The BAFTAs - Handling PR on the red carpet

With awards season in full swing, House PR tells Kate Magee what it is like coping with the extreme pressure behind the scenes at the BAFTAs.

BAFTA red carpet: House PR
BAFTA red carpet: House PR

Disaronno was the official after-party host for this year's EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), which took place on 10 February. House PR delivered the consumer PR campaign and managed the partnership for its client First Drinks. Account director Claire Ruddock tells PRWeek about working the red carpet ...

11.30am

Team one arrives at Grosvenor House 12 hours before the party starts. Snow is forecast, so we pick up gloves for our presenter Rick Edwards who will be on the red carpet interviewing the stars. We set up in a suite overlooking the red carpet and I unpack my lucky Sharpie for scribbling notes throughout the day.

1pm

Final amendments to the guest list, after a couple of titles change who they are sending to the party.

2pm

Part of the stock order has not arrived: it has been checked and double-checked but somehow ten boxes have been left on a warehouse floor. We start calling off-licences and bars to find as much as we can within a one-mile radius.

4pm

The team arrives back with ten cases and a taxi driver who thinks we have a drink problem. The road closures for Chinese New Year mean we have covered a lot of ground on foot, in The Apprentice style.

By now team two is meeting the international guests and media for the Royal Opera House ceremony. We are on Twitter and Instagram all night tweeting details of who we spot.

Hugh Jackman is seen wolfing down cold chicken in the champagne reception, but we keep that quiet.

5pm

Team three arrives at BAFTA HQ to set up the screening Disaronno is hosting for trade guests and media - 150 goodie bags are stuffed and ready for collection.

Over at Grosvenor House, Rick is trying out the photo-booth wind machine for a behind-the-scenes video, while Shingai Shoniwa from indie rock band Noisettes lets us film her team as they agree four wardrobe changes.

9.30pm

We are red carpet-ready as 1,200 guests converge on Grosvenor House for the official dinner and Disaronno after-party.

10pm

Our red carpet team starts to turn blue with cold, so hot water bottles are sent out with a runner. I am leaning precariously out of a window to spot people as they arrive and shouting into my headset. Our beautifully crafted 'cheat sheets' have turned to pulp in the snow. Among others, Rick chats to Samuel L Jackson, Ben Affleck and Hayley Atwell.

Our colleagues who work with Charles Worthington pop in for a quick hello after escorting the official hair stylist for BAFTA up the red carpet with the actresses he has styled - Emilia Fox, Alice Eve and Jessica Raine.

11.30pm

Rick thaws out in the suite while we get shots of guests at the Disaronno branding board in the after-party.

1am

Noisettes are onstage. Cue dancing. We lean on doorframes with tired feet.

3.30am

We approve the final video content and head home.

The day after

Five hours later, we are in the office selling in news and pictures. A power cut at the photo agency means we are delayed and we liaise with the global PR team, who need images for the European media that are an hour ahead of us.

With 11 video edits ready, we hit the phones ensuring media are briefed, including on how many pomegranate seeds were required for the Disaronno BAFTA Originale cocktail (87,500 for your info). Energy levels receive a boost with the arrival of 'thank you' cupcakes from our lovely client.

The following weeks

A full review is presented to the brand manager ten days later. We double the key performance indicators set = happy client ...

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