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Greggs, Virgin and McDonald's: complete winners list of The Drum's inaugural PR Awards


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

September 17, 2019 | 7 min read

It was a big night for brands like Greggs, Virgin and McDonald’s at The Drum’s inaugural PR Awards, which took place at The Marriot Grosvenor Square Hotel, London.

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Greggs, Virgin and McDonald's: complete winners list of The Drum's inaugural PR Awards

Gregg’s took home the coveted Grand Prix award, as well as Most Effective Use of Content for its Vegan Sausage Roll launch. Tagged as ‘The Next Generation of Sausage Roll’, the campaign sparked the vegan debate for several days, achieving extensive UK press coverage.

Overwhelmingly loved by the jury, it was a brilliant idea which delivered real business results that to a unanimous vote for Grand Prix by the judging panel.

Rebecca Blinston-Jones, judge and managing director at MWWPR said: "We’ve come to love Greggs’ tongue in cheek approach to comms and the launch of the vegan sausage roll was one of my favourite campaigns of the year.

"But this wasn’t just a stunt to make the most of Veganuary. It was described by some as a ‘masterclass in PR’ particularly how it used Piers Morgan’s attack to generate a whole new batch of publicity. And whilst some thought it was just a one-off product, the commercial success of the Vegan sausage roll has lead to Greggs working on vegan versions of all their best selling products."

Taking home the Chair Award and Travel and Tourism accolade is Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic for its Pride Flight, marking fifty years of Pride and ten years of Virgin's commitment to inclusivity by flying an inaugural ‘pride flight’ between London and New York staffed entirely by LGBT+ pilots and cabin crew.

Chair of the judging panel and global head of brand communication at Diageo, Michelle Laviour awarded Virgin’s PR team for the purpose-led campaign which “delivered remarkable coverage, drove commercial return and brought the brand’s commitment to diversity and inclusion to life in a truly stunning way.”

Dividing the nation for capital gain is a popular trope right now, and if you’re going to do it you might as well go all out. Last year, McDonald’s UK decided to tamper with a well-loved, time-honoured classic and on the launch of the Big Mac Bacon, they asked the nation to pick a side, #StillaBigMac or #NotaBigMac. This campaign produced McDonald’s most successful Big Mac sales ever and took home the award for FMCG.

The jury said the Marmite strategy worked, but what impressed them was how McDonald’s planned the tease, launch and activation strategy to keep the conversation going over an eight week plus period vs. one and done. “It was good quality content, great use of influencers and a clear understanding of audience.”

The following is a complete list of winners:

Grand Prix and Most Effective Use of Content

Greggs, Splendid Communications Ltd & Red Havas

Chair’s Award and Travel and Tourism

One Green Bean London

For Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays

Diversity and Inclusion Company of the Year

Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW)

PR and Communications Agency of the Year

Manifest London

PR and Communications In-house Team of the Year


Rising Star

Sandy Downs


Finance and Professional Services


For MoneySuperMarket

Not for Profit, Most Effective Use of Creativity and Most Effective Use of Technology


For Tiny Tickers

Fashion, Health and Beauty

FleishmanHillard Fishburn

For Samsung



For Hooha

Music and Entertainment

Fever PR




For Cory Riverside Energy

Corporate PR


For LinkedIn



For Jaguar Land Rover

Retail and Ecommerce




Red Consultancy

For McDonald's UK

Public Sector


For Hampshire County Council

Public Affairs

Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW)

For Der Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger (German Federation of Newspaper Publishers, BDZV)

Sport and Leisure


For Champions Tennis

Automotive and Transport



Healthcare and Pharma



Smarts Communicate

For Gimbergen

Best Event, Stunt or Promotional Activation

Edelman London




For Shutterstock

Influencer Marketing

Red Consultancy

For McDonald's UK

Internal Communications

Blurred, Joint and BT Group Internal Comms team

Most Effective Use of Earned Media

Alexander PR

For Perpetual Guardian

Small Budget

Edelman London

For Domestos – Unilever

Most Effective Use of Social Media

Octopus Group

For Hectare Agritech

Most Effective Use of Data and Insights

Citizen Relations

For Trainpal by Ctrip

Most Effective Use of Technology

Edelman London

For Taco Bell

Corporate Social Responsibility


For Michelin North America

Long-Running and Retained PR Account


For Aldi UK

Reputation Management and Crisis PR


For Discover Puerto Rico

The Drum PR Awards took place at the Marriot Governor Square Hotel on September 17 2019. Register your interest for the 2020 awards here.

Partners of these awards are Winmo

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