Humor and humanity: 3 award-winning campaigns to inspire communicators

The best from the public relations industry.

The world of PR is a wellspring of creativity. From innovative campaigns with smart collaborations to social media videos that spread like wildfire, great PR begins with the people behind the ideas.

We’ve highlighted some of the winners from the 2023 Ragan’s PR Daily Awards to take a closer look at their strategies and successes. Also, don’t forget to apply to this year’s Ragan’s PR Daily Awards before the deadline on June 21.

B2C Campaign: CSAA Insurance Group Rickrolls the world


The background: Insurance might not seem like the most exciting industry, but  CSAA broadened its appeal and turned up the cool factor by tapping into throwback music and internet culture —  by Rickrolling everyone.

CSAA enlisted 80’s hitmaker Rick Astley, star of the Rickroll meme, to recreate his famous “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video. The video features many of the shots of the original, with CSAA employees featured dancing alongside him. Astley even breaks the fourth wall about the meme by asking, “Is this still a thing?”, calling out the fact that it’s one of the longest-lived memes on the web.

The commercial was an instant hit. With 720 placements and an audience of 2.2 billion, the ad generated $35 million in PR value. The ad also received placements on CNN, Billboard and TMZ to name a few.

 The takeaway: Leaning into a meme or subculture can lead to great press.

 Pro Bono Campaign: Montieth & Co. make St. Louis a second-chance destination for Afghan refugees


The background: Sometimes a PR campaign is bigger than any bottom line, and instead focuses on social impact — and those stand out for their heart and humanity. Montieth & Co. provided pro bono services to the International Institute of Saint Louis (IISL) to raise money for newly arrived Afghan refugees and help them settle into their lives in a new place. The campaign included a press release about the initiative, a deep dive into the breadth of the IISL, and storytelling about the refugees.

Montieth & Co. found success with local media in spreading the news about the cause. Placements about the program included stories and features with FOX 2 St. Louis and St. Louis Today. In addition, Montieth & Co. donated to the refugees in the program by donating traditional costumes for the inaugural Afghan festival in St. Louis.

The IISL has helped resettle hundreds of refugees in the greater St. Louis area, and the IISL’s resettlement initiative has earned over $1 million in donations, thanks in large part to Montieth & Co.’s work.

The takeaway: Great PR campaigns can help build important social bridges and earn recognition by fulfilling societal needs.

Employer Branding: Infosys Limited unlocks the potential and purpose of employees


The background: The best asset a company can have is its people. When it launched its Forward with Infosys campaign, it wanted to show that was a great place to work for both current and future employees and help raise brand awareness globally.

The campaign focused on two main tenets — potential and purpose. With the campaign, Infosys showcased how employees feel fulfilled by their work within the company. Within the tenets, there were three pillars campaign content fell into:

  • Feel Inspired to Build What’s Next – with meaningful work that help employees find their purpose.
  • A Career that Never Stands Still – enabled by continuous learning.
  • We Navigate Further Together – in a creative, dynamic, rewarding and inclusive environment.

The campaign featured a mix of video and written content to reach a broader audience. Video content included clips that featured Infosys employees sharing how the organization’s culture supports their goals and reflect their values, and the written content took care to feature employees who came from non-tech backgrounds, showcasing the breadth of employees that make up Infosys and the fact that it supports nontraditional career paths. Four videos emphasized how Infosys employees can bring their true selves to work every day.

The campaign saw the creation of 35 assets, which were viewed by an audience of 27 million people, well above previous benchmarks.

The takeaway: Showing off your employees can be the best recruiting tool.

 Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time, he enjoys Philly sports and hosting trivia.

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