Feb. 1 1999
Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS has been named the grand winner in the 1998 International Mercury Awards: Interactive Media category for its web site (www.tobaccofreekids.org). The award, sponsored by the International Academy of Communications Arts & Sciences/MerComm, Inc., was presented last week at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Among the site’s many features are daily bulletins on tobacco-related news stories and information on how states are planning to spend tobacco settlement monies. The site also includes resources tailored to kids, journalists and activists. Other interesting features of the site include: fact sheets with the latest statistics on tobacco use among youth; a link to Kick Butts Day, the CAMPAIGN’s secondary web site that offers tobacco prevention activities for parents and kids; excerpts from internal tobacco industry documents; and a Contact Congress feature that allows users to send a letter directly to their legislators. “For us the Internet is a major communications vehicle,” said Bill Novelli, CAMPAIGN president. “Our web site serves as a comprehensive, dynamic resource for parents, kids, educators, health organizations, the media, and countless others." Novelli, a pioneer in social marketing, is the co-founder and former president of Porter/Novelli, the fourth largest public relations agency in the United States. Tobacco use among kids has reached epidemic proportions in America. More than 3,000 kids become regular smokers every day, and one-third of them will die eventually from a smoking-related disease. With these challenges in mind, the CAMPAIGN set out to create a web site that would help the organization communicate rapidly and effectively with audiences at many levels, including government, public health, corporate, and the public. MerComm Inc. was founded with the principal purpose of advancing the arts and sciences of communications in an international arena. The Mercury Awards symbolize excellence in public relations and corporate communications and drew more than 1,000 entries from around the world; competitors from the U.S. were joined by those from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, China, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Italy, India, South Africa, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. Judges base their selections on the use of imaginative solutions, clarity of information, overall expression of message, and originality and achievement of the intended objective. The CAMPAIGN designed the award-winning web site in conjunction with web programmer Digisys, Inc. CAMPAIGN Communications and Marketing Director Kathryn Kahler Vose directed the CAMPAIGN’s activities, with Assistant Manager of Advertising and New Media Shelley Caplan, who manages the site. Other recent CAMPAIGN awards include: The American Society of Association Executives’ 1998 Gold Circle Certificate of Achievement, The Association for Women in Communications’ 1998 Clarion Award, and the International Association of Business Communicators’ 1998 Silver Inkwell Award of Excellence, all three for the public affairs campaign, “Changing the Tobacco Environment in America”; and the American Medical Association’s Crystal Medallion Award for Best Consumer Campaign for “Kick Butts Day 1997.” The Washington, DC-based CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation’s attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children and making tobacco less accessible to kids. The CAMPAIGN was founded in September 1995. For more information on the CAMPAIGN, or to view our award-winning web site, visit us on the Internet at www.tobaccofreekids.org.