What it takes to score a PR Daily Media Relations Award: 3 winning campaigns

There’s still time to get your entry in for this year’s Media Relations Awards!

Media Relations Awards

No matter how much the PR industry changes, media relations remains one of the most important disciplines. That’s why PR Daily is pleased to celebrate the very best of the pitchers, the campaigners and the journalist whisperers with our Media Relations Awards.

This year’s awards submissions are open now through Aug. 16, with winners to be honored at the PR Daily Awards Gala in New York City on Dec. 11.

But while you put your submissions together for 2024, let’s take a look at some of the best awards from 2023. You might just gain inspiration you can use for your upcoming campaigns.

Food and Beverage Campaign winner: Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich

The chicken sandwich wars are some of the most brutal in all of fast food, with every major player offering their own take on this American classic. So when Popeyes announced a new Blackened Chicken Sandwich, it looked to its experiences in 2019.

That year, the chain ignited an ongoing battle amid fast food players by serving up a chicken sandwich that got members of the public, media and the competition buzzing and trying to create their own. So this time around, Popeyes gave fans everything they needed to replicate the spicy sammie.

Popeyes subverted the tendency toward secrecy by releasing the full ingredients of its chicken rub — black pepper, cumin, red peppers, garlic, onion, paprika, white pepper and salt — and delivered toolbox-shaped mailers to celebrities and influencers that contained the sandwich, as well as everything they’d need to make the chicken sandwich themselves, resulting in earned content from creators. Traditional media also received the sandwiches for taste tests.

The campaign produced more than 580 earned media placements, including Access Hollywood, CBS This morning and Delish.com, resulting in more than 2.6 billion earned media impressions. The media also echoed the campaign’s key messages, with 70% mentioning the Copy This campaign.

For their bold, swaggering campaign, Popeyes won PR Daily’s own chicken wars.

Original Research winner: BlackBerry Limited with ChatGPT Original Research

ChatGPT hasn’t been around very long, but it’s already changed the way we think about content and creativity. Right after the AI technology burst onto the scene, cybersecurity firm BlackBerry immediately grasped the far-reaching implications it represented, but there was little data on exactly what it would mean. That’s when the PR team sprang into action.

BlackBerry commissioned quick-response third-party research that it could then pitch to the media in order to increase share of voice and share of conversation.

The survey was developed, collected and analyzed within a week, then shaped into a press release and sent out to the media. Their efforts secured more than 425 pieces of coverage, with articles in Forbes, Fortune Magazine, Business Insider, Infosecurity Magazine, ZDNet, Nikkei, The Canberra Times and ABC Australia.

Share of voice topped their major competitor for the first time. BlackBerry increased its article mentions across all English-language global publications by 200 articles, quarter-over-quarter.

And besides fueling global headlines, the data also became newsy proprietary fodder for its own blog, demonstrating the versatility and utility of research for PR pros.

Hospitality & Tourism Campaign winner: Discover The Palm Beaches: Golden Age of Travel

The Palm Beaches of Florida touts themselves as “America’s First Resort Destination,” harking back to an era when air travel was cool instead of a mild form of torture. That’s why the organization went with a retro-chic aesthetic for its “Golden Age of Travel” campaign that set up shop in New York City’s Grand Central Station and Chicago’s Union Station, its top feeder markets.

The team behind the activation created an old-school airplane right in the train terminals, echoing the style of TWA or Pan-Am planes, but using The Palm Beaches’ own branding and colors.

Brand ambassadors wore retro flight attendant uniforms. Consumers enjoyed playlists that highlighted music from the 1960s, watched videos of The Palm Beaches, sampled local food and received promo swag.

A flipboard displayed real-time flight information to Palm Beach International Airport so visitors could visualize their trip, emphasizing that with nonstop daily flights, travelers could go from gate to beach in a little more than three hours.

VIP receptions drew 230 attendees from national media like Travel + Leisure, DuJour, Brides, Good Housekeeping and more, along with 58 social influencers who reached 3.4 million followers.

Want to see your campaign here next year? Enter the Media Relations Awards today.

Allison Carter is editor-in-chief of PR Daily. Follow her on or LinkedIn.


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