Forty years ago, Captain John Poindexter led Alpha Troop of the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment in a high-casualty rescue mission in the Vietnam War, saving the lives of nearly 100 Americans (Charlie Company) surrounded by enemy troops. In April 2009, Poindexter and the Alpha Troop were honored with the Presidential Unit Citation.
Poindexter wanted to generate greater awareness of this award. He enlisted Pierpont Communications to capture the attention of the White House and achieve presidential recognition for its group of unsung heroes, as well as bring attention to the nearly 3 million Vietnam War veterans.
Pierpont secured local media stories in Alpha Troop veterans' hometowns and then leveraged those pieces into a compelling national story to reach top-tier outlets monitored by President Obama's administration.
The effort included a huge top-tier media push at the annual 11th Armored Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia (ACVVC) reunion in Santa Clara, CA, in September 2009. The team also designed Atroopheroes. com, featuring compelling veteran recollections and photos.
"A very powerful campaign to ignite interest in a 40-year-old story," said one judge.
Ultimately, the veterans' swan song came on October 20, 2009, when Alpha Troop was recognized in a White House Garden ceremony officiated by President Obama. All major TV networks, as well as hundreds of print, radio, and digital outlets nationwide covered the event.
Media impressions exceeded 478 million with stories published and broadcast in 425 outlets. The total project cost was $89,000, of which $31,500 was paid on behalf of the 11th ACVVC. The remainder was waived by Pierpont as pro bono work.
Honorable Mention: T3 and Mobile Loaves & Fishes/Reagan Outdoor Advertising: I Am Here
Mobile Loaves & Fishes collaborated with T3 to revamp the model of fundraising for poverty. The nonprofit, which provides food, clothing, and homes to the homeless, realized that only 1% of total philanthropic dollars each year go toward homelessness. "I Am Here" was launched through a mobile phone text-to-give service, a teaser billboard, and website. Homeless couple Danny and Maggie Silver were tapped as the faces of the campaign. The effort led to a 300% increase in online donors during April and May, as well as a 575% hike in website traffic.
The Award Recognizes the most effective work by a nonprofit organization for fundraising, or in changing or enlisting political, public, or corporate opinion. As well as results, the cost-effectiveness of the campaign and, in the case of fundraising activities, the amount of money raised was strongly considered.
Atomic PR and Trust for Public Land: Save the Famed Hollywood Sign's Land
Padilla Speer Beardsley and GiveMN.org: Igniting an Outpouring of Online Giving
Pierpont Communications and 11th Armored Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia: A Generation of Forgotten Vietnam Veterans: Campaign for Recognition
T3 and Mobile Loaves & Fishes/Reagan Outdoor Advertising: I Am Here
Tiller and Comfort Zone Camp: Childhood Loss: The Untold Burden
Sponsor: Weber Shandwick is a leading global PR agency with a commitment to client service, creativity, collaboration, and harnessing the power of Advocates. It provides strategic execution in consumer marketing, healthcare, technology, public affairs, corporate/financial, and crisis management. Specialized services include social media, advertising, market research, and corporate responsibility.