Flack at the PRWeek Awards 2011: Tales from the big night

There will be more than a few sore heads this morning after the UK PR industry descended on the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane for the PRWeek Awards 2011.

PRWeek Awards 2011: Grosvenor House Hotel
PRWeek Awards 2011: Grosvenor House Hotel

There will be more than a few sore heads this morning after the UK PR industry descended on the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane for the PRWeek Awards 2011

More than 1,200 of the industry’s great and good were at the 'Oscars' of the UK PR industry, partying into the small hours…

After a turn from comic Tim Minchin, the event was ably hosted by former Number 10 comms chief Alastair Campbell. The man who popularised spin kicked off proceedings in magnanimous fashion - by giving a ‘sincere and heartfelt’ apology on behalf of himself and Peter Mandelson for tarring everyone in the profession with the spin doctor brush.

A popular winner was Communicator of the Year and Blackpool Football Club manager Ian ‘Ollie’ Holloway. Top PR man Mark Borkowski tweeted from the ceremony: ‘Genius PRWeek Award for the god of Cadbury Heath Ian Holloway -he's been anointed communicator of the year - he beat some stuffy old gits.’

'Ollie' picked up his award following a montage of his interview ‘greatest hits’, prompting the first of a few football-related digs from Campbell. ‘I hope that’s the only thing he wins this week,’ said Campbell, adding that Holloway’s Blackpool face his beloved Burnley in a few days’ time.

Campbell may not have always seen eye-to-eye with former PM Gordon Brown, but evidently has no such problems with the rest of the Brown clan judging my the big hug he gave EDF Energy’s comms chief Andrew Brown – Gordon’s brother-  when his team picked up Private Sector Department of the Year.

As usual, some winners managed to misplace their awards. W Communications was found searching the Red Bar in the early hours for their missing trophy, finding it in the capable hands of PRWeek’s account manager Barney Payne. Meanwhile Mischief PR’s award was found unaccompanied at its table post-ceremony.

LD Communications MD Claire Singers revealed that she has a rock star husband – Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, who has recently been back on the road with the Bryan Ferry-fronted 70s band to celebrate their 40th anniversary. ‘I remember our first meeting,’ recalled Singers, who was at the time already partnered up. ‘He walked into the office looking tall and handsome and I thought "Oh dear…."’

Flack also likes a comms director that lives his or her brand. So top marks to Dominic Fry, director of comms at good old M&S. The dapper Fry, resplendent in a blue crushed velvet jacket, insisted he would forsake Versace and Gucci to wear M&S from top to toe. Fry is waiting in the wings as a replacement if Ryan Reynolds doesn’t fancy the job long-term.

Not to be outshone, consumer PR boss Alan Twigg had some sharp cuts of his own on display. Twigg launched consumer PR agency The Light Brigade this week and was resplendent in a Hussars uniform jacket and tartan trousers. However, when asked by a fellow guest whether he was a big fan of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' author Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Twigg gave the poet a rather shorter and more direct review than he was probably accustomed to in the nineteenth century.

As the champagne continued to flow, Flack spied at least three inebriated PROs face-planting as a result of a well-placed red light at the side of the dancefloor. It was an entertaining diversion from the enthusiastic shapes being thrown to Glee’s Don’t Stop Believing.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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