AN Exeter-based PR and marketing firm has become the only agency in Devon to be shortlisted by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in its annual PRide awards.

Astley Media, already the only Devon agency to win Gold in the awards last year, has been shortlisted for best Consumer Relations Campaign for its work with client Stagecoach East Midlands.

The regional awards, which this year see the South West region combined with all of Southern England outside London, recognise excellence in public relations and communications work by companies, agencies and consultancies.

Dan Pritchard, Astley Media Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the PRide awards. To already be the only Gold award-winning agency in Devon and to then be shortlisted by our peers once again, is testament to the work of our team and the confidence our clients place in us.

“We have a group of highly-skilled, creative people who work incredibly hard to get the right results for our clients. It’s a privilege and exciting to be working so closely with Stagecoach on this and other campaigns.”

It is the second year running that Astley Media, based at Northernhay Place in Exeter, has been shortlisted, after it won the highly coveted Gold Award for best External Publication in 2013.

The campaign with Stagecoach East Midland saw a re-brand and re-launch for an open top bus service, to boost passenger numbers.

Targeting holiday-makers, the Skegness Seasiders were created, turning six open-top double-decker buses into seaside attractions in their own right.

The buses have been transformed into individual characters – Rocky, Sandy, Shelly, Salty, Pierre and Candy, complete with accompanying storybooks and goody bags.

Since the re-launch, passenger numbers have increased by more than 20 per cent. Media activity, events, a competition to design and name a bus and timetables filled with money-off vouchers were among key elements of the campaign.

Caroline Orr, Astley Media Marketing and Client Liaison Director, said: “We’re all about creating conversations around brands, helping them to shape and share their story in exciting new ways to grow their business. We’ve got a fantastic – and growing – set of clients in Devon and beyond, and the award is a reminder that we must keep being innovative and creative to help them achieve their goals.”

Michelle Hargreaves, Stagecoach East Midlands Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Astley Media on a range of different campaigns and services. The Skegness Seasiders have really captured the imaginations of tourists, locals and staff alike.”

Pam Lloyd, Chair of the CIPR South group, said: “We have seen an even higher standard of entries across the board in all categories and I would like to congratulate those who have been recognised for their outstanding work by making this year’s shortlist.”

Astley Media is up against Nationwide Building Society, 10 Yetis, Pegasus (for Holland & Barrett), Surrey County Council
and Wild Card
in the awards, with the winners due to be announced at a ceremony in Bristol in November.