Award Categories

Each year, the OCPRSA PROTOS Awards Gala honors Orange County’s top public relations professionals, programs and campaigns. For more than 40 years, the chapter has celebrated exceptional public relations campaigns and tactics, and this year will be no exception.

PROTOS submissions are now welcome in 38 categories, including a new category for our chapter: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We want to celebrate those working to transform our community with the hope it will encourage positive change for our members and those we represent!

OCPRSA PROTOS Program Categories

Program categories may change from year to year. Applicants may submit a program in multiple categories, but should tailor each entry to fit the specific descriptions. Please note: All programs submitted in the “A” categories are eligible for the “Best of Show” award, given to the entry with the highest total point score.

“A” Full Public Relations Program Categories

A1 Community Relations/Institutional Programs
Program aimed at winning the cooperation of, and improving relations with, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity. Includes programs affecting an organization’s overall relations with its publics or key elements of its publics, including multicultural and global communications.

A2 Total Program – Consumer Programs
Program directed to the general media (digital, broadcast and print) designed to promote a product, service or organization to a consumer audience. May include media tours, personal contact, written or pitched articles, news releases, etc., including multicultural and global communications.

A3 Total Program – Business-to-Business Programs
Program directed to the trade and/or general media (digital, broadcast and print) designed to promote a product, service or organization to a business-to-business audience. May include media tours, personal contact, written or pitched articles, news releases, etc., including multicultural and global communications.

A4 Total Program – Nonprofit Programs
Program directed to the trade and/or general media (digital, broadcast and print) designed to promote a nonprofit organization to its many audiences. May include media tours, personal contact, written or pitched articles, news releases, etc., including multicultural and global communications.

New! A5 Total Program – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs
Program directed to the trade and/or general media (digital, broadcast and print) designed to promote inclusivity and/or dismantle discrimination for racial, ethnic, religious or sexual orientation and gender differences.

A6(a) Media Relations Programs
Program designed to publicize and promote products, services, ideas, and develop relationships with the media and/or other publics. This program encompasses any aspect of media relations, including review programs, media tours, trade shows, pitching, etc., including multicultural and global communications. Please see the category below for programs related to COVID-19.

A6(b) COVID-19 Response, Media Relations Programs
Program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or an existing program that was significantly altered as a result of the outbreak. This program encompasses any aspect of media relations.

A7 Public Affairs Programs
Program designed to affect legislation, government regulation, political activities or candidates, including multicultural and global communications.

A8 Special Events and Observances
Programs or events designed to promote observances, celebrations, commemorations, openings or other special activities, including multicultural and global communications.

A9(a) Internal Communications Programs
Programs aimed at achieving organizational goals through enhanced communications with employees, members, volunteers or other internal audiences. Please see the category below for programs related to COVID-19.

A9(b) COVID-19 Response, Internal Communications Programs
Program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or an existing program that was significantly altered as a result of the outbreak. This program encompasses any aspect of internal communications.

A10(a) Crisis Communications/Issues Management Programs
Programs designed to respond to or prepare for an event or incident that has or could have an extraordinary impact on the organization, including multicultural and global communications. Please see the category below for programs related to COVID-19.

A10(b) COVID-19 Response, Crisis Communications/Issues Management Programs
Program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to address extraordinary impact.

A11 Online Marketing Programs
Programs designed to achieve an organization’s goals through the effective use of the Internet and/or web-based programs, including multicultural and global communications.

“B” – Media Relations

B1 Press Kit – Hard Copy and/or Electronic
Press Kit provided to the media (to include press releases, photos, fact sheets, multimedia components, etc.) in a hard copy, digital or online format, as well as online pressrooms or segments of an organization’s website committed to fulfilling information for the media. The materials may promote a consumer product or service, business-to-business product or service, or nonprofit organization.

B2 News Release or Media Alert – Consumer
Written announcement of a product, service, event, change in organization, accomplishment of a goal, hiring of new personnel, etc., targeted at consumer audiences.

B3 News Release or Media Alert – Business-to-Business
Written announcement of a product, service, event, change in organization, accomplishment of a goal, hiring of new personnel, etc., targeted at business audiences.

B4 News Release or Media Alert – Nonprofit
Written announcement of a product, service, event, change in organization, accomplishment of a goal, hiring of new personnel, etc., by a nonprofit organization.

