MIAMI—Outdoor retailer REI’s “OptOutside” campaign, which turned America’s busiest shopping day into a holiday for the company’s employees, took home the Platinum SABRE Award for the best public relations program in the world last year at tonight’s Global SABRE Awards dinner in Miami.

Out of more than 5,000 entries to SABRE Awards competitions in North America, EMEA, the Asia-Pacific, South Asia, and Latin America, the REI campaign—conducted in partnership with Edelman—was selected from 40 finalists as the best of the best.

REI customers joined its employees in celebrating “Black Friday” outdoors, in what became a national movement.

The top five slots were rounded out by campaigns from Europe, Asia and North America, including:

  • Follow Felix, a German campaign for Nestle Purina Petcare, conducted by Weber Shandwick, that provided cats with GPS harnesses, generating cat-created content as owners could follow their felines wherever they roamed, driving engagement and sales.
  • Second Life Toys, by Japan’s Green Ribbon Project Committee in partnership with Dentsu, a campaign that featured donated toys undergoing surgical repairs that encouraged more Japanese to register as organ donors.
  • McDonald’s All Day Breakfast: The People’s Launch, another US campaign, from Golin, which combined incredibly sophisticated use of data and analytics with an extraordinarily successful influencer activation and social media strategy
  • The House of Clicks, from Sweden’s Prime on behalf of retailer Hemnet, which analyzed more than 200 million clicks on the property website and then used that data to design and then build Swedes’ “dream house.”

Said Holmes Report founder and SABRE Awards jury chair Paul Holmes: “From creating what has the potential to become a new national holiday to finding new and innovative ways of generating content to integrating data and social media analytics into campaign planning, what’s interesting about the best campaigns of the past year is that they all employed techniques and tools and tactics that would have been unheard of in PR 10 years ago.

“They show how far this profession has become and how the definition of PR has broadened to include some innovative and sophisticated approaches to building the relationship between a company and its key stakeholders.”

The Global SABRE Awards dinner wrapped up PRovoke16, the Holmes Report’s Global PR Summit.

The full countdown of winners, in order, including videos, can be found here.