Tyler Brûlé, creator of the design magazine Wallpaper and writer of the Financial Times column "Fast Lane," has also run a London-based design consulting firm called Winkreative since 1998.
Brûlé spoke with PRWeek about his jet-set habits and his latest magazine venture, Monocle, which will launch in February and cover politics, business, fashion, and - of course - design.
PRWeek: Do PR agencies pitch you all the time asking you to mention their new products in your column?
Tyler Brûlé: I think a lot of big PR companies have an all-points bulletin that I'm not very publicist-friendly. I'm not actually that swamped.
PRWeek: Or maybe they think there's a danger of it backfiring.
Brûlé: Maybe. I hope I don't have a nasty tone. I do get a couple of pitches a week, but part of it is also that I'll write back and say, 'Hey, if you're offering me a trip to Thailand, I just can't take it,' or, 'What is the point of this particular lunch you want to invite me on regarding this new airline because it won't end up in my column no matter what it is.'
PRWeek: The kinds of things you write about for the FT column, most people couldn't afford, but it makes sense for a high-end financial publication.
Brûlé: I think I'm a mystery to most readers. I get letters every week from people who write, 'I've been reading the column for a long time, and I just have to ask: What the hell do you do for a living?'
I run a design agency and, yes, it just happens that we have offices in Zurich, New York, Tokyo, London - my somewhat regular travel patterns.
PRWeek: In launching Monocle, what promotions are you doing?
Brûlé: I know who I have good and bad press relations with. From the UK perspective, we've got a relationship with the Observer, so that's where we placed the story. Then we did one with Women's Wear Daily because luxury is very important and it's also an easy category for us advertising-wise. And then we also gave it to Reuters to underline that it's obviously an international venture.
PRWeek: Any general thoughts about the PR industry?
Brûlé: I'm frequently surprised by just how little research people do in the States. I [also] find that the North American approach to PR is sometimes too formal and corporate.
I think in Europe it's a little more collegiate and [the people are more] easy about the relationship, i.e., they don't want to get drunk together [in North America]. There's more of the church and state separation. I don't think that's the case so much [in Europe].
It's not that it's necessarily cozy in a sleazy way. People also know it cuts both ways. You never know what day you're going to move from journalism into PR, and vice versa.
Title: Columnist, Financial Times; Editor-in-chief, Monocle
Preferred contact method: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.winkorp.com