PRWeek Awards US jurors on what impressed them

Notes from Aedhmar Hynes, Brian Grace and Torod Neptune.

Clockwise from top left: Steve Barrett, Aedhmar Hynes, Torod Neptune, Brian Grace.
Clockwise from top left: Steve Barrett, Aedhmar Hynes, Torod Neptune, Brian Grace.

NEW YORK: What impressed the jurors deciding this year’s PRWeek U.S. Awards? People-focused agencies, issues-based campaigns and storytelling, just to name a few qualities. 

Following the virtual event, PRWeek’s Steve Barrett held a webcast with three jurors -- Aedhmar Hynes, board director of Rosetta Stone and Tupperware; Nationwide chief communications officer Brian Grace; and Lenovo VP and CCO Torod Neptune -- to discuss their takeaways.

What stood out to Hynes were the winners of Outstanding Boutique and Small Agency, won by SourceCode Communications and Precision, respectively.

“[SourceCode] was very focused on people; focusing on your people when you’re in high growth mode is extraordinary,” she said. 

About the two firms, Neptune added that “at the size they are, where you would assume they are more challenged to focus on things that go directly to revenue growth, the amount of energy spent on the real foundational work of engaging employees so that the environment within these agencies is compelling, creative and attractive in terms of retaining and recruiting was also a refreshing insight for me from judging this year.”

Looking at the initiatives featured in this year’s awards, Hynes noted that “every campaign had a relevance to an issue, rather than just a product.”

She was a particular fan of Pampers’ #LoveTheChange Changing Tables campaign by Procter & Gamble and MSL, which won the award for Influencer Impact.  

“The power of storytelling and being able to connect to people emotionally was a prevalent issue throughout most of the awards,” Hynes said.

Grace's campaign of note was Community Relations winner Runaway Train 25, by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Powell Communications and Muhtayzik Hoffer 

“The use of geolocation technology to make a video that had high production value featuring missing children in the viewers’ specific area was amazing,” he said. “It was nice use of tech, purpose-driven and delivered real world results.”

Ancestry and Weber Shandwick’s campaign Railroad Ties, which won Campaign of the Year, also impressed Neptune.

It proved that “the integration of data and analytics and insights upfront to help drive toward a creative idea can inform the development of an entire program,” he said. 

Neptune added that the PR industry’s alignment to fight for issues such as social justice is an opportunity, and he hopes to see it reflected in next year’s PRWeek Awards. 

“We have done the hard work that needs to happen in the C-suites and our leadership conversations about evolving our business models, how we prioritize and how we operate in a way that is authentic and real,” he said. “I hope to see the teams responsible for this work being much more diverse than they are today given the alignment around that cause as well.”

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