The 2020 Purpose Awards

2020 winners reflect activations that use creative ideas to genuinely further positive causes and acknowledge the organizations and individuals behind them.

Purpose finally finds its place

A letter from Steve Barrett, VP, editorial director, PRWeek

Purpose-based business and communication have never been more relevant as the world addresses an unprecedented health pandemic and the U.S. faces up to egregious instances of racial injustice and rapidly advancing wildfires on the West Coast.

There’s a leadership vacuum and brands and corporations must step up and fill the void. Modern leadership is underpinned by effective and authentic communications and messaging.

The PR function needs to be a key boardroom voice and intrinsically involved in business strategies and narratives around them.

Last year’s launch of PRWeek’s Purpose Awards was timely and identified the case studies and best practice to which communicators and marketers could aspire to emulate in providing that senior counsel.

This year’s initiative builds on 2019’s playbook and extends the agenda to prioritize real action and permanent commitment over safe statements and one-time donations.

We benefited from the expertise and wisdom of chair of jury Damon Jones, CCO of Procter & Gamble, and thanks go to him and the rest of the judges for overseeing a truly credible process.

Scroll down to see the 2020 Purpose Awards honorees.


BEST ADVOCACY

WINNER

Tobacco Free Kids: Fighting the Youth Vaping Epidemic

Bully Pulpit Interactive

In 2019, more than 5 million kids in the U.S. were using e-cigarettes, risking health at a crucial point in their lives. In response, Bully Pulpit Interactive created Tobacco Free Kids: Fighting the Youth Vaping Epidemic to support the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes initiative.

The campaign urged Congress to meet the moment at a time when COVID-19 brought the value of lung health into stark relief.

An Open Letter campaign urged the Trump Administration to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, framing it as a choice between protecting kids or Big Tobacco’s bottom line. The campaign centered on video and social creative that amplified youth experiences, detailing what makes e-cigarettes an insidious threat. When focus shifted to Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-06)’s bill, BPI identified districts represented by members whose votes would decide passage and developed creative with illustrations of kid-friendly e-cig products, serving ads to parents across each district.

The Open Letter generated 110,000 signatures in three weeks; when the Administration’s policy fell short, national awareness ads featured candy and fruit backdrops amplifying their shortcomings. As the ground shifts repeatedly — from the White House’s promise (and failure) to take action, to glimmers of hope in Congress and a new normal wrought by COVID-19 — the partnership has helped a longtime nonprofit navigate an ever-shifting crisis without losing sight of its root causes and the communities depending on a successful resolution.

HONORABLE MENTION

The Pledge for Paternity Leave
Unilever Dove Men+Care Edelman


Bully Pulpit Tobacco Free Kids Campaign image

FINALISTS

Tobacco Free Kids: Fighting the Youth Vaping Epidemic
Bully Pulpit Interactive

CEO Senate Letter for Gun Safety
Levi Strauss

Microsoft and Plus Communications: Bridging the Digital Divide
Microsoft and Plus Communications

Independent Restaurant Coalition: Save Restaurants
Precision

The Pledge For Paternity Leave
Unilever Dove Men+Care and Edelman


BEST B2B

WINNER

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Brings “Manhattan Project” of Global Supercomputing Providers Together to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic

IBM

The speed at which researchers can drive discovery during the COVID-19 global pandemic is a critical factor in the search for a cure. As the virus spread, IBM sought a way to rapidly connect researchers around the world with supercomputing resources. While there have been many public-private research partnerships, none have ever been attempted this quickly and at such scale.

Tech giants including Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, in addition to national labs, NASA, NSF and universities, joined IBM and the White House to launch the COVID-19 HPC Consortium. The “Manhattan Project” group came together to provide supercomputing access for researchers that needed it.

Creative storylines drove more than 1,000 pieces of coverage across broadcast, print and online media, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomberg and other national outlets. Resources and spokespeople were made available for external audiences, including recorded video interviews. The campaign encouraged researchers from industry, academia, government and other areas to utilize supercomputing resources in search of a treatment for COVID-19.

Additionally, IBM Communications launched a thought leadership campaign to share the voices of research members. Currently, the Consortium has enabled 66 different COVID-19 research projects running on 437 petaflops of supercomputing power — or the ability to execute 430 trillion calculations.

HONORABLE MENTION

Astellas Oncology Changes Cancer Care for Patients and Their Caregivers

Astellas Pharma U.S. and W2O

coronavirus molecules image

FINALISTS

Astellas Oncology Changes Cancer Care for Patients and Their Caregivers
Astellas Pharma U.S. and W2O

UNGA House — Goals Houses
Freuds

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Brings “Manhattan Project” of Global Supercomputing Providers Together to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic
IBM


Intel 2030 Goals and Global Challenges
Intel

Ventilator SOS
W2O


BEST COLLABORATION

WINNER

#AloneTogether Social Distancing Campaign

MTV in partnership with the Ad Council

At the start of COVID-19’s spread across the U.S., ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & Youth brands realized there was an urgent need to educate audiences on the importance of social distancing and staying home. Partnering with the Ad Council, ViacomCBS was able to blast the message beyond its portfolio with a campaign that evolved to meet the needs of the crisis.

