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Wells Street Journal: A sobering time for life office PRs

These are sobering times for the insurance industry, particularly if you were a life office PR trying to get a drink at last week’s ABI Media Awards.

Hosted at the 8 Northumberland Avenue hotel near Trafalgar Square, guests were invited during the awards ceremony to drink at the free bar until 10.45, before a cash bar came into operation.

Unfortunately, anyone trying to take the insurance trade body up on its kind offer from 10.20 onwards was politely but firmly informed that the free bar had already ended.

To compound the misery of any poor souls desperately trying to drink away the memories of the past few weeks of horror, the card machine behind the bar then broke, leaving them stranded among a sea of thirsty journalists.

In a room full of Meeja-types, who treat the idea of exchanging papers and coins for alcoholic beverages as a quaint historical custom, the panic soon spread.

The weak fled while the strong and the foolhardy stayed to endure the sawdust-inspired red wine that in the end was provided on the house to keep spirits up.

The lack of free booze was perhaps a blessing in disguise due to empty stomachs caused by the ABI’s canning of the usual three-course meal. Instead each guest simply got a tiny ice-cream during the awards.

If the onslaught on the insurance sector continues, perhaps a different Trafalgar Square location may be used to host next year’s event. Given the number of guests who left for a cheeky Big Mac during the awards, the answer to the ABI’s cost-cutting dilemmas could be just around the corner.

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