Awards ran gamut from Sheffer to Jolie to Monroe

We're so proud the PRWeek Awards dinner is regarded as the industry's big night of the year and the Oscars of the PR world - the buzz in the room is unparalleled, and last night's event was no exception.

We're so proud the PRWeek Awards dinner is regarded as the industry's big night of the year and the Oscars of the PR world - the buzz in the room is unparalleled, and last night's event was no exception.

The Oscar theme kicked off early with our esteemed chair of judges, GE's Gary Sheffer, showing his right leg on stage Angelina-style to make a point about information and communications moving at a blindingly fast pace and the associated implications for communicators trying to stand out above the noise.

Angelina's Right Leg quickly garnered 45,000 followers on Twitter after she flashed it at the Oscars, and Sheffer's Right Leg was also trending on Twitter shortly after his demonstration, though some observers pondered whether he had been working too hard as his leg was so pale under the lights it was clear he hadn't exactly been holidaying in Barbados this winter.

The hard work certainly paid off for Sheffer and his GE team though, as they took home the prize for In-house PR Team of the Year. The evening was also a triumph for Omnicom PR agency Ketchum, which won Best Agency and Best Large Agency, and its longstanding client IBM, which took home Campaign of the Year for its Watson Jeopardy!-winning computer initiative.

Ketchum CEO Ray Kotcher had his own Angelina story, as he recounted how he hung out with her at Davos a few years back and got to know Ms Jolie reasonably well. But Kotcher was trumped by Harold Burson, who told of his dealings with Marilyn Monroe at 20th Century Fox in the late-50s and early 60s.

Burson also numbered Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli amongst his celebrity clients. Game, set and match to the PR legend, who was fêted by the audience and enjoyed constant streams of Burson alum and young pros wanting to get their pictures taken with one of the founding fathers of PR.

Two of those youngsters were the finalists in the Student of the Year category, won by the very impressive Keri Cook from Liberty University, who judges said they would “put in front of a client tomorrow.”

It's always good to recognize the emerging talent in the industry and another of my favorite winners was Fahlgren Mortine's Cari Steiner, who won Young PR Professional of the Year, proving you don't have to work at one of the large network big city agencies to be successful at the PRWeek Awards.

All in all, it was a great evening and a tribute to the quality, good health, and depth of the industry. Do catch up on all the winners, pictures, and gossip from the event and there will be video to follow in due course.

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