Oil Spill Truths social media campaign makes a splash at PR World Awards

Wed, Jun 25, 2014

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Andrew Frank and the Coastal First Nations’ work to raise awareness around the environmental risks and true costs of oil tankers and oil spills in B.C. received three top industry prizes at the PR World Awards this week.

OilSpillTruths.com was developed by Frank, a Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) faculty member, and the Coastal First Nations as a locally focused social media campaign. The project won gold in three categories: Best use of Facebook Campaign of the Year, Best use of Online Communications Campaign of the Year and Best Use of Social Media or Digital Media Campaign of the Year.

The goal of the campaign was to serve as a reminder of the impact the Exxon Valdez spill continues to have 25 years after the oil tanker began gushing up to 41 million litres of crude oil into Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989. Oil Spill Truths was also intended to educate, and shed light on how severely an oil spill off the province’s north coast would impact British Columbians and the environment.

“The challenge of this campaign was communicating the environmental impacts and liability issues associated with oil spills in an accessible, digestible and shareable way online,” said Frank, who teaches in KPU’s public relations and environmental protection technology programs. “These awards are a testament to the continuing leadership of the Coastal First Nations in educating British Columbians about the true risks of oil tankers in B.C.’s coastal waters.”

Capitalizing on the proven success of the “Top 10 List” format, Frank and the Coastal First Nations collaborated with Alaskan oil spill expert Rick Steiner to produce a simple and easy-to-share list of the “10 Truths About Oil Spills Every British Columbian Should Know.” The list was published in the Vancouver Sun, and was paired with a series of Facebook graphics that featured recent photos of oil on the beaches in Alaska.

The campaign struck a chord with British Columbians, garnering an unprecedented level of social media engagement over an environmental issue in B.C.

Over the course of two days, Oil Spill Truth’s Facebook graphics hit 484,980 shares, a number that has since grown to well over half a million. The campaign’s shares more than double the shares of Exxon Valdez anniversary social media content published on the spill’s anniversary by all Canadian and U.S. environmental groups combined.

To view the project, visit: www.oilspilltruths.com, the Coastal First Nation’s Facebook page and the Top 10 list published in the Vancouver Sun.

A list of the most recent 2014 PR World Awards winners is available here.

About the PR World Awards                                                            

PR World Awards are an annual industry and peer recognition program honouring the best of PR and corporate communications in every major industry in North America, Europe, the Middle-East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin-America. The annual event is part of the Silicon Valley United States' (SVUS) worldwide recognition programs. The annual SVUS Awards consist of nine world award programs held at a different date and location every year. Learn more about the PR World Awards at www.prworldawards.com.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.


Caption: Andrew Frank on a documentary shoot with one of the Coastal First Nations on B.C.'s North Coast.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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