PRSJ’s PR Awards Grand Prix 2020 Presents Double Grand Prix Award to Manufacturer Daikin Industries and PR Firm Inoue Public Relations

July 20 in News Release

The Public Relations Society of Japan (PRSJ) held its PR Award Grand Prix 2020 and selected two co-winners of the Grand Prix award, one being a campaign that communicated advanced air ventilation methods for homes and air conditioning, created and implemented by manufacturer Daikin Industries, Ltd., and the other being a crisis-management rapid-response PR manual covering COVID-19 issues, created and implemented by Inoue Public Relations Inc. This is the second time since 2014 that two entries have been named co-winners of this Grand Prix award.

This year a total of 79 entries were received, more than last year, and many were cases of PR being leveraged to address issues related to COVID-19. The Grand Prix co-winners were highly evaluated for meeting the expectations by quickly and effectively addressing the needs of a society faced with the crisis of a pandemic. They also were recognized for their initiatives to build relationships with diverse stakeholders interactively, which led to greater understanding of how public relations can function for the benefit of society as well as client-companies. In view of such merits, the judging committee reached a consensus on co-awarding the Grand Prix to two entries.

No Gold prize was awarded this year, but seven Silver and seven Bronze prizes each were presented. In addition, the Encouragement Award went to American Express International, Inc., which both created and implemented an employee podcast as a new-normal internal-communication initiative.

The PRSJ conducts the annual PR Award Grand Prix program to promote and further develop PR by honoring outstanding PR initiatives. In total, 16 regular awards and one special Encouragement Award were presented this year (see below).

The awards ceremony and presentations by awardees, usually held at Jiji Press Hall and open to the public, this year
PR Award Grand Prix 2020 Award Winners (16 + 1)

Grand Prix (2; in order of registration)

■Communicating expert ventilation methods for homes: the latent power of air and A/C specialists
Entry company: Daikin Industries, Ltd.
Project entity: Daikin Industries, Ltd.
Category: Corporate Communications

■Free COVID-19 Rapid Response Manual Supports SMEs
Entry company: Inoue Public Relations Inc.
Project entity: Inoue Public Relations Inc.
Category: Social Good

Gold (0)
Not applicable

Silver (7; in order of registration)
■Do you conduct emergency drills at home? — How to use Saran Wrap® in an emergency
Entry company: Dentsu Inc.
Project entity: Asahi Kasei Home Products Corporation
Category: Social Good

■Frozen dumplings (#the hassle-free controversy)
Entry companies: Honda Office Corporation and Material Inc.
Project entity: Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc.
Category: Marketing Communications

■Saving Japan’s traditional industries during the pandemic: “Nihonmono” project to connect customers with those who protect traditional culture
Entry company: Sunny Side Up Inc.
Project entity: Sunny Side Up Inc.
Category: Marketing Communications

■Alter ego robot cafe DAWN beta version
Entry companies: ADK Creative One Inc. and Sunny Side Up Inc.
Project entity: OryLab Inc.
Category: Social Good

■Unicharm Sofy: #NoBagForMe Project
Entry company: Hakuhodo Inc.
Project entity: Unicharm Corporation
Category: Corporate Communications

■Protecting children from traffic accidents: Shoulder Police “Protect me” tote bag
Entry company: Hakuhodo Inc.
Project entity: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Category: Social Good

■Psoriasis disease awareness: Fact Fashion—Wear the truth and eliminate misconceptions
Entry company: OZMA Inc.
Project entity: Janssen Pharma K.K.
Category: Corporate Communications

Bronze (7; in order of registration)

■Emergency! Chinook Face Show Festival!
Entry Company: Dentsu Inc.
Project entity: Orix Real Estate Corporation
Category: Marketing Communications

■Notice of rebellion from Akechi Mitsuhide and city hall during declared state of emergency
Entry company: Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture
Project entity: Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture
Category: Corporate Communications

■Free support for children in during school closures
Entry company: Yomiko Advertising Inc.
Project entity: Benesse Corporation
Category: Social Good

■New type of yearend gift: “Po-Sei-Bo” addresses social problem and meets consumer need
Entry company: Public Good Inc.
Project entity: Rakuten Group, Inc.
Category: Social Good

