bandwagon 2

So you wanna be startin’ something? This lot felt the need. But for the most part, they ended up imitating someone, or something, else in the process:

For capitalising on the (ho-hum) emerging phenomenon of flashmobs. (We also loved that reportedly “huge” increase the operator’s marketing budget, which was closely followed by Deutsche Telekom’s decision to sell up in the UK. Odd, that.)

Saatchi’s creative left us cold. This was a whole lot better. . .

72 Point
For alerting the media to #welovethenhs. No, really: we’ll call you. (That’s enough 72 Point. How about a bit of 9pt Times New Roman? — Ed.)

David Cameron
For his kind words re: #welovethenhs. Such a love, isn’t he?

For offering to help publishers with micropayments and paywalls. “Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, ‘open’ need not mean free.”

Now seriously: WTF?

Twitter Partners
Got no ideas for your corporate visuals? Then nick someone else’s. And include their name in your company’s name. Easy.

Tweetie and the Brain
Birds and professors in The Land Of Twee(t). Gotta love that offer to potential clients of a “weekly intelligence report showing you what’s going on out there”. Er, out where exactly? Are clients banned from searching Twitter? Or what?

Microsoft (Windows 7)
Uniquely in the history of these awards, we’ve shortlisted a company for something that has yet to happen. The company in question is Microsoft, and the something we’re anticipating is the launch of Windows 7 on 22 October. 

The idea of introducing Windows 7 to the world via hundreds of thousands of “launch parties” in the homes of ordinary people is cringe-inducing.

Charlie Brooker has dubbed the notion “so terrible that it induces an entirely new emotion”. This he calls “shitasmia” (a blend of “vertigo, disgust, anger and embarrassment”).

Colourful. But the real problems here are (a) Microsoft and (b) the effort to mix conversational marketing with experiential marketing.

Trying to jump two bandwagons at once? Hindered by an acute lack of corporate self-awareness? Why, naturally, it’s a dead cert: Windows 7 is going to fall off.

Kanye West
For daring to suggest that he might succeed Michael Jackson (may his name be revered forever) as the KoP. Mr. West, you’re no Michael Jackson.


Lovely people. But they fell victim to the colander effect.

Waggener Edstrom
The wheels seem to come off the Waggener at some points.

Lewis PR
Their inclusion is utterly irrational, because, of course. . . nothing bad ever happens at the Millbank Ivory Tower. Does it?

The Inquirer
Now, sadly, a shopfront. They should have sold it back to Mad Mike Magee when he made them an offer.

Personal Computer World
Not even a shopfront.

Computer Shopper Buyer
According to Dennis press release we saw, Shopper Buyer “winked out”, rather than going with a bang. Gotta love the way they added in the bit about it generating £5m of profit during its 18 year existence. Clearly, that James Tye knows how to write a press release. But we’d wager Shopper Buyer hadn’t seen a monthly contribution of £20K for many a year.

Right. By now, you know the form. So let’s just get on with it, shall we?

Microsoft Poland
For the year’s outstanding racist creative, which called upon Polish business leaders to “empower their people” (except, of course, for the black folk.)

Oddly, the resulting Photoshopped image featured a man with a white head and black hands. “The white head and black hand actually symbolise interracial harmony,” wrote one blogger. “It is supposed to show that a person can be white and black, old and young at the same time.”

Er. We think not.

Christina Domecq’s attempts to spin the poo flying all around became lost in translation. After so many inane puff pieces in the Sunday business sections, the downside was enormous. Is Domecq still forcing her staff to go on 22-mile bike rides before first light? We doubt it.

Not quite sure why we’ve included a pizza restaurant from East Sheen on the shortlist. Apparently, it’s no longer taking reservations. . .

The Millwall of technology news: nobody loves them, and they really don’t care. Oh, and Stop Phoul Play was a grand idea. As PC Plus (rather moderately) described the now apparently dead site: “arrogant, thick-headed, and just plain strange”.

For hashtag abuse. Iranian elections, etc.

Simon Sproule
For accepting Microsoft’s offer to become their top PR. After a few months, Redmond became unaccountably scared of the former Nissan flack and replaced him with the WaggEd account lead.

Robert “King Coal” Phillips of Edelman
For getting just a tad too uppity with the enviro protesters who targeted the firm’s HQ because of its work for EON.

