As journalists, no-one is more entwined in our lives than the humble PR flack. Cajoling, charming, checking and curtailing our stories to the best of their abilities. Too often, they are the tail wagging the dog.
These below entries, however, are the high water mark of the artful craft and getting your client’s story writ large across all mediums. From genuinely awe-inspiring and shocking to delightful or heart breaking, these are the efforts that got the top of the page, the head of the bulletin or the lead on the airwaves.
In this category, the judges were looking for a campaign developed by a PR agency for a single client. They will be seeking to understand the client’s original brief, the insight that went into understanding the client’s needs, the strategy developed to deliver on this and the effectiveness of the implementation.
Of course, now that you’re invested in shortlisted entries, why not come along and see who will be crowned the winners at the Hordern Pavilion on Friday 24 November 2023? Early bird tickets are limited so don’t run the risk of paying full price later.
Catch up on the other shortlisted work by clicking on the links below:
- B&T Award For Bravery
- B&T Award for Diversity
- Best Content Marketing Strategy
- Best CTV Campaign
- Best Data-Driven Marketing Campaign
- Best Digital Campaign, sponsored by Twitch
- Best Direct Response Campaign
- Best Integrated Campaign
- Best Media Campaign
- Best OOH Campaign
- Best PR Campaign
- Best TV Campaign
- Best Use of Sponsorship
Here’s the finalists’ work in their own words, the headings below show the name of the agency entering the award, the campaign name and the client putting their trust in them.
CHEP Network, Karicare (Un)Geddes, Karicare
Karicare, a baby formula brand, is on a mission to redefine how society portrays parenting. Today parents are under more pressure than ever, everywhere they turn they see an inaccurate portrayal of parenting – that it should look perfect. In a formulaic category where it’s impossible to stand out, Karicare needed to connect with new parents to turn around a year-long flatlining market share.
While the category spouted functional claims and saccharine families, we worked to understand parents’ lives. We interviewed families to uncover how they felt in those moments to glean our insight.
While we knew parenting is overwhelming, we discovered the pressure to be perfect was compounding in a specific place. Not the playground. Not the hospital. But social media.
Social media had become the new mother’s group. We quantified this with bespoke research, discovering 96% of Australian parents feel under pressure to be perfect, and 61% feel bad when they see ‘perfect’ images. Karicare was on a mission to redefine how society portrays parenting.
Idea: Feed the Real
Our idea closed the gap between the ‘real’ moments parents experience and the curated ones presented online. This worked in three parts: (1) show parents that the ‘perfect’ portrayal of parenting they see every day is an illusion. (2) give parents and influencers who never share less than perfect images, the confidence to #FeedTheReal, and rebalance the disparity between perfect and real on social feeds around Australia. (3) to spark a wider conversation we launched a partnership with Anne Geddes, creating a powerful story to further fuel our mission. Together this worked to show parents that real can be perfect too.
(un)Geddes hit a cultural nerve in a traditional category achieving 52m+ reach with 60+ pieces of media coverage and record market share at 14.8%.
Élysée Collective, Élysée Collective x Capella Sydney, Capella Hotels & Resorts
Élysée Collective proudly presents the PR campaign for Capella Sydney, a flagship hotel under Capella Hotels & Resorts. The strategic approach, creative execution and impactful results continue to shape the PR strategy as Capella Sydney transitions into its post-opening phase.
Collaborating closely with Capella Hotels & Resorts, Élysée Collective’s mission was to plan and execute the global launch of Capella Sydney, positioning it as “the best hotel in the world.” Extensive consultations and market research provided profound insights into Capella Sydney’s unique selling points: unparalleled luxury experiences with a genuine connection to local culture, world-class architecture, design and art.
The PR strategy focused heavily on media relations and influencer engagement, securing prominent coverage in esteemed publications and inviting influential KOLs and celebrities to experience the hotel firsthand. The immersive black-tie opening event garnered widespread media attention and left a lasting impression on the hotel’s reputation.
The campaign achieved remarkable results, with significant earned media coverage (no advertising budget) and impactful influencer endorsements on social media. Post-opening, Élysée Collective continues to run micro-campaigns, introducing consumers to various attributes of the property via relevant media, influencers and KOLs.