Within 36 hours, the first, graphics-based #Alonetogether PSA spread a clear, clean message carried across networks, digital, radio and billboards around the globe.

As the pandemic took hold, the campaign evolved to meet the needs of the crisis, working to educate its audience with clear, engaging information, sharing mental health resources to address the effects of isolation and providing entertainment and opportunities to connect at a time when the world was retreating.

The incredibly powerful distribution pipeline reignited MTV’s Unplugged and Club MTV, launched live performances on Instagram and Twitch, with MTV News highlighting frontline workers and offering Q&A from professionals.

In a study from the MTV Insights team, 51% of people who shared the campaign said it made them feel like “we are all in this together;” 45% were reminded of the importance of social distancing; and 64% took actions like “showing appreciation for healthcare workers” and “donating money to COVID-19 charities, causes, and organizations” as a result.

HONORABLE MENTION

SickKids Airbnb
No Fixed Address

MTV Alone Together Campaign

FINALISTS

Budweiser #OneTeam
Anheuser-Busch

#AloneTogether Social Distancing Campaign
MTV in partnership with the Ad Council

SickKids Airbnb
No Fixed Address

No Room for Trafficking
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Plus Communications

Zippo x Woodchuck USA: Fight Fire With Fire
Zippo and DeVries Global


BEST ENVIRONMENTAL

WINNER

Spinning Straws Into Vinyl

Bacardi with Harrison & Shriftman and BBDO

In a commitment to eliminate 1 billion single-use plastic straws by the end of the year, Bacardi, in a partnership with Harrison & Shriftman and BBDO, created Spinning Straws into Vinyl — a collectible vinyl pressing of the hot summer dance anthem by Major Lazer and Anitta, made from 150,000 plastic straws.

Adopting the tagline #TheFutureDoesn’tSuck, the nationwide campaign delivered a soundtrack for saving oceans and promoted an environmental message that coincided with both World Cleanup Day and the hugely popular Life is Beautiful music and art festival in Las Vegas. The initiative asked people to take #TheFutureDoesntSuck pledge — encouraging them to eliminate single use plastics from their lives.

By partnering with influencers @lisahomsy and @danielleperea and enlisting 38 high-profile bars across the country, all 140 limited-edition straw vinyls sold out in less than a month. At the Life is Beautiful music festival, 70,072 attendees (41%) visited the Bacardi Art Motel and #TheFutureDoesntSuck installation.

Resonating globally, the campaign generated 122 major media stories, with a reach of more than 125 million worldwide — 99.2% of coverage including additional brand impact measures (an event photo, video, spokesperson quote or prominent placement). Overall, the campaign drove nearly 4 million social impressions (between a combination of brand-owned and earned), reaching 116,000 and generating 4,400 earned social engagements.

HONORABLE MENTION

Not Business As Usual: Seventh Generation Stands With the Global Climate Strike
Seventh Generation and Allison+Partners

Bacardi Spinning Straw into Vinyl campaign image

FINALISTS

Spinning Straws Into Vinyl
Bacardi with Harrison & Shriftman and BBDO

Citizen Relations and Real Canadian Superstore: Reducing Food Waste with Flashfood
Citizen Relations

Carbon Negative by 2030
Microsoft and WE

Sea of Shadows
National Geographic

Not Business As Usual: Seventh Generation Stands with the Global Climate Strike
Seventh Generation and Allison+Partners


BEST EQUITY & INCLUSION

WINNER

Dove Hair and Hair Love’s Oscars Campaign

Unilever and Edelman

In 2019, Dove leaned further into its mission to shatter beauty stereotypes by creating the CROWN Coalition — an advocacy group that aims to create a more equitable and inclusive experience for Black women and girls. Concurrently, they were engaged in a For Your Consideration campaign for the Academy Awards, for a film they donated $25,000 to help realize — emerging filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry’s short animated film project, Hair Love.

Halfway through the campaign, a headline emerged about a young Black man named DeAndre Arnold who was told he couldn’t walk at high school graduation unless he cut his hair. When it was announced that Hair Love was a nominee for the Oscars, Dove saw an opportunity to merge the sentiment of the film with the action of the CROWN Act and invited DeAndre to join Hair Love producers Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade at the Academy Awards.

