The much maligned PR lunch is, we are told, an opportunity for
journalists and PR advisers to get their teeth into some juicy industry
gossip and a decent meal.
But the cosy tete a tete between one of our own PR Week hacks and Lee
Tomkins, managing director of Ruder Finn was rudely hijacked last week
in a bizarre case of mistaken identity.
Waiting at the restaurant table for the journalist in question (late of
course), Tomkins - who had spoken to the journalist but never seen him -
was approached by a gentleman who appeared to recognise her.
Chatting together for the next ten minutes, it slowly dawned on Tomkins
that the man next to her was not the journalist after all.
‘I thought he sounded a bit different, but you can’t always tell on the
phone and we started talking about agencies so I just assumed he was
from PR Week,’ recalls Tomkins.
In walked the gentleman’s real lunch date, who was none too impressed by
the mix-up and even more annoyed when the waiter suggested a table for
three. Only when the belated journalist finally arrived did the whole
embarrassing farce come to a close.
But red faces aside, the episode may have done some good. The impostor
turned out to be Alan Thompson, chief executive of marketing and
promotions firm IMP. Handing his card to Tomkins, he hinted that the two
should meet again. Another lunch perhaps?