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PR campaign for "An Inconvenient Truth" voted best campaign

For their overwhelmingly successful efforts to promote and publicize the critically acclaimed Academy Award-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," 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 founding partner, received the Public Relations Professional of the Year award from the 31,000-member Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The award was presented last night at the annual PRSA Silver Anvil Evening at the Equitable Tower in New York City.
"The public relations campaign created and implemented by this team helped to ignite a worldwide conversation about climate change, and the cultural and social impact has been undeniable," said former Vice President Al Gore on a video clip he prepared for the Silver Anvils to congratulate the public relations team for their extraordinary efforts. "One can't turn on the news or pick up a paper without reading about the issue and the mobilization of people and corporations working to restore our planet's health. It's a dream come true for me to witness, and I know it would not have been possible without the publicity Megan, Buffy and Mike put into motion. The filmmakers took a slide show and made it a movie. Publicity took that movie and helped make it into a movement."

Unique and significant components of the comprehensive public relations campaign for the first carbon-neutral feature film documentary included eco-friendly events at the larger Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. premieres of "An Inconvenient Truth." Event elements included invitations printed on recycled paper with soy ink, e-vites, a menu featuring organic, all-natural cuisine, an event locale with living trees from around the world lit with energy-efficient lighting and staff wearing organic, unbleached cotton uniforms. From tablecloths and napkins to plates, glasses and dinnerware, every service item was reusable, cutting down the premieres' carbon footprints on the environment. At the Washington, D.C. premiere, guests were encouraged to take public transportation; of the 400 guests, only 28 cars were driven to the event. Even attendee "green" gift bags featured environmentally friendly products. The public relations team also worked closely with environmental organizations to show the documentary at smaller venues to help raise further awareness of global warming and to inspire people across the country to take individual action and make a difference in their communities.

The impact was evident shortly after the film's release: The U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Safe Climate Act, 40 companies joined a Business Council to Address Global Climate Change; Wal-Mart revamped operations to comply with high environment standards; the band Pearl Jam donated $100,000 to renewable energy causes; California unveiled its Anti-Global Warming Plan requiring major industries to reduce greenhouse emissions 25 percent; and 22 of the world's largest cities vowed to cut greenhouse gas pollution. In addition, California Governor Schwarzenegger retired his beloved fleet of gas-guzzling Hummers; Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed an Executive Order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; Prime Minister Helen Clark credited the film with sharpening public opinion and resolved to make New Zealand the first truly sustainable country; airline executive Richard Branson pledged $3 billion to fight global warming,12 states sued the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to limit greenhouse emissions; General Electric, DuPont and 12 other corporations and environmental groups launched the U.S. Climate Action Partnership Coalition to rally for compulsory federal emission standards; and two major bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

"The simple, enormously effective message of 'An Inconvenient Truth' is a convincing call to action that global warming is a critical issue for the health, safety and survival of humankind in every corner of the world," says PRSA Chair and CEO Rhoda Weiss. "The film accomplished its objectives with a campaign using promotional materials that emit virtually no volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. In addition to galvanizing individuals and groups to adopt environmentally-saving habits, the campaign addressed corporate social responsibility, with Paramount Classics donating a percentage of box office receipts to the Alliance for Climate Protection, which also receives 100 percent of Vice President Gore's proceeds from the film and book. Free downloadable study guides are being used in classrooms. These efforts should galvanize all public relations professionals to deliver environmentally conscious campaigns that also include, whenever possible, cause-related educational programming and philanthropic activities."

"Our winners of the Public Relations Professional of the Year award not only helped fill theater seats and make a top documentary profitable, but helped change the dialogue of a nation," said David Imre, chair of PRSA Honors and Awards Committee and CEO of Imre Communications. "Their extraordinary efforts to help publicize and promote the film moved global warming and the environment from a back-burner simmer to a front burner boil and to the top of the country's agenda."

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:

2006: Bernadette Mansur, senior vice president for Communications, National Hockey League (NHL), for her leadership in directing the communications efforts throughout the NHL labor dispute as well as the league's success in rebounding from the fallout of the cancellation of the 2004-05 hockey season.

2005: Charles Conner, senior vice president, Communication & Marketing; Darren Irby, vice president, Public Relations; and Deborah Daley, vice president, Corporate Communications, American Red Cross, for developing and implementing organization-wide communication plans to prepare for one of the worst hurricane seasons ever.

2004: Grace Chen Trent, senior vice president, Communications/Chief of Staff and Brad Burns, senior vice president, Public Relations, MCI. Faced with rebuilding MCI's reputation from a major corporate scandal, its public relations team's expertly executed communications helped bring MCI back from the brink and reposition its brand.

2003: Victoria Clarke, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense. In her position, she played a leading role in shaping the public's understanding of the war on terrorism from those first moments on 9/11 to embedding journalists in military units as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2002: Tim Doke, former vice president, Corporate Communications, American Airlines, headed the airline's crisis communications response following the hijacking of two of its aircraft and their use as terrorist weapons on September 11, 2001.

2001: James Murphy, global managing director, Marketing and Communications, Accenture, designed and implemented the largest business-to-business corporate re-branding in history for Accenture (formerly known as Anderson Consulting), the world's largest management and technology consulting company.

2000: Rick Kaufman, APR, executive director, Public Engagement and Communications Services for Jefferson County (Golden, Colo.) Public Schools, led the Columbine Crisis Communication Response Team and became a familiar, steady and reassuring presence during the national media crisis coverage.

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