PRSJ’s PR Awards Grand Prix 2021 Presents Grand Prix Award to National Institute for Materials Science for PR Campaign to Promote Materials Science to Youths

July 20 in News Release

The Public Relations Society of Japan (PRSJ) held its PR Award Grand Prix 2021 and selected as this year’s Grand Prix winner award a public relations campaign created and implemented by the National Institute for Materials Science to promote materials science to change young people’s lives.

Gold awards went to three entries: a campaign created by Hakuhodo Inc. for client Panasonic Corporation to alleviate the problem of insecurity regarding mobility in Southeast Asia; a campaign created and implemented by Dentsu PR Consulting Inc. to promote para sports; and a campaign created jointly by PR Consulting Dentsu Inc., Dentsu Inc. and Hamashima Design Inc. for their client, Tokyo University of the Arts, to help support artists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, five Silver awards and five Bronze awards as well as one Encouragement Award also were presented.

The awards program is conducted annually to promote and further develop PR by honoring outstanding PR initiatives. This year, 73 entries were received and a total of 14 regular awards and one special Encouragement Award were presented (see below).

The awards ceremony and presentations by awardees will be streamed online, as a COVID-19 precaution, from 12:30 p.m. on December 14.

PR Award Grand Prix 2021 Award Winners (14 + 1)

Grand Prix (1)
■Material’s Eye: Materials science PR campaign to change young people’s lives
Entry company: National Institute for Materials Science
Project entity: National Institute for Materials Science
Category: Social Good

Gold (3, in order of registration)
■Anti-virus mobility device to overcome insecurity regarding mobility in Southeast Asia: Combining air-purification technology and Grab, a car-dispatch application
Entry company: Hakuhodo Inc.
Project entity: Panasonic Corporation
Category: Corporate Communications

■Para Transformation
Entry company: PR Consulting Dentsu Inc.
Project entity: PR Consulting Dentsu Inc.
Category: Social Good

■Tokyo Geidai Aart FesEntry companies: PR Consulting Dentsu Inc., Dentsu Inc. and Hamashima Design Inc.
Project sponsor: Tokyo University of the Arts
Category: Social Good

Silver (5, in order of registration)
■School campaign to students’ raise awareness for the general election and eliminate three key factors that discourage voting by young adults
Entry company: Public Good Inc.
Project entity: CCC Marketing Co., Ltd.
Category: Social Good

Entry companies: Material Inc. and Gray Worldwide Inc.
Project entity: P&G Japan Limited
Category: Social Good

■Creating a new normal through the voices of the infertile: Towards national insurance coverage for infertility treatment
Entry company: Ozma Inc.
Project entity: Fine (Fertility Organization Network) NPO
Category: Social Good

■Kyoto University online public lecture “Stop and Think”: Sharing learning opportunities online to support society during COVID-19
Entry company: Enjin Inc.
Project entity: Kyoto University
Category: Social Good

■Hidden challenges of health management: “Invisible diversity” for more friendly workplaces
Entry company: Prap Japan Inc.
Project entity: Eli Lilly Japan K.K.
Category: Social Good

Bronze (5, in order of registration)
■Sharing wisdom to create a new type of remote citizen: Japan’s first remote city hall with an open platform for resettlement
Entry company: Ozma Inc.
Project entity: Saku, Nagano Prefecture
Category: Corporate Communications

■ Flower industry’s new proposal: Flower giving by those who miss celebrations
Entry company: Dentsu Inc.
Project entity: Japan Flower Promotion Council
Category: Social Good

■Supporting beginners in uneasy times: Mercari’s first audition to provide experiential value
Entry company: Mercari Inc.
Project entity: Mercari Inc.
Category: Corporate Communications

■Amarabu city promotion since 2013
Entry company: Ozma Inc.
Project entity: Amagasaki City
Category: Corporate Communications

■Basic marketplace principles that define Mercari’s values and build trust
Entry company: Mercari Inc.
Project entity: Mercari Inc.
Category: Corporate Communications