Still, it’s lucky that Fox News Sky couldn’t be arsed to send a reporter to the scene. Instead, they cleverly asked Capt. Bob to write up a report for them.

Citizen journalism? Mmm. Of a kind.

Phillips’ copy accused the protesters of engaging in “cheap stunts”. How very hoity-toity. Since when, we wonder, has that been a crime?

Edelman climate protest

Tough category, this one. Refusniks ain’t what they used to be. Like polar bears, the last survivors will be the subject of an Attenborough documentary one of these days.

But still, here’s our shortlist. Oddly, many of those included either have connections with, or still earn the bulk of their money, from newspapers of the tabloid persuasion.

Why should that be the case, we wonder?

Ian Monk
For his anti-Twitter tirade in PR Weak. “Having followed various twittering dialogues, I have come to the conclusion that many, if not most, are inherently fake, either in sentiment or authorship. . . ” So nothing like the newspapers on which you worked as a journalist, then, Ian?

72 Point
Not quite refuseniks, but odd. 72 Point is owned by a regional news agency that sells copy to local newspapers in the time-honoured fashion but. . . also adds in a little bit of PR along the way. (What’s that you said about churnalism?) Strapline: “Focuses on building publicity through national newspapers”. A novel concept, we think you’ll agree. . .

304th Military Intelligence Battalion, US Army:
For alerting the world to the threat posed by twerrorists.

Burson Marsteller
For. . . well, just because, OK?

Jackie Ashley (The Guardian)
For welcoming “the decline of the twttering classes” (The Guardian, 9 August 2009)

Janet Street-Porter (Daily Mail)
For letting us know why she “hates” Facebook. (Daily Mail, 6th February 2009)

Rupert Murdoch
For describing social networking as “stalking”. And for inviting Larry Page and Sergey Brin to his ranch in California only to ask them: “Why don’t you read newspapers?”

Tim Weller (Incisive Media)
Banned his hacks from using social networking sites two years ago (shortly after acquiring VNU, funnily enough). Then, after figuring out a way of making money from Linked In, Weller finally relented this summer.

But the coneheads are still watching intently. Here’s how David Worsfold, Incisive’s group editorial services director, described the new dispensation to Press Gazette in June: “”Employees have been told to expect to be asked what they are doing, not because we are checking up, but because we want to build up our knowledge and understanding.”

Senior managers who are both ignorant and paranoid? Uh, excellent.

The Daily Mail and the Mail On Sunday
We wouldn’t want you running away with the idea that the number of bullet points appended to this nomination is in any way significant. Oh no. Anyway, we thought we’d nominate the Mail for suggesting that use of Facebook and Twitter will. . .

“Every day is a social experiment. Now fuck off.”

— Stephen Waddington


For the past year, from a secret location atop a council block in south London, our Jizzometer™ has been scanning the Twitterverse. Its finely calibrated antennae have been seeking out those who seem just a little bit too keen on covering us with sticky social love.

Steve Earl has been tending the machine day and night. (It tends to run a bit hot.)

The Jizzometer™ — yep, it’s scientific — allots extra points to those who (a) have ever bade the Twitterverse good morning and (b) who have used a pint of beer as their avatar. But if we were you, we wouldn’t take these criteria very seriously. Anyway, after lengthy and profound consideration, here’s our shortlist:

Peter Hay (PR Week)
We’ve nominated the cravat-wearing digital editor of PR Weak for crimes against our collective mental health too numerous to mention.

David Cameron (Conservative)
Too many tweets make a twat.

Michael Litman (Consolidated PR)
Litmanlive shared his irritable bowel with the world on Twitter. But we also love the following words of greeting on his blog: “Thanks for stopping by. You’re looking great today by the way.” Eeeuuuuwww.

Jonny (“OMG is Twitter down?”) Bentwood (Edelman)
In recognition of the single-minded obsession that has pushed Mr Bentwood to the furthest edge of erotic perversion sanity in search of new social measurement tools. Jonny, we salute you.

Stuart Bruce (Wolfstar)
For fuck’s sake. Do Northerners *have* to shout this loudly?

Drew Benvie (33 Digital)
Such a tease. PR’s closest equivalent to a stripper.

James Warnette (Octopus)
If he stirs, we get to know.

Tori Stokes (3 Monkeys)
The “PR girl in London who likes colours, sport, holidays, people, baking and good ideas”. What a fucking innovator.

Chris Lee
The PR who hates PRs. But loves Cornwall and the cricket.

