The Drum Marketing Awards judges can reveal which brands and agencies have made it to the final shortlist.
The top trends that emerged were how brands are engaging with wider social issues -- such as exposing and encouraging discussion around mental health and media trends -- and the rise in the popularity of slow TV and the Grime music genre.
Chairman of the judging panel, Gareth Helm, chief marketing officer, ZPG, said: “The judging day was tough. We all come in with our own experiences but what is really important is to put your own personal biases away and look at the work. Ask what is truly sensational and be able to take out the budget size and get down to the core insights, performance and effectiveness.”
The judges saw excellent examples of PR being integrated into a brand's entire marketing approach. Spotify director of business marketing, EMEA and awards judge, Sarah Kiefer explained: “The best entries showed that PR is not about one-off gimmicks, but rather using PR approaches as part of integrated campaigns that reinforce a brand's personality and promise and clearly prove success towards the pre-identified objectives.”
Finalists for the PR Strategy of the Year include: Democracy For Carwow, Fever for Now TV, Jaguar Land Rover for Jaguar, Lucre for BIC, Manifest London for BrewDog, One Green Bean London for Poundland, Smarts Communicate for Diageo Reserve, Taylor Herring Ltd for Greggs, Taylor Herring Ltd for Samsung, Tin Man for the Institution of Engineering and Technology and W for Calm and Topman.
Another favourite of the judges was the Social Media Strategy of the Year category. Global brand director of Legoland, Discovery Centres, The Eye brand, Merlin Entertainment Group Ltd, Angela Jobson said: "This was my favourite category, and there was a really high standard of entries across a diverse mix of brands but all showing a good understanding of how to engage their target audiences in a fun and relevant way.
"There were a handful of entrants that had approached this in exciting ways that I haven’t seen done before and that’s ultimately what we as judges were looking for (alongside robust evidence of results)."
Finalists in the Social Media Strategy of the Year category include: Edelman and Endemol Shine Group for Shell, Get Savvy Marketing Ltd for Adidas, JBH - The Content Agency for Reed in Partnership (Yesldn), LADbible Group for LADbible Group - Trash Isles, M&C Saatchi for Royal Mail, Momentum Worldwide for SAP, Movement for Fanta, OMD UK and Drum for McDonald's, RAPP for PayPal, Stein IAS for Getty Images, Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, Wavemaker for McVities and ZAK Agency for New Balance Football.
A full list of the finalists can be found here.
The winners will be revealed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London on Wednesday 30 May. You can purchase your table online now.
Sponsors of the awards are: Tapad and Identity