NEW YORK, May 31—An investor relations program conducted by in-house communications professional at pharmaceutical giant Pharmacia took home top honors at last night’s SABRE Awards dinner, beating out more than 1,700 programs submitted to the competition in its inaugural year. The SABRE Awards recognize Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation.
The Pharmacia program, “From Failed Merger to Wall Street’s To Wall Street’s Top Drug Pick,” beat out four other finalists, including “Liz Claiborne 2000 Women’s Work Program,” a cause-related marketing campaign conducted by Patrice Tanaka & Company; “Taking BP Beyond,” an employee communications program by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide; “Emerson National Publicity Campaign,” a media relations effort coordinated by Fleishman-Hillard; and “Keep the Promise… Save Our Seniors,” a public affairs program conducted by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide on behalf of the American Health Care Association.
“The five finalists—including an IR program, an employee communications program, a public affairs program, and a cause-related marketing campaign—indicate the rich variety of excellent work being conducted in our industry,” says Paul Holmes, editor of The Holmes Report and chairman of the SABRE judges. “The quality of creative and strategic thinking in all these programs was impressive. What set the Pharmacia campaign apart were the real, measurable business results.”
After announcing merger plans on December 19, 1999, executives of Pharmacia & Upjohn and Monsanto Company were met with sharp criticism and their share prices tumbled 20 percent as hostile shareholders voiced their disdain for a merger. Against this backdrop, the company launched a targeted and intensive investor relations campaign that not only saved the merger but ultimately helped Pharmacia became the most highly rated pharmaceutical company on Wall Street.
Among PR agencies, the night’s big winner was Ketchum, which took home a grand total of nine SABRE Awards (four Gold, three Silver, one Bronze and one Iron). Weber Shandwick Worldwide, with three, and Manning Selvage & Lee and Carmichael Lynch Spong with two apiece were the only other firms to win more than one Gold.
Other major winners were Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which took home five awards (one Gold, one Silver, two Bronze, one Iron), and Porter Novelli (one Gold, two Silver, one Bronze, one Iron). Fleishman-Hillard was one of several firms with four SABREs—others were Manning Selvage & Lee, Carmichael Lynch Spong, Edelman, Burson-Marsteller and BSMG Worldwide—but its Greer Mitchell Margolis & Burns and KVO units also picked up an award apiece.
Click here for a complete list of winners.