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D&AD Julie Kang on public relations: campaign buzz should contribute to brand’s values

LONDON, UK — Ahead of the awarding ceremony of the D&AD, adobo Magazine President, Founder, and Editor-in-Chief Angel Guerrero sat down with PR juror and Serviceplan Korea CEO & Managing Director Julie Kang about their deliberate move to change the current perception of PR and its underrated significance to brand communications.

The initial 500 entries culled down to around 100 then to 30 entries, deliberated by a diverse set of judges from PR companies, ad agencies, and media. Julie delved more about the chances to get into the category, and how it needs to be less about creating huge PR events, press releases, and more about creative media.

“We were discussing how to move forward, and to break this taboo about PR. I was really glad that we had the discussion to change perception about the PR. When it comes to communications, whether you are a communications agency or on the client side, when we create a campaign, it’s so important create a PR around it.”


She further emphasized the significance of PR in advertising and communication, its value in creating impactful campaigns. Some of which she shared with adobo Magazine.

“The Climate Doctor’s Certificate,” a case from France where university students actively participating in demonstrations to reduce the CO2 emission were prohibited by their professor to avoid absences, enlisted the help of an organization to declare that the climate is sick and issued the climate Dr. Certificates to replace the regular medical certificate. This campaign demonstrates a great effect without costing much money.

Continuing the theme of environmental impact, she cited another campaign, “Ready-to-Vote,” which pre-drafted legislation to go beyond informing the general public about shaping sustainability for the future.

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“I liked the case on Solar Impulse, a campaign to get politicians to support and sign the bill for future innovation and solar energy, sustainable energy. To remove all the barriers to implementation, they summarized about 20 to 30 bills and made a book which pre-drafts the legislation which they distributed to Parliament. Very smart.”

As a juror, Julie highlighted the importance of evaluating PR campaigns based on their ability to drive real-world action and change and notes the challenges of measuring PR success — the call for a more comprehensive approach, for creativity, and integrated marketing campaigns.

She encouraged agencies to see the industry’s untapped potential beyond press releases, “There are a lot of opportunities to have a strategic relationships with the media, and publication the editors around the world where you can we can pitch the benefit of the brand and how PR can amplify campaigns without extra investment. It’s the ability to create strategic relationships and generate significant impact beyond paid media: To create campaign buzz to contribute to client success, reputation, and value.”

Another campaign that caught her attention was “Waiting to Live,” which was an emotive stunt in waiting rooms across the country where bespoke dolls, representing individual children, appeared in hospitals.

“The organ donation for children campaign is very warm and humble. A small case and I like it. Children waiting for organs donations. There are a lot of regulation to campaign for organ donations so they created a door to make people be more aware. A doll that symbolizes the sick child a sick child and gave it a name like Tony, a lot of children are listed on that list. They created like around 300 dolls that they place them on chair the waiting room in the hospital really people then scan the QR code and can sign up to donate my organs. More than 500 doctors in UK signed. For me even one is very symbolic and so clever — A campaign I really love, a big idea,” she said of the campaign

On a lighter note, Ogilvy PR‘s Super Bowl campaign for CeraVe Game anchored on influence to spread a month-long conspiracy theory: that CeraVe was developed by Michael Cera.

Finally, Julie agreed that campaigns that make the cut have the tremendous effect with the backing of PR, creative, had a strong idea, and implemented well.

“We have to be responsible, we should be highly interested in the resulting performance of the campaign or client successes. We have to also be contributing to our clients’ reputation, brand value, increasing its value, or maybe even increasing stock price value. PR, I think it’s really played a crucial part.”

While an underrated category in the D&AD, perception remains the core of PR. Communications does not direct their client’s steps as opposed to other categories like innovation.

“Judging PR is so different from say judging the innovation category, we were given a great chance to see more than 500 cases. I get to see all the various ideas which are very tangible, related to my current campaigns and current client brands. I can apply the insights and learning to my work in the agency.”

Advocating for responsible communications in the PR industry, Julie said that what it contributes to clients is elevating their reputation and brand value. The discipline has its magic, when it generates value without shelling much out-of-pocket.

Click here to view the winners of D&AD in the PR category.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of D&AD 2024.

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