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Toughest PR sell in Philly: cheesesteaks

Neff Associates honored for Chink's, Geno's campaigns

The Public Relations Society of America doesn't trust members of its local chapters to vote awards for each other's good performance. Presumably that's because local PR people are locked in deadly battle over attracting and getting paid by clients, especially in hungry markets like Philadelphia, and might not be trusted to deliver honest praise instead of envious disdain.

Instead, the society asks out-of-town chapters to review local campaigns and makes awards that way. Center City-based David Neff's firm, Neff Associates, walked away with three of the Philly chapter's "Pepperpot" awards earlier this week -- all three for handling challenges based on one of the city's landmark junk food products -- cheesesteaks. These include:

- Best in Show, for the heavily-publicized rebrand of Chink's, the Northeast Philly sandwich shop that turned the PR disaster of Asian complaints about its longterm name, into Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop;

- Excellence in Media Relations, also for its handling of Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop, the renamed Chink's;

- Single Social Media Platform , for Geno's Steaks' Facebook page.

Neff and other Philadelphia awardees were chosen by the society's chapter down in Arkansas, which might not sound like a center for advertising talent, until you consider, that's where Walmart's from --