The Drum Awards for PR recognizes excellence in public relations, celebrating the professionals that guide the communications of companies, governments and organizations. This year’s winners have been announced, with The Big Issue, LinkedIn, PlayStation and Megabus among those behind the best campaigns.
A global competition that regularly attracts entrants from across Asia, the Americas and Europe, this year saw entries from countries including South Africa, Romania, China and Australia. The winners are a similarly international group of consumer brands, B2B companies and third-sector organizations.
The winners were announced at virtual ceremony, broadcast live from The Drum’s new event space and media hub in Shoreditch The Drum Labs. If you missed it, you can catch up below, or read on for a selection of this year’s top agencies.
The full list of this year’s winners can be found here.
The winning entry reports are also available as case studies on The Drum's website. These allow readers to get deeper insight into the making of the winning campaigns and the values that drive the best companies.
Grand Prix, Most Effective Use of Earned Media, Small Budget
Agency: Ketchum Publico with go & try
Client: New German Media Makers
Despite making up a third of the population, immigrants in Germany rarely see themselves reflected in German media, particularly the news. This inventive campaign populated the news with immigrant names by renaming weather systems – in Germany naming a weather system for a small fee is popular way to celebrate a friend or occasion.
New German Media Makers (NdM) is a non-profit association representing media professionals from immigrant backgrounds. It launched the #WeatherCorrection (#Wetterberichtigung) campaign to drive debate on the lack of media diversity, and the campaign’s organic growth led to both controversy and conversation. NdM used that spotlight to educate and to make the case for diversity hiring quotas.
Despite a tiny budget, the campaign earned coverage across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and permeated popular culture – it even became a question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. More importantly, it helped NdM set up meetings on diversity and hiring quotas with leading news media companies and publishing houses.
The judges were impressed by the major conversation sparked by such a small budget, describing the campaign, planned well in advance, as “super-strategic, a great idea that was aligned with the brand”. They also complimented the team’s ability to manage and mitigate reactions, fundamental to the campaign’s success: “The PR team was able to overcome negative reactions to the idea, and the positive results were overwhelming. Everyone was talking about this campaign.”
Chair’s Award, Not-for-Profit/Charity
Agency: FCB Inferno
Client: For LinkedIn & The Big Issue
Campaign: Raising Profiles for Big Issue vendors
The Big Issue is a street paper, a magazine sold by vendors on the street to passing pedestrians. It prides itself in providing ‘a hand up, not a handout’ to people experiencing homelessness or who may be unsuitable for other, more traditional jobs.
When Covid-19, and consequent lockdowns, hit the UK, vendors saw their livelihoods evaporate. With high streets deserted and nobody traveling through train stations, and many of The Big Issue vendors’ loyal customers working remotely, they lost not only their source of income but an important community support system.
The ‘Raising Profiles’ campaign aimed to reconnect vendors with their customers, while challenging perceptions to establish them as self-employed professionals. In partnership with The Big Issue, LinkedIn provided bespoke training that would help vendors create profiles on the platform and maximize its usefulness.
As well as raising awareness of the vendors’ stories and teaching professional skills, the team helped the Big Issue vendors reconnect with their customers by using listed workplace locations to build new online neighborhoods. This virtual community in turn enabled vendors to sell digital subscriptions of the magazine.
The campaign itself shone a light on the personal stories of nine vendors, which were captured in social and brand content. The combined efforts of The Big Issue and LinkedIn press teams secured broadcast, business and consumer articles and segments in the likes of Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, The Drum, ITV and The Daily Telegraph. The initiative also received public support from mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes.
The judges noted the outstanding business and social impact, saying the campaign “created a permanent perception shift”. They described the partnership as “surprising creatively”, helping vendors to moderize and see themselves as business people and entrepreneurs.
The chair of this year’s judges was Tamara Pickett, group communications and external relations director at Virgin, and it was this entry’s clarity of purpose that won her over. “During the pandemic brands needed to be really clear about what they stand for,“ which led her to choose it for the Chair’s Award. “At a time when sales of The Big Issue had fallen off a cliff, this partnership allowed vendors to learn new skills and new ways of working and attracted support from high profile investors. This was a shining example of what we can achieve when we bring our principles to life.“
Most Effective Use of Influencer Marketing
Agency: Berlin Cameron
Campaign: Unstoppable Together
This campaign started out as a simple brand awareness drive, as No7 expanded its footprint into Walmart, Kroger and Kohl’s during the fall of 2020. But as the Covid-19 pandemic progressed, the brand’s target demographic had more pressing matters to think of than beauty.
