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South Carolina’s Top Public Relations Campaigns Recognized at Annual Mercury Awards

Apr 19, 2011

Robyn Zimmerman

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Rawle Murdy, Touchpoint Communications and Chernoff Newman Awarded

COLUMBIA, SC - April 14, 2011 - The South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (SCPRSA) hosted its annual Mercury Awards celebration on Thursday, April 14 in Columbia. Forty awards for public relations campaigns and tactics were presented to communications professionals from across the state.

SCPRSA’s Mercury Awards recognize public relations programs and campaigns, while the Silver Wing Awards recognize outstanding tactics used in those campaigns. Public relations practitioners across the state are eligible to enter the awards competition, which was judged this year by the PRSA chapter in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, SCPRSA recognized several individuals for their contributions to the public relations profession.

For the second year in a row, Davis Public Relations and Marketing from Columbia took home the overall Best in Show Mercury Award for the state’s top public relations campaign. The agency was recognized for its “Dawn of a New Day” brand campaign for LRADAC, the county authority for the prevention, intervention and treatment of substance abuse for Lexington and Richland Counties. The overall Best in Show Silver Wing Award for the state’s top public relations tactic went to the South Carolina Bankers Association for its magazine, “Palmetto Banker.”


Allison Skipper of SC Ports Authority with a certificate recognizing Skipper's accreditation in public relations (APR)


Grace LeSeuer of Touchpoint Communications and SCPRSA Chapter President Penny Cothran

Erin Watson of Rawle Murdy

Robyn Zimmerman of Greenville Hospital System received SCPRSA’s highest individual honor, the W. Thomas Duke Distinguished Public Relations Practitioner of the Year. Zimmerman has worked in public relations and media for more than 25 years. After a ten year career in broadcasting that included positions at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, KGUN-TV in Arizona and the South Carolina Educational Television Network, Zimmerman became the public information officer for the South Carolina Department of Corrections and later served as press secretary for Governor David Beasley. She moved to Greenville in 1999 to assume the role of director of public and community relations at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, where she has worked ever since.

Photo above: Kim Larick of LRADAC and Kelly Davis of Davis Public Relations celebrate their Best in Show Mercury Award


Photo on left: The PR team from Palmetto Health Foundation embraced the Roaring 20s theme:  Ashley Dusenbury, Jenna Powers-Dingus, Jamie Stancil and Anna Saunders
Photo on right: SCPRSA president Penny Cothran and Mercury Awards chair Kim Jamieson

In special recognition, SCPRSA announced the renaming of its Community Spirit Award in honor of longtime member, George L. Johnson, APR, Fellow PRSA, who retired in 2010 from a 32-year public relations career with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina. Johnson was recognized for his lifelong commitment to community service and for his dedicated work to improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

SCPRSA also presented scholarships to two public relations students:  Connor Watkins from the University of South Carolina and Allie Fox from the College of Charleston.

Following are the winners by category, including the location of each agency or company. Mercury and Silver Wing Awards are the top winners in their categories. Awards of merit are runners-up in their categories.

MERCURY AWARDS (for public relations campaigns)

Brand/Reputation Management

  • Mercury Award:  Davis Public Relations and Marketing (Columbia), “Dawn of a New Day: LRADAC Brand Campaign”
  • Award of Merit:  Erwin Penland (Greenville), “A Stronger, Better Bi-Lo”

Community Relations

  • Mercury Award:  BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (Columbia), “Check Off Campaign”''
  • Award of Merit:  Williams Group/PR, LLC (Beaufort), “Operation F035 Beaufort”   7 Days or Fewer

Events and Observances

  • Mercury Award:  Touchpoint Communications (Charleston), “Dear John Charleston Premiere Benefitting Carolina Autism”
  • Award of Merit:  Palmetto Health Foundation (Columbia), “20th Anniversary Walk for Life/New 5K Race for Life”  More than 7 Days

Events and Observances

  • Mercury Award:  Davis Public Relations and Marketing (Columbia), “LRADAC Grand Opening”
  • Award of Merit:  South Carolina ETV (Columbia), “50th Anniversary Campaign”

