Xmas Party Round-up - Agencies prepare for Xmas parties

It is the final PRWeek of 2006 and Diary is positively salivating at the prospect of blagging some top invites and freebies, as the festive season moves into full swing.

Surely it must be a better haul than the chocolate-smeared sprouts dispatched our way by Exposure a couple of years ago.

Some research proved that serious creativity is being applied to the agency parties this year...

KETCHUM INSPIRED BY BOND

Ketchum, for example, is holding a James Bond-themed event next Thursday, with the best-dressed attendee bagging a 'luxury gift'.

CEO David Gallagher declines to reveal more, saying: 'I don't want loads of blaggers, including Diary, showing up to drink our precious liquor' (fair enough, David).

Weber Shandwick was holding a party this Wednesday at London's Alibi club with the theme 'red, white and bling'. An X-Factor-style contest, somewhat unimaginatively badged 'WS Factor', was also planned.

Staff at Burson-Marsteller, meanwhile, are to convene in its ground-floor cafe/bar on 14 December. The area is being decorated to resemble 'Santa's grotto', and there will be an Xmas-themed quiz inspired by cult gameshow Going for Gold.

JCPR IN SONG AND DANCE

Financial Dynamics' party in London is strictly 'no fancy dress - same as last year', according to details eased our way, while 'all individual practices' are doing their own thing at Bell Pottinger (not very Collective, chaps).

Jackie Cooper PR and its parent firm Edelman, meanwhile, have a bash planned next Tuesday at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. JCPR founding partner Jackie Cooper lets on: 'There will be elegance and glamour and we will be partying on down in an Art Deco style.

'There is also a surprise cabaret moment planned with an exclusive "Cooperette" dance performance featuring some secret JCPR staff talent.'

FH GETS ITS SKATES ON

Fishburn Hedges' celebration is an informal, family affair, with ice-skating, an in-house Father Christmas and carol singers.

FH declined to name the Santa-to-be, revealing only that the 'honour' traditionally falls to the most recent male to have joined the agency (shame, as Diary would have made Marc Moninski or Ron Finlay shoo-ins for the role).

EdenCancan has joined the likes of Cohn & Wolfe (Diary, 1 Dec) in getting its bash out of the way in late November.

It even managed to secure red-top coverage on the back of its party last Thursday when client Michelle Heaton joined a host of fellow celebs singing along to a 'glamouroke' at London's Embassy nightclub.

OUTSIDE STAYS LOW-KEY

The Outside Organisation is planning a nosh-up at the Charlotte Street Hotel. CEO Alan Edwards hopes it will be 'low key but classy'.

Pharma specialist Virgo Health PR is partying this Thursday at Sugar Reef in central London. Its joint MD Angie Wiles reveals: 'We have to go out and find some male talent as we only have three men and 30 girls!'

Frank PR is celebrating Christmas at, er, Walthamstow greyhound track, where the agency's own mutt - Flying Frank - will be racing.

Chairman Graham Goodkind tells Diary that the canine cruiser was bound to be popular under the mistletoe if he romps home in first place, quickly adding: 'Obviously I mean popular for pats, rather than kisses.' Obviously, Graham.

Two agencies - Freud Communications and Hill & Knowlton - are remaining suspiciously coy. H&K's event is slated for next Tuesday, but further details remain under wraps. Head of business development Alex Mason will only say: 'We've kept much of it a surprise for staff. Thanks for asking us, though.'

Just doing our job, Alex.

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