Dove arranged for community screenings of the film for young girls in NYC and Los Angeles, hosted by Matthew Cherry and Dove Self-Esteem Expert Dre Brown. At the Oscars, Access Hollywood cameras followed DeAndre and his mother, Sandy, as they got ready. And a pre-Oscars dinner with Dove rep Senator J Holly Mitchell, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade and the entire Hair Love team helped raise awareness and engagement among black women, allies, lawmakers and key opinion leaders to advance the CROWN Act and change policy for good.

HONORABLE MENTION

Losing Lena
Porter Novelli and Clemenger BBDO

Hair Love team on the red carpet

FINALISTS

#Acceptance-Matters
Mastercard

Secret “Equal Word, Equal Sweat, Equal Pay” Campaign
P&G Secret and DeVries Global (NY)

Losing Lena
Porter Novelli and Clemenger BBDO

Dove Hair and Hair Love’s Oscars Campaign
Unilever and Edelman

Be the One
WE in partnership with Microsoft and McCann New York


BEST FUNDRAISING

WINNER

MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Recording Academy, Porter Novelli, MusiCares, Rogers & Cowan PMK

As the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the U.S., social distancing and shelter-in-place orders devastated the music industry, leaving music creators and professionals out of work and struggling to make ends meet. In an effort to advocate for the millions of gig workers overlooked by federal aid, the Recording Academy and its charitable arm, MusiCares, established the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

MusiCares teamed up with Porter Novelli and Rogers & Cowen PMK to spread awareness about the fund, inspire donations from corporations and influential individuals and secure inclusion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Recording Academy kickstarted fundraising with a $2 million donation and an appeal for immediate support. Within six weeks, corporate donations and music industry support had raised $14 million for the fund, and as of June 2020, donations exceeded $20 million.

So far, MusiCares has vetted and approved more than 20,000 people to receive assistance — more than double the number typically served by the fund in one year. Through a swift and effective media strategy, music professionals were able to apply for and receive aid to pay bills and support their families even as they waited for other forms of federal aid.

HONORABLE MENTION

Chipotle: Cultivating the Future of Farming
Chipotle Mexican Grill

MusiCares campaign

FINALISTS

Chipotle: Cultivating the Future of Farming
Chipotle Mexican Grill

COVID-19 Restaurant Industry Relief
PepsiCo, Golin and Ketchum

Tequila Don Julio Celebrates Cinco De Mayo With Purpose-Driven “It’s Cinco Somewhere” Virtual Campaign
Tequila Don Julio with Hunter, Anomaly New York, Starpower and Vayner Media

MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Recording Academy, Porter Novelli, MusiCares, Rogers & Cowan PMK

Walgreens Red Nose Day
Walgreens and BCW


BEST HEALTH

WINNER

This Is Quitting

Truth Initiative

Driven by the youth e-cigarette epidemic, the percentage of U.S. high school students who use tobacco products of any kind is at its highest in 19 years. With more than a quarter of high schoolers now vaping, Truth Initiative and Truth, the agency’s youth smoking prevention campaign, is fighting its hardest battle to date.

After learning that many young adults wanted to quit e-cigarettes but didn’t know where to turn for vaping-specific resources, Truth Initiative developed This is Quitting (TIQ), a first-of-its-kind, free and anonymous app to help teens break their vaping habit. The program was built on input from young adults who have attempted to or have successfully quit and is tailored by age group to give appropriate tips, encouragement and a sense of community to help with quitting.

Using mediums such as TikTok and influencers, Truth Initiative spread the word through the Ready to Ditch Juul campaign, which highlighted young people ditching their Juuls and drove those looking to quit to TIQ.

Preliminary data from the program published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research shows after just two weeks of using TIQ, 60.8% of users reported they had reduced or stopped vaping. Since inception, the program has garnered more than 160,000 enrollments and the hashtag #thisisquitting surpassed benchmarks with more than 1.6 billion uses on the Truth TikTok challenge page, confirming the initiative is engaging its target audience.

HONORABLE MENTION

Assembling a Silicon Valley Super Group to Accelerate COvID Clinical Research
VSC

Truth Initiative This is Quitting Campaign

FINALISTS

#AloneTogether Social Distancing Campaign
MTV in partnership with the Ad Council

Bridging Heart Health Disparities
MWWPR/Omron Healthcare

This Is Quitting
Truth Initiative

Assembling a Silicon Valley Super Group to Accelerate COVID Clinical Research
VSC

Ventilator SOS
W2O


BEST INTEGRATION INTO CULTURE

WINNER

Operation Surprise

The Home Depot Foundation with Big Red Rooster, MSL and Sunshine Sachs

Every year, The Home Depot hosts a Celebration of Service leading up to Veterans Day to honor veterans — a cause integral to the company that employs more than 35,000 veterans or active duty military. This year, The Home Depot’s philanthropic arm, The Home Depot Foundation, created Operation Surprise as a way to delight veterans and re-inspire engagement in communities nationwide.

