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The story of Podge


Five times a year, by invitation only, Podge lunches are a chance for the leaders and influencers to gather for an agenda-free afternoon of networking at its most relaxed and enjoyable. Each has become a must-attend for the who's who of the creative (up north and down south), digital, sport and music industries. Each year a different agency takes on the challenge of creating a new theme for each lunch. Which means five agencies working on five different briefs, to create a jaw-dropping theme.The lunches might be relaxed but they have also been the start of a number of professional collaborations (and personal ones too, including two weddings and at least three babies that we know of). And because of their unique nature, they have continued to grow, and, have become a date pencilled into diaries almost as soon as the dishes have been cleared away.


The Podge rules
There are no raffles, no auctions, no long drawn out ceremonies. Podge is based around some simple principles: a fabulous venue, fabulous food, plenty of wine, all wrapped in a brilliant theme, and with great company from arrival to departure.

If we do have rules, we keep them simple. Nobody gets to choose who they sit next to (the semi-secret Podge committe does that) and half way through the lunch every other one of the 250 guests will change tables and mingle with another table of guests. Those that don't obey the rules don't get to come again. We make sure security are on hand to deal with any infractions!
Our ONLY aim is to encourage great people to swap stories and experiences, meet old friends and make new ones. Most importantly, we want Podgers to have fun.
The Podge conception
25 years ago at the Oval cricket club, in the company of six design luminaries, Phil Jones hadn't even considered giving the lunch a name. He was the co-owner of a type studio called APT, and the lunch had an ulterior motive. As the courses came and went, Phil came to realise something - the only time these people ever met was at awards evenings or in reception areas when pitching against each other. The idea of sharing knowledge with rivals over lunch was a complete no-no. The group spent a wonderful afternoon watching the cricket, eating, drinking and sharing stories. They vowed to do it again, but the upcoming recession put paid to that and it took Phil another 5 years to prise the diners out of their self-enforced state of hiding for the first proper Podge at Terence Conran's shiny new Quaglino's in 1994. Since then, Digital, Stodge, Sports and Music Podge have all been born, as have the Podge Mixers which merge our lunch guests together over a love of sport. So far we've tackled golf and cycling. And it's even got a passport and travelled as far afield as Amsterdam, Stockholm, New York, Hong Kong and Vienna.

The Podge Family

Phil jones 1

Phil Jones

The Podgemeister himself

Founder of the famous Podge Lunch and all its offspring, there 's no agenda other than to ensure those attending to have fun, share knowledge and connect with their peers.

Phil Jones

The Podgemeister himself

Clare 1

Clare Jones

Marketing and partnerships

I'm responsible for the development of our partnerships, ensuring they get bang for their buck and our attendees want to return again and again.

Clare Jones

Marketing and partnerships

Pj 700 x 700

PJ Jones

Technical wizard

The so called technical brains behind the operation, I ensure all of our digital partners can go all out to add some creative digital magic to our lunches.

PJ Jones

Technical wizard

Babs

Babs Jones

The Boss

I look after the Podge A Team and everything behind the scenes to ensure it all runs smoothly. Finance, HR, admin. My three favourite words.

Babs Jones

The Boss

James

James Henderson

Creative genius

Founder and Creative Director of The Brilliant Path, I'am the go to guy for all things creative and podgey, including the Podge branding and the boss man Phil's.

James Henderson

Creative genius

Joncole

Jonathan Cole

Podge paparazzi

I started life as an ad agency art director before making the leap into photography. I'm always up for a hair brain idea, whether Podge does bikes, golf buggies or goes abroad.

Jonathan Cole

Podge paparazzi

What they say...

  • Card gabby logan

    Gabby Logan

    Broadcaster

    "Thanks for yesterday, I have heard so much about The Podge and I was not disappointed."

  • Card joe.calzaghe

    Joe Calzaghe

    CBE, MBE, Undefeated World Champion Boxer

    "I flew in from New York in the morning of the lunch and had thought about phoning ahead to cancel. I am so glad I decided to attend what was a fantastic sporting lunch, I met some great people from the sports industry and would have no hesitation in recommending it to other leaders in the world of sport.”

  • Card erik speikermann

    Erik Spiekermann

    CEO, EdenSpiekermann

    “Is it the Design Industry? Business? Trade? To me, it’s a bunch of colleagues who share the same problems, issues, loves and hates. I consider other designers competitors last, friends first (and I’ve even been know to even fancy some of them). Every year at Podge I get a chance to reconnect with my friends in the UK and I wouldn’t miss it, ever. On my calendar Podge is a Jour Fixe, as we Germans say."

  • Card clare balding

    Clare Balding OBE

    Presenter, Writer and Broadcaster

    "I loved my first Sports Podge. Relaxed, refreshing and reassuring to know that people are the most fun to be with, it was the perfect antidote to a long night of watching election results. I had a wonderful time, drank far too much and realised I had when I suggested a floating stadium to a stadium designer. He was very sweet not to dismiss it out of hand.”

  • Card ts new

    Tom Sharp

    Creative Director, Beautiful Meme

    “Firstly, thank you once again for your invitation to this year's Podge. Ben and I had dinner with Bruno Maag two years ago and remember him telling us about this amazing lunch where legends got riotously drunk with newcomers. We thought then that it sounded like the funkiest way to spend an afternoon - after sneaking into the last two Podges we still do.”

  • Card jonathan ford

    Jonathan Ford

    Partner & Chief Creative Officer, Pearlfisher

    “1994 - Blur and Oasis were on the radio as newcomers to the music scene, and Pearlfisher were just two years into our life as newcomers to the brand design scene. We were very honoured to be asked to be part of Podge and rub shoulders with industry giants until we saw what a mess they all were after the lunch. Long live Podge!”

  • Card michael peters

    Michael Peters

    OBE, Michael Peters & Partners

    “While the professional annual get together is D&AD and the Design Week Awards, the social highlight of the Design year is the Annual Podge lunch. This is where real Design Industry Genius’ s meet - this is where the real Design Gossip is bantered and most important where the professional and competitive cudgels are downed, the Egos left at the front door and the Design Business unites into one big family."

  • Card ron cregan

    Ron Cregan

    Business Director, Sedley Place

    “I did actually hear about Podge in 1994, but only as a whisper about some sinister creative drinking and eating afternoon where the lights were dim, the attendees wore various masks and bizarre clothing, and were sworn to secrecy about all things ‘Podge’ on pain of having their various Yellow Pencils confiscated. Then a few years later when I met Phil and he explained that I was actually invited, I felt as if I had ‘arrived’.”

@LabDigitalUK

This year's @PodgeEvents was intense to say the least... Wish someone would take a fashion risk once in a while tho… https://t.co/vIcU0wznnB

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@PodgeEvents

Amazing voice! Thank you #podgeevents https://t.co/dMEmQMw8aP

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