Élysée Collective takes immense pride in the exceptional results achieved through the PR campaign for Capella Sydney. The significant earned media coverage, organic influencer endorsements, and the unforgettable launch event amplified awareness of Capella Sydney among target audiences worldwide. This campaign not only fulfilled Capella Hotels & Resorts’ brief but also served as a testament to Élysée Collective’s ability to create impactful PR initiatives.
Howatson+Company, EXHIBIT A-i, Maurice Blackburn
For over ten years, thousands of people seeking asylum in Australia by boat have been stopped by the Australian Navy & sent to offshore detention centres in Nauru, Manus Island & Papua New Guinea.
They wait indefinitely to be processed, held in privately-owned prisons. Cameras & journalists are banned. Guards are all-powerful. Neither the public nor politicians know what occurs inside, leading to atrocities that have been hidden from view.
Australia’s leading social justice law firm, Maurice Blackburn, had been running a class action lawsuit on behalf of survivors against the government, arguing that indefinite offshore detention should be unlawful. Unfortunately, in 2021, due to a change in the law, the case was dismissed. However, Maurice Blackburn still believed survivors’ stories deserved to be heard.
Their brief was to create widespread awareness of the atrocities survivors experienced to try to use these stories to provoke policy change discussions.
Our brief was to bring these stories to life in a way that did justice to the brave witnesses that shared their harrowing experiences and delivered emotional engagement to a largely complacent mass Australia.
At the heart of the campaign is a book of evidence submitted to members of the Australian Parliament and used in 1:1 meetings with key policy-makers – the largest visual documentation of life in offshore detention to date. The book was shared with journalists, garnering worldwide attention in over 300 pieces of coverage with over 340 million people reached in the first week.
The evidence was then shared with the public in OOH and exhibitions, as well as integrated into stock libraries to sit alongside real photojournalism. Exhibit A-i was presented to Australia’s Minister for Immigration, who is now evaluating the evidence.
M&C Saatchi Group, The Plastic Forecast, Minderoo Foundation
Introducing The Plastic Forecast. A daily reminder of the weight of our plastic problem. Plastic has damaged our planet in unimaginable ways. It’s now being found in our rain. Together, Minderoo Foundation and M&C Saatchi Australia created a world-first weather metric informing the public how much plastic will fall from the sky on any given day. It was launched in Paris during the UN’s Plastic Treaty discussions at UNESCO headquarters.
It showed up next to weather reports, across social media, and in the news – directing viewers to plasticforecast.com. The site provided live updates on the weight of plastic falling on Parisians that day, with weekly, monthly and yearly figures available.
The Plastic Forecast earned coverage on major weather broadcasts across the world – including LCI, Aljazeera, CNEWS, France 2, France 24, WION, and BFMTV. A week-long feature on France 3, presented by Sebastien Thomas, kept the public informed of the daily Plastic Forecast throughout the INC-2 meeting.
In just two weeks, The Plastic Forecast received 2,250 media mentions with a reach of 1.3 billion. It influenced some very influential people who shared the forecast with their followers including Christophe Béchu (French Minister, Ecological Transition), Chloe Nebedian (TV Presenter) and the UN Environmental Programme instagram.
The Plastic Forecast returned $60 in earned media for every dollar spent, and will be reporting across more cities soon with a very simple message. Despite being impossible to avoid, The Plastic Forecast is possible to change.
Octagon, The Mastercard Sonic Trophy, Mastercard
The women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 in Aotearoa (New Zealand) was one of the biggest sporting events in 2022. As a sponsor, technology brand Mastercard had a platform to showcase its innovation credentials – and use the ‘Player of the Match’ (POTM) Trophy as a way to inspire the next generation of female rugby players.
Problem was, Mastercard wasn’t top of wallet in Aotearoa, making demonstration of brand relevance and participation in the market critical. So, Mastercard needed to activate POTM with a cultural lens, reinforcing their commitment to the local market, as well as reaching the hearts & minds of sports fans in Aotearoa, demonstrating the brand’s understanding of the country and its culture.
We created the world’s first sonic trophy – mixing the excitement of live sport with fan passion, giving the world of rugby another reason to be excited during the tournament period.