Partnering with Big Red Rooster, MSL and Sunshine Sachs, the foundation celebrated veteran’s selfless spirit and service by surprising them with life-changing moments. The core of Operation Surprise was awarding a veteran a $25,000 home improvement grant, but the foundation also issued a 100,000 hours challenge to encourage associates to volunteer, traded Home Depot’s signature orange for military green for all Team Depot volunteers and engaged social media users with #OperationSurprise.

Operation Surprise successfully transformed moments into movement with associates donating 115,884 hours of service, completing 737 service projects and increasing Team Depot participation to 19,314 associates nationwide. The initiative executed more than 10 large-scale activations to surprise veterans, and continued optimism has the foundation pledging to extend Operation Surprise into 2020.

HONORABLE MENTION

No Room For Trafficking
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Plus Communications

Man gives another man gift from Home Depot

FINALISTS

No Room For Trafficking
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Plus Communications

Building Thanks Together Amid COVID-19
Lowe’s Home Improvement and FleishmanHillard

Side by Side: A Celebration of Service by Northwell Health
Rogers & Cowan PMK

Operation Surprise
The Home Depot Foundation with Big Red Rooster, MSL and Sunshine Sachs

#NatureNurtures
Tom’s of Maine and BCW


BEST PROOF OF AUTHENTICITY

WINNER

Call for Code

IBM, David Clark Cause and Weber Shandwick

When IBM set out to solve local environmental and social challenges, the company mobilized a global community of developers through Call for Code. Under the guidance of David Clark Cause and Weber Shandwick, Call for Code puts open-source software, AI, blockchain, cloud and other technology into the hands of those who can create change in their communities around the world, for free.

Each year, IBM spread the word to potential problem solvers through media opportunities, social media campaigns and in-person events such as hackathons and workshops that focused on a central issue. For 2020, Call for Code sought to address COVID-19 and climate change through a satellite media tour featuring Call for Code CTO David Krook that aired on 255 local TV and radio stations and enlisted the help of more than 55 celebrities including Lady Gaga and Gigi Hadid.

Since 2018, Call for Code has grown to more than 300,000 developers across 168 countries. The five-year, $30 million initiative is the only program of its kind in the industry and has resulted in wearable carbon monoxide detectors to monitor firefighter health in areas of Spain prone to wildfires has created three solutions to help in the fight of COVID-19.

HONORABLE MENTION

KFC Feeding Our Communities
Kentucky Fried Chicken

IBM Prometeo Device

FINALISTS

COVID Advocacy Exchange
Bristol Myers Squibb, GRYT Health and Evoke Kyne

Empower by GoDaddy
GoDaddy

Call for Code
IBM, David Clark Cause and Weber Shandwick

KFC Feeding Our Communities
Kentucky Fried Chicken

#NatureNurtures
Tom’s of Maine and BCW


BEST PUBLIC AWARENESS

WINNER

The Pledge for Paternity Leave

Unilever Dove Men+Care and Edelman

Inspired by its name, Dove Men+Care’s purpose efforts are aimed at helping men demonstrate that they care for those around them. And men are more involved and caring with their families, Edelman’s research found, if they spend more time with their newborns.

However, a lack of paid paternity leave keeps men at work during this pivotal period. So Dove launched The Pledge campaign to make paternity leave a right and to help dads feel OK about asking for time off.

Dove engaged Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian and groups such as Paid Leave for the U.S. in its strategy to highlight the public demand for paternity leave, validate the idea with a business case and then connect with policymakers. The campaign encouraged people to sign the Pledge for Paternity and launched a Paternity Leave Fund to support dads who wanted to stay home. A Facebook group to connect dads with allies was created on Father’s Day last year and in October, the campaign created a Dad’s Day of Action on Capitol Hill to deliver the list of pledge signatories.

Including major U.S. media coverage, the initiative generated 2,800-plus earned placements and 2.8 billion-plus earned impressions. The fund received almost 35,000 applications and more than 40,000 people signed the Pledge for Paternity Leave.

Armed with the signatures, the campaign lobbied 23 legislators on the issue and three new bills were drafted, endorsed or introduced as a result.

HONORABLE MENTION

Lolli: The Exhibit Nobody Wants to Talk About
No Fixed Address

Dove Pledge for Paternity Leave campaign

FINALISTS

No Room for Trafficking
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Plus Communications

A Good Call
EcoATM and Manifest

Sea of Shadows
National Geographic

Lolli: The Exhibit Nobody Wants To Talk About
No Fixed Address

The Pledge for Paternity Leave
Unilever Dove Men+Care and Edelman


BEST USE OF CELEBRITY AND/OR INFLUENCERS

WINNER

Save With Stories

Save the Children

As COVID-19 spread, 30 million U.S. children found themselves at home without the resources school often provides: meals, books, and in some cases, broadband, computers or even paper handouts from teachers.

