Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Football and Rugby Player of the Year Awards

Two of the most coveted sets of awards in professional sport were announced recently as both Rugby Union and European Football celebrated the best players of the past year. At the weekend Paris was the venue for the International Rugby Board (IRB) Awards. Hosted at the Pavillon d'Armenonville, this prestigious ceremony was attended by some of the great names of rugby's past and present including IRB Awards panellists Gavin Hastings, Michael Jones, Fabien Galthie and John Eales, British Lions Manager Bill Beaumont and former All Black captain Colin Meads. All Black player Daniel Carter was named IRB Player of the Year while his New Zealand teammates were honoured with the Team of the Year Award. All Blacks coach Graham Henry also picked up the Coach of the Year Award. Among other awards announced at the event were IRB Under-21 Player of the Year and IRB Under-19 Player of the Year Awards, which went to Australia's Tatafu Polota-Nau and New Zealand's Isaia Toeava respectively. The IRB Sevens Team of the Year was presented to current Sevens Rugby World Cup champions Fiji, with New Zealand's Orene Ai'i named as Sevens Player of the Year. Some notable honours were also announced at the IRB Awards: the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service went to former Wallaby Peter Crittle, while administrator Sir Tasker Watkins was presented with the IRB Chairman's Award. The Spirit of Rugby Award was presented to the former French forward Jean Pierre Rives. Paris was also the venue as the soccer world honoured its players on Monday with the announcement of the 2005 European Footballer of the Year. This prestigious award, which includes the gilt-plated 'Ballon D'or' trophy, was presented to the Brazilian player Ronaldinho. The Barcelona midfielder is the 50th player to be named European Footballer of the Year in the awards which are run by the magazine France Football. Winners are selected by a poll of soccer journalists from each of European football's 52 association members. Two English players, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, were voted second and third respectively. In 1995 the eligibility for the European Footballer of the Year Award was changed to allow players from any nation to be eligible, as long as they played for a European team. Since this change, five of the ten awards have gone to non-European players, starting with George Weah in 1995 and including the Brazilians Ronaldo (winner in both 1997 and 2002) and Rivaldo.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Van of the Year Awards

Here's a thought: is it better for sector or industry awards to be clustered within a short time-frame, or to spread them out across the year? By clustering events within the same week, it could be argued that the larger media organisations may be more likely to cover the events; by spreading them out, it helps differentiate the various awards (and their sponsors) and marks them out as separate events and honours. This question arose last week as two different UK van of the year awards were announced. The What Van? Awards were presented at a ceremony in London's Sketch restaurant and gallery on Thursday. What Van? magazine is the UK's largest dedicated van magazine with a readership that includes owners, operators and transport managers. The awards were judged by the magazine's editorial team and based in part on the driving appraisals and road tests conducted by What Van? over the previous 12 months. For the record, the 2005 What Van? Van of the Year Award was won by the Iveco Daily. Meanwhile the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) also revealed its 2005 Fleet Car and Vans of the Year Awards this week. These awards have been running for 22 years and are judged by a poll of ACFO members. ACFO believes that this approach distinguishes its awards and contributes to their prestige within the industry. As the organisation says on its website: "ACFO believes that its Fleet Car and Vans of the Year Awards are highly prized by vehicle manufacturers, because they are based on members' detailed day-to-day operating experience of vehicles actually in use in their fleets, over a minimum 12-month period. This provides a clear separation of the ACFO poll from many others: it relies on hard, practical experience rather than 'showroom appeal'." For the record, the Ford Transit won the ACFO Fleet Panel Van of the Year award for 2005, the 11th year in succession that the Transit has won this accolade. The ACFO Fleet Card or the Year award went to the Vauxhall Astra. Whether the timing of the ACFO and What Van? awards helped to boost the coverage for these winners, or diluted the prestige of each honour, is still up for debate.

