The 2019 Purpose Awards

PRWeek launched the Purpose Awards to recognize activations that use creative ideas to genuinely further positive causes and also acknowledge the organizations and individuals behind them.

Purpose finally finds its place

A letter from Steve Barrett, PRWeek VP, editorial director

Recent years have seen purpose and cause marketing move from being a niche activity to a fundamental underpinning of corporate strategy among major corporations and brands, reaching near ubiquity in some industries.

Recent statements about purpose being placed on a par with shareholder value by 181 CEOs from the Business Roundtable and a letter to Senate leaders by 145 CEOs imploring the government to take action on gun violence show business is finally taking social issues seriously.

Old-style CSR has largely been replaced by a desire to add a bigger purpose at the heart of organizations in an authentic manner. This has also led to an increase in "purpose-washing" and inauthentic activations aimed at box-ticking and achieving short-term gain.

PRWeek launched the Purpose Awards to recognize activations that use creative ideas to genuinely further positive causes and also acknowledge the organizations and individuals behind them.

Thanks to our inaugural chair of jury Carol Cone, CEO of Carol Cone on Purpose and a longtime purpose-focused agency executive. Thanks also to our judging panel who ensured we came up with the best slate of winners for our inaugural awards. We look forward to promoting genuine purpose in business now and in the years to come.

Scroll down to see the inaugural Purpose Awards honorees.


 

BEST ADVOCACY

WINNER

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives and Precision

When the student leaders of March For Our Lives, the gun control advocacy movement formed in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shootings, wanted to build a nationwide youth movement to keep supporters passionately engaged and force lawmakers to take action, the organization turned to Precision.

The agency developed a nationwide bus tour, called Road To Change, to talk directly to Americans about gun violence and harnessed social media, short message service (SMS) and email to encourage young people to register to vote.

Precision staged a second college-focused tour, Vote For Our Lives, for launch prior to the 2018 midterms and used paid media, a PSA featuring Marvel superheroes and in-person events to drive young people to the polls. Geographically specific SMS communications on voter registration deadlines, polling locations and personal video messages from the Parkland students sent directly to young people’s cell phones further propelled voter turnout while local chapters organized to pack the hearing on H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and generated thousands of calls to the House in support of the bill.

The efforts drove a record 47% increase in youth turnout for the vote, with 40% of voters reported to be inspired by March For Our Lives. The powerful youth movement sparked real change: 67 new pieces of state legislation on gun safety have passed since the shooting in Parkland and 47 NRA-backed candidates lost their seats in the 2018 midterms.

HONORABLE MENTION

Teens Prove Their #StreetTread
Michelin North America and Ketchum

students of the March for Our Lives movement

FINALISTS

March For Our Lives
March For Our Lives and Precision

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation
Procter & Gamble and MSL

Pathways 2 Power Video Launch and Discussion
Pathways 2 Power, Link Strategic Partners and Ground Media

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Teens Prove Their #StreetTread
Michelin North America and Ketchum


 

BEST COLLABORATION

WINNER

Stop Traffick

Street Grace and Porter Novelli

To help nonprofit and pro bono client Street Grace shine a light on Atlanta’s human trafficking problem, Porter Novelli and sister agency BBDO created a stunt that drove home the issue’s real-life impact for the public and state leaders.

While the more than 3,600 children who are sold as sex slaves every year in Georgia (enough to fill 72 school buses) gets little coverage in the market’s media outlets, Atlanta’s highway traffic problem is a constant conversation. The agencies aimed to change the conversation from "traffic" to "traffick."

Working with the Georgia Department of Transportation, the agencies arranged for 72 school buses wrapped in anti-trafficking messaging to drive through the heart of Atlanta, creating a mile-long billboard that encouraged citizens to combat domestic minor sex trafficking. The school buses drove through downtown, passed key Super Bowl week landmarks and ultimately stopped at a press conference held by Porter Novelli in conjunction with the Georgia Attorney General’s office to raise awareness about the realities and prevalence of trafficking in Atlanta.

The project, a citywide effort with numerous companies donating their time and talent, including multiple agencies, video teams, bus drivers and outdoor advertisers, achieved more than 400 print and online stories and more than 120 broadcast and radio segments in one week. Following the stunt, Georgia had its strongest legislative session ever for trafficking, passing three bills to help law enforcement and victims.

