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The Drum PR Awards: chair Tamara Bennett on awarding Mastercard

Tamara Bennett, chair of The Drum Awards for PR, discusses why she selected Mastercard’s for the Chair’s Award.

Mastercard’s ’Acceptance Street’ campaign was named as the winner of the Chair’s Award at this year’s The Drum Awards for PR, with the chair herself, Tamara Bennett, director of communications for Virgin Management, describing it as “a piece of magic.”

The award winning campaign, which proved highly popular with this year’s jury, ran last summer and saw streetsigns placed on the corner of Christopher Street and Gay Street in downtown New York. The signs displayed the names of the streets, but also bore 10 further colorful legends: ‘Lesbian,’ ‘Bisexual,’ ‘Transsexual,’ ‘Queer,’ ‘Intersex,’ ‘Asexual,’ ‘Non-Binary,’ ‘Pansexual,’ ‘Two Spirit,’ ‘+’ and ‘#Acceptance’, adding the identities to New York’s physical geography.

The campaign, developed by Ketchum, was implemented on 17 June by Mastercard to declare the brand’s support for the LGBTQ+ community during World Pride month.

“It was a really strong campaign,” said Bennett. “The essence of this campaign is that MasterCard had really clear credentials in this area. So they had a long history with LGBTQ+ activity, they’ve sponsored NYC pride for a long time, they also did really clever research.

”So, they understood how this could impact the lives of those they were trying to help. But they also made sure it had all the vital ingredients of a strong PR campaign. So they had a great photo opportunity, they had clear purpose in what they were trying to achieve. So actually, this was something that can make a significant difference to people’s lives.”

Bennett also spoke about trends she had spotted while judging the awards, but noted that because the entries all ran prior to the coronavirus pandemic, she said that she expected to see new ways of working appear in next year’s awards.

“There was the basics of PR really coming to the forefront, and as we emerge from the pandemic, that will become more and more crucial. And I did see a lot around the interplay between real-life and digital life. And again, that’s going to become even more important due to the pandemic.

”So how do we shift from the real world to online and ensure we’re still engaging with communities? How do we engage with our journalists? How do we engage with our thought leaders? And how can we be more creative in our digital approaches?”

Watch the full interview with Bennett in the video above and see the full list of winners from this year’s The Drum Awards for PR on the official website.

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