New! B5 News Release or Media Alert – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Written announcement of a product, service, event, change in organization, accomplishment of a goal, hiring of new personnel, etc., effectively promoting inclusivity and/or dismantle discrimination for racial, ethnic, religious or sexual orientation and gender differences.

B6 Press Conference or Press Tour
A meeting for the media to announce a product, service, event, change in organization, accomplishment of a goal, etc. or an in-person media tour to meet with journalists, industry analysts or other influencer group. (See Category B6 to submit satellite media tours.)

B7 Broadcast Productions
Video production conceived, scripted and/or produced by the entrant that announces an event, service, change in an organization, accomplishment of a goal, new product, need by a nonprofit organization, etc. Includes video news releases (VNRs), video case studies, satellite media tours (SMTs), in-flight video productions, video mat releases, and PSAs for radio or television.

B8 Article for Consumer Publication – Written
Article the entrant has written and placed in a magazine, newspaper, website, or newsletter.

B9 Article for Consumer Publication – Pitched
Story idea pitched by the entrant to a reporter, editor or producer. Not written by entrant.

B10 Article for Trade Publication – Written
Article that entrant has written for publication in an industry-specific magazine, newspaper, website or newsletter.

B11 Article for Trade Publication – Pitched
Story idea pitched by entrant to a reporter, editor or producer.

B12 Best Single Media Placement – Print or Broadcast
A single placement in a print or broadcast outlet that demonstrates remarkable effort to obtain a clear impact on sales, public opinion, awareness, etc.

B13 Creative Tactic / Stunt / Event
A one-time marketing tactic, media stunt, or event emphasizing a creative approach and leveraging non-traditional public relations activities (i.e., buzz marketing, guerilla marketing, new media efforts, etc.)

“C” – Collateral Materials

C1 Collateral Materials – External Audiences
Includes brochures, graphics, posters, announcements, invitations, direct mail pieces, etc., that are substantially conceived, written and/or designed by entrant, and distributed to external audiences. The concept must be conceived by entrant. Entrant must have written and developed a substantial portion of the piece. Design and photography by others is allowed.

C2 Internal Communications Materials – Internal Audiences
Publications substantially written and/or edited by entrant for internal audiences, including employees, board members, etc. Includes brochures, newsletters, magazines, posters, online publications, employee intranet/blog, etc., aimed at internal audiences. For newsletters, submit three consecutive issues published within the PROTOS competition year.

C3 Annual Report
Must be substantially conceived, produced, written and/or edited by entrant.

C4 Speeches and/or Multimedia Presentations
Speech must be written, but not necessarily presented, by entrant. Slide, video or digital presentation must be conceived, scripted, produced and/or directed by entrant. Includes audio/video and multimedia. Must be submitted in hard copy form on a DVD. Designed for all audiences, except the media. (See Category B8 for Broadcast Productions for a media audience).

C5 Corporate Identity
Includes branding, logos, taglines, etc. that were substantially conceived, written and/or designed by entrant.

C6 Advertorial
Paid advertorial – articles that are paid placements. Includes articles that state a position, tutorial/how-to, case study, make an endorsement, encourage ideas or inspire action.

C7 Website Development
Web pages that are substantially conceived, written and/or designed by the entrant.

“D” – Digital Media

D1(a) Social Media Program
Social media programs that are substantially conceived, written and/or designed by the entrant. May include any combination of social networks (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and/or LinkedIn). Must clearly state how the social media program met its objectives.  Please see the category below for programs related to COVID-19.

D1(b) COVID-19 Response, Social Media Program
Social media programs created or substantially altered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. May include any combination of social networks (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and/or LinkedIn). Must clearly state how the social media program met its objectives.

D2 Blogs
Web-based journals or blogs that communicated either a corporate or public service or industry position. Include rationale for blogging strategy, target audiences, and statistics, or other means of quantifiable measurement to support stated objectives. Screenshots of the blog being entered, as well as the actual site URL, must be submitted as part of the entry.

D3 Apps
Digital Apps that are substantially conceived, written and/or designed by the entrant.

Individual Service Award Categories

The Distinguished Service Awards are the highest honors bestowed by the Orange County Chapter of PRSA. To nominate an outstanding individual or organization, please complete the appropriate one-page nomination form included in the following pages. No entry fee is required for either of the following service award categories.

