Forget the Beast from the East, it's time to make the most of our PRfect storm

The Brand Film Festival shortlist was published last week and if you blinked, you probably missed the fact that two out of the five most nominated films were from PR agencies.

Let’s lose our ridiculous industry inferiority complex - the one that put us in thrall to advertising for the past few decades, argues Adam Mack
Let’s lose our ridiculous industry inferiority complex - the one that put us in thrall to advertising for the past few decades, argues Adam Mack

In a global festival of marketing content, full of professional studios, top ad agencies and accomplished film-makers, content made by our industry leads nominations. 

Not bad eh? And yet it’s gone largely unnoticed and uncelebrated.

Of course, it could go all Peter O’Toole (8 nominations, no Oscar) but it’s truly impressive and, I think, a bit of a sign.

A sign that our industry is responding really well to the blurring lines between marketing disciplines. A sign that our instinct for a story extends way past newsprint.

A sign that, in an era of reduced budgets and truncated timelines, we can produce work that shines beyond our own industry.

And a sign that we have what it takes to win the battle for marketing budgets.

And what it takes is fivefold:

An innate ability to understand what will and won’t engage, honed through years of dealing with the world’s most demanding of consumers, the journalist.

That one that spawned AVE, that led us to meekly accept too many ‘ad amplification’ briefs and that is making some of our own number transform themselves into ad agencies like the corporate equivalent of Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female.


Adam Mack, UK chief executive of W Communications


A gift for crafting stories – and content that relates those stories – without paying a ‘Name Director’ £500k and shipping 40 hipsters to Cape Town ‘because it has the right light’.

Dynamism and agility born of decades of needing to pull rabbits out of hats as crises befell clients, media agendas moved and stories got spiked. A grasp of the cultural agenda based on a constant connection to those who shape it.

And a real instinct for what drives conversation.

So, whilst we reinvent ourselves as an industry, we need to look to our past to secure our future and apply the skills that form the basis of our industry to the emerging disciplines – content development, influencer marketing and digital engagement – on which we must increasingly build our evolving businesses.

And while we’re at it, let’s lose our ridiculous industry inferiority complex. You know, the one that has put us in thrall to advertising for the past few decades.

That one that spawned AVE, that led us to meekly accept too many ‘ad amplification’ briefs and that is making some of our own number transform themselves into ad agencies like the corporate equivalent of Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female.

An inferiority complex that threatens to concede the whole discipline of influencer marketing to digital and media agencies.

Now is not the time for an inferiority complex – our core skills enable us to make content, activate influencers and engage digitally much better than competing industries and yet they threaten to steal our lunch.

We may have been cowed by the 'Beast from the East' but we must take head-on the ‘PRfect’ storm that’s now upon us.

Adam Mack is UK chief executive of W Communications

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