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Winners of The Drum Awards for PR revealed: see the best PR campaigns of the year

By Eleanor Lim | Event Producer

September 25, 2020 | 483 min read

The results of The Drum Awards for PR have been announced, with inniAccounts, Mastercard, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Bacardi, Megabus, Intuit QuickBooks and the Heart of London Business Alliance among the winning advertisers of 2020.

The Heart of London Business Alliance is one of the winning advertisers of 2020.

Mastercard, Megabus, inniAccounts and the Heart of London Business Alliance are among the winning advertisers of 2020.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, The Drum revealed the winning advertisers in a virtual ceremony instead of the usual celebration dinner, but the news was just as exciting. Catch up below if you missed it.

This year’s Grand Prix was awarded to MakeitBe, for its work for inniAccounts, while the prestigious Chair’s Award went to Ketchum for its work with Mastercard.

Other winners include Tin Man in Most Effective Use of Creativity category for its work for Megabus; Premier in the Event, Stunt or Promotional Activation category for its work for Heart of London Business Alliance, and Ogilvy in the Finance and Professional Services category for its work for Intuit QuickBooks.

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You can find out more about some of the winning work below.

Grand Prix/Small Budget

Agency: MakeitBe

Client: inniAccounts

Make it Be helped James Poyser, chief executive officer of inniAccounts, stand up against unfair treatment of self-employed contractors in the run-up to new off-payroll tax changes known as IR35. Over 15,000 people used to anonymously name companies treating them unfairly.

The site attracted thousands of people, including MPs and the press, and highlighted the economic and personal damage the reforms would cause. The campaign insight was so detailed that it was accepted as evidence by the Lords’ Finance Bill Select Committee. Evidence from campaign helped prompt the inquiry to recommend a delay to IR35.

What the judges said: ”This was a very low-budget PR campaign, but it used some of the best PR tactics that we know can really make a difference. So it was finding a problem and representing a community of people who wanted to speak out about this. It was lobbying government. It was achieving column inches to really prompt change.

”Those tactics really came to the forefront and it proved you don’t need to have a massive budget to achieve really clear outcomes. For us, this campaign just nailed it.”

Chair’s Award/Corporate Social Responsibility

Agency: Ketchum

Client: Mastercard

For many in the LGBT+ community, the name on their card does not reflect their true identity. For the transgender and non-binary communities in particular, the card in their pocket causes trouble by misrepresenting their true identity every time they are asked to present it.

Mastercard created the ’True Name’ initiative, the first solution that allows people to use their true name on their credit, debit and prepaid cards without the requirement of a legal name change. The accompanying ’Acceptance Street’ installation was an eye-catching campaign that drew attention from the press and public.

What the chair of the judges said: ”The depth of this campaign is what really made it stand out. Mastercard has clear credentials in this area having sponsored NYC Pride and several initiatives around it for number of years, and it also had really interesting stories about the people this was designed to help. It prompted a shift in the industry, created the perfect photo call, ey got the media engaged and changed opinions.

”This was a campaign that had all the perfect ingredients coming together, but it also had a clear purpose underpinning it so it could make a significant difference to people’s lives. If we can do that through communications, then that is a huge win.”

Tamara Bennett, director of communications, Virgin

Most Effective Use of Creativity

Agency: Tin Man

Client: Megabus

megabus - Sweetheart Saver campaign video from Tin Man on Vimeo.

Megabus wanted to re-attract and emotionally engage a latent student audience and become the obvious travel choice. Building on the insight that many students are in long distance relationships, Tin Man sought to make Megabus stand for something more than low cost coach travel by helping young romance go the distance.

Tin Man created the ’Sweetheart Saver’ campaign – an industry-first ticket offering free travel for select students between two destinations on the Megabus network across the academic year. It then followed and filmed two university lovers keeping their long distance relationship alive.

What the judges said: ”This entry showed creative PR execution and brand impact. After 8,541 applications for the Sweetheart Saver trial ticket in two weeks, it led to £17,000 unexpected revenue uplift in four weeks as a result of the campaign alone – a remarkable achievement.”

Best Event, Stunt or Promotional Activation

Agency: Premier

Client: Heart of London Business Alliance

Premier - Scenes in the Square - Drum Awards Campaign Video from Leigh Debbage on Vimeo.

Heart of London Business Alliance, a business improvement district for London’s West End, sought a creative vision that would cement Leicester Square’s global reputation as the home of film while increasing footfall and feel-good factor and making a significant press and social impact.

Premier conceived ‘Scenes in the Square’, a dynamic, interactive sculpture trail celebrating a century of movie magic, enabling visitors to become part of their favourite movies. The trail exceeded all press and engagement expectations and looks set to become a long-term tourist attraction.

What the judges said: ”This was an overwhelming challenge: getting all the movie brands on board, transforming the square, catering to an ageless audience. The campaign reflected audience behaviours and attitudes and completely changed how they interact with the square.

”We would be interested to see its longevity and a plan for what this looks like moving forward.”

Finance and Professional Services

Agency: Ogilvy PR

Client: Intuit QuickBooks

Ahead of the biggest change to tax legislation in a generation, awareness and uptake rates among SMEs was low. As a champion of small business owners, Intuit QuickBooks sought to raise awareness, help businesses through the process and stand as a trusted software partner in a fiercely competitive market.

QuickBooks found that four out of five business owners feared doing their taxes more than jumping out of a plane, and so this creative campaign was born.

What the judges said: “A really strong campaign that utilised solid audience insight and market understanding. The strategic thought was carried through every element of the campaign and used multiple channels to tell the story.

”Creatively, the idea made a very dry topic exciting and generated talkability and viewability. Most importantly, this delivered strong commercial outcomes. Well done!”

To see the full list of winners and check out more award-winning work, visit The Drum Award for PR website.

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