NEW YORK: The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 and Real Chemistry, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Weber Shandwick were among the headline winners at the PRWeek Purpose Awards on Wednesday night, honoring the most purposeful agencies, individuals and activations.
The award for Most Purposeful Activation went to the Black Coalition Against COVID-19 and Real Chemistry for A Love Letter to Black America. In the campaign designed to counter vaccine hesitancy, Black doctors urged the community to take preventive measures against COVID-19, participate in clinical trials and get the vaccine.
Honorable Mention went to the Ad Council for It’s Up to You Vaccine Education.
Changemaker of the Year went to Kizzmekia Corbett, Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Vaccine development has always been a race against the clock. But with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading at alarming rates and countries mired in lockdowns with millions falling ill and even dying from the disease, the ticking time bomb was ready to explode.
Enter Kizzmekia Corbett and her team at the National Institutes of Health. A viral immunologist by training, Corbett used her expertise to propel novel vaccine development for pandemic preparedness. While many vaccines take years and even decades to create and deploy, Corbett and her team, working alongside Moderna, were able to implement mRNA research already in progress to complete the whole process in less than a year.
And while Dr. Anthony Fauci was in the middle of the public eye during the pandemic, he was quick to point out the work being done by Corbett and the rest of the team when asked about the vaccine development.
Walgreens Boots Alliance was the winner of Brand of the Year, for its role as a leader in explaining the importance of vaccines. Its Vaccine Equity Initiative assisted with the massive logistical effort involved in vaccinating the world’s population and especially underserved communities of color. Walgreens also sponsored the hour-long documentary “Roll Up Your Sleeves” that aired on NBC.
Honorable mention for Brand of the Year went to The Ad Council.
Weber Shandwick won Agency of the Year for its work on three fronts: COVID-19, climate change and systemic racism. The firm helped communicate messages on preventing transmission of the virus as well as the importance of vaccinations for 300 different COVID-19 assignments. On the environmental front, it showcased Nestle U.S.A.’s leadership in sourcing and sustainable packaging and launched General Motors’ #EverybodyIn initiative, a commitment to an all-electric future. The firm also took action on its own policies by auditing internal systems for biases and mandating unconscious bias training for all staff.
Honorable Mention went to Evoke Kyne.
Most Purposeful In-House Communicator went to Ciara Dilley, VP of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, who was key to maintaining the legacy of one of its brands, Stacy’s Pita Chips, which was founded by women.
Honorable Mention went to Kelly Teno, director of pharmacy and healthcare services communications at Walgreens.
Sandy Skees, EVP and global lead of the innovation and impact practice at Porter Novelli was honored as the Most Purposeful Agency Pro. At Porter Novelli, Skees works with companies to create positive business outcomes and pursue social and environmental goals simultaneously. She launched Porter Novelli’s JEDI advisory services, providing clients with comprehensive approaches towards justice, equity, diversity and inclusion that include both policy and programs and inclusive communications.
Vijay Chattha, founder and CEO of VSC, won Honorable Mention.
McDonald’s president and CEO Chris Kempczinski was honored as Most Purposeful CEO. Kempczinski resolved to not let a single franchise fail and provided $1 billion in rent and royalty deferrals as well as assistance to those hit hardest. As a result, more than 2.2 million restaurant workers kept their jobs through the pandemic.
Jim Snee, chairman and CEO of Hormel Foods was Honorable Mention.