BEST EVENT - Speedo LZR Racer launch by S&X Media
S&X Media launched the Speedo LZR Racer, the 'fastest swimsuit in the world', to the media in London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo to coincide with the Beijing Olympics. The agency used Speedo's sponsorship of world record-holding swimmer Michael Phelps to create a life-sized, 'time-travelling' Phelps at each launch event, using 3-D hologram technology.
More than 500 journalists attended the events and footage was streamed on to Speedo's website - and demand for the swimsuit far outstripped supply. Judges said: 'The fact it was delivered across four continents but co-ordinated in Birmingham put this event in a league of its own.'
COMMUNITY RELATIONS - This Is Me by Derbyshire County Council
Derbyshire County Council wanted to fight back against the media stereotype of young people as thugs and yobs, and help reduce the perception of antisocial behaviour as a problem in the county.
The 'truly targeted and segmented' campaign centred on 16 posters of local young people, offering surprising facts about them - such as a boy in a hoodie saying he wanted to be a scientist when he was older, and a young girl saying she loved Elvis and worried about old people being scared of her.
Using a campaign website, MySpace and Bebo, along with free celebrity endorsement, a direct mail campaign to adult community groups and presentations by young people to adult groups, the council achieved a reduction of nearly six per cent in the perception of antisocial behaviour in Derbyshire. The campaign achieved widespread positive media coverage, reaching an audience of 380,000.
OUTSTANDING PR CONSULTANCY - Willoughby PR
Willoughby PR has just turned 'sweet 16'. Its 'sweet' entry showed how it recorded 18 per cent growth in 2008 and a 64 per cent conversion rate for new business.
OUTSTANDING IN-HOUSE PR TEAM - Heart of England NHS Trust
The 'exemplary' in-house team not only successfully communicated a first-of-its-kind merger, but runs a huge volume of meetings, workshops and media initiatives from its 24/7 press office.
CONSUMER RELATIONS - Life's a Beach by Trimedia
To attract people to the Bullring, Birmingham's shopping hot spot, during the quiet summer months, Trimedia created an urban beach. A dedicated press office was set up to fuel competition with an unexpected rival beach launched by Birmingham City Council. Judges commended the way the event 'tapped into the regional agenda' as well as the national media. Sales increased by four per cent.
YORKSHIRE & LINCOLNSHIRE
BEST USE OF NEW MEDIA - Creating a Warm Glow by Dig for Fire P
In the past, consumers have chosen a new boiler by listening to a plumber. Glow Worm wanted to talk to consumers and tackle declining brand awareness.
Dig For Fire created the sector's first-ever boiler blog, the UK's first online 'boiler calculator' to help consumers choose the best Glow Worm boiler for them, a consumer website for the company and an online PR campaign. It also carried out a 'Warm Glow' survey that was used to feed stories to the media.
As a result brand awareness increased, the website, blog and calculator all attracted users and national media coverage was achieved. Judges admired the way the PR campaign and the blog, which is updated weekly, linked together and fed into each other.
CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS - The January Floods by the Environment Agency
On Friday 18 January this year, the Environment Agency received a forecast of heavy rain over the weekend. Immediately, calls were made to key radio and broadcast media in Yorkshire to put alerts on the news bulletins during breakfast shows.
A rota was prepared for spokespeople around the clock, and area manager Craig McGarvey volunteered to lead media interviews. Between 21 and 24 January torrential downpours hit South and North Yorkshire, resulting in severe flooding. McGarvey was sent to locations in Burstwick, Leeds and York, and went to the BBC studios in Leeds to handle interviews on radio and TV. By offering filming opportunities early on, the team controlled the coverage, bringing reporters and camera crews to them at one location.
The judges said: 'Being prepared for crisis communications is key. This is a great case study of how this type of event can be handled well.'
OUTSTANDING PR CONSULTANCY - MCG PR The 'young and enthusiastic' team has grown its client base by 342 per cent in three years. This year it won the consumer media relations account for Helen of Troy's electrical products.
OUTSTANDING IN-HOUSE PR TEAM - Environment Agency The Yorkshire and NE team's commitment is exemplified by one member coming back from maternity leave to help with the media during the floods - in 2007 and 2008.
PUBLIC SECTOR - The Army 15 Brigade - Local Heroes by Golley Slater
Real-life soldiers were put at the heart of this North East and Yorkshire campaign to drive up Army recruitment. Stories of soldiers, partners, parents and recently recruited soldiers were shared with journalists and 'a day in the life' articles on peace-keeping, travel and adventure were placed in the local media. 'Local heroes' visited schools and careers exhibitions.
Judges said the campaign was 'well thought out and implemented' and 'underpinned with clever creativity'. It received 156 items of positive media coverage and the 15 Brigade became the top regular and territorial recruiter.