2021 BELL RINGER AWARD CATEGORIES

We have new and updated categories for the 2021 Bell Ringer Awards. See the full list below. For your reference, there are two key distinctions:

  • Single Item Division Entry: A single item entry may be a stand-alone item of a multi-faceted program. Individual items submitted as part of a campaign are also eligible in the single-item division.
  • Campaign Division Entry: A campaign is characterized by a broad range of separate – though related and consistent – elements implemented during a period of time. Elements of a campaign may be entered separately in the single-item division.

New for 2021 – In recognition of the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bell Ringer Awards now has two pandemic-related campaign categories: one for the promotion of a COVID-19 product, treatment, device, diagnostic or related service, and another for a response to the pandemic that sought to maintain stakeholder relationships despite operational challenges and restrictions. 

Many categories request the submission of video files and/or visuals. Any materials submitted may be included in the online Winner’s Showcase, and may be selected to be featured on-screen and/or in a video during the ceremony presentation. Submitted materials become the property of the PR Club. 

Single Item Division Categories

Content Marketing

Digital/Printed Collateral – Any digital or printed material (annual report, brochure, direct mail, infographic, etc.) written by communications or PR practitioners that promotes or distinguishes a product, service, organization, cause, or event. 

Video – Single – This includes informational/educational, entertainment-oriented, and traditional storytelling narratives for one online video (see Video – Series for more than one video). Please submit video files with a resolution of at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Video – Series – This includes informational/educational, entertainment-oriented, and traditional storytelling narratives for two or more online videos (see Video – Single for single video submissions). Please submit video files with a resolution of at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Podcast – A podcast developed for an internal or external audience that supports the brand message of the organization or agency and helps it achieve its objectives. This may include leveraging earned and paid podcast integration into communications initiatives.

Paid Media – Any media partnership, paid sponsorship, native or sponsored advertisement designed to help an organization achieve its objectives. Explain how the content and paid platform together strengthen the overall communication effort. Include any information that demonstrates outcomes from the paid placement. 

Agency Citizenship/Pro Bono – Any pro-bono work, volunteerism, and philanthropic programs designed to strengthen the relationship of an agency with the wider community.

Emerging Technology – This category recognizes creative and innovative uses of emerging technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and 360-degree video to help an organization achieve its objectives. Explain how the emerging technology usage enhances the overall communication effort, and include any information that shows outcomes. 

Diversity Initiatives – Any internal or external effort designed to raise awareness of and/or increase diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace, local community, or within an industry. 

Corporate or Agency Blog – A blog developed for an internal or external audience that supports the brand message of the organization or agency and helps it achieve its objectives.

Events

Media Event – Media events are built around in-person or digital/virtual interactions between your client or your company/organization and the press (including traditional media, bloggers, and influencers). May include press conferences, media tours and blogger/influencer events. Entries should exhibit creativity in planning and execution of the event, as well as information about how you drew the media to it and engaged them at the event. Include video and photos (high resolution: 300dpi), screenshots, or other materials that illustrate your event. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

One-Time Special Event – A special event (digital/virtual or in-person) to draw public attention to an organization, agency, product, or service. Include video and other materials that illustrate your event, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Special Event – Series – A series of special events (digital/virtual or in-person) to draw public attention to an organization, agency, product, or service. Include video and other materials that illustrate your events, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Media Placements

Bylined Article – An article written or ghostwritten by a communications or PR professional and placed in an external publication for an organization, agency, or client. Judged on writing and placement skills.

National Placement- PR placement/coverage secured in/on a print or digital publication that has a national reach. Judged on placement skills and achievement of stated objectives.

Regional Placement – PR placement/coverage secured in/on a print or digital publication that is regional or local in focus. Judged on placement skills and achievement of stated objectives.

Vertical/Trade Placement- PR placement/coverage secured in/on a print or digital publication focused on a vertical industry or field (i.e., tech, healthcare, higher education, finance). Judged on placement skills and achievement of stated objectives.

Series of Placements – A series of three media placements/pieces of coverage made in a variety of outlets, including broadcast, print and online.

Television –  National – A national news or feature story produced by station or network staff. Judged on placement skills and implementation of objectives. Upload as .mov or mpeg files.Note: Submission does not require the inclusion of VNR or B-roll footage. 

Television – Local/Regional – A local or regional news or feature story produced by station or network staff. Judged on placement skills and implementation of objectives. Upload as .mov or mpeg files. Note: Submission does not require the inclusion of VNR or B-roll footage.

