PRWeek Awards 2012: Tales from the night

The PR industry may be nursing a few sore heads today after the great and the good of the comms world celebrated the PRWeek Awards 2012 with gusto at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane last night.

PRWeek Awards 2012: Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane
PRWeek Awards 2012: Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane

Performing his role of PRWeek Awards presenter with suitable verve, Graham Norton called the job of a PR professional a ‘lonely’ one in which ‘the people you call don’t want to speak to you and the ones who call are the ones you don’t want to speak to’.

And it seems he should know – the doyen of the chat show world apparently dabbled in PR himself, though when this was Flack can only speculate. Why he left the biz for national fame, accolades and A-list celeb shoulder-rubbing perhaps requires less speculation…

Among those who failed to keep their cool in the presence of the sparkly suited awards presenter were Kindred senior account manager Shona Mathew and client service director Sharon Bange. Norton had barely left the stage when the pair breached security and ran through the back stage doors to have a snap taken with the comedian. According to reports Norton ‘looked a bit bemused by the whole thing’. Flack can’t imagine why…

The spirit of the ‘summer like no other’ was brought back last night with flags, Olympics awards and even bona fide Olympic legend Lord Seb Coe making an appearance. ‘I arrived about half ten,' he told Flack, ‘and I just walked in. I gatecrashed.’ PRWeek rules the guest list with an iron rod, but it’s fair to say that Seb can gatecrash any party he likes these days…

Coe was invited by LOCOG’s comms chief Jackie Brock-Doyle, who was last night basking in the glow of not just her PR Professional of the Year Award, but a handmade Union Jack dress, comprising two polyester flags. The dress – and award – prompted a standing ovation from the audience and a ‘still flying the flag’ aside from the host.

Prompted by talk of the Spice Girls' appearance at the Olympic Games closing ceremony, head of comms at ABTA Victoria Bacon grew wistful recalling her school days. Apparently Bacon was in the year below Geri Halliwell, who came top of a talent contest they both took part in. The high-achieving PRO, however, came – how can Flack put this sensitively – fairly far from top…

Unity founders Nik Done and Gerry Hopkinson were celebrating in style after they took home three gongs. But the most poignant was their gong in the consumer category for their Marks & Spencer ‘shwopping’ campaign – particularly because the agency won the account after Done was sat next to M&S’ comms head Dominic Fry at last year’s event. Yet another beautiful coupling made at the PRWeek Awards…

The EE comms posse of Stuart Jackson and Mat Sears were surely two of the last to go to bed. They held court until the early hours detailing their favourite gigs of all time – who would have thought Jackson was such a Stevie Wonder fan?

The award for the most left-field attire surely goes to the gnome hat modelled by Ogilvy PR’s account director Blair Metcalfe last night. The agency’s ‘The Gnome Experiment’ campaign won three of the agency’s four awards. This forward planning was also picked up by Norton, who noted: ‘If he’d have had a fishing rod I’d have called him overconfident.’ MD Michael Frohlich, heroically back at the tiller this morning, told Flack: ‘We totally celebrated - I'm exhausted. It was a brilliant night.'

GolinHarris’ top brass were also feeling the love after scooping International Agency of the Year. International El Presidentes Jon Hughes and Matt Neale were leading the hugging, back-slapping and drink-buying. Hughes confided in Flack: ‘We’ve known each other for six years. There’s a lot of love there right now.’ Ah, bless…

However, the warm glow of happiness didn’t engulf the entire venue. Flack couldn’t help but notice one particular agency studiously ignoring a former client despite being, rather unfortunately, stationed on neighbouring tables.

View more coverage from the night

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