To help, Save the Children trustee and actress Jennifer Garner teamed up with actress Amy Adams and the group No Kid Hungry to launch #SAVEWITHSTORIES. Garner and Adams convinced more than 280 actors, authors, musicians and notables including Camilla Cabello, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Chen and Jeff Goldblum to go on Instagram and Facebook to read popular children’s books and ask for donations.

An accompanying earned media strategy focused at first on top-tier outlets, and then a wider media outreach. People, CBS News, Good Morning America, Newsweek, BuzzFeed and other outlets covered the campaign.

A paid media effort in key markets was accompanied by a pro bono ad run. In June, healthcare heroes fighting the pandemic were also invited to read stories. As an added boost, Adams used the initiative as a reason to join Instagram, driving additional media coverage.

Save the Children’s brand awareness increased 20% year-over-year with the group’s core target audience. The #SAVEWITHSTORIES videos generated more than 104 million views, and the @savewithstories Instagram account added 271,000 followers. From the campaign launch through May, Save the Children received 36,000-plus donations, most coming from new donors.

HONORABLE MENTION

The Pledge for Paternity Leave
Unilever Dove Men+Care and Edelman

Jennifer Garner reads to a child with quote that says there is so much goodness and love in the world

FINALISTS

Sports United #TheRealHeroes Project
72andSunny Los Angeles

The Pledge for Paternity Leave
Unilever Dove Men+Care and Edelman

GiveDirectly: Project 100
Precision

Save With Stories
Save the Children

#PassTheMic
The One Campaign


BEST USE OF CREATIVITY

WINNER

The Real Haunted House of Monroe County, by Willow Domestic Violence Center

Truth Collective

Because domestic violence is often thought of as a family problem, it sometimes remains hidden from public view making it difficult to generate awareness around the issue. But in Rochester New York, the problem has reached crisis levels. Domestic violence rates there are higher than they’ve been for five years and are three times the state average. In Rochester’s Monroe County, the rates are twice the state average. Still, the city has only one state-certified domestic violence center.

Realizing that Halloween occurred during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Truth Collective created a visceral activation to highlight the issue and promote the Willow Domestic Violence Center: The Real Haunted House of Monroe County.

Built inside an empty bakery store, the house revealed the horrors of abuse, manipulation and coercion that surround domestic violence. Via a self-guided tour of a “typical” home, people viewed 20 exhibits that revealed the terror abusers create in their victims.

In just seven hours, more than 400 people visited the Haunted House — nearly one person a minute— and in the three days before and after the activation, the campaign earned 1.2 million media impressions.

The campaign also generated one other truly immeasurable metric. During the campaign, at least three people revealed they were in a violent relationship and reached out for help from the Willow Domestic Violence Center.

HONORABLE MENTION

Seize the Awkward, “Whatever Gets You Talking”
The Ad Council, America Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), The Jed Foundation and Droga5

Truth Collective campaign with text that says the real haunted house of monroe county

FINALISTS

Eyes. Lips. Face. Safe.
ELF Beauty

A Good Call
EcoATM and Manifest

Planet Fitness’ Teen Summer Challenge
Planet Fitness and ICR

Seize the Awkward, “Whatever Gets You Talking”
The Ad Council, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), The Jed Foundation and Droga5

The Real Haunted House of Monroe County, by Willow Domestic Violence Center
Truth Collective


BEST USE OF DIGITAL/SOCIAL MEDIA

WINNER

Sports United #The RealHeroes Project

72andSunny Los Angeles

National Nurses Day was the starting point for The Real Heroes Project, a combined effort of 14 sports leagues to support frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An underlying theme of the campaign was the comparison between the drive and talent of star athletes and the life-saving drive and talent of largely anonymous healthcare workers. But given the number of leagues and athletes involved, the ask had to be easy enough to complete quickly and consistently.

The idea was simple and efficient: Famous athletes would replace their names with the names of healthcare workers on their uniforms and then make a personal, social media message thanking them for their work. The message was strong enough to connect with a mass audience but still resonated on an individual level, in contrast with other efforts that thanked healthcare workers as a group.

The messages generated 10 million views over the league and player social platforms with no paid support. Globally, 24,000 fans followed suit, posting their tributes to healthcare workers. The campaign resulted in 3.3 billion impressions, 87,000 hashtag mentions and #TheRealHeroes trended nationally on Twitter.

One doctor expressed it best: “Speechless at this INCREDIBLE TRIBUTE from @naomiosaka — the No. 1 tennis player in the world!!!!!! Hidden under my mask is the biggest smile.”

