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2021 PRWeek Awards: “Best Creative Excellence” Nominees

Published on January 25, 2021, at 7 p.m.
by Emie Garrett.

It’s time for the biggest night in PR— well, almost. While PRWeek’s prestigious award ceremony will not be held until March 18, the publication released its shortlist of nominations for its 2021 U.S. awards.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash.

With 40 award categories ranging from “Outstanding Education Program,” a category which merits a big “Roll Tide” from me as The University of Alabama’s public relations program is nominated, to “Best Consumer Launch,” the PRWeek Awards is one huge celebration recognizing the hard work of agencies, practitioners, universities and businesses across the public relations industry over the past year.

As I drank my coffee and scrolled through the list of nominees the morning after PRWeek announced the shortlist, I found myself most excited to see which campaigns were nominated in the “Best Creative Excellence” category — after finding out which universities are nominated in the “Outstanding Education Program” category, of course! The campaigns nominated are diverse in content, fun and unique, and while I wish I could highlight the excellent work of each and every nominated campaign, with five nominees in each category, that might leave us here for a while.

So, here’s a quick breakdown of the 2021 PRWeek nominees in my favorite category, “Best Creative Excellence”:

Frito Lay and KetchumUnleash the Cheetle: Introducing Cheetos Popcorn
Frito Lay and PR giant Ketchum kicked off 2020 with a fun campaign for the release of Cheetos’ new popcorn snack, as well as came up with an interesting new term — Cheetle. What in the world is Cheetle, you ask? Well, according to the interactive press release by Cheetos, Cheetle is the word for the famous orange and red Cheetos dust that stains the fingers, and inevitably the clothes, of all who enjoy the snacks.

If you want to “step up your snacking game,” as Frito-Lay’s North American senior director of marketing, Brandi Ray, puts it, then pick up a bag of Cheetle-covered popcorn.

Good Humor and EdelmanGood Humor: A New Jingle for a New Era
Do you remember living to hear the glorious sound of the ice cream truck jingle during the summer, because I sure do. Well, the classic jingle, called “Turkey in the Straw,” that alerted neighborhood children of incoming frozen treats got a makeover in 2020.

While Good Humor has not owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, it still works closely with many ice cream truck drivers across the country and, as the original creator of the ice cream truck, wanted to be the solution to a long-ignored issue.

The tune, “Turkey in the Straw,” has racist roots in the U.S. dating back to the 1800s. To take action toward change, Good Humor collaborated with RZA — rapper, music producer and founding member of Wu-Tang Clan — to reimagine the problematic song.

Listen to Good Humor’s new catchy, unproblematic tune, that is sure to spark joy in all ice-cream loving people, here.

Heineken and Fast HorseA January Dry Pack
Have you heard of Dry January? If not, Dry January is a challenge that started in the United Kingdom in 2013, where participants try not to drink alcohol, after an indulgent holiday season, throughout the month of January.

To help participants stick to their Dry January goal, beer company Heineken released a limited-edition, 31-pack of its 0.0, non-alcoholic beer. To help consumers practice moderation, the packaging was designed similarly to an advent calendar, so that customers could drink one a day.

Cheers to Heineken and Fast Horse for creating a unique strategy for helping consumers stick to their goals!

Lowe’s Home Improvement and FleishmanHillardNew York Fashion Week Goes Home with Lowe’s
Here’s some word association: What comes to mind when you think of Lowe’s Home Improvement? Probably not New York Fashion week, right? Well, think again.

Since consumers are spending more time at home than ever, thanks to COVID-19, Lowe’s teamed up with designers Rebecca Minkoff, Christian Siriano and Jason Wu to bring New York Fashion Week “home.” The home improvement store worked with the designers to create curations inspired by “each designer’s definition of home” from products already available at Lowe’s.

Pantone and HugePantone Color of the Year 2020: A Multi-Sensory Experience
Each year since 2000, Pantone has named one of its hues “Color of the Year” to inform consumers, creatives and brands on the direction trends are heading and how their creations and stylistic choices can follow suit.

In 2020, instead of simply naming its choice for Color of the Year, Pantone modernized its approach and created an entire multisensory experience for audiences to see, smell, hear, feel and taste its 2020 pick, Classic Blue. According to Pantone, Classic Blue is reminiscent of the sky at dusk and highlights Pantone’s “desire for a dependable and stable foundation from which to build” as a new era begins.

Pantone collaborated with Adobe, Artechouse, Audio UX, FedEx, Firmenich, The Inside, Landr and TeaLeaves in order to enliven its Classic Blue and create memorable sensory experiences.

All I have to say is that I’m glad I don’t have to pick a winner! These campaigns exude creativity and attention to detail and leave me in awe of the minds that created them — it’s impossible to pick a favorite. In my humble opinion, they’re all award-worthy, but I can’t wait to see who takes home the prize on the biggest night in PR.

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