The McOnie Agency Wins CIPR PRide Gold Award

February 15, 2016


Now in its 12th year, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards are the most credible UK-wide awards in the public relations industry. They recognise and celebrate outstanding campaigns, PR professionals and teams across 9 UK nations and regions. There are around 950 entries to the awards each year from public relations teams, consultancies and individuals across the UK of which approximately 300 are shortlisted in the different regions.

On 20th November at the South of England and Channel Awards PRide Awards evening in Bristol, The McOnie Agency was awarded Gold in the Issues or Crisis Management category for the agency’s work with Arco as it responded to the Ebola crisis. The award submission that can be read in full here charted the work Pauline’s team undertook to promote Arco as a trusted Government advisor and supplier protecting UK healthcare workers in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

What we did

As Arco’s PR agency we were asked to assist their client, the Department for International Development (DfID), to demonstrate how UK healthcare workers were protected from infection and show how taxpayers’ money was being correctly spent. It was critical the government was seen to respond quickly to the crisis as the public was growing increasingly concerned for those working on the frontline helping the people of Sierra Leone.

We researched Ebola to identify the main messages; how infection spreads, what protective equipment and PPE should be issued to protect medical and ancillary workers and also show the importance of protocols relating to donning and doffing to illustrate the correct use of garments and PPE to avoid infection. We learned how Arco’s infection-control and heat-management expertise would be utilised. There is no guarantee of safety from Ebola; planning included what to do if any UK healthcare worker was infected.

We developed Arco’s media statement about the scale of the UK response and Arco’s role, with DfID’s approval, emphasising the choice of a UK business with the expertise and logistical capability to fulfill the requirements.

We identified media: national and international broadcast news including TV and radio, and Yorkshire and Humber local press.

The results

  • Continuous, live coverage for 24 hours as the first shipments went to Freetown, resulting in:
    • 16 pieces of national and regional radio and TV coverage including all primetime news programmes: Sky, ITV, BBC1, Channel 4 and BBC regional TV and radio stations.
    • Follow-on live interviews with Radio 4 Today programme, BBC World Service, CNN and AFP.
    • Coverage in national and local press, including the Yorkshire Post.
    • Online coverage, including Daily Mail and Guardian websites.
    • Strengthened relationship between Arco and McOnie because of exceptional national and regional news coverage reinforcing Arco’s position as ‘Experts in Safety’, one of the company’s key marketing focuses. This campaign reached a broad audience, widening brand awareness.
    • Arco awarded Pauline Gillan, McOnie’s Arco Account Manager, its “Let’s Sell” Award for Best Sales Support.

Here is what the judges had to say about our work:

“Commitment to robust research and careful planning made this campaign stand out. They demonstrated empathy with the issues and concerns faced by end-users of their client’s product. Their awareness and planning for risk was exemplary, with a depth of contingency planning appropriate for the subject matter. This was a thought provoking campaign and inviting journalists to experience life in an Ebola hazmat suit was a clever tactic.”

Did we party in Bristol afterwards? Just take a look at the photos on our Facebook page.

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