Your Guide to the (Possibly) Perfect Virtual Awards Ceremony

virtual awards ceremony

By Mark Pinsent, Managing Director, Hoffman Europe

As we all know, one of the immediate impacts of the global pandemic has been the inability to meet face-to-face in any size of group, however small. And given that a significant part of our business sector is centered on doing exactly that, we’ve seen a quick shift to virtual, online events that would have previously taken place IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ btw, and that’s ‘by the way’, btw).

We’ve got some views on whether a virtual event is the right move for all occasions — more on that soon — but awards ceremonies are a central feature of the marketing industry, for better or worse.

So when PRovoke Media — leading provider of news and views to the PR and communications sector — announced that its flagship North America SABRE Awards ceremony would take place virtually later this week, I mused on Twitter how one might create an authentic stay-at-home industry awards event.

mark pinset tweet

It seemed to catch people’s imaginations, and before long we’d uncovered what are clearly the defining moments of an awards ceremony, and not all of them are good.

Perhaps surprisingly (though maybe not, as I tagged her in my tweet along with her boss, Arun, CEO at Provoke), Maja Pawinska-Sims was first to respond:

maja sims pr events

It does seem that food and drink are a central element of the awards event experience, though not always regarded as the most accessible, as Ben pointed out:

ben verinder pr events

We’ve all been there, pursuing the last glass of bubbly around the venue, only to miss out and end up with the lukewarm orange juice.

You can’t keep a good (sales)man down, and Darryl is one of the very best. Even at home he won’t stop… though I’m not sure how successful his approach might be.

darryl sparey pr events

Darryl might actually be one of the people who irritates Arun who, as the person that spends more time on stage than anyone else, let his frustration show…

arun sudhaman pr events

Point taken.

But let’s face it, rather like a distant friend’s wedding, the award announcements and speeches can go on a long time, and people do start getting a bit restless. Our very own Marc Sparrow is clearly one of them…

marc sparrow pr events

Speaking of crazy spirits, John Brown of Don’t Cry Wolf is no stranger to an awards ceremony. So much so he hasn’t got time to get his suit cleaned between them. And given his final point, we’re not 100% sure what those stains might be…

john brown taylor herring pr events

Though not everybody has John’s sloppy sartorial standards, it seems that Patrick’s family might make an effort…

patrick smith pr events

Maja popped back into the conversation with some tips for the winners, virtual or otherwise.

maja sims pr events

And Nicky of The PR Network is ready to make friends — though given this is a stay-at-home ceremony, presumably she’ll be fairly familiar with these people already?

nicky regazzoni pr events

It’s not all fun, fun, fun though, and Hilary highlighted one of the common frustrations of large-scale physical events, for the ladies at least… oh, and that last bit!

Hilary Berg pr events

And then Maja came back again, showing the experience of having attended hundreds of awards ceremonies in her time.

maja sims pr events

The final world, however, goes to my old mate Bezza, who nails another “we’ve all been there” moment…

Tom Berry pr events

However you celebrate the virtual awards, enjoy yourself, stay safe, and if you are nominated (as we’re lucky enough to be), good luck!

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