Not a lot of people know this but I used to work in public relations. I spent a few good years in a PR agency, where I crafted campaigns for some of the country’s biggest brands. While I’m no longer part of the industry, I’m still part of the ecosystem as a writer where I get to observe how companies execute their big ideas and key messages. What better way to measure the effectivity of a campaign than by reading Carlos A. Agatep’s Winning the Anvils?
Winning the Anvils is considered as a guide for PR professionals and students entering it. The book is bursting with case studies looking to win an Anvil, considered as the most coveted prize for excellence in the field. Bestowed by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, (PRSP), each entry is screened by more than 30 esteemed jurors. To see how cutthroat the awards are, usually only half of all entries win awards.
To win, an entry must have “broad geographical reach, generate the greatest degree of change, overcome considerable levels of difficulty, and solve a significant and imminent business need or societal ill.”
If there’s one person qualified to write a book on how to win an Anvil Award, it would have to be Agatep. As the CEO of Grupo Agatep, he is one of the pioneers of the Philippine PR industry and has held the presidency of the PRSP and the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA). Under his belt, Grupo Agatep has won 137 Anvil Awards for many of the country’s top companies across 43 years.
Winning the Anvils compiles 60 of the agency’s top awards. They’re a well-curated mix of lifestyle, entertainment, crisis, and advocacy campaigns. Some of the fascinating entries are how Jollibee empowered Filipino children to learn good values and express their creativity, how the University of Santo Tomas and UnionBank restored and preserved 30,000 rare books, how the Philippine Mt. Everest team built a replica of the ancient Butuan balangay boat, and how Agatep restored the reputation of General Antonio Sotelo, an EDSA People Power hero who was accused of unexplained wealth back in 1989.
All 60 entries are divided into the background of the project, why it had to be done, the objective, the intended publics, the strategies and methods, and most importantly, the results.
The book is an important read for PR professionals and students as it gives the formula to an award-winning campaign. And for a manual that includes campaigns from 1973 to 2016, it’s like looking at the best moments of public relations in the Philippines.