Every trophy contained the live sounds of the match – young female superfans’ passionate voices, play-by-play broadcast commentary, and the electric energy of the stadium. Every sound was captured live and mixed in real-time at the Mastercard Sonic Studio. The resulting bespoke soundtrack was embedded within the trophy, and gifted to every Player of the Match, minutes after the final whistle, as a priceless memory.
26 matches, 26 bespoke trophies.
This innovative piece of tech captured the largest share of voice of the tournament, and had significant reach + earned media.
One Green Bean, Aussie Town of the Year Awards, Wotif
The brief was to increase consideration of Amazon.com.au as the place to purchase toys during Black Friday and throughout the holidays highlighting Amazon Australia’s support of Starlight Children’s Foundation.
For the fourth year, we launched Amazon Australia’s Top 100 Holiday Toy List, with the help of the Amazon Playmakers. The Amazon Playmakers are ten children from Starlight Children’s Foundation, appointed as official toy testers to review the Top 100 Toys, helping Aussies buy the best possible gifts for the little ones in their lives and navigate some of the amazing Black Friday deals on toys?
To grow the campaign and create newness we built off the insight that when children play with toys, they tell fantastical stories creating heroes and villains and complex narratives. As such, the Playmakers became movie makers and were given a chance to let their imaginations run wild by creating a stop-motion holiday movie featuring some of the toys from the Top 100 Holiday Toy List with Amazon Australia donating an additional $1 to Starlight for each toy purchased from the movie up to $45,000 on top of an initial donation of funding and product. The animated characters were voiced by campaign ambassadors, Former Hi-5 children’s TV star Charli Robinson and Aussie entertainment legend Johnny Ruffo.
Across the two phased campaign we achieved 222 hits, reach of 152M+, 100% positive sentiment and 85% of pieces included products from the top 100 toys, with hero coverage including broadcast segments with ACA, Sunrise, 7News and Studio 10 and a NewsCorp syndication. On owned channels, we more than quadrupled our YoY social impressions, and tripled our average ThruPlay rate. For influencer, we saw a 3.92% YOY increase on average engagement rate.
Provocate, Cost of life not just living: Suicide Prevention Australia Community Tracker, Suicide Prevention Australia
For Provocate® to develop and drive a strictly-earned, public relations-led awareness and advocacy strategy to assist peak body Suicide Prevention Australia (350+ members) in accelerating elevation of suicide prevention to a whole-of-government, not just mental health, policy response to combat rising rates of inflation, interest and suicide.
Provocate® developed the Suicide Prevention Australia Community Tracker (SPAct) in response. The quarterly poll of over 1000 Australians (YoUGov) measures personal elevated distress beyond normal levels against 10 key economic and social determinants of suicide, linked to their deeper impacts on rates of suicidal behaviour, mental illness and frontline service demand – the latter measures previously only measured every 10-15 years by the ABS.
Provocate® delivered this by filling critical knowledge gaps through creation of a compelling data-driven content program that helped raise SPA’s profile, reputation and trusted adviser status with key economic and social policy decision makers, incl. the Prime Minister, Treasurer, Reserve Bank Govenor and ‘Big4’ Banks.
By pairing these insights with tracking against externa data sets, such as rates of interest, inflation and suicide – and pairing their release with RBA meeting dates – Provocate® was able to leverage public, policy and political demand for cost-of-living content to overcome suicide research and reporting stigmas to increase SPA’s awareness and advocacy, while providing the dual public service of rapid targeting, tailoring and scaling of help-seeking messages into the interest rate debate in real-time.
This is evidenced by SPAct instantly becoming ‘go to’ community sentiment tracker that put SPA in Top 10 of all member (lobby) groups with 5700 media mentions/127million audience reach (Streem) past 12 months, half-of-which (66 million) included help-seeking details, while increasing public (66% to 79%), sector (76%) and government support (national strategy) for formal whole-of-government approach, incl. Prime Minister making lowering suicide rates a “personal priority”.
Red Havas, Booking.com x T20 Men’s ICC World Cup, Booking.com
As the Global Accommodation and Experiences partner of the T20 Men’s ICC World Cup,
Booking.com wanted to show how it offers the widest choice of incredible places to stay.
Tapping into Australia’s obsession with travel, cricket and sporting history, we created a once in
a lifetime bookable experience for sports fans, together with Australian cricket legend and ambassador Pat Cummins.