HONORABLE MENTION

Code & Response
IBM Originals

photo of the Stop Traffick campaign school buses

FINALISTS

Code & Response
IBM Originals

Humble Design Fueled by U-Haul
Humble Design and U-Haul International

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Love Notes
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats and Edelman

Saving Lives With Hands-Only CPR
American Heart Association and Anthem Foundation

Stop Traffick
Street Grace and Porter Novelli


 

BEST ENVIRONMENTAL

WINNER

Etsy: Delivering a World of Good

Etsy

Becoming the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of carbon emissions from shipping last year wasn’t enough for Etsy — the online retailer wanted other retailers to consider offsets as well. To jumpstart broader industry action, the e-commerce website decided to pick up the tab to offset emissions for every online shopping purchase — even from its competitors — for one day in February.

Picking up the environmental tab allowed the company to shine a spotlight on the fact that offsets cost less than one penny per package and elevated Etsy’s announcement beyond a company-specific initiative to an e-commerce industry call to arms.

To make the complex topic of carbon offsetting compelling and digestible to a wide range of key audiences, Etsy created a vibrant and engaging video to explain the announcement. The visuals and messaging in the video served as the foundation of the campaign and were used across multiple channels to target key consumer and corporate audiences.

The environmental impact of this initiative was significant. Now, each time someone buys an item on Etsy, the company automatically purchases verified emissions reductions (offsets). These purchases support environmental projects, including protecting forests, sponsoring wind and solar farms and developing greener methods for producing auto parts.

HONORABLE MENTION

Made in Fukushima
Meter Group USA and Serviceplan

image from the Etsy Delivering a World of Good campaign

FINALISTS

360PR+ and Stonyfield Organic #Playfree Campaign
Stonyfield Organic and 360PR+

Cascadian Farm — Deeply Rooted for Good
General Mills, Ketchum Cultivate and Havas Annex

Etsy: Delivering a World of Good
Etsy

Made in Fukushima
Meter Group USA and Serviceplan

Sperry Look Good. Do Good. Campaign
Sperry


 

BEST EQUITY & INCLUSION

WINNER

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation

Procter & Gamble and MSL

Parenting roles have changed a lot in the 50 years Pampers has been in the diaper business. To shine a spotlight on the increasingly hands-on role dads are playing in their babies’ lives, MSL and Pampers addressed a big issue for North American dads — changing table equality.

Pampers found that nearly three out of every four dads feel that society places less value on their parenting role, a disparity they felt was particularly evident when it comes to changing table access in public restrooms. Pampers research found that nine out of 10 dads have been in a men’s restroom that did not have a changing table.

In an announcement timed to Father’s Day, the brand committed, in a partnership with Koala Kare, to install 5,000 changing tables in public restrooms across the U.S. and Canada by 2021, and supported the announcement with Pampers partner John Legend, Donte Palmer (the dad famous for changing his son’s diaper while squatting in a public bathroom) and bespoke video content. An army of influencers fueled the conversation, calling on consumers to share their own bonding moments and leveraging the campaign hashtag to contribute to additional changing table installations.

Product purchase had no part in the campaign, epitomizing Pampers’ commitment to every family. The effort addressed a real issue for dads and delivered a meaningful role for the brand.

HONORABLE MENTION

Changing the Game
Microsoft, WE and McCann New York

a changing table with Pampers diapers and a diaper bag on it

FINALISTS

Changing the Game
Microsoft, WE and McCann New York

Luna Bar Equal Pay
Luna Bar and Golin

My Black Is Beautiful #RedefineBlack: Call for Change
Procter & Gamble and Egami Group

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation
Procter & Gamble and MSL

She-I-O: Land O’Lakes
Land O’Lakes and The Martin Agency


 

BEST FUNDRAISING

WINNER

All In On Recycling

The PepsiCo Foundation and Edelman

Even though 94% of Americans say they want to recycle more, half of household recyclables still end up in landfills, on the street or in the ocean. In an effort to make access to recycling containers easier for consumers and to provide them with more information about proper recycling practices, Pepsi teamed up with Edelman for an All In On Recycling industry-facing campaign that challenged businesses, companies and other organizations to fund residential recycling programs in communities across the country.