HONORABLE MENTION

Independent Restaurant Coalition
Precision

photo of the RealHeroes Project

FINALISTS

Sports United #TheRealHeroes Project
72and Sunny Los Angeles

One Call A Day
Cox and 180LA

#RedefineCRS
Edelman

#AloneTogether Social Distancing Campaign
MTV in partnership with the Ad Council

Independent Restaurant Coalition
Precision



BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY

WINNER

Losing Lena

Porter Novelli and Clemenger BBDO

In the 1970s, computer scientists at the University of Southern California used an image of a Playboy model named Lena to test their image processing algorithms. The code and the image became a standard and has been used by software engineers and students for decades.

The Lena image is evidence, the group Code Like A Girl says, of a male computer programming culture that does not welcome female computer scientists. According to Code Like A Girl, by deleting Lena, tech companies and colleges will help women who study and work in science, technology, math and engineering feel less like outsiders and impostors.

With the help of Porter Novelli, the group developed the Losing Lena initiative consisting of an open-sourced toolkit with a feature documentary, other videos and additional social content. The toolkit can be used by tech companies, universities, women’s groups and other schools to host viewing parties and live panel discussions, to discuss the gender makeup and biases of tech.

Immediately after the campaign’s U.S. and Australian launch, the reach was global and the film became the first Australian documentary to premier on Facebook Watch. Millions of people across all digital touch points watched the movie and 100,000-plus people pledged their support on LosingLena.com. Globally, more than 300 leading universities and tech companies from USC to Facebook, agreed to stop using Lena.

HONORABLE MENTION

Call for Code
IBM, David Clark Cause and Weber Shandwick

Losing Lena campaign image

FINALISTS

C2C-U
College to Congress

World Community Grid “Open-Pandemics — COVID-19” Project
IBM

Call for Code
IBM, David Clark Cause and Weber Shandwick

Telus Health Technology for Good 2019-2020 Program
National Public Relations on behalf of Telus Communications

Losing Lena
Porter Novelli and Clemenger BBDO


BEST STUDENT CAMPAIGN

WINNER

Changing Stafford’s Roads

Stafford County Public Schools

In a classic example of grassroots activism, students at Colonial Forge High School Stafford County, Virginia, banded together after losing their friend and fellow high school student Helen Wang in a traffic accident.

Wang crashed while turning onto a county road because her vision was blocked by overgrown vegetation. To honor her memory, and fix the problem, Wang’s classmates conducted a classic political outreach campaign with the goal of allowing local governments to remove overgrown vegetation instead of waiting for the Virginia Department of Transportation to deal with it.

The group’s basic platform was open to everyone, regardless of age. To become better advocates, they also built relationships with politicians and officials across party lines and at every appropriate level of government. The students also campaigned for the 2019 Stafford County Transportation Bond Referendum, to ensure the county could fund secondary road improvement projects when allowed. The bond referendum subsequently passed.

They also met with Stafford County’s representatives in the Virginia General Assembly House and Senate who knew the area and understood the problem. Of course, the students also employed social media strategies, built a website and met with local journalists to promote the idea.

A single metric demonstrates their success: On April 9, Helen’s Law was signed and on July 1 it became effective as an ordinance.

HONORABLE MENTION

Count Smiling Faces in Beautiful Places
The Carolina Agency

image of students holding signs that say clear the trees for helen please

FINALISTS

Retire Segregation
IntegrateNYC

ProBono 2019
PRLab at Boston University

Changing Stafford’s Roads
Stafford County Public Schools

Count Smiling Faces in Beautiful Places
The Carolina Agency


MOST PURPOSEFUL PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF 30

WINNER

Troy Blackwell Jr., director of trips/surrogates PA

Biden/Harris Campaign

After surviving a hate crime almost a decade ago, Troy Blackwell Jr. used his difficulties as a catalyst for change and built a career on advocating for young professionals from underrepresented groups to have a seat at the table. A seasoned communications strategist, Blackwell is currently on the committee for Young Professionals for Biden and a board member of the Black Public Relations Society-NY.

Most recently, he was the head of press logistics for philanthropist Tom Steyer during his 2020 Democratic presidential bid, where he marched with Steyer and his wife at the 2020 March in Selma. Blackwell also worked as national press advance lead on Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign and as an aide in the White House Office of Public Engagement. He is now working for the Biden For President campaign.

In 2019, Blackwell was the senior director for PRSA-NY’s Big Apple Awards, where he drove partnerships with more than 50 public relations agencies on diversity pipeline initiatives. In 2018, as a publicist for advocacy group Color of Change, he helped launch their #TellBlackStories podcast and led media strategy for their work with Ava Duvernay and GLAAD.

At 29 years old, Blackwell is a Columbia University graduate student and is continually working on engaging youth audiences and diverse communities in social impact causes. These include being on the education committee for the NY-based National Puerto Rican Day Parade and a judge on the Diverse Voices Scholarship Committee.

Troy Blackwell Jr.

