A Sikh nationwide campaign launched across America to generate awareness about the minority community in the country has won a top US award for excellence in public relations programming to promote public causes.
In April, ‘We are Sikhs’ ad campaign was launched by the non-profit organisation National Sikh Campaign (NSC) to inform Americans about their religion amid a spike in hate crimes against the minority community in the country.
The campaign which was executed by FP1 Strategies, won the award for effectively projecting the Sikhs as neighbours and everyday Americans who face discrimination due to ignorance of their faith.
The campaign received the top 2018 PRWeek US award, nicknamed the ‘Oscars of the Public Relations Industry’, in the category of Public Cause.
“It is indeed a great victory for the Sikh community across the US. I would like to thank each and every individual who contributed towards making this campaign a grand success,” said Rajwant Singh, co-founder and senior adviser of NSC.
“Countless Sikhs have had to face bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes due to the lack of understanding of our faith and our values,” he added.
The $1.3 million for the campaign was raised mostly by Sikhs, with some Hindus also making notable contributions.
The TV advertisements showed Sikhs as American neighbours going about their daily lives, professing patriotism and national values, but also sharing a love for the TV series Game of Thrones and the children’s show Sponge Bob Square Pants – to counteract the mistaken negative perceptions because of their turbans and beards.
“The campaign drove online conversation that reached more than 5.5 million voters and gained the attention of many of Washington’s most influential organisations.
“A post-campaign poll proved the group moved the needle, with significant increases in the percentage of people who knew more about Sikhs and said the group had generally American values, believed in equality and respect for all and were patriotic,” PRWeek said in a statement.
The advertisement was among the five finalists for the Best for a Cause award.
Other competitors in this category included major corporate sponsored advertisements focused on significant issues facing the American society.
These included Cignas initiative to fight the US opioid epidemic, Facebook backed DACA immigration reform, Planet Fitness’ advertisement combating bullying faced by youth, and NBA superstar Steph Curry and Britas campaign to end bullying and hate in general.
The award was presented in New York last week.
FP1 Strategies, the DC-based public affairs firm, had led the execution of the We Are Sikhs campaign nationally as well as locally in markets such as Fresno, California. It highlighted the contributions of the Sikhs to the American society leading to significant increases in the broader public’s knowledge and understanding of Sikhism.