The PepsiCo Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, jumpstarted the challenge with a donation of $10 million to The Recycling Partnership and called on peers to help raise an additional $15 million in donations, for a total of $25 million over five years. The power of PepsiCo’s brand helped catalyze major gifts from some of the world’s largest companies.

So far, the All In challenge has impacted 9.5 million families in more than 150 communities that would not have otherwise had the funds to improve their recycling programs. Communities have benefited from new tools, trainings and resources that have been made available from both The PepsiCo Foundation donation and funds it has catalyzed.

HONORABLE MENTION

Our House Drives Donations with #Wheels4Walls
Jackson Spalding

We're All In recycling campaign

FINALISTS

All In On Recycling
The PepsiCo Foundation and Edelman

Awakening Your Island Spirit with Cruzan’s Island Spirit Fund
Beam Suntory and Plenty

Bold is Beautiful Project
Benefit Cosmetics

Our House Drives Donations with #Wheels4Walls
Jackson Spalding

Zeno Group + Pizza Hut: Tackling Childhood Literacy
Pizza Hut and Zeno Group


 

BEST HEALTH

WINNER

Hatching My Special Aflac Duck to Support Pediatric Cancer Patients

Aflac and Marina Maher Communications

Despite contributing over $134 million to pediatric cancer treatment and research, appearing on Ethisphere’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 13 consecutive years and gaining a spot on both Fortune’s Best Places to Work and World’s Most Admired Companies lists, Aflac’s brand had a reputational deficit for corporate social responsibility.

The company took a risk in expanding the role of the Aflac Duck, a corporate icon with 90% brand recognition, into a philanthropic force. It worked with Marina Maher Communications to harness cutting-edge robotics and created My Special Aflac Duck, an interactive toy that specifically addresses the social and emotional needs of child cancer patients.

Aflac debuted My Special Aflac Duck at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2018, followed by an announcement during Children’s Hospitals Week on the company’s partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Distribution of My Special Aflac Duck kicked off at two hospitals in September, timed to National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The company aims to donate a duck to every childhood cancer patient in the U.S., and clinicians are beginning to publish studies outlining the toy’s benefits.

This inspired approach to an under-resourced aspect of healthcare brought Aflac’s brand icon to life, captured the public imagination and promoted the need for greater public health services.

HONORABLE MENTION

The Truth About Opioids
Truth Initiative, Ketchum, 72andSunny Los Angeles and m ss ng p eces

little girl holding a My Special Aflac duck toy

FINALISTS

A Touch of Sugar
Merck and GCI Health

Always Fights to #EndPeriodPoverty
Procter & Gamble and MSL

Hatching My Special Aflac Duck to Support Pediatric Cancer Patients
Aflac and Marina Maher Communications

Quit Big Tobacco
Vital Strategies

The Truth About Opioids
Truth Initiative, Ketchum, 72andSunny Los Angeles and m ss ng p eces


 

BEST INTEGRATION INTO CULTURE

WINNER

WNBA: Take a Seat, Take a Stand

WNBA and Edelman

Edelman turned attending a Women’s National Basketball Association game into an act of advocacy with the Take a Seat, Take a Stand initiative. For every ticket purchased, WNBA donated a portion of the proceeds to the fan’s choice of one of six national nonprofit partners: Planned Parenthood, Mentor, GLSEN, The United State of Women, It’s On Us and Bright Pink. The league also donated a matching ticket to that organization to send a young girl to a game, giving the youngest generation a chance to see powerful female role models in action.

The agency created an anthem film, which ran on social channels and as a broadcast spot during games and during the NBA Finals, and created customizable assets for all 12 teams, including in-arena signage, digital ads and social content with a custom emoji for #WNBATakesAStand. Edelman also enlisted WNBA stars and influencers connected to the women’s movement, providing assets to amplify the message on their social channels.

Within days, the initiative garnered hundreds of pieces of earned media coverage and reignited support for the WNBA, inserting the league into the cultural conversation.

