Smoking Gun’s 2017 Almanac


With just four days until Father Christmas gets here we thought it about time to unveil our annual roundup of the year according to Manchester’s most ingenious comms agency.

Without any further messing around with trees and wrapping paper, then, what follows is an overview of all the major industry events that caught our eye over the last 12 months. From in-house to online, read on if you want to know what’s been going on since January.


A year in the Smoking Gun study


We kicked off the year by launching our Intelligent Dashboard Evaluator, a tool that helps brands gauge whether they are getting the best value for money from their PR and marketing investment.


The second month of the year was a biggie, despite it being the shortest. We bagged 10 PR Moment Awards nominations, and partnered with CIM for the Prolific North Live event by sponsoring the Marketing Suite.


March finished with the triggering of Article 50, kickstarting Brexit negotiations. Here in Manchester, meanwhile, we were celebrating the arrival of Arriva North West as a new PR client, and a nod from the City of Manchester Business Awards 2017 for PR & Marketing Agency of the Year.


Nutrabolt opted to use us for press office, social media, and marketing services. We scored big media coverage wins for Silentnight and Oven Pride, as a result of National Sleep Month and a major Easter weekend campaign, and became a member of the PRCA; the industry body responsible for setting and raising standards in public relations and comms.


One of the saddest months in our history was defined by the Manchester Arena bomb attack which left a sombre air in the city although the public’s reaction was rightly praised across the globe for its lack of anger and overwhelming message of love. Read our response to the atrocity here. Elsewhere, we held a media day in London for international health and fitness client, Les Mills, and assisted at and sponsored the ABTA Crisis Communications Event, which saw the travel industry head to our hometown, and took home Gold and Silver awards for Effective Measurement from AMEC.


Smoking Gun was honoured to be invited by the PRCA to join the UK Government Communications Unit, with just four other agencies. Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser sold out nationwide thanks to a story we placed in one paper, and launched a graduate scheme for the first time, hunting for a bright sparks in comms from Britain’s top universities.


July joined our fold as a client, and we bagged five CIPR PRide Award nominations in the same month, for Best Integrated Campaign, Best Use of Digital, Best Use of Social Media, Best Use of Photography or Design, and the coveted Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy.



As a well-known sports PR firm, we were delighted to welcome Little Sports Coaching to the family of brands we love. We helped market a festival from the River Reeves Foundation, set up to commemorate the death of Viola Beach (pictured) a promising Manchester band killed in a road traffic accident; and newsjacked Big Ben falling silent for Silentnight.


PRCA’s leader’s lunch and conference, the annual #BlogOnXmas blogger conference, a measurement and evaluation round table hosted by Cision, the Baby & Toddler Show, Marketing Cheshire’s Visitor Economy conference, the PR Moments Analytics conference. Put simply, September was all about events.


Arriva Buses UK offered us an extended brief after huge success on the North West arm, we took home the MPA Best Small PR Agency for a second year running, while handing out trophies for Best in Sports and Leisure at the Northern eCommerce Awards during a groundbreaking debut of the Ecommerce Show North, which we partnered on.


CIPR gave us three awards at PRide; Best Use of Social Media, Best Use of Photography, and the big one— Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy. Panda Liquorice returned to our loving arms for a new contract, and the Oddfellows Society signed up for Smoking Gun’s expertise. And we got our heads around the new GDPR rules coming into play next year, governing the use of data by companies.


We may have had an epic Christmas Party, from great food to karaoke (thanks, Big Guns), but that didn’t stop us from achieving plenty. Take this panto-themed video for example, Rick & The Beanstalk, which showcases our knack for creating unique, shareable content, and knowledge of what great brand exposure will require in 2018.  



Quotes of the Year

“…load of rubbish.”
Tom Wah, talking about his experiences as part of the cast on Channel 4’s failed reality show, Eden.

“We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.”
European Council President Donald Tusk after Article 50 was triggered by Downing Street.

“He concludes that the human race could cease to exist by 20150— or that we become immortal.”
The Indy100, on the theories of scientist Jeff Nesbit.

“It’s not a Two Ronnies’ sketch.”
Eddie Marr tearing apart Boris Johnson live on BBC Radio 4.

“I really liked him a lot. I think he liked me. We have a great chemistry together.”
Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, on President Donald Trump.

“The female journalists were either ignored or belittled.”
BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rachel Burden, commenting on gender inequality at the UK’s national broadcaster.

“We can accuse the political classes for their failures, and we do. But we are guilty of them ourselves.”
Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow, on press responsibility following the Grenfell fire.

“Don’t shoot at [Hurricane] Irma.”
Florida police advice to local residents after a joke Facebook event went viral.

“Hate speech in the press has become a plague, an epidemic.”
Former Tory minister Sayeeda Warsi.

“#Budget2017 has the same feeling as an announcement of new sailing routes for the Titanic after it struck the iceberg.”
@Harryslaststand on Twitter following November’s budget announcement.


All quotes taken from our weekly media news wrap, Blagger’s Blog— follow us on Facebook or Twitter and never miss a single Friday update.


2017 in the UK, on Google

This year Britons were mostly asking the world’s top search engine about…

What is… 


1. A hung parliament?
2. An exit poll?
3. The Confederations Cup?
4. Bitcoin?
5. The Antikythera mechanism


How to… 


1. Make slime?
2. Buy Bitcoin?
3. Stay young?
4. Watch Mayweather vs McGregor?
5. Watch Joshua vs Klitschko


News Events


1. Hurricane Irma
2. Manchester bombing
3. Grenfell Tower
4. North Korea
5. London Bridge attack




1. Meghan Markle
2. Tara Palmer Tomkinson
3. Shannon Matthews
4. Charlie Gard
5. Jack Maynard


Sporting Events

General view of the grounds of The Championships Wimbledon 2013 with Centre Court The Championships Wimbledon 2013 The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Wimbledon Day 2 Tuesday 25/06/2013 Credit: Matthias Hangst / AELTC

1. Wimbledon
2. Grand National
3. World Cup 2018 draw
4. Mayweather vs. McGregor
5. ICC Champions Trophy


TV Shows 


1. 13 Reasons Why
2. I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!
3. Celebrity Big Brother
4. Game of Thrones
5. Peaky Blinders


Number 1 Singles 


1. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
2. Harry Styles – Sign of the Times
3. Dua Lipa – New Rules
4. Post Malone – rockstar ft. 21 Savage
5. Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do

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