Strathcona County wins international communications awards

October 26, 2017

Strathcona County wins international communications awards

Strathcona County received three international Marcom awards, as well as an honourable mention, for its communication campaigns relating to Community Talk and its accompanying video used as part of the Social Framework formation, tourism and development marketing and the recently approved Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.

The County’s platinum award-winning Community Talk campaign centred around an invitation to share ideas on how to best create a supported, safe and connected community in Strathcona County. To help humanize local statistics, a narrative was formed around four fictional characters whose circumstances were based on local data and research. Jack, Amir, Susan and Natasha were struggling with issues related to affordable housing, social inclusion, family violence and financial pressures within Strathcona County. These four characters folded into the broader communications strategy and were featured throughout the community as large scale decals on doors and walls of high-use facilities throughout the County, on social media and as narratives featured on the local newspaper wrap. Remarkably, nearly 10% of all eligible residents over the age of 11 provided input into Community Talk. The participation level is unparalleled in Strathcona County’s history of public consultation. In just over two months, 7,815 citizens shared their thoughts through an online survey, while 622 people attended conversations to provide insights into the community’s social goals.

The gold-winning Community Talk video earned its own mention in the whiteboard animation category. To ensure relatability, the storylines of Jack, Amir, Susan and Natasha were focused tested with a network of local community support agencies and organizations, RCMP, related municipal departments and a community advisory group (made up of residents).  The animated white-board style of video was intentionally chosen to demonstrate the active engagement on the viewer’s behalf to speak towards ideas on how to best create a supported, safe and connected community. The video featured local landmarks and names to make it specific to Strathcona County, and was used as an “ice-breaker” for community conversations and school-room visits before asking people to fill out the Community Talk survey.

The YOU CAN campaign was also selected for a gold Marcom award for its marketing of Strathcona County’s unique economic development and tourism advantages. YOU CAN is a universal call-to-action which activates tourism, business, quality of place, and our leading industrial sector. Explore. Grow. Succeed. In Strathcona County - YOU CAN. The YOU CAN campaign material included print advertising, e-newsletteractivity and travel guide, investment packages, and the Economic Directions publication. This Marcom award follows two other awards for Economic Development and Tourism; a national Marketing Canada Award from the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) for an e-newsletter; and another award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for the Economic Direction 2017 magazine.

The Chew On This postcard received an honourable mention for its attention-getting headline and administrative savings. The Chew On This tagline was created and featured on postcards handed out to residents throughout the community to promote awareness of the dog control bylaw review and encourage survey completion. The postcards featured either a stick of gum (for non-dog owners) or a mini dog treat (for dog-owners) on the reverse of the postcard to play upon the Chew on This theme. Instead of a traditional letter, the County sent postcards to registered dog owners, resulting in nearly $4,000 worth of savings. In less than one month, 2,306 surveys were completed, marking an unprecedented response to a municipal bylaw review.

MarCom Awards is an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers. The competition has grown to perhaps the largest of its kind in the world.

Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talents exceed a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for industry. Entries come from throughout the United States, Canada and dozens of other countries.

Platinum and gold-winning entries are available at 

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.


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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595