PLMR Shines at The Cannes Lions

Sara Kelly

PLMR Ltd was this week victorious at The 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, winning two awards for its public relations and public affairs work for Durand Academy.

The Cannes Lions – which are now in their 58th year – are the biggest celebration of creativity in communications in the world.  More than 24,000 entries from all over the globe are showcased and judged at the week-long festival.

PLMR received two highly coveted Lion trophies at the PR Award Ceremony on Monday evening, against stiff competition from campaigns featuring (amongst others) the Government of Kosovo, United Nations, Renault and the National Australia Bank.  In what the judges recognised as outstanding entries with distinct outcomes PLMR was awarded for its ‘Shine a Light on Opportunity,’ campaign for Durand Academy and received two winning Gold Lions for best public affairs and best media relations.

Durand Academy is one of the UK’s largest primary schools.  The dedicated management team had successfully transformed education in their inner-city school for children from disadvantaged backgrounds from failing to outstanding.  Yet, talented and able children were leaving age eleven and going on to 20 different secondary schools, getting lost in the system and falling behind academically.

The school leaders knew this didn’t have to be the case; they wanted to open their own state boarding school for these children to support them to reach their full potential without costing parents a penny.  But Durand had no voice, no-one knew who they were and no-one was aware of the amazing work that had been going on day-in, day-out over the last 20 years.  This is when the ‘Shine a light on Opportunity’ campaign was born.

PLMR worked closely with the school to provide advice and support in getting their messages out to wider audiences through an integrated local and national media and political relations campaign.  Politicians from every political party visited the school from local Ward Councillors, to Shadow Ministers, the Secretary of State for Education and the Deputy Prime Minister.  National media coverage was secured in publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and The Spectator, with broadcast media including The Today Programme and ITV Evening News.  In April 2011, the Coalition Government agreed to co-fund the boarding school project, pledging their commitment to creating opportunities for this demographic.

Speaking from the South of France after collecting both awards from PR Jury President Dave Senay, Managing Director of PLMR, Kevin Craig, said:

“We are honoured to have worked alongside the truly inspirational team at Durand Academy on this project.

“It is their commitment and determination to provide a better future for these children that led them to turn to us for support.

“There is nothing more fulfilling for us as public affairs and PR practitioners than championing causes that changes lives for the better.

“For PLMR to have its work applauded on this global stage by our peers is incredibly humbling.”

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