Academic journal article Public Relations Journal

Awards of Excellence

Academic journal article Public Relations Journal

Awards of Excellence

Article excerpt

Sometimes there are two programs in a category that the Silver Anvil judges wish to recognize. For the first time in 1995, PRSA's Honors and Awards Committee established the Silver Anvil Awards of Excellence to honor those worthy programs which were edged out by another outstanding program in the same category. A distinctive crystal award bearing the familiar Silver Anvil symbol has been created to recognize Award of Excellence recipients.

The 27 programs which earned 1995 Awards of Excellence serve as outstanding examples of public relations in action. These winning programs span the gamut from high-tech marketing communications to community relations. Winners include a public service program that helped HIV-positive people receive public health assistance in Illinois. Another program worked to combat telephone fraud. Issue-related campaigns promoted dental insurance, political positions and single-gender education, to name a few.

A number of Awards of Excellence went to public relations programs that dealt with health and safety concerns, such as good nutrition, hormones in milk, skin care protection and pain medication. Problems attacked by Award of Excellence winners ranged from California highway repairs and disposal of hazardous waste to the quality of life of U.S. service personnel in Europe.

Special events promoted greeting cards and toys and put a new steel casting plant on the map. Marketing communications efforts helped "retire" an old-fashioned package and turned Little Miss Coppertone into a spokesgirl for safe fun in the sun.

Following are brief descriptions of each Award of Excellence campaign by category of entry.

Community Relations/ Business/Services

"EV Grand Prix"

WINNER: Virginia Power with Amann & Associates Public Relations Inc.

Research by the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California shows that more than 50% of Americans believe electricity is the cleanest alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. Virginia Power got into the driver's seat of the electric vehicle (EV) industry with the EV Grand Prix, an event designed to increase awareness of EVs as a viable environmentally sound substitute for gasoline vehicles.

Virginia Power invited 25 high schools to build the EVs competing in the event. The utility secured Richmond's highest-rated TV station as a media partner, and obtained use of the Richmond International Raceway for the race itself.

During the seven months prior to the event, Virginia Power lent its expertise and its EV specialists to each schools team. It also contacted civic, community, and opinion leaders with mass mailings and invitations to the Grand Prix.

The four-day event included efficiency and design evaluations of student-made vehicles by EV experts and culminated in the 20-lap race. Post-program research showed that students, faculty, and parents who participated in the Grand Prix enjoyed the event, learned about EVs, and became convinced that EVs compared well to gasoline-powered vehicles. Extensive media coverage of the event generated about 100 million impressions, increasing the general public's awareness of EVs and placing Virginia Power at the head of the EV industry.

Community Relations/ Government

"Measure A Highway Improvement Program"

WINNER: Santa Clara County Traffic Authority with PRx, Inc. Strategic Marketing Communications

Getting Santa Clara County residents to vote for a sales tax increase for highway improvement in 1984 was a coup for the Santa Clara County Traffic Authority. Getting the 1.5 million citizens of Silicon Valley to support a decade of road construction and detours would take a miracle, SCCTA officials thought. But in October of 1994 100,000 people celebrated the completion of the road work with a party held on 12 miles of new highway.

This unique project was the result of the SCCTA's partnership with PRx, Inc. …

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