Opening weekend attendance and viewership grew — even merchandise sales were up. Most importantly, the WNBA inspired meaningful support for women, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to important nonprofits and helped a generation of sports fans raise their voices for change.

HONORABLE MENTION

PopSockets: Poptivism
PopSockets

girl holding a sign that says Girl Power

FINALISTS

PopSockets: Poptivism
PopSockets

SunTrust Purpose Ambassador Program
SunTrust and Archetype

The Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign Declares It’s #TimeToEnd BreastCancer
The Estee Lauder Companies and M Booth

When Neurodiversity Works
IBM Originals and Conde Nast/Wired Brand Lab

WNBA: Take a Seat, Take a Stand
WNBA and Edelman


 

BEST PROOF OF AUTHENTICITY

WINNER

Always Fights to #EndPeriodPoverty

Procter & Gamble and MSL

Always has been supporting girls during puberty and beyond for 35-plus years, helping them improve their education, tackle societal barriers and gain access to the feminine care products they need to manage their period hygienically and effectively.

The brand’s most recent campaign, #EndPeriodPoverty, focused on the challenge faced by girls who can’t afford the products they need. P&G’s research revealed that although girls are missing school, sports and extracurricular activities due to a lack of access to period protection, Americans are not aware that period poverty exists.

P&G tapped MSL to help spread awareness with a back-to-school timed campaign that would donate Always pads for every pack purchased and leveraged the brand’s historical partnership with Feeding America to tap into the organization’s network of school pantries and food banks to maximize the donation footprint.

Public awareness was elevated through Jane the Virgin actress Gina Rodriguez’s media day, which magnified the cause in an authentic manner, and an army of influencers who continued the conversation and asked consumers to post photos of themselves during puberty to trigger an additional donation. Retailer opt-ins further generated awareness and donations.

Always met its objectives: 15 million pads were donated to girls in need nationwide and its relationship with its target audience was strengthened through brand engagement.

HONORABLE MENTION

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Always campaign with Gina Rodriguez

FINALISTS

Always Fights to #EndPeriodPoverty
Procter & Gamble and MSL

#FillUpTheirPlate
Chobani

Hatching My Special Aflac Duck to Support Pediatric Cancer Patients
Aflac and Marina Maher Communications

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Taco Bell Foundation: Live Mas Scholarship
Taco Bell Foundation and Edelman


 

BEST PUBLIC AWARENESS

WINNER

Runaway Train 25

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Young people still vanish at staggering rates — more than 400,000 kids are reported missing in the U.S. every year. The good news is that 61% of missing children are found, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Awareness can help bring kids home. In 1993, the video for Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train famously served as a vehicle to help get missing teens home — 21 of the runaway kids pictured in the video were eventually rescued.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original video and raise awareness of the problem, NCMEC and its creative partner M/H VCCP wanted to create an updated interpretation of the video, and engaged Powell Communications to connect with musicians and labels and develop an influencer and press strategy to engage people of all ages across the country on release.

The agency secured a pre-launch interview with Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner in Billboard, an in-depth spread in People and segments on Good Morning America, The View and Entertainment Tonight. Powell also activated 765 mom bloggers to engage their followers to spread the video on social media using #CLEVERrt25.

As a result, one teenage runaway has been reunited with her family — hopefully the first of many more.

HONORABLE MENTION

#CovertheProgress
Ketchum

Runaway Train 25 campaign

FINALISTS

Close Before You Doze
Allison+Partners and UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute

#CovertheProgress
Ketchum

#NoKidsInCages
Raices Texas, Badger & Winters and Fenton Communications

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Teens Prove Their #StreetTread
Michelin North America and Ketchum


 

BEST USE OF CELEBRITY AND/OR INFLUENCERS

WINNER

Luna Bar Equal Pay

Luna Bar and Golin

Determined to make a difference in the fight for equal pay, Luna Bar aimed to be a leader by not only focusing attention on the gender pay gap, but also taking action to help solve it.

The brand worked with Golin to lend marketing and comms muscle to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, whose players made history in 2016 by demanding equal pay. Ironically, the World Cup bonus structure still awards female U.S. soccer players $31,250 less than men. Luna Bar saw an opportunity to lead the charge to change.