Response to Breaking News – Demonstrate how your response to a breaking news situation, story, or event generated increased media coverage for a client, organization, or agency. How did you leverage the breaking news situation in an appropriate manner to generate attention? 

Op-Ed – Earned placement of an opinion piece designed to persuade and/or change thinking or perceptions. The focus of this entry is in the power of the piece to persuade using language, arguments, and compelling stats, as well as the outlet’s fit in reaching the target audience. Include any data that shows changes in perceptions, behavior, and/or opinions.

CAMPAIGN DIVISION Categories

Industry Campaigns

Consumer – A publicity campaign developed to create awareness and maintain favorable interest in a consumer-facing product or service, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Hospitality/Travel/Entertainment – A publicity campaign created to generate awareness and maintain favorable interest in a hospitality, travel, or entertainment service, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Business-to-Business – A publicity campaign created to generate awareness and maintain favorable interest in a product or service, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. This category includes professional services and other business-to-business campaigns. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

High-Tech – A publicity campaign created to generate awareness and maintain favorable interest in a high-tech product or service, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Clean energy or green technology campaigns are also included in this category. Avoid jargon where possible.Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Healthcare – A publicity campaign created specifically for the healthcare/consumer market to support the sale/promotion of a cause, product, treatment, device, diagnostic and/or service, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Higher Education – A publicity campaign created specifically to drive brand awareness, and ultimately enrollment and/or donations, for a private high school, college, or university, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Nonprofit – A publicity campaign created specifically to generate media and/or donor attention and visibility among target audiences for a non-profit organization, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Government/Public Affairs – A campaign designed to create public awareness or to persuade people to act on an issue relating to political, governmental, environmental or socioeconomic conditions and/or policies, specifically through media outreach, events (including virtual), and social media. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Campaigns

COVID-19 Product or Service – A publicity campaign that targets either the healthcare industry or consumer market, and supports the sale/promotion of a cause, product, treatment, device, diagnostic and/or service. Please include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

COVID-19 Response – A publicity campaign designed to maintain relationships with key stakeholders despite the operational challenges imposed by COVID (social distancing, quarantining, masking). For example, a restaurant pivoting to take-out orders only, moving doctor visits to telehealth, or changing the nature of volunteer roles.

Influencer Campaigns

Mega Influencer –  A program developed to leverage the reach, influence, and authority of highly influential third-party sites that are not media companies, such as bloggers, social media influencers, YouTube stars, etc. These influencers have at least 75K fans in total across their social media platforms (blog UVM included). Content secured can include paid and/or earned media and should achieve the stated objectives. Please also include what was offered to the influencer(s) (e.g., product, payment, etc.). 

Micro Influencer –  A program developed to leverage the authority and sway of micro influencers, who have between 10K-75K fans (in total) across their social media platforms (blog UVM included). This program would target a specific demographic or audience and would generate results (perhaps better results) than a program developed with “traditional” influencers or other media. Content secured can include paid and/or earned media and should achieve the stated objectives. Please include why you decided to utilize micro influencers as part of your strategy and how it was effective. Please also include what was offered to the influencer(s) (e.g., product, payment, etc.).   

Nano Influencer –  A program developed to leverage the authority and sway of nano influencers, who have fewer than 10K fans (in total) across their social media platforms (blog UVM included). This program would target a specific demographic or audience and would generate results (perhaps better results) than a program developed with “traditional” influencers or other media. Content secured can include paid and/or earned media and should achieve the stated objectives. Please include why you decided to utilize nano influencers as part of your strategy and how it was effective. Please also include what was offered to the influencer(s) (e.g., product, payment, etc.).   

Unpaid Influencer/Ambassador – A program developed to leverage the authority and third-party endorsement of at least 10 influencers without exchanging monetary payment for content. The program can include influencers of any size, but would target a specific demographic or audience, and generate comparable results to a program developed with paid influencers or other media. Content secured must be earned and should achieve the stated objectives. Please include why you decided to utilize unpaid influencers as part of your strategy and how it was effective. Please also include what was offered to the influencer(s) (e.g., product, access to a service, etc.).

Communications Campaigns

Integrated Marketing Communications – A campaign that used paid, earned, shared and owned media channels in an integrated way to increase public awareness. Submissions are encouraged to utilize all four channels, and submissions must demonstrate how an integrated media strategy garnered greater collective reach/impact than could have been achieved using individual channels. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Content Marketing – A campaign that relies primarily on owned media to accomplish stated objectives. The campaign may also include all or some mix of paid, earned, owned, and shared media, and should detail the strategy behind the original content creation. This campaign may also include initiatives designed to increase SEO and can include strategic brand/media partnerships. Include screenshots or URLs and metrics on traffic and leads generated.

