The organisers of PR Showcase expect between 2,500 and 3,000
visitors to converge on London’s Royal Horticultural Halls and
Conference Centre for the three days of the event. The show, which takes
place from 5-7 July, will offer a programme of 60 seminars delivered by
industry speakers, each lasting for approximately 90 minutes.
There will also be around 70 exhibitors at the show. Exhibitors include
suppliers such as media directory producer Mediadisk, broadcast
consultant Radio Lynx, press clipping bureau Romeike and Curtice and
media training and video production consultancy Hillside Studios.
In addition, there is a three-day calendar of social events, covering
everything from a ’get to know you’ singles party to a Scalectrix toy
motor racing championship, plus an internet cafe and a business bookshop
on site (see panel, p18).
Richard John, managing director of event organiser RJA Events, says that
the last time the industry assembled for an event of this nature was for
PR Index in 1985.
’The industry desperately needs an event like PR Showcase,’ he says.
’The PR industry is no good at promoting itself. It’s a case of the
cobbler’s wife is always the one without shoes.’
John believes that PR Showcase will attract a broad church of PR
The event, he says, is aimed at both agency and in-house practitioners
at every level, from account executives to account directors.
’PR Showcase is aimed at everyone. It can even be used as a top-up
training session, the emphasis being on short, sharp bursts of
training,’ says John.
He is also keen to point out that PR Showcase gives as much weight to
the suppliers as it does to the speakers. John explains that the ’pick
and mix’-style seminar programme will give visitors the flexibility to
make the most of the event’s other attractions. Because visitors pay
only for the seminars they want to attend, they should not feel
compelled to remain in the auditorium for the whole day.
The event is being officially sponsored by Hollis Directories, supported
by the Guardian, AdCity, Mediadisk and Showcase Communications, and is
being endorsed by PR associations including the PRCA, ICO, IPRA, The
Public Relations Standards Council and the IPR.
The seminar programme includes a session from Chris Genasi, the head of
corporate division at Shandwick Welbeck. He will be discussing the power
of corporate citizenship, investigating PR disasters of the 1990s, and
underlining the importance of creating and managing a strong corporate
reputation. Genasi will also talk about how to implement an effective PR
strategy to protect the reputation and competitive edge of an
organisation or client.
Brendan Barns, managing director of Speakers For Business, will be
running a seminar entitled: ’How to book a speaker and why’. Public
speakers, including UK entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe and management guru
Professor Richard Scase, will provide a step-by-step guide on how to get
the most out of using business or motivational speakers. Other seminars
include a session by Claudia Downes, director of Radio Lynx, entitled
’Radio 2000’, which covers ’Everything you wanted to know about radio
(but were too afraid to ask)’, and a workshop by The Michael Bland
Communication Consultancy on preparing a workable strategy for handling
The role that PR can play in the branding process will be covered by
Simon Quarendon, chief executive of The Words Group. The seminar is
aimed in-house PR staff and marketing managers.
Communicating corporate ethics and values will be covered in ’It’s good
for business’, led by a team from Fishburn Hedges.
Graham Lancaster, chairman of Biss Lancaster, will be running a session
entitled: ’Half the PR budget is wasted (especially on international
PR). Find out which half.’ He will look at ways of focusing the budget
for maximum effect, and will address the importance of measuring PR
Lancaster, a writer of spy thrillers and management books, will be among
other industry authors available for book signings.
Technology and the new millennium is a theme for many speakers at the
event. Anthony Hayward, group chief executive of Bulletin International
will deliver a seminar entitled ’Trimediality: PR in the year 2000’.
It will investigate why the communications revolution in cable,
satellite, digital, the internet and the merging of television with
computer technology is creating a new PR environment and how it will
change the way business is conducted.
Graham Jones, director of Aspect, will use his session to argue: ’Don’t
use the internet - exploit it’. He will look at how the World Wide Web
can be used as more than a place to publish press releases. Meanwhile,
Alison Radovanovic of Media Information and Milverton Wallace of City
University will host a seminar entitled ’The new media: findings from
Net Media ’99’. The pair will discuss research carried out by Mori and
City University into the current use of new media by journalists for
research, information gathering and publishing purposes.
Ruth Wicks, head of marketing at the New Millennium Experience Company
will talk about the PR opportunities connected with the Millennium Dome
at Greenwich in London. Her session is entitled ’Preparing for the time
of our lives - the new millennium’.
Stuart Maister, senior vice-president of Medialink International, is
both an exhibitor and a guest speaker. His session will be on ’Building
a broadcast strategy in the digital age’. Maister says his talk will
address the media’s ’massive hunger for content’ and describe how
organisations such as Medialink International can help deliver content
to digital TV and radio platforms.
Medialink will also be taking the opportunity to show its latest
product, TeleTrax, at the event. Maister claims the system is the first
to electronically ’watermark’ video and track its usage by broadcasters
throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. ’It introduces digital video
monitoring and real-time broadcast tracking to the international public
relations, broadcasting, program syndication and advertising
industries,’ he says. The system invisibly stamps video with a unique
identifying code when it is produced, transmitted, duplicated or
broadcast. Receivers tuned to various broadcast signals detect the code,
thereby proving usage.