Timed to coincide with Equal Pay Day, Luna Bar announced it would close that gap for the players by awarding a check for the difference in pay to each of the 23 women on the team. The bold move got plenty of media attention.

The brand engaged players as spokespeople and further amplified the message through a paid influencer program that partnered with Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American woman to wear a hijab competing in the Olympics, among others.

The brand released signature blue #SomedayIsNow laces as a symbol of equality and distributed them online and at events and activations. As the players made strides toward their championship title, Luna Bar hosted a Someday Is Now Salon event in Paris to continue the discussion on gender equality. One judge cited the brand’s "long-term commitment to women’s equity" that kept the equal pay issue on the radar during the games and beyond.

HONORABLE MENTION

A Touch of Sugar
Merck and GCI Health

photo of the Luna Bar Equal Pay campaign members

FINALISTS

A Touch of Sugar
Merck and GCI Health

Luna Bar Equal Pay
Luna Bar and Golin

Overshare the Invisible
Allstate Foundation Purple Purse and MSLGroup Chicago

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation
Procter & Gamble and MSL

PopSockets: Poptivism
PopSockets


 

BEST USE OF DIGITAL/SOCIAL MEDIA

WINNER

Gillette: We Believe

Gillette and Ketchum/MMK+

Riffing on its iconic tagline "The Best a Man Can Get," Gillette and MMK+ bravely set out to initiate a dialogue on what it means to be a man today and advocate for men to actively shape and model positive masculinity for the next generation with a YouTube film We Believe — The Best Men Can Be.

It was a bold — and risky — move. Within hours of its release, the film drew passionate reactions. Enraged critics accused Gillette of attacking men and masculinity itself. The brand held its ground and its resolve was rewarded when an overwhelmingly negative conversation turned positive. The short brand film became an organically fueled global media and social sensation overnight.

Gillette used the film as a launching pad for an extended brand purpose initiative, forging ahead with equally bold programming reframing how it portrays modern-day masculinity from every consumer touchpoint. The brand also initiated a multi-year, multi-million-dollar commitment to funding community programs that model positive male behavior to youth.

The brand also took the campaign global. In India, Gillette introduced a film about a barbershop run by two sisters that celebrates the value women bring to a male-dominated society. In Spain, it worked with celebrities and influencers in stereotypically "female" roles to show the diversity of modern manhood. And in North America, it released First Shave, a powerful sequel featuring a trans man shaving for the first time, which was lauded by consumers and media.

HONORABLE MENTION

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation
Procter & Gamble and MSL

the Gillette We Believe campaign with the text, The best a man can get

FINALISTS

Always Fights to #EndPeriodPoverty
Procter & Gamble and MSL

Bayada Nurses Week Campaign
Bayada Home Health Care and Vault Communications

Gillette: We Believe
Gillette and Ketchum/MMK+

Outsmart PSVT
Milestone Pharmaceuticals and JPA Health Communications

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation
Procter & Gamble and MSL


 

BEST USE OF CREATIVITY

WINNER

Runaway Train 25

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Powell Communications worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and its creative partner, advertising agency M/H VCCP, to help shift the public perception that it is someone else’s responsibility to find and return missing kids to the reality that anyone can help raise awareness in their community and bring a child home to their family.

Powell used its extensive network to help connect NCMEC and M/H VCCP with musicians and labels for a modern-day interpretation of Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train music video, which featured the names and faces of 36 missing young people, to celebrate the video’s 25th anniversary.

The agency launched a fully integrated PR campaign supporting the release of Runaway Train 25, a music video that incorporates geolocation technology to automatically update itself with the profiles of missing children from NCMEC’s database based on a viewer’s location. The video enables sharing across Twitter and other social media platforms.

The agency also activated 765 mom bloggers to engage their vast networks of followers and spread the video on social media using #CLEVERrt25.

The video proved that getting more children in front of more people in more relevant places can bring children to safety. As a result, one teenage runaway in Minnesota is now safely at home with her family.

