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June 10, 2011

Pepsi Communications Team Selected PRSA PR Pro of the Year

Pepsi Refresh Project a Catalyst for Idea Creation by Harnessing Power of Social, National and Local Media, Earning More Than 3 Billion Media Impressions

YORK (June 10, 2011) — The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) presented its highly coveted Public Relations Professional of the Year award to the Pepsi communications team for serving as the catalyst in helping organizations and communities bring good ideas to life. The announcement was made last night during PRSA’s Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony, held at the Equitable Center in New York City.

The communications team includes Peter Land, senior vice president, communications, PepsiCo, Inc.; Melisa Tezanos, senior director, communications, PepsiCo Beverages America; Andrea Canabal, manager, communications, PepsiCo Beverages America; Weber Shandwick Pepsi Refresh Team; and Edelman Pepsi Refresh Team.
Back row: Lindsay Anthony, Peter Land, Paul Massey, Gina DeCandia. Front row: Kary Laskin, Andrea Canabal, Adrienne Caruso, Melisa Tezanos.
The genesis for the Pepsi Refresh Project, which invites the public to “Do Good,” was the belief that people plus ideas can bring about change. Launched in 2009, the project's goal was to drive significant social engagement by democratizing the power to turn good ideas into action. And to put its money where its mouth is, Pepsi committed more than $20 million in grants to empower individuals and organizations to turn their ideas into reality and move communities forward.
By harnessing the power of social, national and local media, Pepsi became one of the most talked about brands last year, starting with its decision not to advertise on the Super Bowl, continuing with its groundbreaking plan to “Refresh the Gulf,” and maintaining a steady, almost daily stream of earned media. Thanks to that consistent buzz, millions of Americans visited, and more than 80 million votes have since been cast through the site.
“Public engagement and participation is what the Pepsi Refresh Project was all about,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna Fiske, APR. “The team excelled at developing and executing a project that brought much needed support to organizations that do well by doing good, and it takes an outstanding corporate team like Pepsi’s to understand the community’s core needs to put its own aside.”
In 2010, the Pepsi Refresh Project awarded grants to recipients from 298 cities and 43 states. Last year, Pepsi awarded more than $20 million in grants, ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, to bring great ideas to life in communities across the United States each month
“Working on the Pepsi Refresh Project was both a true team effort and a labor of love for the people who touched the program,” said Peter Land, senior vice president, PepsiCo Communications.
In 2011, Pepsi evolved the Refresh Project to drive deeper social engagement and conversation, while continuing to ask people to share ideas and allowing the public to decide which of those ideas Pepsi should fund.
“This program has initiated a sea-change of thinking on the part of savvy marketers, who now realize that outstanding community service, combined with a strong public relations effort to support it, can sometimes eclipse the value of pouring gazillions of dollars into paid advertising to achieve the same end,” said James J. Roop, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2011 Awards and Honors Committee chair, and president of Roop & Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
The Public Relations Professional of the Year award represents the highest achievement in the practice of public relations by an individual or team. Past award recipients include:
  • 2009: Former White House Press Secretary Robert L. Gibbs for his groundbreaking use of new communications techniques and technologies, as well as successful delivery of campaign messages to a broad electorate.
  • 2008: San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ communications team for its expert handling of citywide communications during the wildfires in October 2007, which included Fred Sainz, communications director; and deputy press secretaries George Biagi, Eileen Brennan and Bill Harris.
  • 2007: The public relations campaign team for Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which included Megan Colligan, Paramount Vantage executive vice president of publicity and promotions; Buffy Shutt, Participant Productions executive vice president for marketing; and Michael Feldman, Glover Park Group.
About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
With more than 31,000 members, PRSA is the largest organization of public relations professionals and students. PRSA is comprised of 112 local Chapters organized into 10 geographic Districts; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on issues, trends and research relevant to specialized practice areas, such as technology, health care, financial communications, entertainment and sports, and travel tourism; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has more than 300 Chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. PRSA is headquartered in New York.
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