A public relations campaign by a trade group for debt collectors has been nominated for an award.

"Ask Doctor Debt," created by the ACA International Education Foundation, is among three finalists in the category for national campaigns done "On a Shoestring" budget for this year's PR News Platinum PR Awards.

The collectors' campaign beat out thousands of other corporate, association and public relations agency entrants from around the nation. (The foundation is billed as the philanthropic arm of the trade group, ACA International, which is based in Minneapolis.)

"Ask Doctor Debt" uses a "Dear Abby"-style format to answer consumers' credit questions online. Launched in April, the site attracted more than 18 million viewers and garnered about $865,000 worth of free publicity during its first 60 days online, according to the trade group.

National media coverage included spots on the ABC News Now channel, Fox Business Channel, ABC News Worldwide Radio and Fox News Channel, which subsequently made "Ask Doctor Debt" a regular Friday segment on its "Happening Now" program.

The winner of the award will be announced in October.

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