Chernoff Newman took home five awards in the 2011 Mercury Awards presented by the S.C. Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, including a Mercury Award for Integrated Communications on behalf of Santee Cooper and a Silver Wing Award for Media Relations for the S.C, Department of Agriculture. We also received three Silver Wing Awards of Merit. Mercury Awards recognize public relations campaigns, while Silver Wing Awards honor individual tools and tactics employed in a campaign.

The integrated communications Mercury was for our work on Santee Cooper’s “Reduce the Use” campaign. Through media relations, advertising, the creation of a website and social media, the campaign resulted in distribution of 1 million compact fluorescent light bulbs and reducing electricity usage by 49.4 million kilowatt hours — enough to power 3700 households for a year. In addition to the Mercury for this campaign, we won a Silver Wing Award of Merit for Creative Tactics for creation of a viral video and flash mob celebrating distribution of the 1 millionth CFL.

Our Silver Wing Award was for a media tour conducted with Piggly Wiggly and the S.C. Department of Agriculture aimed at showcasing South Carolina-grown produce. The one-day tour included stops at Piggly Wiggly stores in Charleston, Columbia and Florence, featuring appearances by local farmers, food samples and cooking demonstrations using local produce. Media coverage garnered by the tour help increase sales of “Certified SC Grown” produce at Piggly Wiggly by 42 percent.

We won a Silver Wing Award of Merit for national media relations for Force Protection which resulted in a cover feature in USA Today. The other Silver Wing Award of Merit was for creation of a website to promote sales of Riverbanks Zoo & Garden’s comPOOst, a natural compost made from zoo animal waste. That effort helped Riverbanks sell 550 tons of comPOOst and eliminate over 15,000 cubic feet from landfills.