Friday, November 25, 2005

2005 Chamber Awards

London's Royal Courts of Justice was the venue last night for a national ceremony for the 2005 British Chambers of Commerce Awards. Leading the awards was Anthony Alan Foods Ltd, which won the Microsoft Award for Outstanding Business Achievement, an award worth £25,000 in prize money. This substantial prize is one of the richest available in UK business awards, and helps position the sponsors, Microsoft, at the forefront of support for small- and medium-sized businesses in the country. Speaking about the sponsorship, Natalie Ayres, Microsoft's Senior Director Small and Medium Solutions and Partners Group, said: "Microsoft is dedicated to supporting business and society on a national and local level, in supporting the economy and providing the technology to drive real prosperity in the UK. Our involvement in the BCC Awards is an important part of our consistent, extensive efforts to support small businesses and their ongoing growth and success." The winning company said it intends to use the prize money to fund resources within local schools that will help foster business education. Alan Anthony Foods won a second award on the night, the Business of the Year Award which was sponsored by Barclays. Microsoft sponsored a second award in the 2005 Chamber Awards, the Microsoft Award for Innovation through Technology. This was won by Ontracks.co.uk, a Web-based retailer of model and hobby products. The award for Most Promising New Business, sponsored by BT, went to NAC Comms Ltd of Scotland. The BUPA-sponsored Business Commitment to the Community Award was won by Nottinghamshire-based Building Blocks Solutions, while Sussex-based Genesis Forwarding Group won the CILT-sponsored Export Communicator of the Year Award. The Award for Skills and Workforce Development sponsored by LSC, was won by Shropshire-based Lyreco UK. Karen Finch, founder of The Hearing Care Centre Ltd, received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This prestigious honour, sponsored by The Telegraph Business Club, featured strong competition from eight other finalists. Speaking about the award, Karen Finch said: "What this award provides for me ... is the recognition and approval of other business people. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing words of praise from those who are in the know; those who understand the trials and tribulations, the fear, the loneliness and self-doubt suffered by anyone who wants to start up in business." Among other award winners at the 2005 Chamber Awards, the Travelex-sponsored Export Business of the Year Award waswon by Jointine Products Ltd.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Times Higher Awards 2005

The inaugural Times Higher Awards, which recognise the contribution made by the UK's higher education establishments to the intellectual, social and economic life of the country, took place at London's Dorchester Hotel last night. Prime Minister Tony Blair recorded a special video message in support of the event in which he said that the awards "... give us a chance to celebrate the achievements of the UK's universities - a sector where, thanks to your efforts, Britain is truly a world-leader... Our society and country would be poorer, in every way, without the contributions of the higher education sector." Speaking at the Awards ceremony John O'Leary, editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement, said: "Launching these Awards has been a tremendously rewarding experience and we're delighted to present our first annual winners with their prizes." The success of this year's inaugural Times Higher Awards has ensured that they will continue as an annual event in the UK's industry awards calendar. A total of 13 prizes were awarded, with Manchester University receiving the prestigious Higher Education Institution of the Year award. Other honours included the Business Initiative of the Year award (won by Proximagen of Kings College London), the Best Student Experience award (Universiry of Wales Swansea) and the Employer of the Year award (Sheffield Hallam University).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

American Music Awards 2005

One of the best known music awards was held this week as the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles hosted the 33rd annual American Music Awards. These awards, one of four major annual US music awards shows, was created by Dick Clark in 1973 and this year's show was the first not to feature the legendary TV entertainer (he is recovering from a stroke). Clark created the awards to compete with the Grammy Awards, and differentiated the AMA's by using a poll of music buyers to determine award winners, rather than a panel of industry judges. For the 2005 AMA's, the winners were selected via a poll of 20,000 music buyers. The nominations list was determined by sales and the awards recognise all genres of modern music, from rock and pop to soul and R'n'B to country and western. In 2003 the scheduling of the Awards was switched from January to November so as not to clash with other major televised awards shows such as the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Winners of the AMAs receive a crystal pryamid award trophy (Buy Crystal Pyramid Awards Trophies Online) and, in order to retain an attractive and focused event for the television audience, acceptance speeches are restricted to just 45 seconds. One thing to note regarding the 2005 American Music Awards show, and which also applies to many other music and top-level entertainment awards, is the number of nominated and winning artists who failed to appear at the event. This year's absent winners included Green Day, Kelly Clarkson and the Black Eyed Peas while other stars who were not presented include Eminen, 50 Cent and R. Kelly. There has always been speculation surrounding these top-level, televised awards shows about leading performers - or their recording companies - being pressured by TV networks into appearing at one awards show rather than another, but whatever the reason it makes for a poorer television show, and diminishes the awards, to have so many winners not present to accept their honours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Energy Awards