■Meeting healthcare challenge by making friends to increase sense of “us”: Hybrid PA/PR innovation
Entry company: Ubie Inc.
Project entity: Ubie Inc.
Category: Social Good

■Chief Future Officer
Entry company: Dentsu Inc.
Project entity: Euglena Co.
Category: Corporate Communications

■Project to make accounting tasks in Japan more free
Entry company: Offside Co., Ltd.
Project entity: Robot Payment Inc.
Category: Corporate Communications

Encouragement (1)
■Employee podcast as a new-normal internal-communication initiative
Entry company: American Express International, Inc.,
Project entity: American Express International, Inc.
Category: Corporate Communications

Comments by , President of the Judging Committee:


Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many domestic and international awards events, we proposed holding our awards program based on our belief that PR has the power to turn negative situations into positive ones. We felt that if we could share our efforts to find ways forward in the face of this headwind, that would be the greatest benefit our program could contribute. We did not expect the number of entries to be so large, so we were surprised and relieved to find that they were of the same high quality as in previous years. This year, in addition to projects that acted speedily in response to the huge COVID-19 emergency, many ongoing medium- and long-term projects achieved especially symbolic results this time. Many companies turned negative situations into opportunities to initiate new activities, such as responding to issues that had not been noticed previously. The COVID-19 pandemic may have, in a sense, prepared us to face challenges more proactively and more positively.

This year we had an unprecedented double Grand Prix. During the final judging, we spent a great deal of time discussing the two outstanding entries and their evaluation criteria, and then we eventually focused on the very essence of this award. Indeed, one of the double grand prizes was for the activities of a PR firm itself. In the past, this award has highlighted how PR firms and personnel have achieved results in response to the objectives and challenges of client-businesses. But this time we have also reaffirmed that PR firms are not mere backstage operators and thus themselves need to act like their client-businesses, which is why we decided to evaluate them in the same way as client-businesses. In addition, the pandemic has provided opportunities for PR firms to rethink the social significance of their existence and the value they offer, and to share this information with others in our industry. We feel that this is the right time for the Japanese PR industry to further its position at an accelerated pace, as in the U.S. and Europe.

The other Grand Prix recipient, Daikin Industries, created a genuine PR initiative based on their internal PR team’s medium- to long-term will and commitment, supported by an outside PR firm. I think this is a good example of a company that has clearly defined its own marketing approach and made a series of rapid and decisive approaches—at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic tends to cause a flurry of activity—to successfully communicate the significance of its role in society. They made and implemented speedy decisions during the pandemic, clearly differentiating themselves from competitors. While their effort was primarily corporate communications, it also overlapped with marketing, including product sales performance. I think it is wonderful that they could put futuristic communication into practice to contribute to marketing as well as enhance the company’s reputation. I hope that this and the other case both provide opportunities for both client-businesses and PR companies to fulfill their respective social roles and further enhance collaboration as well as help to evolve public relations into the future.

It was a great learning experience for me to talk with judges from different backgrounds, such as media, academia, business and PR, to exchange opinions. I would like to thank them again.


■President of Judging Committee (honorifics omitted) 

INOKUCHI, Tadashi Executive Officer, Dentsu Public Relations Inc.


■Judging Committee (9 members)(honorifics omitted; )

AKUTSU, Satoshi Professor, DBA Program Director, Hitotsubashi ICS
KANEKO, Midori Public Relations Director, Amazon Japan G.K.
TAKAGI, Keiko Executive Director, Strategic Communications, Katana Inc.
NAGAFUCHI, Yuya Team Leader and PR Director, Integrated Planning Bureau, Hakuhodo Inc.
FURUTA, Daisuke Journalist and Representative, Medi-collab
HONDA, Tetsuya CEO, Honda Office and Member, Public Relations Society of Japan (PRSJ) Awards Committee
MATSUMOTO, Rie Director, Sunny Side up Group Inc. and Member, Public Relations Society of Japan (PRSJ) Awards Committee
YOKOTA, Kazuaki Director, Strategic Planning Group, Account Services, Inoue Public Relations
YOSHIMIYA, Taku Director and General Manager of Strategic Planning Division, PRAP Japan Inc.