Spark PR brings home world title

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Spark PR & Activate and client DB Breweries have brought home the World’s Best PR Campaign for Media Relations trophy at the ICCO Global PR Awards for their work on the DB Export Beer Bottle Sand campaign.

The gongs were handed out last week in London. DB Export Beer Bottle Sand had been shortlisted alongside five other finalists from around the globe.

The DB Export Beer Bottle Sand campaign helped beer drinkers turn their empty bottles into a sand substitute, reducing the reliance on commercially dredged sand and helping to save New Zealand’s beaches which are literally running out of the stuff.

“This is one of the agency’s proudest moments,” said Dallas Gurney, general manager of Spark PR & Activate. “DB Export Beer Bottle Sand was a dream campaign with a totally unique idea from the Colenso BBDO team and a client up for almost anything,” he said.

Spark PR & Activate took the unique approach of taking the Beer Bottle Sand story to international media ahead of local media. It paid off, with an estimated 225 million PR impressions, 7.7 million of those coming from New Zealand.

“Beer Bottle Sand was a dream campaign with a totally unique idea from the Colenso BBDO team and a client up for almost anything.”

“We seeded to global media first because everyone knows how much Kiwis love seeing their country on the global stage,” said Gurney. “Almost overnight this video by a brewery from little New Zealand started popping up everywhere.”

The Spark PR & Activate team was led by Katie Walton, Cassidy Meredith and Heidi Thompson, working alongside Tony Wheeler and Simon Smith from DB Breweries.

DB Breweries marketing director Sean O’Donnell said the PR approach was critical to the success of the campaign.

“We needed momentum right from the start and PR was critical to driving this,” he said. “I’m rapt DB Export Beer Bottle Sand continues to get the international success it deserves.”

The ICCO awards are globally recognised by PR trade associations representing 55 countries worldwide. Entries into the awards are judged by an elite panel of top international PR practitioners who consider the excellence and effectiveness of PR work from across the world.

About PHD
Spark PR & Activate NZ is part of the PHD Group. PHD is known globally as an innovator in communications planning and buying across broadcast, print, digital, mobile, social and emerging media. The network currently holds the title of Global Media Agency of the Year with Adweek and Media Network of the Year with Campaign and the Cristal Awards, as well as placing in the Gunn Report’s top 3 most awarded networks in the world for its work. PHD has over 4000 staff working in over 80 offices worldwide, having been founded in London in 1990 as the first planning-led media agency. Built on a culture of thought leadership, innovation and creativity, with a philosophy of “Finding a Better Way”, PHD is today one of the world’s fastest growing media and communication agency networks, placing 1st in RECMA’s 2016 global new business performance league table. The PHD network is part of the Omnicom Media Group (, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC)

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