Last week we reported on how the consulting group Deloitte was establishing its brand in the UK (and Irish) technology sector with its Technology Fast 50 Awards. This week we turn to another global consulting group, Frost & Sullivan, who also use awards competitions to great effect in a wide range of sectors. Last week the unaugural Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Energy Awards were held at London's Russell Hotel, signalling a move into yet another sector for the Frost & Sullivan Awards. The group holds annual awards banquets for the information and communication technologies, industrial technologies, and healthcare industries. Their awards are presented to "companies that demonstrate best practices in their industry, commending the diligence, commitment, and innovative business strategies required to advance in the global marketplace". For the Excellence in Energy awards, Frost & Sullivan claim to "rigorously analyze specific criteria to determine Award recipients across the spectrum of Energy markets". At the Banquet, Frost & Sullivan recognised the accomplishments of 11 market leaders including Eaton Powerware, Ceres Power, Chloride Group plc, FG Wilson, MGE UPS Systems, Aggreko, American Power Conversion, Solarion GmbH, Riello UPS, Alstom Power and KEMA. Following a well-attended networking reception, Award recipients at the evening's function were welcomed by Harald Thaler, Research Manager, Energy Group at Frost & Sullivan. Later in the evening a keynote address was delivered by Head of Frost & Sullivan APAC Energy Practice, Ravi Krishnaswamy. To have the floor, and the ears, of so many influential figures in a major sector is quite an achievement, and recognition should go to Frost & Sullivan for outstanding use of awards schemes and events to develop its own business profile within targeted sectors.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards 2005

With modern technology such as the Web and mobile phone text messaging, public voting for awards has never been so easy. Nor so easily abused. In recent years an online poll to vote on a name for a footbridge to the new Wembley stadium in London saw huge numbers voting for Irishman 'Roy Keane', even though the competition was intended to honour English footballing greats. Similarly, a BBC poll for the best song of all time was won by a politically-charged song from the Irish republican group 'The Wolfe Tones'. So there is a danger for any media organisation or other awards producers, when organising such public votes, that vested interests and minority groups can abuse the system. This week saw the announcement of the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards. Cleverly, the Sunday Times managed to involve a public submission process - a great method for raising awareness of the awards and creating a large stakeholder base - but reserved the actual judging to its own panel. Readers of the paper were invited to submit suggestions of people to be nominated, but the actual judging was then removed to the safety of a panel. It was the 18th year of the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards, and the ceremony was held at a presentation dinner at Old Billingsgate Market in London. The highest award of Sportswoman of the Year went to Zara Phillips, gold medallist in the European Eventing Championships. Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, won ahead of yachswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur and runner Paula Radcliffe. Other award winners included the England women's cricket team for regaining the Ashes this summer, Caitlin McClatchey, the bronze medallist at the World Swimming Championships and Hilary Lister, who became the first quadriplegic to sail across the channel.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Computing Awards for Excellence

London's Battersea Park Events Arena was the venue on Thursday night for the 13th annual Computing Awards for Excellence ceremony. Over 1,000 IT professionals and guests attended the event, which was hosted by the comedian Jack Dee. The 2005 competition was the most successful of the Computing Awards for Excellence to date, with a record number of entries. A total of 23 awards were presented in recognition of outstanding performance by companies, teams and individuals within the UK's IT sector. The top honour of Outstanding Contribution to the UK IT industry went to Ian Watmore, Head of eGovernment. In the project awards categories, British Airways took the prize for Private Sector Project of the Year while Venerable Bede Secondary School won the Public Sector Project of the Year award. GAP Activity Projects was awarded Voluntary Sector Project of the Year and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority was the winner of the Innovative Project of the Year award. Finally in the project awards categories, Usman Naeem of Queen Mary University in London won the Student Project of the Year Award. In the Individual and Team awards, IT Leader of the Year went to David Lester, Chief Information Officer at the London Stock Exchange. The honour of IT Professional of the Year went to Maggie Beaton, Head of IT Integratin at Royal Bank of Scotland. Ellis Fairbank won IT Department of the Year and Royal Bank of Scotland took a second honour as its Head of Integration Programmes, Ben Miller, won the Business Manager of the Year Award. In the Company Awards categories, UPS won the award for Most IT-Enabled Organisation of the Year and Postcode Anywhere the award for Most IT-Enabled Small Business of the Year. Winner of the IT in the Community Award was Preston City Council, while Centrica plc won the IT Employer of the Year Award. In the Industry Awards categories the Business Hardware Supplier of the Year Award went to Barraduda Networks and the Business Software Supplier of the Year award to Sophos. Research in Motion took the award for Networking and Communications Supplier of the Year, and Black Spider Technologies won the IT Services Supplier of the Year Award. Finally in this Industry Awards category, Vanco won UK IT Company of the Year. There were a further four 'other' awards on the night: Sun Microsystems / Starcom won the award for Technology Advertising Campaign of the Year. Weber Shandwick were named IT PR Company of the Year. Huxley Associates won the honour of Recruitment Consultancy of the Year. And finally, Microsoft was awarded the Computing IT Cup.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Deloitte Fast 50 Awards