Women were disproportionately affected by the recession, financially and professionally, leading the team to coin the term SHEcession. No7 saw an opportunity to stand up meaningfully for women, supporting them with relatable and actionable career advice.
It brought onboard high-profile businesswomen and influencers such as Padma Lakshmi, Tamron Hall, Maria Shriver, Arianna Huffington and Niecy Nash, presenting a free, virtual summit along with Hello Sunshine, The Female Quotient and Fortune.
Before the Unstoppable Together summit, the team launched a wider campaign with a female-produced film, which was shared by the influencers. And after the summit, No7 continued the momentum by offering free coaching sessions to all attendees throughout March, ultimately impacting the careers of over 10,000 women.
The judges were impressed by the meaningful research that drove the campaign’s broad appeal. They felt it showed a great understanding of the time and of the target audience, helping it move beyond being ‘just’ a beauty campaign. One added: “It was great to see real-world impact, setting up coaching sessions for thousands of women, proving the campaign to be more than just lip service for the brand.”
Most Effective Use of Technology, Finance and Professional Services
Agency: BCW Stockholm
Campaign: Beach Mode
In Sweden, drowning is the most common fatal accident among children between the ages of one and six, often as a result of inadequate parental supervision. Swedes spend an average of 3.5 hours a day on their phones.
Insurance company Trygg-Hansa turned the root of the problem – the smartphone – into the solution by creating Beach Mode, an app that makes the user’s phone inaccessible when they are at the beach. It also launched an awareness campaign, using a moving film packed with parents’ stories, statistics and expert insight to create a call to action.
The app works by locking the phone’s main features, meaning no social media, no multimedia and no phone calls. The only feature enabled is emergency calls. This unique app made it possible for Trygg-Hansa to educate parents across Sweden, via earned media, of the importance of supervision when at the beach. It also gave concrete tips on how to act around swimming children.
The initiative spread all over Sweden, with a combined earned and social media reach more than the total population of the country. Following the launch of Beach Mode, several municipalities banned mobile phones from swimming locations, and a large international phone manufacturer is working on building the function into its phones.
In 2020, 31% fewer Swedish children died from drowning.
The judges described this entry as an “excellent use of accessible technology”, delivering a wide-ranging, positive impact. “Through the clever use of AI and insights, it created a simple and effective impactful campaign that can replicated across markets to trigger a behavioral change.” They also praised the app’s clever use of a universal image – the life buoy.
Agency: The Romans
Client: Lloyd’s Register
Campaign: Future Seascapes
Shipping supports 90% of world trade and creates a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year – a number that is set to only increase as we purchase more from overseas markets in a global economy. To reduce this figure, maritime classification organization Lloyd’s Register looked to the past to further the discussion.
The work needed to reach a range of global stakeholders with varying levels of knowledge of shipping and shipping technologies, from ship owners and ship builders through to logistical businesses, manufacturers, governments, trade associations and policy advisors.
The Romans turned to a universal language: art. In partnership with award-winning digital artist Reuben Dangoor, the team transformed eight seascapes by some of history’s most famous painters into modern day masterpieces, each featuring sustainable maritime technology.
Taking advantage of the lockdown trend for virtual gallery tours, the exhibition was housed in an online gallery. Lloyd’s Register hosted a private viewing for key media and global stakeholders, giving company leadership an opportunity to communicate their ambitions for a carbon-zero maritime industry. The viewing featured an opening address and a Q&A roundtable, as well as numerous sector-specific working sessions designed to build new coalitions that will help shape and refine Lloyd’s Register’s approach to decarbonizing the oceans.
Over 450 industry leaders and media attended the virtual tour. Earning global coverage, the key campaign images drew attention to Lloyd’s Register’s mission. And while its primary focus was driving B2B conversations in scientific, engineering and maritime media, the campaign broke boundaries by appearing in consumer magazines including youth culture site High Snobiety.
It was the compelling creative that impressed the judges, who said it “lifted the subject matter into something eye-catching and headline-worthy”. The campaign also achieved a Highly Commended in the Automotive and Transport category.
To see the full list of winners, and read more about the best campaigns and companies, visit the awards website.