PRWeek turns 15: Great work

PRWeek goes through the archives to highlight some of the most innovative and effective communications campaigns from the past 15 years.

Tribute to a Generation: Constructing the National World War II Memorial
Client: American Battle Monuments Commission
Agency: Burson-Marsteller
Duration: 1996 to dedication day on May 29, 2004

More than 50 years after World War II, there was no national monument to remind the world of the achievements and sacrifices soldiers made during the effort.

To change this, the American Battle Monuments Commission turned to Burson-Marsteller to create positive public opinion that would aid fundraising to build the monument.

Leveraging its media contacts, the firm obtained editorial coverage in major publications including The New York Times and on NBC's Today show. In the end, the commission raised more than $195 million from hundreds of thousands of individual Americans and organizations, nearly double the original goal. “The campaign brought national attention to the WWII generation,” says Timothy Nosal, acting director, public affairs at the commission. “There was a genuine outpouring of thanks.”

Client: Legacy Foundation
Agency: Porter Novelli
Duration: February 2000-2013

Launched in February 2000, Truth is the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign. The effort has built significant awareness and exposed tactics the tobacco industry uses to target consumers.

Campaign organizers used paid and social media, a website, branded apparel, media, and more to target teens. In its first four years, Truth was responsible for keeping 450,000 teens from starting to smoke, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Research shows Truth is making an impact and saving lives,” says Julia Cartwright, SVP of communications at the Legacy Foundation. 

Hampton Save-a-Landmark
Client: Hampton Hotels
Agency: Cohn & Wolfe
Duration: 2000-2013

Hampton's Save-a-Landmark program began by “preserving America's fun, quirky, and historic roadside landmarks,” says Jeremy Baka, chief creative catalyst at Cohn & Wolfe. The campaign has since preserved 55 landmarks worldwide, garnered more than 460 million media impressions, increased Hampton website traffic by 100%, and added millions of dollars in incremental bookings.

The Leapfrog Campaign: The Launch of MSN 8
Client: Microsoft 
Agency: Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
Duration: March-October 2002

Microsoft's MSN 8 was able to leapfrog rival AOL, following a robust media relations effort. The team kept close to influential reviewers, winning the updated version positive reviews over its competitors. The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled, “New MSN Online Service Outshines Its Rival AOL.”  

Consumer awareness of MSN increased from 21% in February to 36% on October 24.

The Heart Truth
Client: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Agency: Ogilvy Public Relations
Duration: 2001-present

Spurred on by the fact that heart disease is the leading killer of women, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute teamed up with Ogilvy PR 12 years ago to launch The Heart Truth campaign.

To draw attention to the effort, the firm helped establish a collaboration between the organization and the fashion industry leading to events including the annual Red Dress Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. 

Ogilvy's strategy was to also leverage media relations and partnerships, a plan that ultimately led to about 9 billion media impressions since the campaign started.

Dove Campaign for Real Beauty
Client: Unilever
Agency: Edelman
Duration: 2004-2005

The Dove campaign focused on challenging beauty stereotypes by using real women in its marketing rather than professional models. The initiative boosted Dove product sales while garnering enormous media coverage, including 62 TV shows such as Today and Oprah, as well as media outlets including People.

During summer 2005, the campaign earned more than 650 million impressions, and in addition to national media, it was covered on more than 200 local news programs around the country. In excess of 1 million visitors have logged onto the website,

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Client: PhRMA 
Agency: APCO Worldwide
Duration: 2005-present

APCO Worldwide launched a campaign for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to redefine the research-based biopharmaceutical industry.

The firm launched a comprehensive media plan for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a single point of access to public and private prescription assistance programs. 

The effort garnered coverage on Good Morning America and in national press outlets. More than 8 million patients were matched to programs that offer medicines for free or at a significant discount. The program “is a good example of how strong partnerships can affect intended results for a public program,” says Matthew Bennett, SVP of communications
at PhRMA.

Shave Everywhere
Client: Philips Norelco
Agency: Manning Selvage & Lee (now MSLGroup)
Duration: 2006-2007

In 2006, Manning Selvage & Lee added a masculine edge to full-body male grooming by taking the Philips Norelco Bodygroom to shock jock Howard Stern. One 35-minute segment later, the firm drove 300,000 visits to

“There were a lot of similarities to the campaigns that are happening now,” says Pattie Hallock, an account director at the time of the campaign's launch. “A big task is to have compelling content that consumers want to engage with.”

The product was showcased at the Sundance Film Festival and the International Home and Housewares Show with a shave off between firefighters from New York and Chicago.

In just six months, it grew to 70% share of the electric body-grooming category.

Wii Launch: How Wii Helped Nintendo Get Its Game Back
Client: Nintendo 
Agency: GolinHarris
Duration: 2006-2007

GolinHarris aimed to create buzz and position Nintendo as a market disruptor for the launch of its Wii console. 

Activity included industry talks, a MySpace campaign, a viral game, and midnight launch events. Wii had more than 10 billion consumer impressions in a six-month period and received coverage in major media outlets. Sales in 2006 were 1.1 million.

