PRWeek Awards judging day has always been one of my favorite days of the year. Held for the first time at the venerable Harvard Club in Manhattan this past December 6, this notion was reinforced as I was joined by my colleagues and many of the industry's finest.
What has always amazed me is the consistent enthusiasm these awards elicit, regardless of external factors. In the early 2000s, when the dot-com boom had agency revenues soaring, we routinely topped 1,000 entries a year. While in the throes of a recession these past couple of years, entries still neared the four-digit level. Moreover, I am continuously encouraged by the instant willingness of so many top PR pros to serve as arbiters for our awards.
The fruits of their labor can be seen when we present the shortlist of finalists. While everyone wants to win, of course, just making it onto this list is quite an accomplishment. So to all the finalists, I congratulate you. You should be very proud.
The PR industry as a whole has every right to be proud as well. Our annual awards don't merely honor the winners and Honorable Mentions. They are a testament to an industry that is innovating, adapting, and evolving continuously. And what's even better: the awards submissions barely scratch the surface when it comes to examples of PR doing itself proud.
Our December guest columnist, popchips CEO Keith Belling, wrote of how sharing the product with the consuming public and having them share it with others was the best form of branding.
Early last month, popchips offered to send a few cases of the product - in my name - to a charity, food drive, or homeless shelter of my choosing. A lovely gesture, of course, but from a strict PR view, it fits perfectly with this company's marketing plan.
In a similar vein, Will Langley, Capstrat's senior Web developer, lived in his car from November 29 through December 4 to raise awareness of the unsheltered homeless' plight. Replete with a blog, live tweets, and a Facebook page, this noble effort helped a worthy cause while displaying an agency's social media savvy.
These are just two examples of many, I know, and I'd be pleased to hear from any reader wishing to share a similar tale. Between the awards submissions, the subsequent finalists, and these two efforts, PR has more than ample cause to be proud as we start a new year.
Gideon Fidelzeid is the managing editor of PRWeek. He can be contacted at email@example.com.