Holmes & Kennedy “Love Where You Live”

DDR Public Relations Presents: Holmes & Kennedy “Love Where You
Live” Photo Contest: Public Relations Campaign & Special Event


Description of Contest

Holmes & Kennedy — a Westchester Country realtor servicing the Chappaqua, Armonk and Pleasantville communities – commissioned our agency to create an event that would emphasize their connection to their “neighbors” and to the communities they serve. Their goal was to establish a leadership position as a “friendly neighbor.”

Therefore, the first-ever “Love Where You Live” Photo Contest, an original community outreach event created by DDR Public Relations (DDRPR) on behalf of Holmes & Kennedy was launched. Each element of the contest — from concept to completion — was designed and created solely by DDR Public Relations.

Aspiring student photographers, in grades K-12, from Chappaqua, Armonk, Pleasantville and Mount Pleasant were asked to portray, through photos, the elements that best captured the spirit, fun and beauty of the photographer’s hometown.

The contest was developed to benefit reading and youth programs at the three local libraries – North Castle, Chappaqua and Mount Pleasant – and was open to all students in grades K- 12 attending schools in the Byram Hills, New Castle, Mount Pleasant and Pleasantville school districts. Entries called for photographs to fit into one of two categories: People (portraits or candid shots of town or sports events, family, school or community activities) or Landscape (parks, gardens, neighborhoods, town, etc).

The top photos were then featured in separate, original town calendars, which were available for sale during the holiday season. All proceeds from the sales were donated to benefit youth reading programs at the three libraries. The entries were also featured in special gallery displays in the three libraries and at the New Castle Town Hall. Recognition events for each of the towns were held in December at the libraries, where all students received certificates, plaques and other honors.

Sam’s Camera Exchange in Mt. Kisco and Photo Works of Pleasantville agreed to be prize sponsors for the contest. Both stores agreed to contribute store gift certificates as part of the prize structure for winners. They also served as a resource for those entering the contest.

The goal was to nurture the feeling of connection and commitment to the community and to support the libraries — the cornerstones of all of our communities — through an outreach event that encouraged student creativity, observation and appreciation of their towns. Extensive media coverage resulted and is displayed through articles in our award submission.


We created a new ad campaign for Holmes & Kennedy to tie in with the “community connection” image they desired. Our “We’re The Talk Of The Towns” campaign featured two little girls whispering in each other’s ears (about Holmes & Kennedy!).

Entries & Judging

Entry forms were available at the libraries, the town halls and at all Holmes & Kennedy offices. The local media, some school newsletters, and community cable channels also ran articles about how to enter the contest and where entry forms could be picked up. DDR Public Relations also created and placed original, eye-catching posters and entry forms throughout the town centers of Armonk, Chappaqua and Pleasantville in a large number of storefronts, merchant windows, as well as in high-traffic areas, such as community bulletin boards.

A panel representing Holmes & Kennedy, the libraries and the Parks and Recreation departments in New Castle, North Castle and Mount Pleasant judged the photo submissions based on their creativity, clarity and ability to capture the spirit of each of the towns. The top entries from each town were chosen in separate elementary, middle and high school age categories.

In order to streamline the judging process and make it as efficient and orderly as possible, DDR Public Relations created a judging worksheet, based on a point system, for each judge to use as a guideline when judging each photo entry individually. Next, a final judging ballot was created for each judge to name the top winner in each category.

The entire judging panel, which included Holmes & Kennedy representatives, Library Directors, town officials and PTA representatives, honored their commitments to judge the photos.


Upon collecting the photos and judging forms, DDR Public Relations tallied the votes and named the winners.


Each of the grand-prize winners were featured on the inside cover of their respective town calendar, with the first-place winners in each category displayed on the first months of the calendar. DDR Public Relations then selected the most appropriate photos for each month and created a collectable town calendar for each of the three towns.

DDR Public Relations then persuaded many stores in Armonk, Pleasantville and Chappaqua to sell the calendars:

Armonk: The Right Thing, Framings, Town Center Pharmacy
Chappaqua: Chappaqua Stationery, Second Story, Penny Auntie, Drug Mart of Millwood
Pleasantville: The Keeping Room, Photo Works, The Village Book Store

DDR Public Relations also created eye-catching flyers for these merchants to display in their windows.

Library Events & Gallery Displays

Personalized letters were sent to each of the entrants in the three towns inviting them to attend their specific town library event. DDR Public Relations called each of the students and parents individually after the letters had been sent out to encourage them to attend their event. DDR Public Relations also received many calls from parents and students who had questions about the events.

Winners were kept secret until the event. DDR Public Relations then mounted all of the photos for display and set up special gallery displays in each library. All of the library events were well attended by students, parents and teachers. The library gallery displays remained up for three weeks following the events. Large numbers of calendars were purchased at the library events. Those students who did not attend the event received their certificates and a personalized letter in the mail.

Prizes, Plaques & Certificates

All students who submitted photo entries received personalized “Certificates of Achievement,” which were distributed at the library events. Top winners in each category received personalized plaques with the Holmes & Kennedy name and photo, along with gift certificates to Sam’s Camera (Armonk & Chappaqua) and Photo Works (Pleasantville).


The “Love Where You Live” photo contest received a tremendously positive response from parents, students, teachers, town officials and library directors. Everyone was impressed by the community enthusiasm it garnered, the originality of the idea, the way students were encouraged to explore photography as an art, and of course the support of the library. The contest brought together many “neighbors” from all across the communities – from businesses to schools, the libraries and town officials, to parents and students – all to support this great initiative.

The quality of the photos was exceptional. Many of the children took breathtaking photos, which truly captured the sprit and beauty of their hometowns. Great effort, time and care were obvious. Many of the parents also commented on how they contest made their children “slow down and take a real look at how beautiful their towns are.” They also said that the contest was wonderful for the children, especially for students who may not be involved in the “traditional” extra-curricular activities, such as drama or athletics. The children who won were truly thrilled and excited, as well as surprised. They all expressed their gratitude to Holmes & Kennedy for sponsoring such an event!

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