PRWeek’s Alternative Awards 2015 – an irreverent glance back on the year

Which political bruiser saw his attempt at satirical humour backfire spectacularly? Which high-profile public figure was accused of “verbal ectoplasm”? And which PR chief bears a striking resemblance to a certain former Neighbours actor? We reveal all in PRWeek’s Alternative Awards 2015.

Best PR response of the year

Is this the future of press statements? Google caused eyebrows to raise in March when in response to a request from a Daily Dot reporter about whether YouTube planned to enter livestreaming, the digital giant shunned the usual written statement in favour of this adorable gif:

Best cunning stunt

Lots to choose from here, but the PRWeek editorial team (and Power Book entrants) doff their collective hat to the inventive team from NHS Blood and Transplant with PR agency MHP and digital shop Twenty Six Digital playing crucial roles. High profile brands and even government institutions agreed to remove the letters A and O from their signage to highlight blood shortages ahead of National Blood Week.

Not-so cunning stunt

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell no doubt thought it was hilarious when he quoted from Chinese communist tyrant Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book during a parliamentary debate on the Government’s spending review. In an attempt to make a point about George Osborne’s attempts to sell off state assets to the Chinese, McDonnell instead gave right-wing newspapers and commentators an early Christmas present as they look for any reason to characterise Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour as the party of the ‘loony left’. Oh dear.

U-turn (or fib) of the year

July: Asked about rumours that Omnicom agencies FleishmanHillard and Fisburn were to merge, Jim Donaldson, MD of FleishmanHillard UK (pictured below with Fishburn’s Ali Gee), told PRWeek: “Not at this stage. There is no truth to the rumours about Fleishman.”

November: Omnicom PR agencies FleishmanHillard and Fishburn confirmed plans to merge their UK operations, creating a new entity called FleishmanHillard Fishburn.

Outstanding contribution to PR blather

Not from a PR person, but that’s almost the point. During her grilling by MPs in October, Kids Company’s ex-CEO Camila Batmanghelidjh (pictured below with charity chair Alan Yentob) was asked where millions of pounds of funding to the charity had gone. “It was conceptualised,” was her baffling answer, and one that led to accusations of a “verbal ectoplasm”. Batmanghelidjh later told PRWeek she did not believe in PR or branding. Need we say more?

Cheesy profile picture of the year

Steffan Williams, newly appointed group MD at Porta Communications. For the bowl of roses, really.

Lookalike of the year

Left is Paul Haugen, senior partner, planning director EMEA at FleishmanHillard, next to actor Alan Dale, best known to UK audiences as Jim Robinson from Australian soap Neighbours. Uncanny.

Silliest name for a PR agency

Ok, not strictly speaking a new agency, but Australian consumer PR shop One Green Bean made its debut in these shores in January, complete with an eccentric name in the best PR tradition. By all accounts, One Green Bean, part of Havas Worldwide and led by Matt Buchanan and Kat Thomas (pictured below), has had a good 2015 in the UK, with client wins including Costa Coffee (which makes sense… bean, coffee… oh, never mind). Still, though. That name.

Story first appeared on the PR Week website –