PR Club Celebrates Communications Excellence at 51st Bell Ringer Awards Gala

PR Club, the region’s leading communications trade organization, held its 51st annual Bell Ringer Awards gala at The Royal Sonesta Boston last night. The annual awards celebration showcased the work of public relations and communications professionals from dozens of agencies, companies, and nonprofits from across New England.  

Hosted by Emmy-nominated Tina Martin, television and radio anchor and reporter at WGBH News, the Bell Ringer Awards drew from hundreds of entries in more than 45 categories, from single placements to year-long campaigns.

This year, PR Club’s prestigious Platinum Super Bell Award for PR campaign of the year went to Duffy & Shanley. The Providence, Rhode Island-based agency earned top honors for “Dunkin’ Iced Coffee Day Featuring Good Night Lights” that spotlighted a local holiday and translated it into a months-long integrated cause-marketing campaign.

Other Platinum Super Bell finalists included Adam Ritchie Brand Direction for “Mix It Up: PR Invents Menu Items through the Power of Influencer Storytelling”; PAN Communications for Phononic’s “Store of the Future”; Red Lorry Yellow Lorry for its work with INSIGHTEC, “Improving Quality of Life by Spotlighting Innovative Med-tech”; and Akamai for “Meet Akamai, a Security Company. Yes, a Security Company.”

Maura FitzGerald, cofounder and partner of Version 2.0 Communications, was named the winner of the 2019 John J. Molloy Crystal Bell Lifetime Achievement Award for her significant contributions to the communications industry. Building on her roots as a journalist and the founding of FitzGerald Communications, as well as the launch of Version 2.0 Communications in 2006, FitzGerald has worked with CEOs and senior marketing leaders from some of technology’s most innovative market pioneers, including Sony, Motorola, Digital Equipment Corp., Compaq, and Sapient.

“It is a distinct honor to accept this prestigious award,” said FitzGerald. “I’m proud to join so many distinguished colleagues as a Crystal Bell winner. This achievement reflects the good fortune I’ve had throughout my career to work alongside talented professionals and for inspiring clients. Tonight, I accept this award on their behalf and thank the members of PR Club for this honor.”

360PR+ was the evening’s top winner with 19 Bells. Also earning strong acclaim from Bell Ringer judges were SHIFT Communications (10 Bells), Duffy & Shanley (seven Bells), John Guilfoil Public Relations (seven Bells), Solomon McCown & Co. (six Bells), and March Communications (five Bells). A full list of all winners is available at the PR Club website.

At the gala, PR Club also presented two professional awards. Benjamin Paulin from John Guilfoil Public Relations was named the winner of the 2019 Striker Award, recognizing the practitioner who demonstrates an early passion for public relations, a dedication to his/her career, and a superior work ethic. Sheila Hughes, account director at 360PR+ received the 2019 Ringer Award given to the midlevel public relations or communications practitioner who demonstrates excellence in the industry and earns acclaim from colleagues and clients as a model practitioner.

Martin, the Bell Ringer Awards host, selected The New England Innocence Project, which provides pro bono legal representation to those wrongfully convicted. Drawing on donations from Bell Ringer attendees, PR Club presented a check for $1,500 to the Martin on the organization’s behalf.

PR Club also thanks its 2019 Bell Ringer Awards Platinum Sponsor, Lunchpail Productions, for its strong support of the Bell Ringer Awards. Gold Sponsors Reportable and Pretty Instant and Silver Sponsor BusinessWire, have also been longtime contributors.  Boston University College of Communication, D.S. Simon Media, JTC Printing, and Talkwalker were Bronze Sponsors.