Year in review: 2010 A year in comms

We look back at the biggest comms stories of the year and award Golden Baubles to those who made a particular impression. Cathy Bussey and Kate Magee report.

New age of politics: Cameron and Clegg formed coalition
New age of politics: Cameron and Clegg formed coalition


A massive earthquake hits Haiti, killing an estimated 230,000 people and leaving one million homeless. The capital Port-au-Prince is completely devastated, with many other towns 50 to 60 per cent destroyed. An appeal for aid raises more than £100m, the second-highest amount raised in the Disasters Emergency Committee's history and topped only by the appeal following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.

Iconic British confectionery brand Cadbury agrees to a £11.5bn takeover bid from US food company Kraft. The deal comes after the Cadbury board rejects previous bids as 'derisory'.

Goldman Sachs' UK-based partners agree to cap their pay and bonuses at £1m, in an attempt to be seen to be exercising restraint, but non-partner executives still earn more than £1m each.


Toyota's global recall of faulty vehicles reaches the UK, with 180,000 cars affected by a potentially lethal accelerator fault. Worldwide millions of cars are thought to be affected. All Prius models manufactured before January 2010 are then recalled because of a braking issue.

Footballer John Terry is stripped of the England captaincy after a 'super-injunction' imposed at his request is lifted, leaving the media free to report that the £150,000 footballer had cheated on his wife with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-girlfriend of Terry's England team-mate Wayne Bridge.

Cheryl Cole announces she is to divorce her husband Ashley Cole, following fresh allegations of his infidelity.

National Bullying Helpline founder Christine Pratt reveals her charity has received calls from people working within Downing Street. Patrons of the charity resign over the fact that the helpline is supposed to be confidential.


Justice Secretary Jack Straw confirms that Jon Venables, one of the two convicted of the killing of James Bulger, is back in custody. It transpires that Venables, now 27, admitted to downloading and distributing indecent images of children. In July he is jailed for two years.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown tells the Iraq inquiry the war was 'right'. Brown's appearance follows that of Tony Blair, who says he feels 'responsibility but no regret'.

BA staff strike over changes to staffing levels, pay and working conditions. The dispute between the airline and Unite rumbles on through the year.

Nestle is criticised heavily online, following a Greenpeace viral claiming it sources palm oil from Sinar Mas, an Indonesian firm accused of illegal deforestation. The food giant eventually agrees to make its palm oil more eco-friendly.


South Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano begins erupting for the second time in a month, creating a huge cloud of ash that covers Europe's skies. Airports across the UK and Europe close, leaving passengers stranded across the globe. Most European airspace remains closed for five days. It is thought airline operators lost millions of pounds a day during the crisis.

Gordon Brown names 6 May as the date of the upcoming general election. The Conservative Party launches a series of campaigning posters, designed by M&C Saatchi and attacking the PM personally. Three leadership debates are screened on TV, leading to a surge in support for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

The PRWeek Top 150 2010, topped by Bell Pottinger, reveals PR agencies managed an average growth of 0.75 per cent in 2009.


The general election results in the first hung Parliament since 1974, with the Conservative Party lacking the seats needed to form a majority government. After talks with the Conservative and Labour parties, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg agrees to form a coalition Government with the Conservatives. Cameron takes the keys to Number 10, and Clegg becomes Deputy Prime Minister.

An explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico marks the beginning of an environmental and reputational disaster for BP, culminating in the scalp of gaffe-prone CEO Tony Hayward.


The first FIFA World Cup to be held in Africa kicks off, as hosts South Africa draw against Mexico in the first match. England begin the tournament with high hopes, but an appalling performance in the group stages sees the national team struggle to progress until finally sent home by Germany. Spain win the tournament after beating Holland in a largely uninspiring final. Arguably the greatest star to emerge is Paul the psychic octopus, who correctly 'predicts' the outcome of eight matches.

The Duchess of York attempts to rebuild her reputation after being caught offering the media £500,000 for access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew in a tabloid sting.

Chancellor George Osborne announces Britain's most important, and toughest, Budget in decades.


David Cameron launches his Big Society initiative, denying that the programme is a mask for public sector funding cuts. Cameron promises a dramatic redistribution of power 'from the elite in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street' and outlines plans for a Big Society Bank that will use money in dormant bank accounts. The media are broadly negative about the initiative, according to research commissioned by PRWeek, with comms experts criticising the initiative's confused launch during the Tories' election campaign.

BP finally confirms rumours that beleaguered CEO Tony Hayward is to leave the company.

