The last time we entered the PR Week Awards was fifteen years ago. Then, we won the award for Best Promotional Activity for a publicity stunt that involved a circus and a clown. It was a well-earned award, beating Freud’s Planet Hollywood campaign.
For many reasons, however, we have not entered since then. This year, however, our new business director, Suresh Raj, thought it would be a good idea to put forward our Wispa campaign for Best Digital Innovation. So the team and assorted clients turned up to the Grosvenor House Hotel last night to eat rubbery lamb and sip mediocre red wine and quaff catering champagne, not expecting to win the award.
The evening was chaotic. I met loads of old pals and was pleased to see Nick Band, as I mistakenly thought he had died a couple of years ago. The Awards floorshow came from Bill Bailey, who was extraordinarily good. His best line was: “I don’t trust joggers, they’re the ones who always find the dead bodies”. I think he was warned at least twice not to take the piss out of the PR trade via hastily scribbled note-lets.
I have a huge amount of respect for Colin Byrne but, if I am completely honest, I wasn’t too enthused when the Product and Promotion Marketing and Communications Award went to Weber Sandwich for a patio heater campaign, on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust, beating what was without a doubt one of the best campaigns of last year; the Homer Simpson effigy next to the Cerne Abbas chalk giant staged by Beatwax.
I was blown away, however, when we were given the Digital Innovation award for our Wispa campaign. Danny Rogers, the editor of PR Week, noted that the Cadbury’s Wispa campaign stood out because it expertly harnessed social media to great sales effect.
I had to scoot off early, content that we had achieved something significant. To my amazement, twenty minutes later I received a call from Suresh saying we’d been awarded the Gold Award for Campaign of the Year for our Bring Back Wispa campaign. I was gob-smacked and delighted.
I suppose, if we’d lost, that I might be bleating about how unfair and biased the awards were, but clearly they’re not! It was fantastic to hear that some of the Borkowski team disgraced themselves on stage and that our MD had a Jimmy Bullard moment, skidding across the stage on his hands and knees to take the award from Bill. One sobering thought was that I had to pick up an extraordinary bar bill, which underlined the drunken celebrations that went on until the early hours.
That said, I am blessed with some extraordinary people who work tirelessly to forge campaigns. It’s wonderful to have that recognized by the industry.