DIARY: Mistaken identity and gambling fever at Communication Directors' Forum

Fun and games aboard the Oriana, the P&O cruise liner that last week played host to the 2003 Communication Directors' Forum as 300 in-house PROs were relentlessly sold to by 50 or so exhibiting companies.

Among the less likely pairings in the face-to-face sessions were consumer firm Shine Communications spending time with Bechtel.

Agency MD Rachel Bell asked to see the representative of the American engineering giant that is currently rebuilding Iraq - on the basis that it was a yoghurt company whose products she could easily get into the lifestyle press. Bless.

If that was the worst piece of luck/judgment on board, the best took place in the casino, where assorted industry bigwigs competed to lose their shirts as fast as possible. Staying resolutely dressed was UEFA comms director Mike Lee, the envy of the ship for winning £1,200 on the poker table on the first night.

But the biggest winners were Lexis PR. They weren't even on the Oriana; they were training nearby for a forthcoming yacht race, but stole the show with a sail-by parade, bearing the legend: 'We leave other agencies in our wake.' Classy move.

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