HONORABLE MENTION

Teens Prove Their #StreetTread
Michelin North America and Ketchum

photo of the Runaway Train 25 campaign

FINALISTS

#BeTheGift and Break Through
DCI Donor Services and Finn Partners

More Powerful Together: Shining a New Light on the HeForShe Movement and Gender Equality in the #MeToo Era
UNWomen HeForShe and FleishmanHillard

Pampers #LoveTheChange Changing Tables Activation
Procter & Gamble and MSL

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

Teens Prove Their #StreetTread
Michelin North America and Ketchum


 

BEST USE OF MEASUREMENT

WINNER

When You Drive, Never Drink

Heineken and Edelman

Heineken took the lead in responsible alcohol consumption with When You Drive, Never Drink, a first-of-its-kind multipronged program that raised global awareness about drunk driving and provided tangible tools to help people make the right choice at the precise moment of relevance and impact behavior in real terms.

Taking a fresh perspective and applying consumer insights, Heineken worked with Edelman and consultancy Innovia to create a pilot program that used positive messaging communicated at multiple touchpoints where consumption happens to encourage drivers to stay alcohol-free.

Testing revealed that four core interventions deliver the greatest impact when it comes to reducing drunk driving in a bar environment: availability of alcohol-free drinks, bar staff encouragement, pledge cards and rewards and incentives for drivers. The program proved that prominent "nudges" deliver drunk-driver reduction, as bars with the highest level of support for the pilot program saw up to a 50% reduction in drunk-driver behavior.

Heineken plans to use the program’s strategies as a model to successfully engage consumers and reduce drunk driving on a local level. In test markets in Brazil and New Zealand, the program sparked a decrease in drunk-driving by 25% and 7%, respectively. The brand is committed to rollout the program to additional markets.

HONORABLE MENTION

The ItAll Social Experiment
Weber Shandwick & Lean Cuisine

photo from the Heineken When you drive, never drink campaign

FINALISTS

#The ItAll Social Experiment
Weber Shandwick & Lean Cuisine

When You Drive, Never Drink
Heineken and Edelman


 

BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY

WINNER

Hatching My Special Aflac Duck to Support Pediatric Cancer Patients

Aflac and Marina Maher Communications

Aflac found a tech solution to help the company communicate its stellar corporate social responsibility reputation to the public. Supporting pediatric cancer research and treatment is deeply embedded into the culture at Aflac, from the millions it has given for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer to establishing the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the volunteering efforts from Aflac employees.

To deliver the message of its commitment to pediatric cancer research, the company worked with Marina Maher Communications and Sproutel to develop My Special Aflac Duck, an interactive robotic toy that comforts young patients when they need it most. With four patents pending, lifelike movement and emotions and a Bluetooth-enabled app, the technological marvel is the first animatronic product on mass scale to feature a mechanized movement system with hidden sensors so it reacts intuitively and realistically to touch.

Launched at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, My Special Aflac Duck was named Best in Show and Best in Robotics and has been called "the smartest toy of all" and one of the "most innovative and breakthrough technologies."

Media attention helped shine a light on Aflac’s long-standing involvement in children’s cancer research and genuinely underscored the authenticity of this branding initiative.

HONORABLE MENTION

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications

little girl holding a My Special Aflac duck toy

FINALISTS

AT&T’s 10x Carbon Reduction Goal
AT&T and VOX Global

Bringing a Fresh Solution to Solving the $218 Billion Food Waste Problem
Zest Labs and Zeno Group

Hatching My Special Aflac Duck to Support Pediatric Cancer Patients
Aflac and Marina Maher Communications

Kellogg/Amazon First-Ever Online Food Drive
Kellogg company

Runaway Train 25
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, M/H VCCP and Powell Communications


 

MOST PURPOSEFUL PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF 30

WINNER

Aaron Komo, senior social engagement specialist

Carmichael Lynch Relate

Aaron Komo is fiercely dedicated to growing Carmichael Lynch Relate’s internal diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as those of multiple organizations in the community. As co-chair of CLOUT, the agency’s internal LGBTQIA+ group, Komo organized, hosted and moderated CLOUT’s Coming Out panel, identified and curated an all-agency diversity training event, launched an ongoing newsletter and Start Understanding content series called to discuss issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community and concepted and shot social media content for the agency’s Pride week activities.