One of the largest business awards schemes in the UK and Ireland, the Deloitte Technolgy Fast 50 awards, are being revealed this month. These awards recognised the fifty fastest growing technology companies across five regional categories. For the awards announcement, each of the 50 companies in each regional category is ranked according to their growth. For the Scotland region, the rankings were announced at Edinburgh's International Conference Centre on 3rd December, with ProSraken Group plc taking top spot and TotalPDA Ltd taking the Rising Star Award. Rankings for the London and Southern Region Fast 50 Awards 2005 were announced at London's Cafe Royal on 8th December, with Trigold taking the top ranking and S2S Ltd taking top spot in the Rising Star Awards. The Midlands and North region held its awards ceremony at the Mere Golf & Country Club on 10th November. In previous years the awards were split across separate North and Midlands regions. For the 2005 awards, in addition to the Fast 50 listings and Rising Star awards, this regional category also offered awards for Sustained Development and Community Investment. Rankings for the Eastern Region will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Cambridge Belfry Hotel on 30th November. A combined Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland category, titled the Ireland Fast 50, has been running for six years and will announce the rankings of its finalists at a ceremony at the BBC (Blackstock House) in Belfast on 24th November. With a total of at least 250 fast-rising technology companies listed among its winners, the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards are self-generating in terms of publicity for both the organising company (consulting group Deloitte) and the finalists. Smart moves all round.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Finalists Announced for Whitbread Book Award 2005

The shortlist for the 2005 Whitbread Book Awards, one of the most prestigious - and valuable - literary awards in the UK, has been announced. The Whitbread Book Awards are divided into four categories - Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book - with the winner of each category going forward to contest the overall Whitbread Book of the Year prize. A panel of three judges for each category selects a shortlist of four books and the category winners. For the overall Whitbread Book of the Year award a nine-strong judging panel selects one book from the five category winners. For the 2005 awards, leading novelists including Nick Hornby, Salman Rushdie and Ali Smith will contest the Novel award. In the Whitbread First Novel Award much of the publicity has centered on Rachel Zadok, shortlisted for her novel 'Gem Squash Tokoloshe'. The South African waitress working in London won her publishing contract as a result of entering the 'How to Get Published' slot on the popular daytime TV show 'Richard & Judy'. Also attracting attention is former postman Alexander Masters, shortlisted in the Biography category for 'Stuart', the life story of a homeless man he met while working at a day centre in Cambridge. Each of the category winners in the 2005 Whitbread Book Awards will receive £5,000 and the overall winner £25,000. The winners will be announced in London on January 24th. The Whitbread Literary Awards, as they were then known, were launched in 1971. In 1995 the format evolved to feature the category shortlists that are still used today. Other famous literary awards open to UK-based writers include the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

BAFTA Scotland Awards 2005

The BAFTA Scotland awards for 2005 were unveiled on Sunday at a ceremony in Glasgow's SAS Radisson Hotel. The event was the second time that Scotland has hosted its own BAFTA awards, following last year's inaugural event. And while the list of nominees may have been "small but beautiful", BAFTA Scotland director Alison Forsyth - who campaigned to stage the country's own version of the awards - said: "Every little country has got its own national identity, and we have a particularly strong identity." She continued: "I think we can be proud. For a wee country, we're not doing badly. Factual programming and documentaries in Scotland are stunning." The awards, which seek to recognise achievement in Scottish film and television, were selected by a panel of 75 industry jurors who sifted through 184 entries in four sections. Among the award winners, the Best Film award went to 'On A Clear Day' and Best Director Award to Annie Griffin for 'Festival'. The Cineworld Audience Award went to the film 'Night People' while the award for Outstanding Achievement in Film was presented to Iain Smith. Among the New Talent Awards, director Amy Neil received the Best New Work award for 'Can't Stop Breathing' and Samir Mehanovic won the Best First-Time Director award for 'The Way We Played'. In the Television Awards, 'Sea of Souls' won Best Drama and 'Still Game' won the award for Best Entertainment. 'The Fighting McIlroys' took the award for Best Documentary and the honour for Best News & Current Affairs went to Frontline Scotland for 'Home Truths: The Real Cost of Care'.

