techniques employed by Cumbria

County Council's PR team was very impressive in this internal

communications campaign. And it was this breadth of activity that

contributed to sound results for a commendable, cost-effective programme

which, while keeping staff informed, helped the council to achieve

Investors in People accreditation.

USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY, DESIGN OR NEW MEDIA

GOLD AWARD - BRAZEN PR

Cheap Shot for Wizcom (Wizcom)

The judges felt that Brazen showed good use of stunning photography in

this campaign. This, combined with a link to a website, produced

excellent results. Nicely executed and perfectly targeted.

SILVER AWARD - BRAZEN PR

Look Book (Onitsuka Tiger)

The judges really liked the Japanese bamboo theme running through this

campaign, which was well-researched and developed. Good targeting of

celebrities who have an influence on the key audience.

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS CAMPAIGN

GOLD AWARD - CONNECTPOINT PR

The Hard Shoe Shuffle (Sadolin)

This quirky drive made a boring topic interesting, and the shoe was a

very clever hook to grab people's attention. The talk of the show.

SILVER AWARD - SPIN MEDIA

Close Up and Personal (Close Invoicing Financing)

A dry and dusty subject was made entertaining. Overall, a good solid PR

campaign from Spin Media that achieved extensive local coverage.

CONSUMER CAMPAIGN

GOLD AWARD - BRAZEN PR

Scoring with Footie Chick

A great, fun campaign that was spot on for the sexy, sassy target

audience. Good celebrity involvement and photo opportunities helped to

deliver impressive results from a standing start.

SILVER AWARD - BRAZEN PR

National Game Playing Week (Hasbro)

This was a wide-ranging campaign from Brazen, which involved a lot of

user participation to achieve extensive coverage. The PR team

demonstrated outstanding results across a wide range of media.

LOW-BUDGET CAMPAIGN

GOLD AWARD - STANIFORTH

Home is where the Art is (Manchester Art Gallery)

This was a three-stranded campaign that rose well above the ordinary

approach, by way of its unique 'tranquillity tours' concept for soothing

stressed-out city office workers. By using the gallery's collection of

'relaxing' paintings, this exciting programme stimulated the interest of

a wide range of media and attracted incredible numbers of new visitors

for the client.

PUBLIC SECTOR PROGRAMME

GOLD AWARD - MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL

Challenge Manchester - 100 Days to a Clean City

A thorough countdown programme that used a wide range of media and

achieved significant results. This confident challenge of a campaign

resulted in strong buy-in from local stakeholders.

SILVER AWARD - CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL

Katie Chemical

Cartoon brand ambassador Katie Chemical appealed to children and adults

alike. A range of targeting meant the campaign reached all relevant

audiences on a tiny budget.

SMALL TEAM/SOLE PRACTITIONER

WINNER

PEPPERMINT PR

Susie Sinyor's Peppermint PR evidently carries out good-quality

campaigns for its broad portfolio of clients with considerable success,

according to the judges. A wide range of skills and activity was clear

from its submission, and the judges were particularly impressed by the

amount of time that the agency dedicated to charity and non-profit work.

IN-HOUSE CAMPAIGN

SILVER AWARD - LANCASHIRE TEACHING HOSPITALS NHS TRUST

Hospital Hearts and Minds

The PR team came up with a feel-good campaign to deal with a highly

emotive issue, since relocating the unit was potentially a crisis

waiting to happen. But sympathetic handling from the in-house team

ensured that the positive aspects of the relocation were the chosen

media angles, rather than the closure. A worthy winner.

TRADE OR TECHNICAL CAMPAIGN

SILVER AWARD - CONTEXT PR

Creating the Future of Light (Lumileds Lighting)

This was an illuminating campaign that resulted in strong international

coverage in a specialist area. What set this apart from other entries in

the judges' mind was Context's particularly impressive decision to

promote its client within vertical markets. The campaign demonstrated a

good use of language skills - internal resources - to foreign

journalists.

ISSUES OF CRISIS MANAGEMENT

SILVER AWARD - RATTLE PR

Right Said Fred (George Wimpey, Manchester)

The judges were impressed by this campaign, which they felt demonstrated

a sound handling of a local issue that had the potential to both create

ill feeling and attract adverse media comment. The agency's engagement

of the late steeplejack and TV figure Fred Dibnah was a good example of

the successful use of a celebrity opinion leader.

YOUNG COMMUNICATOR

WINNER - HELEN MANN

Stockport Council

The judges said Helen displayed exceptional talent and great maturity in

her approach to communication. Her innovative, creative approach in

traditionally difficult areas of PR activities achieved remarkable

results.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

CHRIS DUNNE

Brazen PR This talented events PR specialist has made a significant

contribution to his agency's development and is passionate about his

work.

All finalists can be found at www.ipr.org.uk/prideawards.

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