There was a surprise start to the evening when some uninvited guests turned up. Members of anti-aviation group Plane Stupid held a sit-in before having to be forcibly removed by the police. One of the campaigners started walking around the room shouting 'no third runway', before a security guard waltzed her out of the room. If PRWeek had needed comms advice on how to deal with the 'crisis', we were certainly in the right place.
Celeb PR heavyweight Gary Farrow was on his usual entertaining form. He told Department of Health’s comms director Sian Jarvis that she looked like Keith Chegwin’s ex-wife Maggie Philbin. Farrow also told Jarvis, who by general consensus won the ‘best dressed’ award, that he wouldn’t be taking up the swine flu vaccine. ‘I don’t want your jabs,’ he shouted across the table.
Farrow also revealed nasty cuts on his leg, picked up during a weekend at News International CEO Rebekah Wade’s house. He jumped on a tandem bike with Wade’s husband and racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, but was unseated during the ride. Farrow said: ‘There’s a stewards’ inquiry into the back handlebar.' Looks like he should stick to celebrity spinning.
Ghurka Justice Campaign founder Peter Carroll and key campaigner Lynne Beaumont, who were there to collect Joanna Lumley’s Communicator of the Year award, were telling stories from the campaign. Carroll remembered a time when a group of Spanish tourists asked Lumley if they could take a picture outside 10 Downing Street. Lumley agreed and went to stand with the group. But to everyone’s amusement, the confused tourists explained they didn't want a picture of her. They were actually asking if she could take a picture of their group.
Mattel’s shortlisted entry for Barbie’s 50th Anniversary failed to land an award. But Mattel Europe comms manager Christian J. Schultz was not to be defeated, brandishing a Barbie doll with evident pride at the bar afterwards. Whoever said toys were just for children?
Meanwhile Twitter may be important in the outside world, but it's apparently not in Grosvenor House. A total lack of reception frustrated the Twitterati, including the Association of Train Operating Companies’ corporate affairs director Ed Welsh, who was trying to upload pictures of PRWeek editor Danny Rogers as he was speaking. In future, take Edelman UK CEO Robert Phillips' advice: ‘There’s one spot by the gent’s toilets that you can get reception.’ Was Phillips eager to tweet his agency’s success? Nope. He was more interested in the football results.
Congratulations to Unity for winning two awards, but did we spot an interloper when they went up to accept their gongs? For the second year in a row, Warner Bros corporate communications manager Dan Winter accompanied the agency onto the stage. Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson dubbed Winter their 'mascot'.
Do you have an interesting tale to tell from last night's awards? Post your stories below or give us a call.
If you were there on the night, find yourself in the photo gallery, if you weren't there, see who/what you missed.