FINALIST

Troy Blackwell Jr., director of trips/surrogates PA
Biden/Harris Campaign


MOST PURPOSEFUL AGENCY PRO

WINNER

Jim Weiss, founder and CEO

W2O

Even before COVID-19 hit, W2O’s purpose-driven mission was to “make the world a healthier place through marketing communications.” The firm’s founder and CEO Jim Weiss decided early in the pandemic that W2O would implement large-scale initiatives to help people who were negatively impacted. His first goal was to help the agency’s 1,300 employees cope with the pandemic while ensuring business continuity by consistently updating staff on ways the agency was handling the crisis, offering mental health counseling, guided meditation and a novel program to help ease the burden of childcare.

W2O has also dedicated $500,000 in agency time toward helping those impacted by the virus. One way it has done this is through a partnership with California Life Sciences Association, providing real-time snapshot of media/social trends around COVID-19 with W2O’s machine and AI data engine.

Weiss and W2O recommitted this year to the firm’s diversity and inclusion programs, following the death of George Floyd. The firm held a global virtual town hall discussing racial justice and donated $50,000 to organizations addressing racial inequity. Weiss also committed to take concrete actions to set diversity targets and share diversity metrics.

Since 2016, W2O has partnered with The Lagrant Foundation on a paid healthcare fellowship, placing multicultural minorities pursuing careers in healthcare communications at W2O. Weiss also sits on the foundation’s board of directors.

HONORABLE MENTION

Leela Stake, SVP and senior partner
FleishmanHillard

Jim Weiss

FINALISTS

Megan Driscoll, founder and CEO
EvolveMKD

Andrea Catalina Parada Loaiza, COO
Axon Marketing & Communications

Leela Stake, SVP and senior partner
FleishmanHillard

Curtis Sparrer, principal
Bospar

Jim Weiss, founder and CEO
W2O


MOST PURPOSEFUL IN-HOUSE COMMUNICATOR

WINNER

Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs and food safety officer

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Laurie Schalow served as Chipotle’s first chief corporate reputation officer between February 2019 and June 2020, with a primary responsibility and passion to ensure that the company’s purpose, To Cultivate a Better World, is a consideration across all communication touch points for the brand.

During that time, Schalow drove visibility for initiatives rooted in purpose and the news engine surrounding Chipotle’s philanthropic and CSR activations. This resulted in positive momentum for Chipotle’s reputation. Chipotle’s 2019 Q4 Brand Tracker shows almost one-third of consumers heard more good things about Chipotle (from 35% to 48%). In addition, consumers registered a rise on brand trust (+5%), on being a brand on a mission, that values its employees and cares about the environment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schalow leveraged Chipotle’s voice to help feed the front lines with the chain’s Burritos for Healthcare Heroes campaign, resulting in a donation of 200,000 burritos. In addition, Chipotle launched an e-gift card program, matching 10% of special e-gift card purchases and donating to Direct Relief, an organization working to provide personal protective equipment and essential medical items to healthcare workers.

Aside from generating more than 1.2 billion media impressions, Schalow’s communication efforts garnered awareness for these programs and their important beneficiaries while encouraging consumer participation and positively evolving the Chipotle narrative.

In June, Schalow became Chipotle’s chief corporate affairs and food safety officer.

HONORABLE MENTION

Linda Burke Rutherford, SVP and CCO
Southwest Airlines

Laurie Schalow

FINALISTS

Linda Burke Rutherford, SVP and CCO
Southwest Airlines

Kristina Drociak, director of PR
Stonyfield Organic

Tiffany Kerns, executive director
CMA Foundation

Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs and food safety officer
Chipotle Mexican Grill


MOST PURPOSEFUL CEO

WINNER

Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner

PwC

Tim Ryan uses his leadership platform to encourage corporate America to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces, as seen in his cofounding of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion in 2017.

Since then, he has galvanized 1,000 CEOs across 85 industries, representing over 15 million employees, to come together and pledge to act on supporting a more inclusive workplace for employees, communities and society. More than 900 actionable best practices have been shared, including those in light of COVID-19 and the recent social justice-driven events.

At PwC, internally, Ryan has taken action to support Black staffers and improve D & I efforts by implementing cultural changes to accelerate recruitment and retention of more diverse talent. The company has also donated $1 million to social justice organizations and committed to matching up to $1,000 of employees’ donations to each organization. Additionally, PwC has created a D & I staff council and task force to advance public policy; donated 2.3 million hours of staffers’ time to support social justice nonprofits; and empowered its 80 markets to engage with local organizations to address their own unique social justice issues.

Ryan has also focused PwC on closing the digital skills gap in underserved areas. The company’s $320 million Access Your Potential program has committed to help 10 million students develop technology skills and train 100,000 educators so that they feel confident in passing along these skills to their students.