Medialink will also use the show to announce the development of
Medialink.com - a comprehensive, one-stop internet portal for the
delivery of corporate, business and consumer news to on-line news sites
around the globe.
Due to launch across the US and UK this autumn, the portal will
distribute press releases, live webcasts, digital photographs, corporate
graphics, financial information and other content required by on-line
Among the other exhibitors is PR Newswire. The company was formerly
known as Two-Ten Communications, part of the Press Association, until it
was bought at the end of June by United News and Media.
Amanda Alexander, UK sales and marketing director, says she is keen to
use PR Showcase to raise the profile of the company’s new name as well
as to preview forthcoming products.
’It is very important for us to get our new name out into the industry
and to reassure people we are still providing the same services,’ she
’We also want to showcase new products, including a multifunctional,
flexible contact management tool called MediaManager. It will be
launched in September and will replace our existing electronic media
management system, Targeter Gold.’
Alexander says MediaManager will offer clients more sophisticated search
options, a wider range of reporting functions, and a more user-friendly
front-end. Key features include simple mail merge, forward features
tracking, and electronic distribution operations.
The system will also incorporate extra functions developed specifically
for the European market, such as the facility to list contact data by
town or region and to seamlessly import customers’ own contact
Press cuttings agency Durrants will also have a stand at PR Showcase, at
which it plans to announce details of a new service to clients.
Managing director Tony Law says: ’We’ve been offering a press cuttings
service since 1880 and, by popular request, we are now branching out
into broadcast media.’
Law says Durrants will be offering existing clients an automatically
faxed alert service which will relate to items in their briefs covered
in the national broadcast media. ’Clients can then fax back their
request and receive a tape or transcript on the same working day at half
the price commonly charged in the industry,’ says Law.
The service will initially cover London, and will roll out to regional
stations by the end of the year.
Also exhibiting is Mantra. Brian Moore, sales and marketing partner,
says PR Showcase will provide the opportunity for his company to
announce new features in its Mantra Quick media evaluation software.
Launched two years ago, the system is used by in-house and agency
clients, including Freud Communications. Moore says: ’The new features
include increased efficiency and message tracking in press and
broadcast, increased output, and the ability to measure coverage in up
to four different search fields, by source, author, subject or
Mantra partner Michael Fermand will also be speaking at the event on the
benefits of media evaluation for clients.
PR Showcase has already been confirmed for the same venue in 2000, and
RJA Events’ John plans to make the event ’at least’ an annual
’We’ve even had interest from overseas organisations about holding
similar events abroad,’ he says.
- Entry to the exhibition is free on completion of a registration
Seminars cost around #15 each.
INSIDER TIPS DISCOVER YOUR STAR POTENTIAL
Media Training Masterclass is offering a complimentary taster as part of
the event’s programme of side-shows and social events. Insider tips and
advice on how to brush up your performance will be given on the
Warwick Partington, course director of Media Training Masterclass, has
taken a stage to the Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre for
the three-day event. It has been equipped with TV cameras, lights and
’Visitors will be given a quick debrief to find out which hot topic they
would like covered,’ he says. Following a mock TV interview, visitors
will be sent to the debriefing room where their performance will be
Here they will be given advice on improving delivery, dealing with stage
fright, handling aggressive journalists and avoiding difficult
’The most common pitfall is not getting the right message across,’ says
Partington. ’We also look at voice patterns as a tool, plus non-verbal
communication - your mouth, body and hand movements should reinforce the
Partington, whose clients include BMW Rover Group, BT, Cadbury and BUPA,
hopes the experience may lead some to take a full course in TV and radio
skills. Areas include broadcast news interviews, corporate TV and crisis
Visitors will be given a video recording of their performance.
The company is based at the BBC Training and Development Centre, in Wood
FUN OF THE FAIR SIGNINGS AND SINGLES NIGHTS
A three-day calendar of social events is set to brighten up the show,
organised by Showcase Communications, the firm managing the event’s
The programme kicks off on 5 July when Absolutely Fabulous lookalikes
Edina and Patsy will officially open proceedings at 6pm. On the evening
of 7 July, the event’s main party will be held at the Soundshaft in
London’s Charing Cross.
Organised by partnership agency TS2K in support of Breakthrough Breast
Cancer, invitations are limited to some 300 guests.
Another party has been been arranged for 6 July. Pitched as a singles
night it is dubbed ’an evening of romance’, is being aimed at
professionals who work such long hours they find it difficult to make
the time to meet a partner.
A number of side-shows have been organised, including a Scalextric toy
motor racing championship. Hobbs is also planning to stage an event in
which a leading PR professional will be pitted against a high-profile
An internet cafe will help PR people investigate new media opportunities
and there will be a bookshop on site.