S1 Distinguished Service Award – Individual

OCPRSA members may nominate a fellow member, either for outstanding life-long career contributions to the goals and ethics of the public relations profession or for demonstrating exemplary dedication to a particular group by giving time, talent or other resources.

All current members in good standing of OCPRSA, who have been members of this chapter for more than one year, are eligible for the Distinguished Service Award, with three exceptions: (1) the current year’s chapter president is ineligible; (2) the previous year’s Distinguished Service honoree is ineligible; and (3) previous winners are ineligible.

Judging Criteria:
• Service to PRSA, particularly to OCPRSA, but may also include contributions to other PRSA chapters and the national PRSA organization
• Exemplary practice of the highest standards and ethics of the public relations profession
• Ongoing mentorship of public relations professionals, including those new to the profession, their peers and their colleagues.

Nomination Process:
• Submit a one-page summary (12-point font or larger typeface, minimum 500 words) of the nominee’s qualifications that addresses the judging criteria.
• Share the nomination with ocprsaprotos@gmail.com via email with the subject line “Distinguished Service Award – Individual Nomination”
• Include the nominee’s professional bio and headshot as an attachment for consideration.

Include in your summary the following information about your nominee:
• A description of the nominee’s participation in OCPRSA activities and awards. Include Chapter, District, Section and National service and offices held, and awards received from OCPRSA or other chapters.
• A description of other activities and awards. Include leadership positions held in organizations other than OCPRSA and awards received.
• List contributions to the profession outside of OCPRSA.  Show how the nominee has furthered the credibility of OCPRSA by participation in professional activities outside of the chapter.
• Nominators may also include the nominee’s social handles if active on social media for recognition on OCPRSA’s social channels.

A panel of three former Distinguished Service Award winners, including the previous year’s honoree, will select this year’s recipient.

Nominations are due by Thursday, June 17 at 5 p.m.

S2 Distinguished Service Award – Organization

OCPRSA members may nominate a company or organization for outstanding contributions to the goals and ethics of the public relations profession or for demonstrating exemplary dedication to the community or other publics by supporting significant, positive programs or actions.

The company or organization may be nominated for a single, exemplary project or for history of support. An organization cannot be nominated if it has already won this award in the past.

Judging Criteria:
• Demonstrates recognition and support of the public relations profession
• Sets a standard for public relations practice

Nomination Process:
• Submit a one-page summary (12-point font or larger typeface, minimum 500 words) of the nominee’s qualifications that addresses the judging criteria.
• Share the nomination with ocprsaprotos@gmail.com via email with the subject line “Distinguished Service Award – Organization Nomination”
• Include the company’s logo and description as an attachment for consideration

Include in your summary the following information about your nominee:
• A description of the nominee’s participation in OCPRSA activities and awards. Include Chapter, District, Section and National service and offices held, and awards received from OCPRSA or other chapters.
• A description of other activities and awards. Include leadership positions held in organizations other than OCPRSA and awards received.
• List contributions to the profession outside of OCPRSA.  Show how the nominee has furthered the credibility of OCPRSA by participation in professional activities outside of the chapter.
• Nominators may also include the nominee’s social handles if active on social media for recognition on OCPRSA’s social channels.

OCPRSA’s 2021 Board of Directors will select this year’s honoree.

Nominations are due by Thursday, June 17 at 5 p.m.

S2 Rick Miltenberger Mentorship Award

OCPRSA members may nominate an individual for their dedication and embodiment of an outstanding mentor. This person is considered a trusted counselor, a problem solver and someone who dedicates time to helping those around them, especially those with less experience. This award was established in honor of long-time OCPRSA chapter member Rick Miltenberger who was a wonderful mentor to many during his career that spanned a number of OC agencies.

Please join us in reinforcing the important role that mentorship plays in our profession by nominating someone who helps others.

Nomination Process:
• Submit a one-page summary (12-point font or larger typeface) of the nominee’s qualifications that shares why this individual is considered a trusted counselor, a problem solver and someone who dedicates time to helping those around them, especially those with less experience.
• Share the nomination with ocprsaprotos@gmail.com via email with the subject line “Rick Miltenberger Mentorship Award Nomination”
• Include the nominee’s professional bio and headshot as an attachment for consideration.

A group from Westbound Communications and OCPRSA’s 2020 Board of Directors will select this year’s honoree.

Nominations are due by Thursday, June 17 at 5 p.m.