HONORABLE MENTION

Darren Entwistle, president and CEO
Telus

photo of Tim Ryan

FINALISTS

Mary Barra, chairman and CEO
General Motors

Darren Entwistle, president and CEO
Telus

Marianne Harrison, president and CEO
John Hancock

Ann Mukherjee, chairman and CEO
Pernod Ricard North America

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


BRAND OF THE YEAR

WINNER

Loop

The waste crisis is one of the most pervasive issues facing the planet and it grows by the day — mainly due to single-use disposable plastic products. And single-use packaging has actually increased during the COVID-19 pandemic because of its perceived sanitary benefit.

Loop, which launched in May 2019, aims to help tackle that issue. The company partners with brands and retailers, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé, to redesign packaging so it’s not thrown away after one use, but returned, refilled and reused.

Loop tries to emulate the convenience of disposability — empty packaging does not need to be washed or sorted but simply dropped in the tote that it comes with. Instead of ending up in landfill, the tote gets picked up and returned to Loop where the containers are cleaned, filled and used again.

Loop’s initial announcement in January 2019 was met with excitement and more than 80,000 people globally signed up to be on the waiting list. The response from the media and consumers has been overwhelmingly positive and Loop was one of the top sustainability stories of 2019. Loop is available in Paris and, as of July 2020, in the U.K. and across the contiguous U.S. Loop has plans to expand to Canada, Japan, Germany and Australia by the end of 2021.

HONORABLE MENTION

IBM

man delivering package

FINALISTS

General Motors

IBM

LinkedIn

Loop

T-Mobile


AGENCY OF THE YEAR

WINNER

Weber Shandwick

For 12 years, Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact team has created data-fueled, human-led solutions for purpose-driven brands and social issues. The agency also works across all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Since the pandemic first hit, Weber has engaged on more than 70 COVID-19-related assignments with clients. This work was grounded in extensive tracking of over 150 company actions, from donations to new collaborations to retrofitting facilities to produce masks and ventilators.

Weber partnered with IBM to fuel technology-driven solutions to social issues such as COVID-19 and climate change; and it has also worked with Mattel to drive visibility of the expansion of its #ThankYouHeroes collection, designed to honor first responders, healthcare professionals and other “everyday heroes” serving as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, as the continued killings of Black Americans sparked national protests in the U.S. and beyond, Weber helped clients communicate their commitments to combat racial injustice.

Other standout purpose-driven campaigns Weber worked on include its partnership with Absolut to double down on the brand’s reputation as a cultural provocateur with #SexResponsibly, Drink Responsibly — a bold campaign about consent and responsible drinking. The agency also helped Stanley Black & Decker to transform job training for a new generation of makers and inspire them to make a more sustainable world; and worked with Dove Chocolate to invest in female entrepreneurs in Côte d’Ivoire, creating a new marketplace all their own.

HONORABLE MENTION

Precision

tweet by Weber Shandwick for Black Lives Matter

FINALISTS

Axon Marketing & Communications

FleishmanHillard

Porter Novelli

Precision

Weber Shandwick


MOST PURPOSEFUL ACTIVATION

WINNER

Dove Hair and Hair Love’s Oscars Campaign

Unilever and Edelman

Shattering beauty stereotypes and promoting authenticity has always been at the forefront for Dove, and this year’s Most Purposeful Activation was another initiative in a long line of standouts.

This campaign’s roots go back to 2017, when Dove picked up news of a Kickstarter campaign for an animated short film called Hair Love by emerging filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry. The film’s idea centered around a Black father who must do his daughter’s hair for the first time. Dove provided a $25,000 donation to help fund his project given its alignment with the brand’s mission, which includes the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair). In return for the funding, the brand logo was featured in the film’s credits.

After being released in the summer of 2019 to rave reviews, the film nabbed an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short. Dove quickly saw an opportunity to elevate the film further and created a For Your Consideration campaign. The result was a media blitz that raised awareness of the film and the real-life people impacted by hair discrimination to drive visibility of policy changes such as the CROWN Act.

The effort paid off as the movie won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short, and Cherry mentioned the CROWN Act during his acceptance speech. In the weeks that followed, unique visits to Dove’s owned website TheCrownAct.com increased 667%. Dove was featured in 350-plus media stories about Hair Love — 40% that also included the CROWN Act.

HONORABLE MENTION

Save With Stories
Save the Children

View our full booklet of all the recognized campaigns, companies and people here.

Hair Love team on the red carpet

FINALISTS

Spinning Straws Into Vinyl
Bacardi with Harrison & Shriftman and BBDO

Save With Stories
Save the Children

This Is Quitting
Truth Initiative and Ketchum

Dove Hair and Hair Love’s Oscars Campaign
Unilever and Edelman

The Pledge For Paternity Leave
Unilever Dove Men+Care and Edelman

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