Business

Smarts are 'PRide' of Northern Ireland's PR industry

Richard Nelson, Colin Corbridge, Seona McGrath, Pippa Arlow, Leontia Fetherston, Selina Wallace and Andrew Campbell of Smarts Communicate, which scooped seven Gold Awards at the PRide Awards. Photo: Kelvin Boyes (Press Eye)

Around 250 PR professionals gathered at the Culloden Estate & Spa for the 2017 CIPR NI PRide Awards - the annual celebration of outstanding public relations practice in Northern Ireland.

And the glitzy evening, hosted by Q Radio Breakfast hosts Stephen Clements and Cate Conway, proved particularly unforgettable for Holywood-based agency Smarts Communicate.

It scooped seven Gold Awards, including the coveted Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy Award, while Seona McGrath capped a memorable night for Smarts by claiming the Outstanding Young Communicator title.

Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council were named Public Sector Team of the Year and Outstanding In-House Public Relations Team. Judges applauded the Council for their “outcome focused” approach and for “using video content to effectively increase participation in vital council consultations.”

JComms and Navigator Blue both took home two gold awards, with the latter recognised for a creative campaign highlighting the links between stress and strokes.

Maurica Mackle (Mackle Communications) clinched Gold for Outstanding Independent Practitioner; Translink secured Gold in the Public Sector Campaign category and Massive PR won the Not-For-Profit Campaign Award for its Northern Ireland says ‘Bula’ to Bula Batiki campaign.

New for 2017, the award for construction, property or infrastructure campaign went to Lanyon Communications and Belfast City Council for their Belfast at MIPIM 2017 campaign.

Aiken won the Public Affairs Campaign for its work with McDonalds and LK Communications secured the Gold Award for Integrated Campaign for its #FindYourBelfast campaign with Visit Belfast.

Gold Awards were also presented to the Health and Social Care Board (Low Budget Campaign); - ASG & Partners (Arts, Culture or Sport Campaign); North West Regional College (Education Communications Campaign) and NI Chamber Ambition Magazine (Best Publication).

A Special award for contribution to the PR industry was also presented in memory of the late Brian Arlow, accepted by his daughters Katie and Nini Arlow.

Sinead Doyle, chair of CIPR Northern Ireland, said: “For a region of its size, Northern Ireland punches well above its weight. Talented individuals, teams and organisations are driving forward best practice through first-class creativity, insight, strategic thinking and delivery.

“The CIPR NI PRide Awards celebrate the outstanding professionalism and excellence that puts the Northern Ireland PR industry on the map. Our warmest congratulations go to each of the winners and all of those shortlisted for these prestigious awards.”

Gold Winners from the 2017 CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards:

• Corporate and Business Communications Campaign – JComms, Novosco Cloud Camp

• Internal Communications Campaign - Invest NI, Inside Invest digital magazine launch and roll out

• Consumer Relations Campaign – JComms, All Aboard the Pizza Express!

• Public Sector Campaign - Translink, Get Behind the Hub Campaign

• Community Relations Campaign - Smarts Communicate and Lidl, Giving a 'Lidl' Back to Our Local Communities

• Public Affairs Campaign – Aiken, McDonald's in the Community

• Not-for-Profit Campaign - Massive PR, Northern Ireland says ‘Bula’ to Bula Batiki

• Healthcare Campaign - Navigator Blue, NICHS - Give Stress A Rest

• Integrated Campaign - LK Communications, #FindYourBelfast campaign for Visit Belfast

• Low Budget Campaign - Health and Social Care Board, Medicine Waste Campaign

• Arts, Culture or Sport Campaign - ASG & Partners, Belfast International Arts Festival

• Construction, Property or Infrastructure Campaign - Lanyon Communications and Belfast City Council, Belfast at MIPIM 2017

• Education Communications Campaign - North West Regional College, Start Here Go Anywhere...

• Best Use of Media Relations - Smarts Communicate and Harp, Pure Here Mural

• Best Use of Digital - Smarts Communicate and Diageo Bar Academy, Diageo Bar Academy

• Best Use of Social Media - Navigator Blue, Live Here Love Here: It's Not Rocket Surgery

• Best Use of Photography or Design - Smarts Communicate and Johnnie Walker, Ode to Lesvos

• Best Publication - Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Achieving Ambition

• Best Event - Smarts Communicate and Diageo Reserve World Class, World Class 'Bartender of the Year' Global Final

• Outstanding Young Communicator - Seona McGrath MCIPR, Smarts Communicate

• Outstanding Independent Practitioner - Maurica Mackle Chart.PR, FCIPR, Mackle Communications

• Public Sector Team of the Year - Antrim and Newtownabbey, Borough Council

• Outstanding In-House Public Relations Team - Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

• Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy - Smarts Communicate

• Special Award for Contribution to the PR industry: In memory of Brian Arlow

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