Public Service

  • Award of Merit:  DNA Creative (Greenville), “Project RX”

Public Affairs: 

  • Mercury Award: Rawle Murdy (Charleston), “Yes4Schools Campaign”
  • Award of Merit:  Davis Public Relations and Marketing (Columbia), “Cigarette Tax Campaign 2010: A Victory for Public Health” Marketing

Consumer Products

  • Mercury Award:  Rawle Murdy (Charleston), 2010 PGA Championship

Marketing Business to Business

  • Mercury Award:  VantagePoint (Greenville), “SEW Motor Truth Campaign”
  • Award of Merit:  Jackson Marketing Group (Greenville), “Michelin Truck Tire Dealer Locator Mobile Applications”

Internal Communications

  • Mercury Award:  Greenville Hospital System (Greenville), “GHS 360 News”
  • Award of Merit:  Municipal Association of South Carolina (Columbia), “2010 Annual Meeting - Municipal Association of South Carolina”

Integrated Communications

  • Mercury Award:  Chernoff Newman (Columbia), “Santee Cooper's Reduce the Use Campaign”
  • Award of Merit:  Rawle Murdy (Charleston), “Carnival Cruise Lines Launches Year-Round Service from Charleston”  

SILVER WING AWARDS (for public relations tactics)

Media Relations – Consumer Products 

  • Silver Wing Award:  Chernoff Newman (Columbia), “South Carolina Department of Agriculture's Piggly Wiggly Media Tour”
  • Award of Merit:  Jackson Marketing Group (Greenville), “Michelin Primacy MXM4 Tire Product Launch”

Media Relations – Business to Business

  • Silver Wing Award:  VantagePoint (Greenville), “T&S Brass ASPE Trade Show”
  • Award of Merit:  Chernoff Newman (Columbia), “Force Protection, Inc.'s Front Page Feature in National Publication” 

Media Relations – Associations/Government/Nonprofits

  • Silver Wing Award:  Davis Public Relations and Marketing (Columbia), “Cigarette Tax Media Campaign”
  • Award of Merit:  Katie Alice Walker of Davis Public Relations and Marketing (Columbia), “Media Relations for Indie Grits Film Festival”

Newsletter – More than 8 Pages

  • Silver Wing Award:  Municipal Association of South Carolina (Columbia), “Uptown Newsletter”

Magazines – Internal Audiences Primarily 

  • Silver Wing Award:  South Carolina Bankers Association (Columbia), “Palmetto Bankers Magazine”

Magazines—External Audiences Primarily 

  • Silver Wing Award:  South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (Columbia), “South Carolina Business”

Annual Reports – For Profit Organizations 

  • Silver Wing Award:  Sonoco (Hartsville), “Sonoco Annual Report: Learn, Fit and Ready to Grow”

Direct Mail/Direct Response 

  • Award of Merit:  The Carolina Agency (University of South Carolina student-run agency), “Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia, Inc.”

Social Media 

  • Silver Wing Award:  Touchpoint Communications (Charleston), “Facebook Helps Cupcake "Make Life Sweet’”

Creative Tactics 

  • Award of Merit:   Chernoff Newman (Columbia), “Santee Cooper's "Flash Mob" Commemorating Millionth CFL Giveaway”


  • Award of Merit:  Kim Wellman, APR of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina (Columbia), “Founders, Friends and April Fools”

Feature Writing 

  • Silver Wing Award:  Greenville Hospital System (Greenville), “Ungirdled Truths”

Editorials/Op-Ed Columns 

  • Silver Wing Award:  VantagePoint (Greenville), “Millicare Sustainability Editorial”


  • Silver Wing Award:  Municipal Association of South Carolina (Columbia), “Cities Mean Business Magazine”

Websites External 

  • Award of Merit:  Chernoff Newman (Columbia), “Riverbanks Zoo Compoost Website”
South Carolina PRSA was founded in 1967 and is one of more than 200 chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest professional association for public relations practitioners. For more information visit www.SCPRSA.org.