Monday, November 14, 2005

World Travel Awards 2005

One of the world's leading industry awards, the World Travel Awards, held its 2005 gala awards ceremony yesterday. In previous years the awards ceremonies have been hosted in popular global destinations such as Las Vegas, New York, St. Lucia and the Bahamas. For 2005 the location was London, and the venue was the Royal Opera House. The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 and seek to recognise and reward achievement in the global travel industry. Nominees for the awards are selected based on voting from the previous year, with votes being cast online by travel agents in over 200 countries. The categories are broken down into geographical regions (eight areas) plus the Whole World category. There are also global awards for specific markets such as the World's Leading Sports Resort and World's Leading Private Island. For the 2005 World Travel Awards, a total of 176,000 travel professionals, including 110,000 travel agents, were eligible to vote on the awards. Speaking about the 2005 awards, Graham Cooke, president and founder of the World Travel Awards, said: "The Awards take into account the views of tens of thousands of travel agents and professionals worldwide - over two million individual voting decisions are made during our five-month independent survey period". Some of the 2005 World Travel Awards winners that caught our eye here at Winners Podium were the various UK and Ireland hotels - after all, we're always on the look-out for suitable venues for awards ceremonies and events. Winner of the award for England's Leading Hotel was The Lanesborough (London) with the Langham Hotel (London) taking the prize for England's Leading Business Hotel. In Scotland, the Leading Hotel honour went to The Balmoral and in Wales to The St. David's Hotel & Spa. The award for Ireland's Leading Hotel went the The Merrion in Dublin.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

British Fashion Awards 2005

If ever an awards show was going to generate publicity, surely it would be an event designed to reward and recognise best performance in a high-publicity industry, and which is attended by a host of glamorous and photogenic guests. And so it was with the 2005 British Fashion Awards which were held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum last week. Hosted by Emilia Fox, the awards were announced during a dinner for the industry's style leaders. The categories and nominees for the annual British Fashion Awards are put together by the press committee of the British Fashion Council, which is chaired by Vogue editor Alexandra Shulma. The winners are then selected by a panel of judges, which this year included Natalie Massenet of NET-A-PORTER.COM and Yasmin Sewell of Browns. For the record, Christopher Bailey was named Designer of the Year, Duro Olowu won best New Designer, Carlo Brandelli won the Menswear Designer award and Charlotte Tilbury won the Fashion Creator award. The honour for Red Carpet Designer, sponsored by Nicky Clarke, went to Roland Mouret. Model of the Year was Karen Elson while Stephen Jones took the award for Accessory Designer of the Year. The Shop of the Year Award went to Dover Street Market. The V&A Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion was awarded to Suzy Menkes OBE.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Interactive Marketing and Advertising Awards

Its just like waiting for a bus ... nothing for ages and then two come at once. Following our comments yesterday praising Accountancy Age for the way they provided case studies of each of the winners of the 2005 Accountancy Age Awards, comes another example of such publicity-friendly communications. The second annual Interactive Marketing and Advertising Awards (IMMA Awards), which were held on 3rd November at London's Royal Lancaster Hotel, have published online case studies of each winner in its 17 award categories. The IMMA Awards are presented by Marketing Week and NMA, two titles published by Centaur Communications, and seek to celebrate the best interactive advertising and marketing campaigns of the past year. The awards are selected by a panel of judges, and while aspects such as creativity and technological innovation are part of the judging criteria, it is effectiveness and Return On Investment (ROI) that is the prime consideration. As a relatively new sector, the online advertising and marketing industry needs to establish itself as a credible and worthwhile channel for marketing budgets, so the focus on rewarding ROI gives the IMMA Awards added value both for participating agencies and for their clients. 16 of the 17 categories in the 2005 IMMA Awards were sponsored by related companies, including 'Platinum' level sponsors Lycos and Yahoo as well as companies such as CheetahMail, Bluestreak, DatingDirect.com, Mirago and Sky Interactive. The awards categories ranged from industry prizes for sectors including Finance, Automotive, Technology, Travel and Entertainment, to 'Best Use Of' categories that included channels such as email, viral marketing, search marketing, wireless and interactive TV. There were prizes for Creative Agency of the Year and Media Agency of the Year, as well as the Grand Prix which was presented to mOne/Mindshare for the Volvo Life on Board campaign for Volvo Cars.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Accountancy Age Awards 2005

It never ceases to amaze us here at Winners Podium towers how many awards organisers and sponsors fail to take full advantage of the PR and publicity opportunities that arise from their efforts. All-too-often we find pre-awards publicity - invitations for entries, long-lists of nominees, short-lists of nominees, details of the glamorous awards ceremoney - is done very well. But try to find post-awards details, particularly via the Web and especially in the immediate aftermath of the awards ceremonies, and the coverage is scant. So its nice to report an outstanding exception to this. The Accountancy Age Awards were held at London's Battersea Park on Wednesday (9th November). This black-tie event was attended by over 1,000 industry professionals at the Battersea Park Arena. Headlining the reports of the event was the award of 'Personality of the Year' to Neil Wood, Finance Director for the successful London bid for the 2012 Olympics. This headline award was actually voted on by readers of the Accountancy Age magazine. Other major award winners, as judged by a panel of experts, were PricewaterhouseCoopers (Big Four Firms Award), BDO Stoy Hayward (Large Firm of the Year Award), Adler Shine (Medium Firm of the Year Award) and FPM Accountants (Small Firm of the Year Award). In total there were 22 awards, including an Outstanding Contribution honour for Nick Land, chairman of Ernst & Young. But what we really like about Accountancy Age's reporting of the awards is the full write-up that each of the winners received on the magazine's web site. These profiles of each winner include quotes from key personnel and also some of the judges comments - opening up the awards to a wide audience and providing content that promotes both the awards themselves and each of the winners. Way to go, Accountancy Age!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