Encouragement (1)
■Using digital transformation to change public relations in Japan through automation
Entry company: Prap node, Inc.
Project entity: Prap node, Inc.
Category: Other

Comments by INOKUCHI, Tadashi, President of the Judging Committee:

We were heartened to receive almost the same number of entries this year as in the previous year despite being the second PR Award Grand Prix to be held in the COVID-19 era. Like last year, we were very pleased to see efforts made to replace crisis with opportunity. In particular, when we called for entries this year, we told prospective entrants that we would consider efforts carried out over the medium to long term, even for modest activities. In response, a number of entrants appeared, showing the powers of accumulation and continuity in contrast with just creating of a one-year buzz. As one of the highlights of this year’s event, unlike other awards programs, it illustrated the unique characteristics of the PR approach.

The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), which won the Grand Prix, emphasized the results of their activities after 7 years of building relationships with young people. The materials industry rivals the automobile industry in terms of export value, but a decline in the number of young scientists had become a serious problem. After considering how to attract interest in the materials industry, which tends to be considered less glamorous than space, robotics and IT, they focused on highlighting and communicating the power of science to inspire and the excitement of discovery, values that do not rely solely on research results. A YouTube platform is now in place to convey this appeal by enabling people to prepare, process and provide content from the perspective of viewers, rather than the institute, for true entertainment and retention. The open-source content is now used by several science museums as well as high schools and universities. The system, which distributes content through a hub of key stakeholders, has further boosted the effectiveness of the project. In fact, the content is viewed some 10 times more than content from JAXA, so the results are far superior to projects in flashier research areas. More than anything, I was struck by the words on the entry sheet, “This is a long-term, self-financed project that was carried out solely by the in-house staff of the institute, without the help of agencies, etc., and is fueled solely by a sense of crisis and passion in the materials field.” We were overwhelmed by the determination and perseverance of these people, who truly believe in the power of PR and are willing to take on challenges themselves. The judges were moved to tears when the presenter said, “I hope our campaign will become known to similar research institutions and other organizations and serve as a catalyst to stimulate PR in various fields.”

I have been the president of the judging committee for the past three years. Over this time we have seen the 2019 Grand Prix winner, Chayamadai Apartment Complex in Osaka, which has worked with residents to revitalize their depopulated community. We also saw the 2020 Grand Prix co-awarded to two winners, one a solution for the pandemic based on Daikin Industries’ long-held corporate slogan, “” and the other an initiative by Inoue Public Relations to freely distribute a pandemic risk-management first-response PR manual as a demonstration of public service by PR firms. And now we have this year’s 2021 award winner. After thorough discussions with the judges about the symbolic initiatives of each year, we are proud to say that our final selections were unanimous and very satisfying. And we are also happy that the essence of these cases have been well understood, shared and become visible in new entries. We trust that the original meaning and significance of the Japan Public Relations Association’s sponsorship and continuation of this award will continue to be fulfilled going forward. Also, as I have said every year, I am grateful for the many things I learned through this judging experience, including this year.


■President of the Jury (honorifics omitted) 

INOKUCHI, Tadashi Executive Officer, PR Consulting Dentsu Inc.


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

AKUTSU, Satoshi Professor, DBA Program Director, Hitotsubashi ICS
OTA, Ikuko Co-CEO, Hakuhodo Kettle Inc.
OKAMOTO, Hiroyuki Executive Officer and Chief Communications Officer, Kura Sushi Inc.
TAKANO, Yuki Director, Inoue Public Relations Inc.
TAGAMI, Tomoko Executive Director, Strategic Communications, Katana Inc.
Kyungjin Ha Associate Professor, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University
HAMADA, Keiko Journalist and former Chief Editor, AERA
MATSUMOTO, Rie Director, Sunny Side up Group Inc. and Member, Public Relations Society of Japan (PRSJ) Awards Committee
YOSHIMIYA, Taku Director and General Manager, Strategic Planning Division, Prap Japan Inc.