F-35 campaign wins national award

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National business leaders honored the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, August 11 for the chamber’s successful information campaign to land five squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Williams Group PR, a Beaufort-based public relations and marketing firm, created and executed the campaign during the second half of 2010.

The American Chamber of Commerce Executives presented Blakely Williams, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber, with the prestigious Gold Award Thursday evening as part of the 27th Annual Awards of Communication Excellence at the 2011 American Chamber’s convention in Los Angeles.

The F-35 PR campaign also earned ‘Best in Show,’ beating out 83 other entries from across North America including finalists from the Cayman Islands and Kansas City.

The supersonic F-35s are the next generation aircraft for the Marine Corps and are slated to replace the F/A-18 Hornets currently at Marine Corps Air Station-Beaufort around 2014-2015. Between now and then, about $400 million in new construction will update the air station.

Operation F35-Beaufort, a partnership between the chamber, Williams Group PR, the Military Enhancement Committee and Lowcountry Economic Network & Alliance, was an integrated public relations campaign to boost local and statewide support to bring five squadrons of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Beaufort. The long-term economic impact can be measured in billions of dollars, as the air station contributes $615 million annually into the local economy.

The American Chamber of Commerce Executives’ Awards for Communications Excellence honor, reward and celebrate the achievements of outstanding communication programs, campaigns and projects.
“This is a huge honor for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, but this award recognizes an even bigger celebration for Beaufort County — the continued economic growth of the Marine Corps Air Station-Beaufort,” Chamber President Blakely Williams said.