We gave a Booking.com customer and cricket fan the opportunity to live like a cricket legend at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The first ever overnight stay at the MCG, the ‘Unforgettable Legends Lounge’, was listed on Booking.com.
We ensured the campaign would communicate that Booking.com is a leading travel brand by creating a variety of content opportunities to go live alongside the bookable stay. We hosted top tier media and influencers from a range of news, lifestyle and travel titles and held a press event in Melbourne to experience the ICC final weekend, this was in addition to a call to action by Pat Cummins on his social channels – encouraging cricket fans to get involved and book the experience.
We also ran press office activity to news desks across ANZ included sharing a destination listicle including top rated accommodation options for the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket tournament, sharing high quality renders of the suite for the launch (prior to suite being built) and a full range of suite assets for media and social purposes including drone footage.
We exceeded our target KPIs with 162 pieces of coverage across Australia, and internationally, we made over 69,000,000 media impressions. The coverage had 100% positive sentiment, and 100% key message inclusion, all driving back to Booking.com’s position as a leading travel provider, and sponsor of the T20
Men’s ICC World Cup.
Special and Enthral, Middle Seat Lottery, Virgin Australia
In 2021, Virgin Australia (VA) had just come out of voluntary administration. Consumer confidence was down, internal culture was rattled and the brand was weakened and undefined. We were tasked to help revive the business. Specifically, to reposition the brand for commercial success.
Yet VA couldn’t fall back on previous strategies of chasing Qantas for premium credentials or attempting to compete with Jetstar on price – an awkward middle-ground that had in part led to its demise. Instead, we helped them create their own, third space by activating the latent challenger potential of Virgin’s brand to shake up the bland and stuffy industry benchmark for ‘premium’ experiences. Replacing cold and formal with oodles of humanity and personality, and in the process creating a new, more accessible and memorable version of elevated airline experiences.
This meant taking on the difficult task of innovating around the airline experience itself – despite huge regulatory and logistical challenges.
To make this investment worthwhile, we needed an innovation that would really get people to sit up and notice our new brand mission. So, we set about tackling the universally recognised pain point in the airline experience, the middle seat.
The Middle Seat Lottery was a huge success. It got everyone talking for all the right reasons – a rarity in the airline industry. It increased online positive brand sentiment by 882% vs. the week before launch, and generated $22.5m in earned media value, which meant it reached 73% of all Aussies. Not to mention that Trevor Noah also featured it on The Daily Show in the US.
Finally, as the centrepiece of our ‘Bring On Wonderful’ campaign, it also contributed to huge business and brand gains.
The significant effort and energy involved in meaningfully innovating around the blah & bland airline experience paid off.
Special PR, The Beautiful Game, Tourism New Zealand
On 25 June 2020, it was announced that Australia and New Zealand would be hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. With an anticipated 2 billion viewers expected to tune in to watch this momentous tournament, Tourism New Zealand wanted to create content that would showcase New Zealand as a destination for future visitors.
The backdrop and people of Aotearoa New Zealand are unique, and to celebrate the arrival of the beautiful game to our shores we created a game of football played between two teams of local girls in the most beautiful place in the world.
The tussocky plains at the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook in Mackenzie Country were selected as the stunning location. The location was selected in consultation with both Ngāi Tahu, the iwi, and DoC (the Department of Conservation). Tourism New Zealand has a proud commitment to sustainability so it was important that our FIFA-sized pitch would leave no trace.
We worked closely with local football clubs as well as Ngāi Tahu, who fielded a team of girls from Arowhenua Māori school.
We engaged referee Lindsay Robinson to officiate at the exhibition game. Football Ferns, Katie Bowen and Emma Rolston, were also on site at the Beautiful Game, teaching some of the girls valuable skills and drills.
On 20th June, one month out from the first match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ was due to be played, we released our story to media.
Earned media coverage was featured in The Guardian, Fox Sports, Washington Post, The Australian, ABC News, Channel 7 News, USA Today, and Daily Mail. Coverage sentiment has been positive throughout.
To date, The Beautiful Game content has surpassed all KPIs, generating over 430+ pieces of international coverage with an EAV of $17.7+ million and reached nearly 2 billion worldwide.
