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Silver and Bronze Anvil Awards FAQ

Q. What programs are eligible for entry into the Anvil Awards?

Silver Anvil honors complete strategic public relations programs and Bronze Anvil is for tactics within public relations programs.

At least some part of the program must have occurred in the prior calendar year.

Programs have a better chance of winning near their completion, when evaluation against initial objectives can be measured.

Q. I’m confused about which category to enter. There seem to be several into which mine might fit. Can you help?

Sometimes there indeed are two or more different categories into which an entry might fit. For example, many Silver Anvil entries that fit in Special Events could also fit in another category. Entrants must select a single category per entry. However, entrants may choose to enter their program in more than one category, provided that it applies to the specific criteria stated within that category. The entry must be submitted with a separate, category-appropriate, two-page summary (one-page for Bronze Anvil), binder (for Silver Anvil and if applicable for Bronze Anvil) and entry form, as well as a separate, completed, paid entry form for each additional category entered.

Q. Will my entry be disqualified if it is entered into the wrong category?

While our judges can disqualify any entry that does not fit in the category entered, this is a rare action and taken only when an entrant has blatantly disregarded the category description.

In selecting your category, examine your strategic plan. What was the audience? What were the objectives? These are questions you are required to answer in the Silver Anvil two-page summary that is the central component of the entry. The answers to these questions should help guide you in selecting the right category fit, after you’ve carefully read the descriptions. As long as you utilize such a reasoned approach to selecting your category, it’s highly unlikely that our judging teams would make a determination that you had broken the rules and disqualify your entry.

One other thing to make sure category choice is the right one is to compare your Silver Anvil two-page summary to those of winning Silver Anvil entries in the category for the past few years. Click here to view the two-page summaries of past Silver Anvil winning programs. Does your entry seem to have the same fit in the category as past winners? Email for copies of past winning Bronze Anvil one-page summaries.

Q. The Silver Anvil rules say my stiff-spine binder should be free of lettering labels, drawings or other artwork. What does that mean?

Once your Silver Anvil binder arrives at PRSA, we place several labels on the cover of your binder, which are used for judging and administrative purposes. These labels help us quickly identify your entry and will cover up any artwork you’ve placed on the outside of your binder. If you have a creative cover page you’d like to use, we suggest making it the first page within your binder.

Q. Can you tell me how many entries fall in the different categories?

No. We do not reveal the number of entries in any category or subcategory. You should select the category or categories you feel best fit the entry without trying to guess what the competition in a particular one might be. Besides, the number of entries in each category varies from year to year, so any attempt to guess is probably fruitless anyway.

Q. Will I get feedback for my entry if it does not win?

PRSA provides Silver Anvil feedback in the form of a gap analysis to the contact person for every non-winning Silver Anvil entry that is submitted, except for those in categories where no winner was chosen. The feedback is a comparative graph of your program against the winning program in that category, based on the four basic criteria: research, planning, execution and evaluation. The information is considered confidential and is only provided to the contact person for each entry.

At this time, PRSA does not provide Bronze Anvil feedback.

Q. The Silver Anvil rules say no DVDs or videos. Those are major parts of my program. What do I do?

The judges often do not have enough time to cue up and view numerous DVDs and videos. Nor will they have Internet access during the judging to visit websites or view Web content. We recommend you use screen grabs, scripts, visual representations and other printed materials that highlight what your DVD, video or Web content contains, and include them in your binder. It will be more accessible to judges and will still provide the visual element of your program.

Q. The Silver Anvil rules ask for budgetary disclosure, but my client insists on confidentiality. What do I do?

Judges are aware and instructed that they should not base their entire evaluation on the inclusion or exclusion of budgetary information. However, budget should be included, if possible, as it is an integral part of any public relations program. We suggest that you speak in broader terms on how the budget was applied to the program. If you cannot give exact figures, give percentages or fractions. Exclusion of budgetary information will not disqualify the entry, but the budget must be addressed in some manner.

Q. My boss is a member but I want to enter the awards, can I use his name and be the contact person?

No. Each entry can have only one contact person, and they must be entered under a member or nonmember status.

To enter as a member, you must submit the member ID number that matches the name and information of the member.

The member name is verified and will become the contact person for that program.

The member must be current and in good standing. Those entering with expired memberships will be charged as nonmembers. Nonmembers can enter with one contact person per entry.

Q. How do I know if PRSA has received my entry?

If receipt of entry is required immediately, please send your entry by traceable delivery, and contact the shipper to confirm receipt.

Q. If my entry does not win, can I have it back?

All entries become the property of PRSA and are not returned. Winning Silver Anvil entries are kept for professional reference at PRSA Headquarters in New York City and then archived. Winning Bronze Anvil entries are kept for reference for one year and then destroyed.

Q. Where and when are the Silver Anvil Awards presented?

The Silver Anvil finalists are posted online in late March after the judging, and the Awards are presented in June in New York City at the Silver Anvil Ceremony. Silver Anvil winners and Silver Anvil Award of Excellence winners are then posted on our website.

Q. Is there a Bronze Anvil Ceremony?

No. The Bronze Anvil winners and Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation winners are announced in the Silver Anvil Ceremony printed program. They are then posted to our website. If you are a Bronze Anvil winner or Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation winner, PRSA will contact you by mail thereafter to confirm the inscription for your trophy. Once all confirmations have been received, your trophy will be inscribed and shipped to you.

Q. What are the judges looking for in terms of measurement of a program’s success?

PRSA endorses the Barcelona Principles, which are intended to encourage best practices for measuring public relations and communications programs.

As judges evaluate Silver Anvil Award entries, we ask that they consider the related guidelines developed by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), which reflect the Barcelona Principles.

PRSA is working to support and encourage more rigorous measurement of public relations, and believes that in time, the principles reflected in these guidelines will become more prevalent and widely embraced as they are considered for programs like the PRSA Silver Anvils.

To facilitate measurement, programs should:

  • Have Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) objectives.
  • Demonstrate how your public relations team made a tangible contribution to the organization through the program’s objectives.
  • Demonstrate the impact of the program on the target audience.
  • Show a link between your activity and your or your client's business or organizational goals, and specifically demonstrate impact on business outcomes.
  • Not confuse the value of Advertising Value Equivalencies (AVEs) with the overall value of the public relations program.¹

¹ In line with AMEC’s commitment to the Barcelona Principles framework, the use of AVEs as the “value of earned media” will be considered very unfavorably by the judges. The consideration of AVEs as a value or benefit is simply wrong.


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