Flack on Friday: members' club madness, (non)hairy encounter, creative campaigning

In Flack this week: PR chiefs riled against members' clubs, and have we - really, actually - moved beyond peak beard?

Chips are down for members' club regulars

The esoteric world of London private members’ clubs felt close to meltdown this week as the elite of the PR business fell into open revolt.

Flack can bring you the earth-shattering exclusive that Taylor Herring boss, James Herring has resigned his membership of The Groucho Club. Yes, you read that correctly.

Herring, who almost defines the adjective ‘clubbable’, cut up his long-held Groucho card in disgust after Soho’s most famous hangout "more than doubled my membership fees in the past year, offering a few paltry free meals in compensation".

And he is not the only creative guru to rebel. Word reaches Flack that W’s Warren Johnson, who remained a Groucho member as PRWeek went to press, recently threw his Negroni out of his pram at the club after being told that there was a two-hour limit on an evening dinner table. Michael Winner must be turning in his grave.

Just across the road on Dean Street this week, Hope&Glory co-founders James Gordon-Mackintosh and Jo Carr were literally speechless when Soho House ran out of chips on Wednesday.

Imagine our innovative duo’s amazement as ready to order their lunchtime sustenance, a sheepish waiter announced that ‘owing to a gas shortage’ (not usually a problem at Soho House – Ed) there would be no fried food served at Soho House on Dean Street that day.

Strangely, however, Flack can report that Unity’s former co-boss Nik Govier – also spotted lunching in Soho House on Wednesday – seemed totally unfazed by this calamity. The only explanation being that her diet must preclude such delicious salty sides.

This could be a story that runs and runs. Unsubstantiated rumours already reach PRWeek’s news desk of a looming avocado shortage at Quo Vadis.

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Creative encounter

Flack spent Thursday afternoon in the company of the newly-appointed mentees for the Creative Mentoring Project, the joint initiative with the PRCA that seeks to encourage creative talent in UK PR.

There was much excitement at the prospect of meeting their mentors, although Flack heard of an introduction that had an extra twist. Apparently one had already met their guru – when they interviewed the mentee for a job, in fact, although the creative chief had forgotten.

Such is life. Flack hears the two laughed it off, thankfully.

Where are the creative (mutton) chops?

Is this proof that, after many a false dawn, we have now moved beyond ‘peak beard’ in the creative community?

Looking around the drinks reception for mentors and mentees at Unlimited Group’s Soho HQ last night, the lack of facial hair on show was striking. Flack counted just four fuzz-faced gentlemen at a gathering of almost 30 of the most accomplished creative figures in UK PR, plus as many up-and-coming creative types. (The gender split was around 50/50, FYI).

By this assessment, creative comms is facing a bare-faced future. Gillette must be ecstatic.

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New order

As new research suggests drinking rates in the UK are declining sharply, here’s a sign-of-the-times note from Lansons chief Tony Langham:

There, but for the grace of god

A timely reminder of the nature of political campaigning in the US ahead of next month’s mid-term elections came in the form of this short film doing the rounds on social media this week.

Dripping with bitter sarcasm throughout, the film features fictitious senate election candidate Gil Fulbright who explains what Americans are really voting for when they put their ‘x’ in the box.

Flack’s personal favourite: "This campaign? It’s not about me. It’s about crafting a version of me that will appeal to you. A version that visits random worksites with paid actors, pointing at things."

Let’s not try this at home folks.  

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