Winner’s Circle: 2019 Grand Gold Pick Award, CIG Public Relations

    Presented to only two entries, the Grand Gold Pick Award is the most prestigious award of the annual Gold Pick event. In 2019, CIG Public Relations took home the Grand Gold for their “Blown Away – Preventing DUIs, One Breathalyzer at a Time” campaign. We chatted with Sam Stavish, Associate II with CIG, who discussed the submission process and standouts for the award-winning campaign.


    1. Introduce us to CIG Public Relations.
    2. CIG is a full-service public relations, marketing and graphic design firm. We’re also a certified Small Business and Women’s Business Enterprise (SBE, DBE) — and we specialize in projects that help shape Colorado. The company’s roots are in Public Information — helping large infrastructure projects communicate with the communities, commuters and businesses affected by, say, a massive, multi-year highway project.


    My team works largely with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) traffic safety campaigns. We help CDOT convince people to not drive drunk or after consuming marijuana, to wear their seat belts and put the phone down while they’re driving. These are all serious issues, and this award-winning campaign was created to prevent DUIs and drunk driving in Colorado.


    1. Can you explain the details of the “Blown Away – Preventing DUIs, One Breathalyzer at a Time” campaign? 
    2. Working alongside CDOT, we set lofty goals for the 2018 DUI-prevention campaign. We wanted to help people make informed decisions by providing a tool that could ultimately prevent impaired driving.


    The overarching objective of the “Blown Away” campaign was to spark adoption of personal breathalyzers for anyone who drinks regularly. These breathalyzers are Bluetooth enabled, connect to your smart phone, and fit in your pocket. They make it easy for people to monitor their breath alcohol content (BAC) and they’re as accurate as the police models. After extensive research, we partnered with BACtrack, a leading breathalyzer company with similar safety values to offer a 50% discount on their products, exclusively to Coloradans.


    Boots-on-the-ground outreach was also key to the initiative. We were able to educate Coloradans about DUI prevention at popular points of consumption, including beer and food festivals, baseball games and summer concerts. The campaign ran during July and August, which typically see a marked increase in impaired driving fatalities in Colorado.


    1. Talk about some of the key successes & impacts of the Blown Away campaign.
    2. We wanted to be where people were drinking and teach them how to make smart choices, before they make questionable choices. We partnered with Geeks Who Drink, we did demos outside Colorado Rockies games and other summer drinking events — our team managed to conduct 1,200 BAC readings, doubling our original goal. In addition, we distributed 200 free breathalyzers to young adults as part of a program to learn if, how and how often participants were using them. We really wanted to normalize their use and inspire lasting change. In addition to the 200 devices that were distributed, more than 800 people applied for the program, really demonstrating the public’s interest.


    Mainstream and digital media also played a big role. We provided the media with ample opportunities to cover the campaign. We brought them stories about real people working on a serious problem that affects communities across Colorado every day. The result was 76.9 million impressions and 500 articles about the “Blown Away” campaign.


    The biggest and most rewarding result was witnessing Coloradans investing in their own safety. Through the 50% discount from BACtrack, more than 2,800 people bought their own breathalyzers. Our original goal was to sell 1,500, so almost doubling that was a welcome surprise.


    1. What was the Gold Pick’s submission process like?
    2. We meet as a team to review our strongest opportunities. We look at campaigns and tactics company-wide, and evaluate their outcomes and measurable results before making our selections. It could be a successful campaign, but you have to be able to demonstrate each of the required elements. . From there, we divide and conquer. It’s an all-team effort — we have several people review each entry before submitting.


    My biggest tip for writing a successful entry is pretty simple — answer all the questions that are asked. We carefully read the entry guidelines, where everything is spelled out to help you with your entry. We check all the boxes and ensure we are satisfying all the entry requirements.


    1. What is a piece of advice you would give to practitioners submitting for the first time?
    2. Make sure the entry summary is clear and concise. It is easier for judges to review your work when various entry sections are clearly mapped out. Next, follow the campaign steps: research, planning, execution, and evaluation. The last step is getting people with fresh eyes to review your entry. Sometimes you’ve been entrenched in the campaign for so long; you don’t explain it simply and clearly.


    1. Anything else you'd like to add?
    2. Remind yourself that this process is fun! We all get caught up in day-to-day, so it’s nice to take time to reflect on your team’s accomplishments from the previous year. The PRSA Gold Picks are a great way to earn well-deserved recognition for CIG and our clients — all while celebrating at the same time! If you haven’t been, the awards dinner is always a blast.


    Don’t miss one of the biggest events of the year. Gold Picks is happening at the Larimer Social, located in the historic Larimer Square area of downtown Denver, on August 20.

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