A public relations campaign conducted by the Robert Bosch Corporation has been awarded First Place for Excellence in Special Events/Observances by the Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC). The award was presented at the Spring Conference of the APRC held in Romulus, Mich. The awards are the only of their kind that are dedicated to recognizing excellence in automotive public relations. The award was presented to Bosch and their public relations agency, Target Communications Inc. of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., to recognize their campaign promoting the 100th anniversary of the Bosch spark plug. This effort involved stories and press releases in many trade and consumer magazines, as well as in newspapers across the country. The campaign culminated in a major press event in Las Vegas at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) Show in November, 2002. The press event included surprise appearances and presentations by famed father-and-son race car drivers Al Unser Sr. and Al Unser Jr., as well as the presentation of an Industry White Paper detailing the impact of race car spark plug technology on passenger car spark plugs. But the highlight of the event was the opportunity for journalists to actually sit in, and have their picture taken in, the actual Marmon Wasp race car that won the very first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911, powered, of course, by Bosch spark plugs. APRC director Neal Zipser explains that the Excellence in Automotive Public Relations Award recognizes programs that have successfully addressed an automotive-related public relations issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness. The annual award honors public relations programs that incorporate sound planning, execution and evaluation. "Entries into the award competition this year nearly doubled from last year. This is evidence that public relations is being increasingly viewed as an important communications tool among automotive suppliers," said Zipser. "There are many outstanding PR professionals in our industry whose work stands out from the pack. We’re in a complex industry where effective communications can make a dramatic impact on securing business and increasing the bottom line." Pamela Krebs, director of advertising and sales promotion for Bosch, credits teamwork for the success of the campaign. "Robert Bosch patented the first commercially-viable spark plug in 1902. So the celebration of ‘100 Years of Sparking Innovation’ was important, not only to Bosch but also to the entire automotive industry. The obvious venue for the culmination of our year-long campaign was the AAPEX Show. We worked hand-in-hand with the team from Target Communications in creating and implementing our press event, and we built on the opportunity to reach out to customers as well as important aftermarket industry groups like the Automotive Service Association (ASA). This recognition from the APRC is added confirmation that our efforts were both appropriate and exceptional. It was a true team effort that we’re confident will pay dividends for years to come."