He is also a member of MOSAIC, for which he organized and emceed the Asian American Heritage Month event with Mu Performing Arts and built all-agency presentations celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Komo is a trained facilitator for The BrandLab, a national organization that helps connect underprivileged high school and college students with mentors in the communications field.

As a member of the BrandLab’s Fearless Leadership Team, he develops content and facilitates Fearless Workshops, training sessions geared toward helping workplaces achieve their diversity and inclusion goals.

In his spare time, Komo is a frequent volunteer for Mu Performing Arts, which advocates and funds theatrical, musical and dance productions that feature Asian-Americans. He has created dance programs for children aged 6-12 and teaches weekly tap dance classes at a local elementary school.

HONORABLE MENTION

Lina Renzina, head of talent partnerships
The Ad Council

headshot of Aaron Komo

FINALISTS

Audrey Henson, founder and CEO
College to Congress

Aaron Komo, senior social engagement specialist
Carmichael Lynch Relate

Molly Kunst, manager, communications
Anheuser-Busch

Allison Ranshous, manager
Weber Shandwick

Lina Renzina, head of talent partnerships
The Ad Council


 

MOST PURPOSEFUL AGENCY PRO

WINNER

Scott Leezer, VP, government relations

Cura Strategies

Scott Leezer, VP of government relations at Cura Strategies, is no stranger to patient advocacy. Born with a single ventricle heart defect, he has weathered five open heart surgeries, has a pacemaker and is one of the oldest people living with the condition.

Leezer brings not only knowledge, but also firsthand experience to his government relations and communications work with clients and causes. He’s been instrumental in the creation of a patient self-advocacy guide for Mended Hearts, a nonprofit that supports heart disease patients and their families and caregivers, and he worked with the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation to educate Congress members about the need for legislation requiring automated external defibrillators in public schools. As a member of the advisory group that conceptualized and created the CHD Patient Registry, Leezer is developing the program and recruiting patients.

Off the clock, this PR pro works with a number of organizations to advance congenital heart disease research, including helping to raise money for the prototype of the Fontan Blood Pump, a device that will help single ventricle heart patients avert heart transplants and live longer, healthier lives. His passion for improving access to healthcare extends beyond heart disease, and he has also worked with both the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and MDxHealth to expand healthcare services to veterans.

HONORABLE MENTION

Seema Bhende, SVP, brand purpose and reputation
WE

headshot of Scott Leezer

FINALISTS

Seema Bhende, SVP, brand purpose and reputation
WE

Scott Leezer, VP, government relations
Cura Strategies

Paul Massey, global lead, social impact
Weber Shandwick

Michael O’Brien, MD, Washington, DC
JPA Health Communications

Ravi Sunnak, EVP, Sustainable Development Goals
Porter Novelli


 

MOST PURPOSEFUL CCO

WINNER

Catherine Hernandez-Blades, SVP, chief ESG and communications officer

Aflac

A recognized agent of change, Catherine Hernandez-Blades has elevated the role of corporate social responsibility within her industry and expanded the public dialogue to include new stakeholders and encompass broader ethical and public policy considerations.

Hernandez-Blades oversaw the launch of Aflac’s flagship CSR initiative, the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign and its innovative cornerstone, My Special Aflac Duck, a smart robotic companion designed to comfort children battling cancer. My Special Aflac Duck has helped more than 4,500 children by providing emotional support and helping them communicate throughout their treatment journey. In Aflac-commissioned, hospital-led research, 69% of patients reported reduced stress after using the duck and 82% of parents recommend it to others.

The multiple award-winning program has established Aflac as an undeniable leader in CSR by authentically transforming the company’s corporate mascot into a true brand ambassador with a social mission.

This innovative pro has been instrumental in recasting the PR professional’s role from service provider to value driver and successfully tied CSR goals to her company’s financial success. She built a strong business case for the My Special Aflac Duck program, using research to show a direct correlation between company reputation and business imperatives.

HONORABLE MENTION

Karen Kahn, chief brand and communications officer
HP

headshot of Catherine Hernandez-Blades

FINALISTS

Catherine Hernandez-Blades, SVP, chief ESG and communications officer
Aflac

Karen Kahn, chief brand and communications officer
HP

Moyra Knight, VP, communications and corporate citizenship
Astellas
president, Astellas Global Health Foundation


 

MOST PURPOSEFUL CEO

WINNER

Chip Bergh, president and CEO

Levi Strauss & Co.

