A Very Special Christmas® Album Series and Partners Honored with Cause Marketing Gold Halo Award

(Chicago, IL) – A Very Special Christmas® album seriesand partners Special Olympics, Big Machine Label Group, Clear Channel and WarpSpeed were honored with a Gold Cause Marketing Halo Award in the Transactional Category at the 11th Annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference today 30 May in Chicago. A total of 20 awards were given out to programs judged to be the best at “doing well by doing good” in 2012. This is the first recorded music album and campaign to earn a Golden Halo, which shows the influence the music industry has in the cause marketing arena.

The A Very Special Christmas holiday music series, benefitting Special Olympics, celebrated its 25th anniversary this past holiday season with the first-ever release of two new albums and a non-traditional marketing effort to highlight the longest running and single most successful benefit recording series in musical history that brings “Joy to the Word” not just through music but through Special Olympics sports. Born from the inspiration of model and writer Vicki Iovine and from the ingenuity of recording industry producers Jimmy Iovine, Bobby Shriver, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, the A Very Special Christmas series has enabled Special Olympics to flourish in hard-to-reach urban centers of the United States and places across the world most in-need.

Since 1987, the A Very Special Christmas album series has changed lives by generating over $109 million in royalties in direct support of Special Olympics Programs, thanks to the generosity of top internationally acclaimed recording artists. Legends such as Bono, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder; and hot new artists like Colbie Caillat, Rascal Flatts, Jason Mraz and Carrie Underwood have all contributed their time and talent to support Special Olympics through the A Very Special Christmas series.

“The success of A Very Special Christmas has only been made possible by enormous teamwork from throughout the music industry,” shared Peter Wheeler, Special Olympics Chief of Strategic Properties. “Thank you to Big Machine Label Group for producing this year’s 25th anniversary album, Universal for its longtime support and distribution of the album, WarpSpeed for marketing the series, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment for promoting the series on-air and introducing an exclusive iHeartRadio digital radio station, Perfect Sense Digital for creating the web siteaveryspecialchristmas.org, GMC Television for telling the 25-year story, and the continued generosity of the music industry including artists, music labels, and publishers who have donated their music over the past 25 years to make Special Olympics possible in places where there is little hope for people with intellectual disabilities. It is proof that the universal language of music and sport are a successful combination for bringing joy and hope to those most in need.”

“We congratulate Special Olympics, Big Machine, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and WarpSpeed on their efforts to do well by doing good,” said Cause Marketing Forum President David Hessekiel. Over one hundred programs were entered in this year’s Cause Marketing Halo Award competition.

“In this crowded marketplace, Cause Marketing Halo Award-winning campaigns have risen to the top because of their authenticity, effectiveness in communicating a cause message and ability to generate social and financial dividends,” said Hessekiel. “These campaigns offer creative partnership solutions that leverage assets of company and cause.”

Now in their eleventh year, the Cause Marketing Halo Awards are North America’s highest honor in the field of cause marketing, awarded by the Cause Marketing Forum, a company dedicated to providing business and nonprofit executives with the practical information and connections they need to succeed. Descriptions of all the Cause Marketing Halo Award winners can be found [here](www.CauseMarketingForum.com/halo2013).