World Food Media Awards

Another day, another 'Oscar's of the industry' headline. This time it is the World Food Media Awards, or, as the press release titles prefer it, the World Food and Drink 'Oscars'. Now while the real 'Oscars' (the Academy Awards) might try hard to protect (via trademark and other legal methods) the name and design of their famous awards, the truth is that headlines such as 'the 'Oscars' of the food and drink industry' only serve to underscore the pre-eminent position of the Academy Awards. After all, there's no such thing as bad publicity, and these constant references to the 'Oscars' do no harm in spreading the reach, and esteemed status, of these industry awards. So editors and PR writers seem free to use the phrase with impunity, and lets face it, it does convey an immediate identity and gravitas to each awards event labelled 'the Oscars of the industry'. In this case, the World Food Media Awards were held in Adelaide, Australia, and sought to recognise and reward outstanding performance in the global food and drink industry. The awards were sponsored by Wolf Blass wines and a total of 30 gold 'Ladle' awards were presented. The World Food Media Awards are held every two years as part of the Tasting Australia festival. Among the highlights of the awards was the record four nominations for British food and travel writer, and photographer, Alastair Hendy. He received two Ladles, for Best Food Photography and for Best Food Journalist. Belgian photographer Tony Le Duc accepted three gold Ladles as the photographer of three gold-winning titles: Poisson & Vin by Marc Declercq (Best Hard Cover Recipe Book RRP over US$25); Fine Chocolates, Great Experience by Jean Pierre-Wybauw (Best Professional Cookery Book); and La Base (Best Hard Cover Recipe Book RRP under US$25). Publisher Dorling Kindersley took four gold Ladles, for Best Children's Cookbook, Best Drink Book, Best Food Guide Book and Best Health and Nutrition Book. Other categories for awards included Best Television Food and Drink Show (long- and short-form) and further awards for magazines, newspapers, web sites and guide books. By concentrating on food and drink related media formats, rather than the actual providers of food and drink, these awards appeal to companies that thrive on publicity and are thereby more likely, and able, to spread the news of the awards. It also removes much of the subjectivity that judging restaurants or wines can bring, and, crucially, creates a more easily managed global awards scheme. Speaking about the awards, Chairman of the Jury, Ian Parmenter said: "The breadth of work and professionalism of entries in the 2005 awards has been exceptional. Close to 1,000 items of work were judged by a panel of 49 respected international jurors. While most entries were from the English-speaking world, it was refreshing to see such a high level of achievement from Belgium." He continued: "It is hoped that for future competitions, we can attract entries from an ever-expanding food and drink publishing market place."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

