2015 Eligibility, Rules & Categories

2015 Silver Spike Awards – “Re-imagine, Re-invent, Re-purpose – A modern approach to a classic craft 

The Silver Spikes recognizes communications excellence by Nevada media and public relations professionals and stellar excellence of the tactics which make communications work.

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015

Where: Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, 2707 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502

Eligibility: Any communications practitioner who is based in northern Nevada (Tonopah and north and east to the Utah border), the Tahoe Basin or in the Truckee Meadows including north to Susanville, CA.

Program Eligibility: Any program or tactic developed by professionals based in northern Nevada (Tonopah and north and east to the Utah border), the Tahoe Basin or in the Truckee Meadows including north to Susanville, CA. Neither the program nor the tactic need be executed within the state of Nevada or for the residents of Nevada. 

Limitations: Program or strategy/tactic entries are allowed in multiple categories. Winners of Silver Spike Awards, Awards of Excellence or Judges’ Awards in 2014 may not enter the same program or tactic into the same category or tactic for 2014 Silver Spike Awards (some exceptions may apply).

Timeframe: Programs and measurement must occur substantially between Sept. 15, 2014 and Sept. 14, 2015. Some exceptions may be granted.

Final Entry Due Date: No later than Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, 5 p.m., PDT.

Entry Formats: ONLINE THIS YEAR!!!

Payment: ONLINE – CLICK HERE                                     

Entry Fees and Deadlines: 
PRSA Member: $40 for first entry; $10 for each additional
Non-Member:   $60 for first entry; $20 for each additional

Judging: Entries will be sent by the first full week of October to the North Carolina Chapter of PRSA in Raleigh, NC. They will return the entries with the judges’ comments to the Sierra Nevada Chapter by Oct. 30. Shortly thereafter, the Sierra Nevada Chapter will notify those registrants who had winning entries, but the exact awards will not be announced until the Silver Spikes Awards banquet.

2015 Silver Spike Awards Details 

$50-Individual tickets for PRSA members
$60-Friends of PRSA (non-members)

Special table and sponsor pricing is available:
$360-Members seating for 8
$460-Friends seating for 8


All submissions are judged on a 100-point scale. A minimum of two judges from the reciprocal judging chapter per entry is required. If scores are more than 10 points apart, a third judge is needed. The third judge must be an APR.

Silver Spike Bronze Spike Award of Excellence Best of Show Student Choice
Entries must earn 95 points or higher to be eligible Entries must earn between 90 and 94 points or higher to be eligible Entries scoring between 83 and 89 points may be eligible The top score among both Programs and Strategies & Tactics will receive Best of Show Local Journalism students and PRSSA members will judge the top 20 percent of entries (scores determined from reciprocal judging chapter) for their pick of the best


Only one Silver Spike Award per category to the highest scoring entry over the quality point requirement All entries that score between the point requirement will be considered for a Bronze Spike All entries that score between the point requirement will be considered for an Award of Excellence
In the case of a tie, multiple Silver Spikes may be awarded
Remaining entries scoring 95 or above will receive a Bronze Spike
If all entries in a category score below 95, no Silver Spike will be awarded

Judging Criteria:

  • Situation/Research/Planning: content and situational analysis to support the need for the program or tactic to a stated audience
  • Budget/Resources: the cost (hard costs and/or personnel, time, etc.) associated with the program or tactic
  • Goal/Action: what the program/tactic aimed to achieve
  • Objective: measureable change in outcome/attitude over a period of time
  • Execution: specific integrated communications elements and efforts to cause the change; demonstrate creative, quality strategies and tactics used
  • Evaluation/Results: measurement of objective to actual outcome; use of resources


2015 Silver Spike Award Categories
(see category descriptions) 

– Programs –

  1. Overall Campaign
  2. Special Events & Observances, 1 or 2 days (event or observance occurred in 1 or 2 days)
    3. Special Events & Observances, 3 or more days (event or observance occurred in 3 or more days)
  3. Internal Communications
    5. Community Relations
    6. Emergency or Crisis Programs
    7. Issues Management
  4. Public Affairs
  5. Multicultural Communications

– Strategies/Tactics –

  1. Audio, Video, Webcasts, etc.
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Media Relations – Owned: Websites
  4. Media Relations – Owned: Social Media
  5. Media Relations – Earned: Online, Print, Expert Positioning
  6. Media Relations – Paid: Online, Print, Digital and Other Channels
  7. Smartphone/Tablet Applications
  8. Corporate Social Responsibility
  9. New/Emerging Technologies

Sample Silver Spike Entry


 Contact Silver Spike Judging Chair Natalie Savidge, 775-336-9923 (cell) or nsavidge@unr.edu.

Winners will be notified by Nov. 6, 2015 and announced Thursday, November 19, 2015 at the annual Silver Spike Awards Dinner presented by the Sierra Nevada Chapter.