Special PR and AIDS Foundation win Grand Prix at Pressies for ‘Have You Heard What Bruce Did?’

Highlighting a name change from The New Zealand AIDS Foundation to Burnett Foundation Aotearoa, ‘Have you heard what Bruce did?’ shone a light on this major move, while telling an emotional story at the heart of the organisation. This work earned Special PR and AIDS Foundation gold in Best Integrated Campaign and Non-profit as well as the coveted Grand Prix at the 2022 Pressie Awards. Kelly Grindle, General Manager of Special PR, shares what made this campaign a winner, and how doing work with purpose gave the whole team a sense of fulfilment.

What was the most compelling insight behind this campaign?

This was undoubtedly our insight around the strength and passion of the community. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation was changing its name to Burnett Foundation Aotearoa. To most of us, that would result in a collective shrug and a corporate press announcement. But we knew just how important this was to certain parts of Aotearoa, so we created emotional storytelling centred on the heart of the NZAF community, designed to ripple outwards for mass attention.

Why do you think it won gold?

I think there are probably two key reasons. Firstly, we used influencers in a fresh and authentic manner – we worked with community influencers to launch our campaign. Most campaigns see influencers tacked on the end almost as an afterthought, but we flipped the news distribution model and created a groundswell of attention that started with influencers first and foremost. Secondly, we were able to cleverly coordinate multiple channels – influencer, OOH, digital, media partnerships and PR – so that we created a true tidal wave of attention in a mere 24 hours (with a very small budget!)

What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating the campaign?

We’re dealing with a charity that has a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and it’s a subject that requires proper care and diligence. Because of those reasons, we needed to go through months of stakeholder engagement. The worst thing we could do is launch a campaign that generated the headlines but left behind the people it was designed to benefit. The team at Burnett Foundation Aotearoa were incredible as they helped navigate us through a thorough stakeholder engagement plan, ensuring that we were telling their story with authenticity and purpose.

What is your biggest learning?

Do work with purpose, or work that makes you happy. I’ve long been a supporter of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, and being able to tell their story gave our entire team a sense of fulfilment that you just don’t get from flogging toothpaste or washing detergent. Because we had a strong passion for the story, we were able to seek out journalists, influencers and partners that shared our enthusiasm and helped us elevate the campaign to the national spotlight. Quite simply, we should all work on the things we love.

What does it mean to you to win gold at The Pressies?

We have such a phenomenal industry, with really talented and distinct agencies. To win gold, when the landscape is that good and that competitive, is truly humbling. There are a tonne of other campaigns – in both the gold and silver categories – that we think are fantastic, and we’re lucky to be recognised alongside them.

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