Split-Based VAJT Agency Receives International PR Award

Total Croatia News


October 1, 2019 – The Split-based VAJT agency for public relations was presented with the prestigious Golden World Award for Excellence, awarded by the International Public Relations Awards (IPRA) last weekend in Yerevan, Armenia.

The world’s greatest recognition in the PR business was given to VAJT for their campaign “Want to switch places?”, which was done with their client, Split Parking, and in cooperation with the initiative “For Accessible Split”.

Their campaign won in the public sector PR category, competing with several other campaigns from all over the world. The goal of the campaign was to increase driver awareness of the importance of respecting the invalid parking places, and it brought swift and fast results addressing the problem in Split. At the award ceremony in Yerevan, the agency from Split was in the same situation as many of the top PR agencies, such as Hill+Knowlton, Weber Shandwick, FleishmanHillard Vanguard, Ketchum and others. The brands and campaigns for which other awards were won were Adidas, Ford, Coca-Cola, Ikea etc.


CEO of VAJT agency, Jerko Trogrlić said that he was very impressed by the evening. He sat with the representatives of companies which have offices worldwide and thousands of employees:

“We communicated like peers, and they have up to 800 million dollars of income a year, and they’ve been doing amazing campaigns for decades. It was a great experience to talk to them, listen to what they have to say, and who knows, it might lead to some sort of cooperation. I’m not getting carried away, tomorrow is another day, we have to prove ourselves. We’re still a small firm from Split, and I don’t have a problem with staying that way. There’s six of us in the company now, maybe there’ll be seven or eight of us in a year’s time and that the plans from our perspective today,” Trogrlić added.

The campaign that won the award was the creation of young consultants Dora Čolaković, Antonela Vukorepa and Marin Babarović, designer Stjepko Rošin was in charge of the visuals and Milan Latković’s Kreativna agencija produced the video materials.

Trogrlić added that his goal was that you can stay in Split and Croatia and do great stuff, no matter how hard it may look or how many frustrations you’ll face along the way. Every time a hard-working and talented person leaves, two dummies jump in. If we manage to turn eight people into experts so that they and their families can have a good life in Split working with us, and if we can communicate and bring some positive change to happen in Croatia, then we did good, he highlighted.

And the “Want to switch places?” campaign did just that – to make things better. It succeeded by hitting the emotions, thanks to the personalized traffic signs that were put up around Split. In them, a real person with disabilities asked everyone without the disability if they want to switch places, if they wanted to take their parking spot. Additionally, a hidden camera video by Stipo Margić, one of the faces of the campaign, in which he personally approaches the offenders and asks them why they parked at the disabled persons parking spots quickly went viral. That achieved the other goal, to embarrass the person offending and to spark condemnation from his surroundings. The number of these offences fell rapidly in Split, by 20 per cent in the first three months, and the trend is continuing. The campaign has spread around Croatia, and ten other towns have adopted it, creating their own signs, and the campaign even made its way to the European Parliament, where it was highlighted as an example at the European Disability Forum.

The final step of the campaign is now underway, and an amendment to the rule on the sign of accessibility has been initiated in Croatia, which is aimed at preventing its misuse, and in cooperation with the competent authorities, it is expected that this final objective will be fulfilled soon.

Trogrlić also wanted to point out that the market of PR agencies in Croatia is strong, and that there are much bigger agencies than theirs, and that it’s awesome how fast the market is developing as it didn’t exist at all almost 20 years ago. “VAJT agency is like a special ops unit. We don’t take many clients, but we do have long-term cooperations. We do our best in each job we take, and that takes its toll and that’s why we’re so happy when we have a great result. We prefer the difficult stuff which is also good for society, and there are as many of those as you want in Croatia. If it’s not difficult, it’s probably not even gonna come our way. To complete any investment in Croatia is almost science fiction. Changing the habits of the people when it comes to, for instance, mobility or recycling, increasing the transparency and the level of communication for the local and public administration, promoting the young and successful companies… There’s so much work to be done, but it’s important to find people like Marko Bartulić from Split Parking and Jugana Sinovčić from the Initiative for accessible Split, who are positive, persistent, even a bit too much at times, when they’re fighting for what they believe is right. This is their award, we were just given the privilege to work with them.”

This is the third award VAJT agency has been given this year, as the European Association of Political Consultants (EAPC) presented them with the Polaris Award, and the local experts also recognized it as Croatian Public Relations Association awarded it the Grand PRix prize. This is in total the sixth award for the agency in just five years.

IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence (GWA) is the biggest and most prestigious competition in the PR business, also known as the “PR Oscars”. It has been awarded since 1990, for excellence in public relations in a series of categories. The project that applies can be local, regional, national and international in character, and they’re graded based on five criteria: situation analysis, research, planning, project implementation and evaluation. This year’s jury had experts from all over the world, including Austria, Bulgaria, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Philippines, United States, United Kingdom and others.

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