A champagne start to 2011... but curry's off the menu
They say you should start as you mean to go on - so 250 advertising executives had a glass of champagne in their paws before they had even taken their coats off at the IPA President’s Reception to welcome 2011.
Outgoing IPA president Rory Sutherland held court on the balcony amid clouds of cigarette smoke, while Yahoo’s new managing director James Wildman and Initiative’s new chief executive Alex Altman exchanged notes on their "energising" challenges. "I feel like a new man," said a beaming Wildman.
Later, the IPA's director general Hamish Pringle told Bitch how he put his foot down when Sutherland tried to introduce curry to official IPA dinners - he wants the quality of catering to be comparable to that of a West End restaurant, with one industry issue debated over each course in a structured manner.
It will be interesting to observe what incoming president Nicola Mendelsohn, chairman and partner of Karmarama (below, right with Jim Carroll from BBH), has to say on the critical industry matter when she takes over in April...
Parklife: Google geniuses rock the boat
Google UK’s rivals will be entertained to know that the technology giant’s top-level coding meetings are now conducted in… a rowing boat, after executives spent presumably thousands on redecorating the office as a London park.
The company is keen to give each country’s HQ an appropriate look, so the meeting area on the third floor of the London office - known as "the genius floor" - now has a new park-themed meeting area with fake grass, a fake lake with a rowing boat (pictured below) and plenty of stripy deckchairs.
In case the geniuses get stressed, there is also an electronic massage chair, while Google’s second London office has a "Brighton" theme, complete with fake sand and dodgems. If Google’s agency leader Dominic Allon and country leader Mark Howe have a new-found spring in their step in 2011, you know the reason why…
‘Mister Cinema’s’ last media lunch
Following the sad news that Peter Howard-Williams - the industry’s "Mr Cinema" - passed away at his home in Portugal before Christmas, a few of his old friends made their way to his favourite watering hole Shampers for an impromptu wake.
The gathering started off sombrely, but there were tears of laughter after a few glasses of wine as hilarious stories emerged about "Big Pete", one of which involved an encounter with The Who’s Roger Daltrey in Langan’s.
"To say Peter enjoyed hosting a good lunch would be a mild understatement," said Pearl & Dean’s Peter Seabrook-Harris (below, third from right), who is in talks with Shampers’ owner Simon about erecting a brass plaque to Peter in the bar.
There is also a Facebook tribute page for Peter and, since many in the industry have asked about paying their respects, a "suitably social" event is planned for April/May to give the larger-than-life character the send-off he deserves. "It may be his last lunch," added Seabrook-Harris, "but it promises to be a good one".
DCM’s Martin Bowley bows out on Twitter
Meanwhile, there was a departure of a different kind in cinema this week, as Digital Cinema Media managing director Martin Bowley bowed out of the company as rumours as to the reason why swirled around the media village.
Lawyers prevent this column from elaborating on those colourful speculations, but Bowley - who enjoyed a "great day’s shooting" the day his resignation was announced - insists he did a sterling job at the cinema sales house.
As he tweeted to his 48 (and counting!) followers: "Just a courtesy tweet to say I’m leaving DCM. Think I did them a bloody good job but time to move on. See you soon. Martin." Just where that will be, however, is as yet anyone’s guess.
King bans booze for media Brits on tour
You can take media agencies out of Soho but you can’t take Soho out of media agencies, it seems, after there was a near-mutiny when the King of Abu Dhabi banned booze at the Corporate World Masters golf tournament.
Bruce McGowan and Chris Arnold from Zenith, Dave Shore from Sky Media and Marco Bertozzi from VivaKi were delighted to be selected for the World Masters after winning the Sky Media golf day… but not so delighted when the King declared a national holiday on the night of the gala dinner, making it a rather dry affair.
The group rescued the situation thanks to the hotel mini bar and an impromptu game of poker, but other players were reportedly livid, "calling for the heads of the organisers". As Bertozzi put it: "English abroad - not a pretty sight!"
Who’s Who in 2011? It’s so hard to keep up
And finally: Great there is a generous handful of new media entries for Who’s Who 2011, including Dennis Publishing’s Felix Dennis, Channel 4’s David Abraham, Grazia’s editor Jane Bruton and The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan.
Not so great, however, for the book’s publishers A&C Black, since no sooner had the new edition gone to press than newly listed Catherine Ostler, editor of Tatler, jumped ship making the whole edition out-of-date. Let’s hope Tatler’s new chief Kate Reardon stays in the role long enough to keep the 2012 printers happy.