The Times charges readers to access its web content.


Supermodel Naomi Campbell appears at a war crimes tribunal at The Hague. Campbell is alleged to have received a blood diamond from former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Her appearance generates blanket media coverage. The Outside Organisation, charged with handling the media as Campbell gives evidence, describes the PR strategy around the model's testimony as 'straightforward'.

Save The Children takes three of the UK's best-known mummy bloggers to Bangladesh to highlight child deaths from illnesses.

The Disasters Emergency Committee launches an emergency appeal to raise funds for victims of floods in Pakistan.


Ed Miliband is the surprise winner of the Labour leadership election, narrowly beating older brother David, the long-time favourite in the leadership race.

The defeated Miliband then resigns from the shadow cabinet despite his younger brother urging him to stay.

The Pope spends four days in the UK, the first time a pontiff has visited the country since 1982. The BBC devotes extensive coverage to the visit, but more than 50 academics and authors sign a letter opposing the visit due to the Vatican's record on child abuse, contraception, abortion and gay rights.


Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7 in the UK with Stephen Fry's help.

The 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days in a collapsed mine shaft are finally rescued, creating euphoric scenes that are beamed around the world. The miners are tipped to make millions from their ordeal, and it is reported that Brad Pitt's production company has made a multi-million dollar offer for the screen rights to the story of 'Los 33'.

X Factor judge Cheryl Cole is caught up in a race row after axing Zimbabwean contestant Gamu Nhengu, who is alleged to have been kicked off the show due to concerns about her immigration status. Cole later sobs her way through an interview with Piers Morgan on his Life Stories show, attracting 7.2 million viewers.


The engagement of Prince William and his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton is announced, provoking blanket ecstatic media coverage. Buckingham Palace reveals the wedding will be on 29 April 2011 and David Cameron confirms the day will be a bank holiday.

A £16 Tesco copy of the dress Kate Middleton wore for the engagement announcement is an instant sell-out.

The Independent launches i, the first national daily newspaper to be launched in nearly 25 years. Priced at 20p, the paper is aimed at readers and lapsed readers of newspapers who want a more concise product.

Freezing temperatures and snow reach the UK.


England's bid to host the World Cup in 2018 ends in humiliation as the country secures just two votes among FIFA executive members. The 2018 World Cup is awarded to Russia, and Qatar is chosen as the host of the 2022 World Cup. The media react angrily, branding the voting process a fix.

The BBC's Panorama and The Sunday Times come under fire for screening and printing investigations into corruption at FIFA in the run-up to the vote.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is remanded in UK custody after denying two counts of rape in Sweden. While the world reels from the revelations in the leaked cables, an online war escalates as proand anti-WikiLeaks groups take down several websites including MasterCard.


Golden Bauble awards

Most Surprising Pitch Win - Paratus Communications wins Vodafone - May

Least surprising pitch win - Freud Communications wins London 2012 - March

The 'we didn't think that through' award - EasyJet, for cancelling a flight to Barcelona full of hacks, bloggers and PROs heading to Mobile World Congress - February

Best self-publicist - Bell Pottinger's Peter Bingle, Twitter/blogger attention-seeker extraordinaire

'You said what?!' award - 'I want my life back' Tony Hayward, former BP CEO - May

Peer review - 'If you refuse to join a body for long enough, they make you a fellow in the end' - Lord Bell, reflecting on his PRCA fellowship - October

Stunt of the year - Greater Manchester Police records every call it receives over 24 hours on Twitter - October

Own goal of the year - The Guar dian telling its readers to back the Lib Dems, indirectly paving the way for a Tory government - May

Seizing the opportunity award - Sally Ward, headhunter for Porter Novelli's CEO vacancy, appoints herself - January

Hire of the year - Richard Sambrook from BBC to Edelman - May

Bizarre move of the year - The Freemasons hire PR support to overhaul their 'secret society' image, then refuse to give PRWeek any details of the account - June

Embarrassing moment of the year - Legendary PR man Quentin Bell repeatedly failing to gain access to the men's toilets at Wimbledon station after a long lunch at Daphne's - May

Quote of the year - 'I regard Fiona as a princess of the PR industry. It's not her fault that Cohn & Wolfe seems to have been more of a pumpkin than a coach for her' - Weber Shandwick CEO Colin Byrne on new hire Fiona Noble - September

PR spat of the year - Alastair Campbell vs Adam Boulton live on Sky news during the general election - May

Economical with the truth award - denied a pitch review was taking place for two months until it appointed an agency - July

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