Trends From The Drum Awards For PR Judging Room – The Drum

November 25, 2022 | 6 min read
Listen to article 4 min
Members of the jury for The Drum Awards for PR talk us through the trends that emerged from this year’s entries.
What trends emerged from this year’s entries?
With The Drum’s week-long awards festival right on our doorsteps, running December 5-9, we will be celebrating the agencies, brands and people at the very top of the global PR business at The Drum Awards for PR. The awards ceremony will be held at The Drum Labs in Shoreditch London on Thursday December 8. Find out how you can attend here.
Ahead of then, we caught up with this year’s judges on the stand-out entries and the trends they saw emerge from the best work.
Daisy Pack, managing director, Hunter PR
I love a clever twist and this year saw some corkers, with brands building news value through lateral thinking. Taking an accepted truth and turning it on its head provided creative manna for strategic comms teams, with highly engaging results that really earned their audiences’ attention. Within this trend, well-planned strategic hoaxes sparked a reaction from the judges this year.
It was also inspiring to see established platforms injected with fresh energy and purpose. It’s not easy to land a brand-new territory and give legs to a long-term, well-recognized initiative, even when those reputable programs are brilliant. Hats off to the teams that executed truly rousing work. Linked to this, campaigns with purpose at their core continue to engage as audiences support brands giving back to the greater good.
I judged the Best Integrated Campaign, which was blessed full of exceptional, inspiring entries. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to integrated work, and we found plenty of examples where teams leveraged multi-platform campaigns to amplify messaging across different channels – reaching more people more often with compelling, unified communications.
Hugo Bebbington, communications manager, Twitter
As many of these entries took place during the coronavirus pandemic, there was a need to balance being confident and considered when approaching campaigns. There was an incredibly impressive amount of adaptability and creativity on show to ensure entries were in line with the circumstances we were all living through.
I was obviously interested in campaigns that utilized social media successfully, but entries that had a deft approach to using data in a creative way caught my eye as well. The strongest categories gave us campaigns that captured a particular moment of time and certainly stood out. For example, any entry that involved working in the hospitality or tourism industry during the pandemic and navigating its many restrictions practically made me break out in a cold sweat.
The origin stories of so many of these successful campaigns came from quite humble beginnings – be that a big brainstorm, taking a fresh look at the account, or outreaching in a way you wouldn’t normally consider. It was a really welcome reminder to approach things with an open mind and to try and be ambitious with your delivery.
Brandon Dixon, director of communications, Stagwell
Digital-first activations won out – handily. The proof was in their results. Creativity was wicked across the submission set, but it was only when digital and creative were pointed purposefully toward the client’s business goals that the campaigns started to sing.
You could see the impact of the creator economy on this year’s submissions. Influencer engagement was a strong anchor across the best submissions – and those teams that curated content, experiential formats and outreach around driving mass engagement aided by nano-influencer boost saw wicked results.
Hyperlocal activations were personally the most compelling, and an excellent reminder to activate locally for global results. The best storytelling happens among communities – IRL and digital. When an agency located its core strategic motivation in regional appreciations, urban legends and indelible community moments (the tragic and the comic), it drove results and inspired more innovative thinking.
The limits of mass culture structured the best creative work. The agencies that took aim at social taboos and digital platforms featuring those obscure conversations like period equity felt most authentic to marketing’s current age – where brands are caught between the seesaw of purpose and profit.
© Carnyx Group Ltd 2022 | The Drum is a Registered Trademark and property of Carnyx Group Limited. All rights reserved.


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