Hello Simon, let’s start with how you got into PR…
I spent nearly 20 years as a journalist, in print and then online, so I was due a new challenge. Little Red Rooster is the most inspiring, creative PR agency I’ve ever worked with as a journo, and the opportunity to join such a passionate team was too good to pass up.
What excites you most about your job?
Working with some of the very best clients in tech, alongside a bunch of bona fide PR superstars. This is still a young agency that’s grown so quickly, and I love being part of keeping LRR on the rise. Also, I was promised cookies.
What is your most memorable career moment?
Driving Ferraris around Monza was a childhood dream come true. But, if I’m honest, throwing up in a Jaguar F-Type was the first thing that came to mind. Oh, and going through the start line of the Gumball Rally with Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ blasting from the car. Hmm, a lot of this seems to have involved messing around in cars…
The most memorable moment that was more about real work was probably the first time I went on a cover photoshoot for Stuff Magazine. I felt like I was really contributing – and apparently I was, as I was asked to go on every cover shoot thereafter. I loved every one of those days, even when it was a struggle to get the right shots, the model had a hangover, hair and make-up took literally hours, and the studio fridge had run out of peanut M&Ms.
Describe your happy place?
Beach picnic with my kids, spot of sea swimming, quick fossil hunt, maybe a little fishing – just before the babysitter arrives so I can go to a massive rave through a time vortex. Probably Helter Skelter, 1996, DJ Hype with GQ on the mic.
Describe your work wardrobe?
Whatever I can find at 6am. Probably a check shirt with the barest hint of rumpling and a spritz of Febreze. I’m planning to diversify: stripy (but only vertical).
I love my watches, even though I don’t own nearly as many as I used to. A vintage Rolex Oysterdate Precision is my go-to daily wearer, but I sometimes go fancier or just slap a smartwatch on. A Marloe Haskell might be going on my birthday list – it’s hand-wound, like most of my mechanical watches, and that white paper dial is a beauty. I could be tempted by an OPTIK INSTRUMENTS HORIZON, too. Just lovely.
What can’t you leave home without?
Music. If I don’t have a book or a movie for the train, that’s fine; I can live with that. I might even be able to survive without a phone, even though my email stack would be insurmountable before I even step through the office door. However, not having a great pair of headphones and a memory card full of absolute bangers in my Astell&Kern player would make me scream – especially when the trains are delayed. I can’t handle jamming my face in another man’s armpit without some acoustic chill.
What makes Little Red Rooster different from other PR agencies?
LRR doesn’t accept ordinary; its clients are at the top of their game. That makes it very easy to get excited about them. There’s also a very special personal relationship between the Roosters and the press – we’re as far as you can get from a faceless agency. I’ve always had great friendships with journos and PRs alike, so I love that I get to continue that relationship-building, just from the other side.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to work in PR?
Get the cookies upfront.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never sing – you’re rubbish. But in terms of work advice, it was actually to slow down, do your best to get things right rather than rushing out a mountain of things that are wrong. It’s more difficult now to follow that advice than it ever has been, because we’re all just getting busier, so it’s super-important to stay organised and prioritise.