The launch campaign was “critical and challenging,” explains GolinHarris CEO Fred Cook. “Throughout the years, we've learned that while launches are very important, building long-term momentum is the real objective.”

Client: General Motors
Agencies: Weber Shandwick, Jack Morton Worldwide, and McCann Erickson
Duration: January 2007-September 16, 2008

GMnext, General Motors' centennial celebration, highlighted technologies that would enhance the brand for the next 100 years. Through, the company gave consumers inside looks at its engineering labs and offered videos and live chats with executives and experts. GM also revealed its electric-powered Chevy Volt for the campaign. 

“Many of the lessons learned during GMnext about brand journalism and content syndication are still being applied and built on today,” explains Juli Huston-Rough, director of corporate news strategy and operations at GM. 

Trial of Charles Taylor
Client: The Special Court of Sierra Leone
Agency: Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Duration: 2008-2012

Hill+Knowlton Strategies was engaged by The Special Court of Sierra Leone, an in-dependent tribunal mandated to try serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law, including war crimes, rape, and the use of child soldiers.

The largest trial the court faced involved Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president accused of supporting rebel forces.

His trial was postponed for more than a year, and led to a major budget crisis for the court, which was faced with the possibility of having to shut down and release Taylor. A major media outreach effort brought attention to the work the court was doing and the need for continued financial support. H+K helped the court secure more than $12.5 million in 2008 and, in 2012, Taylor was the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

Thank you, Mom
Client: Procter & Gamble
Agency: Marina Maher Communications
Duration: 2012 London Olympics

Procter & Gamble's Thank you, Mom engaged moms worldwide through 60 Raising an Olympian “momumentaries.” The online videos were viewed about 27 million times during the games. P&G saw 370 million Twitter interactions and sales increased globally by $500 million.

Marc Pritchard, P&G's global brand building officer, says half of the media garnered through the campaign was earned because “the PR work was creative, engaging, and tightly interwoven into the insights of our program.”

It Can Wait: The Power of a Movement
Client: AT&T 
Agency: FleishmanHillard
Duration: Late 2010-2013

AT&T's It Can Wait effort to eliminate texting while driving has long targeted teens. 

In 2013, with fresh research showing half of adult commuters text and drive, AT&T broadened its reach to every driver with a smartphone. Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more than a thousand organizations joined the effort.

At the end of 2012, the program had generated 1.3 million no-texting-while-driving pledges. In the first nine months of 2013, pledges jumped to more than 3 million. More than 85 celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres and Tim McGraw, encouraged fans on social media to take the pledge. The initiative has generated 1.4 billion impressions so far this year.

200 Years Citi
Client: Citi
Agency: Ruder Finn
Duration: June 2011-December 2012

In mid-2011, Citi began to celebrate its 200th anniversary. Ruder Finn created a staff-communications campaign including music- and photo-oriented challenges.

The 200 Years Citi site garnered 4.5 million page views and 263,000 unique visitors in 16 months. One hundred and ten thousand employees volunteered for Global Community Day and 43,000 employees registered for the fitness challenge in one week. “It lifted morale through the company,” says Ruder Finn chief innovation officer Michael Schubert.

IBM at 100
Client: IBM 
Agency: Ketchum
Duration: January-December 2011

For its centenary, IBM executed a campaign exploring the future of business at the same time looking at the past.

It included a series of lectures and forums at more than 100 business schools worldwide on the future of leadership, as well as a book and three short films. IBM also launched a volunteer program, with 300,000 employees contributing 2.9 million community service hours in 120 countries. Staff engagement exceeded its goal by 140%.

“IBM and our partner Ketchum allowed us to expand the understanding and appreciation of the modern IBM with the stakeholders we value,” says Ed Barbini, VP, external relations, IBM.

PRWeek Campaign of the Year Award Winners
2000: New Line Cinema: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Cone with ConAgra Foods: Feeding Children Better
Weber Shandwick: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid
Edelman and CIT Group: Out of the Shadow – Building an independent CIT
2004: Weber Shandwick and Foley & Lardner: Measuring Sarbanes-Oxley Act Impact
GCI Group and Medtronic: Increasing Access to Life-Saving Therapy: ICDs and Sudden Cardiac Arrest 2006: Entergy Corporation: Surviving Hurricanes Katrina and Rita – the Communications Challenge of a Lifetime
2007: Fleishman-Hillard: ERASEing the Divide: Giving Underprivileged NYC Kids a Clean Slate in Fighting Asthma
GolinHarris and Nintendo of America: Wii Launch – How Wii Helped Nintendo Get Its Game Back
2009: Ketchum and Ikea: Man Lives in Ikea – Citizen Marketer Becomes Ikea Brand Evangelist
Ketchum and Dreyer's Ice Cream: Dreyer's Beat the Blues with a Taste of Recovery
2011: Ketchum West and Mattel/Barbie: After 125 Careers, Barbie Gets Her Geek On
IBM: IBM's Jeopardy! – Winning Computer Scores Big as Business Innovator
Cisco Systems, Brunswick, and Text 100: The Comeback Kid – Cisco Bounces Back from a Knockdown Punch

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