Awards ceremony whets appetite for next year already

LONDON - The Media Week Awards night, which took place at a glitzy ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair last Thursday, sometimes begs as many questions as answers. Will the comedian make himself heard above the raucous crowd? Answer: Frankie Boyle kept the room under control for 15 minutes - no mean feat as several entertainers from previous ceremonies and your humble correspondent can testify.

Steve Barrett is editor of Media Week
Steve Barrett is editor of Media Week

Where are TalkSport's awards trophies? Answer: a search party has been dispatched after the radio firm celebrated so hard it "misplaced" its Media Brand of the Year, Sales Pitch Niche silver and Sales Pitch Large bronze trophies somewhere in central London.

And what were Manchester City footballers Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge doing at the OK!-sponsored awards after-party less than 72 hours before a match? Answer: who knows, but they were less than impressive in City's 0-0 draw with Birmingham on Sunday.

Some questions answered themselves. Few disagreed with the judges' view it was Mediaedge:cia's turn to be crowned Media Agency of the Year. Chief executive Tom George and his team have transformed WPP's former weakling into a media powerhouse, winning the prestigious Orange account among £130m of new business in the awards period. MEC has kicked off this year in similar style, winning Lloyds and retaining Danone, and will mount a robust defence of its title.

Sales Team of the Year was much closer and it is a tribute to Nick Bampton and Viacom Brand Solutions that it won top sales gong for the second year. Judges were impressed with VBS's entrepreneurial and proactive approach to setbacks, such as the ban on HFSS advertising, which particularly hit Nickelodeon and MTV. This was reflected in its work for Ella's Kitchen, which won Sales Pitch Medium.

TalkSport has turned itself around since some dark days a few years ago and thoroughly deserved its Media Brand of the Year success. WPP's MediaCom also had another good year, winning Grand Prix and Media Idea Large for Mars Galaxy, Media Idea Niche for NatWest "Teens Adapt" and International Campaign for Herbal Essences.

It was a great year, with the winners rising above the recessionary gloom to set the bar extremely high for next October's renewal, which we are already looking forward to.

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