Yerevan, Armenia – A public relations campaign aimed at fostering community spirit among younger inhabitants of a city in southern Japan has won this year’s GWA Grand Prix prize for Dentsu Public Relations Inc. (Dentsu PR) at the 2019 Golden World Awards for Excellence (GWA.) held in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on September 27 and hosted by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA).
Conducted jointly with parent company Dentsu Inc. for video game developer Electronic Arts K.K., the ‘Kobayashi City Department of SIMCITY BUILDIT’ campaign was chosen as the year’s best by a judging panel of industry experts from a field of 89 prize-winning entries in 37 categories.
“The Kobayashi City Department of SIMCITY BUILDIT campaign is a fantastic example of the public and private sector working together with local high-school students to shape the future of Kobayashi city,” commented IPRA President and jury chair Svetlana Stavreva.
“It demonstrates how modern technologies and gamification supported by creative and intelligent communications connect business, public authorities and schools into a vibrant local ecosystem that holds the potential to spur Kobayashi’s long-term growth and competitiveness,” she said.
Commenting on the award, Dentsu PR CEO and President Kazunori Azeyanagi noted that this year’s Grand Prix was the second that the company has won in 14 years which he considered a remarkable achievement.
“We are honored and proud that our campaign for Kobayashi city was regarded as this year’s best among all entries. The success of the campaign showed that local solutions sometimes contain cues to help solve global problems,” he said.
“It also proves that a strong creative idea supported by superb execution remain the winning combination all public relations practitioners must aspire to.”
In addition to the Grand Prix, Dentsu PR also won top prizes in individual GWA categories for three other campaigns (see below for details).
About the winning campaigns:
Kobayashi City Department of SIMCITY BUILDIT
Client: Electronic Arts
Agencies: Dentsu, Dentsu PR
Award categories： Grand Prix
Arts & Entertainment (Agency)
Like many communities across Japan, the provincial city of Kobayashi faces numerous issues relating to depopulation and brain drain, earning the unwanted label of a “city at risk of disappearing.” Game developer Electronic Arts teamed up with the local government to launch a groundbreaking educational initiative based around the popular gaming app SIMCITY BUILDIT. To develop young people’s interest and engagement in community development, the app was incorporated into lessons for local high school students, who, along with city officials, were made members of a new government department, the Kobayashi City Department of SIMCITY BUILDIT. Their task was to create an ideal future version of the city within the game and present the end results at a special city meeting. As well as boosting cross-generational community spirit, the project gained widespread media attention, with towns around the country hoping to leverage SIMCITY BUILDIT in local revitalization.
Teenage Voice 2019
Client: Kiko Network
Agencies: Dentsu, Dentsu PR
Award Categories: NGO Campaign (Agency)
Kiko Network, an environmental NGO established the year after the Kyoto Protocol’s adoption, planned a unique campaign to mark its twentieth anniversary. Designed to serve as a statement of initiative on climate action and foster consensus among environmental groups—thus enabling closer inter-organizational cooperation—the project took inspiration from the dynamic FridaysForFuture movement currently being powered by teenagers around the globe. The campaign approached these young activists for sound bites, obtaining permission to place their quotes in OOH posters and advertisements in major newspapers such as the New York Times. Posters and ads included a barcode which could be scanned to add a signature of support. Communications activities concentrated first on the city of New York, home to the UN Headquarters and a focal point for environmental activism, and were amplified to reach a global audience. A special website was launched as a platform for consolidating young people’s views, collecting signatures, and supporting collaborative efforts among disparate environmental organizations. These initiatives bore fruit with statements of solidarity and declarations of cooperation from numerous groups. Additionally, the teenagers featured in the campaign attracted significant media interest, leading to in-depth interviews and further publicity. The campaign reached over 130 million people with its ads and was endorsed by young environmental activists and influencers worldwide.
Client: Otsuka Pharmaceutical
Agencies: Dentsu, Dentsu PR
Categories： Technology (Agency)
In Japan, reduced opportunities for families to eat meals together and fewer parents who cook with their children are cited as factors contributing to kids either missing meals or eating alone – a situation that makes it difficult for children to learn about proper dietary habits and balanced nutrition. The SketchCook campaign harnesses kids’ love of drawing, using an interactive mobile app and AI technology to transform their food pictures into healthy recipes they can enjoy making with their families. Besides encouraging children to engage with nutrition, this playful application of technology sparked a broader conversation and secured uptake of the SketchCook app by several schools in major cities.
Client: YOHO Brewing
Agencies: Dentsu, Dentsu PR
Categories: Food and beverage (Agency)
YOHO Brewing, one of Japan’s leading craft breweries, aims to break with convention by reframing craft beer as something for everyone to enjoy. With this goal in mind, it set out to foster a more inclusive atmosphere among co-workers during customary after-work drinks. YOHO aimed to positively address issues associated with such gatherings – as voiced by junior staffers about their bosses – to create an environment where office hierarchies are sidestepped, enabling work colleagues to talk openly, share their perspectives, and ultimately build a better team. The result was the “Bossy Talk Detector”, a humorous device leveraging leading-edge AI technology to provide a physical visualization of the condescending hot air managers are prone to spout when alcohol is flowing. This special chair incorporates a mic to capture bosses’ speech, which is then analyzed for tone and content (including use of selected “bossy” key words), triggering several backrest-mounted fans to blow whose intensity corresponds to the level of pomposity detected. The campaign was launched on August 3, International Beer Day, with an online video and the installation of a Bossy Talk Detector in a popular Tokyo bar. This unique campaign attracted widespread media coverage, with 15 companies and organizations also enquiring about borrowing the device for use among their own employees.
About the Golden World Awards
The annual Golden World Awards for Excellence, established in 1990 by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), recognize excellence in public relations practice worldwide. Prizes are awarded in 37 categories, including Business-to-Business, Healthcare, NGO Campaigns, Consumer PR for an Existing Product, Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, Event Management, and Sponsorship, with separate subcategories for PR agency-led campaigns and projects conducted by in-house PR departments. There is also a special Global Contribution Award to recognize campaigns conducted in pursuit of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. From these winners, the campaign judged to have set the year’s highest standards is selected for the overall IPRA Grand Prix for Excellence, announced each autumn at the IPRA Golden World Awards Gala.
About Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
Since its founding in 1961, Dentsu PR has served as strategic partner to a diverse range of companies, governmental bodies and other organizations. Some 290 employees provide clients with comprehensive reputation management solutions, creating new value and building advocacy through approaches including data analysis, insight-driven content design, and targeted information delivery. Dentsu PR was recognized by the Holmes Report as Japan Consultancy of the Year in both 2009 and 2015, and as North Asia PR Consultancy of the Year in 2018.