The Other Jackie Cooper’s Dog:
Dogs can’t talk, dogs can’t tweet. Get over it.

WhiskeySour-main_FullIt’s a party. A community thing. It’s a god-given opportunity to get together, sans clients (well, there will be a few of ‘em around, but not enough to put you off your food. . .) 

The idea first came to us in 2007. One of our number was sipping a whisky sour at The Dorchester, waiting to gatecrash the PR Weak Awards.

In walked a delightful couple from North America. They’d just been to Gordon Ramsay’s place on Hospital Road. Dinner had cost them £500. It was, they said, by far the best meal they’d ever eaten.

Our man got to thinking. “For the price of a ticket to the PRWeak,” he later wrote, “I could have enjoyed the best meal of my life (and wine) in Gordon Ramsay’s top restaurant. And I wasn’t prepared to pay it.”

The price of a ticket to PR Weak Awards, that is.

Instead, we decided to hold our own awards ceremony. As TWL described our thinking back then:

It’ll be a rather more down to earth event than the alternative; it won’t take place in a flash hotel, it won’t feature a sit-down meal and you won’t need to get yourself down to Moss Bros a couple of days before. But we can guarantee that there will be some grub, plenty of booze, entertainment and a bit of a laugh…and it won’t soak up a month’s disposable income. Think the Brats not the Brits…

Thus were The Flackenhacks born. We had a great night in Piccadilly in October 2007 (here’s the video), and repeated the exercise at The Village Underground in Shoreditch in 2008.

Brattish? Well, yes. As you can see from last year’s list of award winners, conventional wisdom was the last thing on our minds when we decided how to hand out the gongs. A bottom-up view of the world has always preferable to us. .

And this year?

We’ve said farewell to the pink cocks. In a heartfelt testament to disposability, we decided to change our name. The Flackenhacks has become The Jackenhacks (in honour of the late King Of Pop).

On the evening of Wednesday 14th October, a week or so before PRWeak’s effort in the Grosvenor House, we’ll be rolling out the red carpet once again to welcome the tech PR community’s finest (and lowest) at The Dust Bar in Shoreditch.

It’s a happening place (“earthy, urban, oozing style”), with two sound systems, one downstairs, one upstairs. Sadly, Peter Whitehead won’t be joining us with his guitar (force of circumstance has intervened). But we’re understand that Pete Devery of Microsoft might put in an appearance on the decks. . .

In any event, we’ll be kicking off at 7pm. . . and continuing late into the night. Closing time? It’s 4am.

Your hosts for the evening, Wadds and Steve Earl of Speed Communications, will take to the stage at around 8.30pm to hand out the prizes. 

We’ll be running a free bar for as long as our funds hold out (which should be long enough to get you decently oiled). There will be a bunch of food from The Dust Bar’s kitchens early in the evening, and then hotdogs for the famished later on.

Courtesy of the folks from Crussh, we’ll also be handing out free smoothies all night long.

Half of the known world will be there. Not to mention to most of the best-known tech journalists this side of Silicon Valley.

Tickets, since you ask, are available here, at the absurd bargain basement post-crunch price of £35 per head. . .

What’s not to like? See you on the night, people!

The Jackenhacks must be getting close. That Brendan Cooper’s been in touch. Three times in 24 hours.

22 hours ago:
Oooh, you’re The Jackenhacks now! Bo selecta! How do I get my hands on a ticket, then?

20 hours ago:
Any chance I can blag a place? How about I give you FREE SPACE on my blog? How about I offer to clean your car? Wipe your windows?

Oooh, I know, how about I offer to help out at the front desk, like I
did when I was too late to enter last year?

Not that I’m desperate. Not yet anyway. Not officially.

20 hours ago (again):

It’s basically the same whingeing, self-pitying, keening, wheedling message as I sent you by email. [Editorial note: Huh? All of your messages to us have come via email, Brendan.]

Basically I only just found out about the Flack-sorry-Jackenhacks today and I’m too late, but it would be Fab O’Rooney if by some chance I could blag a way in somehow. Any chance? Not a chance? If it helps I’ll let you publicly lampoon me – much as you did last year…

Nah. That would be boring. But Brendan, if you’re watching, we’ve put a new batch of tickets on sale at Eventbrite since you took a peek. They’re here. Really.

Bo selecta? Fab O’Rooney? Jesus H. Christ. . .