Chip Bergh led the turnaround of Levi Strauss & Co. with a "profit-through-principles" approach to business. He’s driven growth while maintaining a commitment to industry-leading sustainability targets and spoken out on the most pressing issues.

An industry leader in sustainability programs, Levi’s aims to source 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2020. It adopted an open-source screened chemistry protocol and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 90% and using 100% renewable electricity in its facilities by 2025.

Joining forces with Patagonia, the company launched the Time to Vote campaign, recruiting 400 companies to pledge to give their employees time to vote in the 2018 midterms. Bergh penned a Fortune op-ed outlining the importance of voting, and voter registration drives were held at Levi’s stores for employees and consumers.

Bergh also led the company’s advocacy around gun violence. The company established the Safer Tomorrow Fund to direct $1 million in grants to nonprofits and youth activists working to end gun violence in America and partnered with Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety to form a coalition of business leaders to address gun violence.

The company expanded factory-based worker well-being programs to provide employees with guidance and support on individual and family health, financial literacy, security and gender equality.

HONORABLE MENTION

Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO
American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

photo of Chip Bergh

FINALISTS

Dan Amos, chairman and CEO
Aflac

Chip Bergh, president and CEO
Levi Strauss & Co.

Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner
PwC

Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO
American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Jay Wilkinson, CEO
Firespring


 

BRAND OF THE YEAR

WINNER

Stanley Black & Decker

Stanley Black & Decker has a deep commitment to corporate social responsibility. The company is focused on empowering makers, innovating with purpose and creating a more sustainable world. The company is also committed to maintaining an inclusive workforce that actively engages fellow colleagues to do their best work.

With a goal of enabling 10 million makers by 2030, Stanley developed multiple initiatives to address the skills gap that currently exists in manufacturing and engineering. Efforts include the creation of Innovation Generation, a STEAM curriculum developed with Discovery Education for sixth to ninth graders, a collaboration with Greenlight for Girls to inspire young girls to pursue STEAM careers, a partnership with the global WorldSkills competition and the opening of its own Makerspace for employees and local communities.

As part of its initiative to create innovative products that make a positive impact for people and the planet, Stanley Earth launched NADI, an eco-friendly, low cost solar-powered water pump that provides reliable irrigation for agricultural farms in India. This innovation offers a sustainable alternative to the 25 million inefficient, polluting AC and diesel pumps currently in use.

Stanley Black & Decker has set ambitious targets for 2030 to become carbon positive, achieve zero waste to landfill and create sustainable water use across its operations.

HONORABLE MENTION

Adidas

woman standing beneath a solar panel

FINALISTS

Adidas

Aflac

Chobani

The Kroger Co.

Stanley Black & Decker


 

AGENCY OF THE YEAR

WINNER

Porter Novelli

With a firm belief that communication can advance society, Porter Novelli has long sought clients with a shared ambition of making a positive impact. Its aim to help organizations find, live and tell their purpose has helped the Omnicom agency effectively motivate action, secure loyalty and encourage advocacy for its partners for over 45 years.

This past year, Porter Novelli set its sights on becoming a global purpose and communications consultancy, a transformation that required the agency to develop a vision and strategy for achieving a dominant market position regarding purpose. The agency invested in innovation, new talent and new purpose-focused products, as well as internal practices that ensure the firm truly "practices what it preaches."

Porter Novelli invested heavily in developing a first-to-market offering around business engagement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and developed close links with social impact and public policy groups, continued its commitment to diversity and inclusion and became an outspoken advocate for disability representation at Davos through the #Valuable campaign.

The agency also merged with Cone Communications, integrating its deep social purpose marketing heritage with Cone’s unparalleled legacy in corporate social responsibility for an agency that now boasts the world’s largest dedicated purpose practice exclusively devoted to helping brands make a meaningful impact on people and the planet.

HONORABLE MENTION

Weber Shandwick

the Porter Novelli Agency team

FINALISTS

C+C

FleishmanHillard

Porter Novelli

Precision

Weber Shandwick

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