the ‘full service’ experience

Tuesday, 07. 5. 2011  –  Category: Project Management

Working for Crown Business Communications in the late 90′s was as much fun as you could have in West London with your clothes on. Who knows, maybe it still is. At the time it was the biggest independent communications agency in Europe. I was never quite sure what a ‘communications agency’ actually was (which might explain a lot) – somewhere between a PR agency and advertising agency I guess. Either way it was a great place to work. Predominantly a live events company, and a damn good one at that, Crown saw the wisdom in creating its own digital department, imaginatively called Crown Digital, to serve existing clients and grab a few new ones. It was an effective strategy. The digital department developed web solutions for like likes of Prudential and Deutsche Bank, who were also being served by other parts of the business, and won a few impressive ones like EGG Bank, 3 Telecom and Thales.

Something I miss about working in London is the eclectic mix of characters to be found in agencies like Crown. Of the 130 odd people in the company there must have been 14 nationalities. Combined with the fact that by being in London the company attracted creative people from all over the UK, it made for a potent mix. Some of the guys I worked with during that period have gone on to do really interesting things. I think a good portion of the fjord creative team are ex Crownies.

Crown also had what can only be described as ‘healthy social backbone’, and I don’t mean in a Neil Kinnock, Tony Benn kind of way. Every Friday involved ‘wine club’, which was less of a club and more of a drunken launch pad from which 130 employees were propelled into a balmy Notting Hill evening. I remember Saturday mornings between 1998 and 2000 being slightly ‘muggy’.

The video below was taken at the 2001 Crown Christmas party, which although legendary was not as legendary as the previous year when the whole company was flown to Switzerland. There was the dawning of a new millenium to celebrate after all. Actually, it was almost a very short millenium for those in attendance due to the fact that one of the planes engines caught fire on the flight back from London and we were forced to make an emergency landing in Paris. Was it Jasper Carrot that observed; ‘why is it when you scream in a library people tell you to be quiet, but when you do it on a plane everyone joins in?’. Aye… there was a bit of screaming.

So, if you’re one of the many people I know who would enjoy seeing me (and my friend CatherineAnn) humiliated… jump to 8mins on this video clip :-)

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