CWA Dagger Awards

The Crime Writers Association (CWA) celebrated its Golden Jubilee this year and to mark this landmark event a special 'best of the best' award was voted on by the group's membership. The CWA bestows annual honours known as the 'Dagger' awards. At this year's awards luncheon, held at The Brewery in the City of London on Tuesday (8th November), the winner of the unique Dagger of Dagger Award was announced. Nominations were limited to previous winners of the Gold Dagger or Crossed Red Herring awards, and the winner of the prize - a handsome crystal trophy - was John Le Carre for 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'. Among other prize winners announced at the event, which was attended by over 300 CWA members, the 2005 CWA Gold Dagger award - and £3,000 prize money -for best crime novel of the year went to Arnaldur Indridason for 'Silence of the Grave'. The Silver Dagger award, and £2,000 prize money, went to Barbara Nadel for 'Deadly Web'. The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger prize, awarded for the best adventure/thriller novel in the vein of James Bond, went to Henry Porter for 'Brandenburg'. This award, and the £2,000 prize money, is sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. The CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger, for first books by unpublished writers, was awarded to Dreda Say Mitchell for 'Running Hot'. This award is sponsored by BBC Audiobooks and the Dagger award, along with prize money of £1,000, was presented by Sara Keane of BBC Audiobooks. The winner of the prestigious CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, awarded for the best historical crime novel of the year, had been announced in October. This award and £3,000 prize money is sponsored by the Estate of Ellis Peters and her publishers, Headline, and by the Time Warner Book Group. This year's winner, CJ Sansom for 'Dark Fire', was presented with his prize at the luncheon by Jane Morpeth, Head of Fiction at Headline. The CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction, including £2,000 prize money, was presented to Gregg and Gina Hill for 'On The Run'. The award for best Short Story, sponsored by the membership of the CWA and worth £1500 to the winner, was presented to Danuta Reah for 'No Flies on Frank'. The Debut Dagger award, which is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially, was presented to Ruth Dugdall for 'The Woman Before Me'. This award, and £250 prize money, is sponsored by Orion. For the 2006 awards this prize money has been doubled, but for entrants it is really the opportunity for publication - as well as the honour - that appeals most. While winning the Debut Dagger is no guarantee of a publishing deal, in practice all previous winners of the Debut Dagger have gained publishing contracts. The CWA Dagger in the Library Award, sponsored by The Random House Group, is awarded to a body of work rather than a single title. Nominated and judged by librarians, the Dagger Award and £1500 prize money for the 2005 Library Award went to Jake Arnott. The Leo Harris Award is given for the best contribution in the past 12 months to Red Herring, the CWA monthly bulletin. The 2005 Leo Harris Award was presented to Prof. Bernard Knight.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Usability recognised in UKUPA Awards 2005

World Usability Day was held on 3rd November and as part of the event, the UK Usability Professionals' Association (UKUPA) announced its UKUPA 2005 Awards. A panel of 10 usability experts selected a shortlist of some of the most usable products and web sites in the UK, and these nominees were then voted on by the 300 strong membership of the UKUPA. The awards event was held at the London headquarters of sponsors Prudential and was hosted by the writer and presenter Bill Thompson. In line with the nature of the field, the usability awards event was less about tub-thumping and egos and more about encouragement, recognition of best practice, and a large amount of networking. A Usability Round Table, featuring usability leaders discussing key topics, was also hosted on the night. Details of the winners, and sponsors, of the usability awards are presented below. Additional sponsorship was provided by the publishing house New Riders.

  • Award: Best Website for finding information
    Sponsor: Amberlight Partners
    Winner: GoogleLocal (GoogleMaps interface)
    Finalists: Allmusic, Guardian Unlimited
  • Award: Best Website for communication between users
    Sponsor: Prudential
    Winner: Flickr
    Finalists: GoogleMail, MSN Messenger
  • Award: Best Website for online communication
    Sponsor: Foolproof
    Winner: JohnLewis.com
    Finalists: Skyscanner, Abebooks
  • Award: Best software application
    Sponsor: Foviance
    Winner: Firefox
    Finalists: iTunes, Google Desktop Search
  • Award: Best consumer product
    Sponsor: Flow Interaction
    Winner: iPod clickwheel interface
    Finalists: Nintendo DS, BT big button phone
  • Award: Best specialised / public technology
    Sponsor: Nomensa
    Winner: BA Self Service Check-in Kiosk
    Finalists: BBCi, Nationwide's ATMs

Monday, November 07, 2005

Irish Film & Television Awards 2005

Following hard on the heels - chronologically - of the MTV Europe Awards 2005, Dublin hosted the Irish Film & Television Awards (IFTA's) last Saturday (5th November). As with the MTV Awards, and most other film, television and music awards, the event featured a mixture of entertainment and presentations. Like these other entertainment awards, the IFTA bash was also filmed for broadcast, primarily for an Irish audience via national broadcaster RTE but also for possible syndication. The show, held at the RDS, was hosted by Irish actor James Nesbitt. With a line-up that included music from Liberty X and an audience that included Sinead Cusack, Vanessa Redgrave, Andrea Corr, Samantha Mumba, Kerry Katona and Caprice, there was certainly plenty of glamour to attract a TV audience for the show. Add to that the promotional clips from the short-listed feature films and television series, and there was no shortage of footage to fill the two-hour show. An international dimension was added with the arrival of actress Mischa Barton, star of hit US series the OC, to present one of the prizes. Also adding to the global appeal was the award of a Lifetime Achievement honour to veteran actor David Kelly, currently starring in the global box office hit 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. This film won the Jameson award for Best International Film. Other international awards included the Avica Best International Actor, presented to Mickey Rourke for his role in Sin City, and the Pantene Best International Actor to Gillian Anderson for The Mighty Celt. Irish actor Liam Neeson was another A-list name to pick up an award, for Best Actor in a Feature Film for his role in Kinsey. Sponsors on the night, in addition to those mentioned above, included mobile network O2 which sponsored the TV Personality of the Year Award, and banking group AIB which sponsored the Best Irish Film Award. A 'People's Choice Best Irish Film' award was also presented, voted on by the Irish public in advance of the ceremony.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

