Freshwater to the fore at industry awards

Freshwater was to the fore at this year’s awards for the PR industry in Wales, winning gold for best consumer campaign and seeing account director Mitchell Gadd chosen as young communicator of the year.

The agency’s work with iconic consumer brand PEZ to promote two Red Nose Day fundraising initiatives was chosen against stiff competition for gold in the Best Consumer Relations category at the CIPR Cymru PRide Awards.

The Austrian sweet brand had created three specially-designed PEZ dispensers, customised with this year’s Red Nose Day characters, which were sold with a donation going to Comic Relief. It also created one-off celebrity PEZ heads of Comic Relief ambassadors including One Direction, Jessie J, Ricky Gervais and Keith Lemon.

As well as running an online auction, Freshwater promoted the campaign through national media to drive sales of the PEZ dispensers and encourage people to bid for the celebrity PEZ heads, raising thousands of pounds for Comic Relief in the process.

Coverage was secured across the board including Vogue, the Metro, Daily Star, the Independent, the Sun, Heat and ITV and BBC (online).

Carolyn Pugsley, the director at Freshwater Wales who headed up the campaign, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to be named gold winners in this hotly-contested category.

“PEZ is an iconic brand that really has a sense of fun, as well as a strong CSR agenda, and the Freshwater team loved getting their teeth into the campaign and showing what we could achieve.”

The CIPR PRide Awards, sponsored nationally by Precise, PRWeek and RedBrand/Specialist Speakers, receive entries from freelancers, consultancies and in-house teams across Wales. The judging process for the PRide Awards is rigorous with a national panel of industry experts assessing the shortlisted entries and choosing the winners.

The CIPR Judges said of the campaign: “Publicising candy manufacturer PEZ’s release of two sets of limited-edition sweet dispenser heads, dinosaurs for retail and an exclusive celebrity heads set for auction, could have been seen as an easy option – a promotional campaign for charity.

“However, Freshwater’s clear and strategic approach included a detailed awareness of the risks of the campaign (such as unrealistic pledges from young bidders) and planned to minimize these.

“The resulting campaign harnessed fun and innovative tactics to enable PEZ to maximise their corporate support for Comic Relief within a tight timescale.”

Mitchell Gadd, who was recently promoted to account director, has worked for Freshwater since leaving Cardiff University in 2007 with a degree in journalism, film and broadcasting and a postgraduate diploma in public and media relations.

He leads the agency’s work for a number of key clients, including Specsavers, Shaw Healthcare, Centre for Business, South Wales chamber of commerce and John Francis estate agents. He is also responsible for overseeing the business networking site, Wales World Wide.

“Mitch delivers for his clients again and again and is a real asset to the Freshwater team,” said Carolyn Pugsley. “He’s been with us since he left university and has worked is way up to become one of our key people. We all know how great he is at Freshwater – and it’s really pleasing that the industry has recognised it as well with this prestigious award.”

The awards were held in Cardiff on Friday 18 October.