Brand Building or Re-branding – Consumer – An initiative to develop or enhance a brand, rooted in strategy, that ushers in a new vision and carries it through across all marketing/PR channels and touchpoints. Explain how PR counsel played a central role in the strategy development, messaging, and roll out of the new brand. Demonstrate how the execution met the campaign’s stated objectives. Include video and other materials that illustrate your brand building or re-branding, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), screenshots, and graphics. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Brand Building or Re-branding – Business-to-Business – An initiative to develop or enhance a brand, rooted in strategy, that ushers in a new vision and carries it through across all marketing/PR channels and touchpoints. Explain how PR counsel played a central role in the strategy development, messaging, and roll out of the new brand. Demonstrate how the execution met the campaign’s stated objectives. Include video and other materials that illustrate your brand building or re-branding, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), screenshots, and graphics. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Executive Thought Leadership – A campaign developed to increase or enhance an executive’s position within the industry. This should be a coordinated effort that utilizes different forms of media to generate greater collective reach/impact than a single bylined article or op-ed could achieve. Please include samples of the content utilized for the campaign and where/how it was used.  

Cause Marketing – A campaign designed to increase brand sales or consumer engagement, link the brand to an important issue or cause, and/or take responsibility for a company’s effects on environmental and/or social wellbeing. Demonstrate how and/or what the brand improved, and drove awareness of a cause or issue.

Crisis Communications – A program that mitigated a potentially damaging situation, or communicated with stakeholders and/or the public during or after a disaster or emergency. We will make every effort to keep the information confidential.

Investor/Financial Relations – A program developed to explain an organization’s fiscal profile and promote favorable relations with stockholders, financial analysts, local business community and/or the general public.

Corporate Culture/Internal Communications – An internal program developed to improve and enhance employee relations.

Corporate Social Responsibility – An initiative designed to assess and take responsibility for a company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing. Demonstrate how and/or what the brand improved, and drove awareness of an issue.

Fundraising Campaign – A campaign designed to create public awareness and, more importantly, raise funds for a worthy cause. Please include the total amont of money that your campaign helped raise. We will NOT make that information public, but it’s needed for judging purposes. NOTE: there is a separate category for COVID-19 specific campaigns. For any campaigns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please submit under that category to be considered.

B2B Social Media – A campaign created to leverage emerging and social media (i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) and engage with target audience(s) while achieving stated objectives. This submission should show how the campaign was creative and unique. Include measurable results attained. This can and likely will include the use of sponsored content and/or paid distribution / optimization. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

B2C Social Media – A campaign created to leverage emerging and social media (i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) and engage with target audience(s) while achieving stated objectives. This submission should show how the campaign was creative and unique. Include measurable results attained. This can and likely will include the use of sponsored content and/or paid distribution / optimization. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

Viral Marketing – An initiative or activities developed to generate awareness in unique and unconventional ways, both in person and/or via social media. This category includes activities such as street branding, group challenges, TikTok trends, etc. Explain how the initiative was evocative, and include the results it produced. Include video and other materials that illustrate your campaign, such as logos, photos (high resolution: 300dpi), graphics, and screenshots. Video resolution should be at least 720p; file extension (container/type) should be .mp4, and codec: h.264 video.

On a Shoestring – A campaign with a modest budget – one that does NOT exceed $10K – that still manages to make a big splash and generate impressive results with the use of social and organic outreach, potentially including unpaid influencers. Please include what your campaign budget was. We will NOT make that information public but need it for judging purposes.  

Superior Achievement in Research & Planning – Conducting original research and using modern data and analytics should be the crux of submissions for this category. Explain how your PR campaign used formal planning techniques and research to develop strategy and execute a successful campaign.

External Spokesperson – A campaign developed to leverage the reach, influence, and authority of an external third-party spokesperson (paid expert, celebrity, or partner organization, NOT a social media influencer). Content can include paid, earned, shared, and/or owned, and should achieve the stated objectives. Please also include what was offered to the spokesperson (e.g. payment, trade, partnership agreement). 

Agency Marketing – A campaign designed to help an agency raise its profile, thought leadership, recruitment and/or overall business development efforts. Explain how the campaign elevated the brand message of the agency and helped it achieve its objectives. This may include leveraging paid, earned, shared, and owned tactics as part of the overall campaign.