MTV Europe Awards 2005

One of the best-publicised music industry awards ceremonies took place in Portugal last week, as music channel MTV held its 2005 MTV Europe Awards. This star-studded show was televised for syndication to a gloal audience estimated at up to 1 billion people. The show featured many world-class acts among the line-up of performers, including Green Day, Robbie Williams and Madonna. Among the winners on the night - apart, of course, from MTV who produced and syndicated the show - were Coldplay and Green Day who each picked up two prizes. The awards were presented by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, creator of the Ali G and Barat characters. Madonna, who stole the show with the performance of her latest single 'Hung Up', also presented a special 'Free Your Mind' award to Bob Geldof in recognition of the Irishman's work in tackling poverty in Africa.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Woman of the Year Awards

The 2005 British Woman of the Year Awards were held at a lavish luncheon and ceremony at London's Guildhall on Thursday (2nd November). The organisers of these prestigious awards, founded in 1955 by Lady Antonia Lothian OBE, must be wondering about the adage 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'. Leading the headlines surrounding the event was Rebekah Wade, editor of the national tabloid newspaper The Sun, who was unable to attend the event after being arrested by police in connection with an alleged assault on her husband. The chair of the organising committee for the awards luncheon, Eleanor Angel, must have been reconsidering her pre-event quote that it was to be "the noisiest event of the year". Adding to the publicity was the news that two of the invitees pulled out of the ceremony in a political protest. Claire and Catherine McCartney, sisters of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney, were due to receive an outstanding achievement award in recognition of their campaign for justice for their brother. However, the sisters refused to attend the ceremony when they discovered - hours before the event - that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was also appearing to accept a lifetime achievement award. The sisters said: "Our campaign is one of justice and as an Irish republican family we feel we cannot share a platform with a former Prime Minister who inflicted injuries on our country." It was left to the event compere, comedienne and writer Sandi Toksvig, to offer a diplomatic explantion of the snub. Judging for the awards was conducted by a panel of 57 women from 40 different professions. It remains to be seen whether the publicity surrounding the 50th anniversary Women of the Year Awards will diminish, or promote, these worthwhile honours.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Legal Week Awards 2005

The shortlist has been announced for the Legal Week Awards 2005. These industry awards for the UK legal sector are administered by the journal Legal Week and the winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on November 30th at London's Old Billingsgate Market. The Legal Week Awards seek to recognise dedicated work conducted by in-house counsel as well as rewarding exceptional client service provided by legal firms. Unusually for awards schemes, the selection and judging process is conducted by a team of researchers from Legal Week, with no call for entries or nominations. This depth of research combined with the independent nature of the research team help ensure the credibility and prestige of these awards. The 2005 Legal Week Awards are sponsored by LexisNexis and produced in association with Wooden Spoon. The awards are divided according into Corporate Counsel Awards and Private Practice Awards, with a total of 22 individual categories to be recognised. Among the shortlisted finalists, Accenture, BP, Diageo, Pfizer, SITA and United Technologies Corporation will compete for the 'Global Department of the Year' award. Seven legal firms will contest the 'International Firm of the Year' award while six firms are shortlisted for new category of 'Mid-market Corporate Team of the Year'.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

British Travel Awards 2005

The 2005 TTG British Travel Awards were held at a gala ceremony in London's Battersea Park last week. Organised by the Travel Trade Gazette (TTG), these industry awards seek to recognise outstanding performance in a wide range of travel industry related categories. A total of 61 awards were presented at the ceremony, which was hosted by BBC TV presenter Jeremy Vine and attended by some 1500 people. Leading the accolades was travel group Thomas Cook, which took seven awards including Travel Company of the Year and Tour Operator of the Year. A full list of British Travel Awards winners can be found on the TTG website. Speaking about the awards, TTG Group Director Ben Greenish said: "The TTG British Travel Awards have always been the biggest event in the travel industry. But the real thrill is being able to recognise the hard work and creativity of so many people in the industry."

These prestigious industry awards seem to tick many of the right boxes for a well-run awards scheme: the publicity reach of a media backer (Travel Trade Gazette, part of the CMP Information group); a prestigious venue (Battersea Park); a professional presenter (Jeremy Vine); a separate identity for the awards, including their own logo; and widespread industry support in the form of entries and attendance at the awards ceremony. Way to go, TTG!