The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, VB England Bitter, VB
From the moment Alex Carey whipped Johnny Bairstow’s bails off: Stumpgate became the most talked about cricket moment in recent memory. And if you’re English: one of the most whinged about. In fact, they were so cranky, they went as far as refusing to have a beer with the Australian team after the series.
For over 50 years VB, has always been about earning a thirst. A hard-earned thirst. Championing deep-held Aussie values of getting on with it, putting your head down, and getting the job done. Words have always been cheap. And words that were downright whinging needed some action.
So we created “England Bitter”, a beer to match the bitterness of an entire nation.
Within 48 hours, we shipped a warm slab of “England Bitter” directly to the English team’s dressing rooms in Leeds: addressed directly to Ben Stokes and his bitter mates.
The PR response was immediate, with all major news outlets in Australia picking up the story. Karl Stefanovic opened a stubby with his teeth live on air, and even the notoriously ad-free ABC devoted a whole minute of airtime to VB.
We also poked the bear by running full page press ads in England’s daily papers, handing out beers at the ground and dressing an army of spectators in England Bitter T-Shirts.
In just three days, England Bitter generated over 23.5 million impressions and $4.5 million worth of earned media. Organic social engagement levels were the highest in VB’s history at +1391% vs benchmark.
But the most important result: The Aussies retained the Ashes. So we’ve got 30,000 slabs of England Bitter on their way to bottle-shops to help the nation celebrate.
We’ll leave the final word to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: who when told the news simply said:
“Ha! That’s great. Good On Em”.
Tourism Australia with Poem, Ogilvy PR, M&C Saatchi Group and UM, Come and Say G’day, Tourism Australia
Tourism Australia faced the challenge of reintroducing Australia after a two-year closure, attracting high-yield international travellers from diverse markets, and outperforming competitor destinations.
They devised a multi-channel ‘Come and Say G’day’ campaign centred around an animated short film (‘G’day’) to immerse audiences in Australian culture.
We were tasked to develop a comprehensive global PR strategy that would create cut-through in earned media and social channels, and worked hand in hand alongside paid media efforts. Our strategy utilised high-profile talent, local collaborations, blockbuster launches, market localisation, and paid amplification across 15 culturally diverse markets.
The results were impressive, achieving significant earned media coverage, social media engagement, and millions of views across various platforms. ‘G’day’ won ‘Best Animated Short’ at the LA International Film Festival, further solidifying its success.
The campaign successfully raised Australia’s profile and engagement with global audiences, aligning with Tourism Australia’s 2025 objective of restoring pre-COVID19 visitor expenditure levels.
Visit Victoria, Stella the Stargazer, Visit Victoria
As borders reopened and Australians started travelling the world again, Visit Victoria set out to persuade more Melburnians, particularly those under 35, to travel in their own backyard.
Our research insights showed that while 74 per cent of this audience had not travelled to regional Victoria, they are keen travellers. Preferred destinations are interstate or overseas, but they are willing to consider a stay in a tiny house in regional Victoria. The challenge was to amp up the attraction and the urgency.
Visit Victoria partnered with Port Fairy-based business, Ample, to design and build a one-of-a-kind tiny home inspired by the “Aussie shed”. The modest nature of the design sought to redefine the concept of luxury. Stella the Stargazer offered a unique experience for visitors with:
- environmentally conscious design using upcycled materials
- a roll-out sleeping platform for stargazing
- food by renowned Victorian chef Alejandro Saravia
Stella the Stargazer visited three regions to align with our intrastate marketing campaign Stay close, go further.
Stella started in the gently rolling hills of central Gippsland at Blue Gables Vineyard in October 2023. She moved to the rugged coastline of the Great Ocean Road in February and March 2023, then the jagged sandstone mountains of the Grampians from April to June 2023.
A high-profile PR campaign ensured Australia’s best journalists, publishers, and content creators experienced Stella. Widespread media coverage of Stella and the regions reached 4.7 million people and achieved $1,046,879 AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent).
Bookings opened in September 2022, and Stella achieved 100% occupancy from October 2022 to June 2023 with a substantial waitlist – an exceptional cut-through in a competitive travel market.
Stella the Stargazer is one of the ways Visit Victoria champions our state’s extraordinary experiences and diverse regions to younger audiences.