Former Borkowski & M&C Saatchi pair launch agency to 'repair tainted reputation of PR'

Former Borkowski PR and M&C Saatchi colleagues Andrew Olley and Oli Goss have set up a new communications agency looking to "repair the tainted reputation of PR", PRWeek can reveal.

Oli Goss (right) and Andrew Olley
Oli Goss (right) and Andrew Olley

The pair have nearly 30 years of combined experience in PR and agency life, but decided to set up an independent shop after becoming "disillusioned" with how the industry is being perceived and practised.

Olley Goss PR will have a strong focus on comms strategy and PR activation, brand consultancy, content creation, social media management, influencer campaigns and providing brands with direct access to national news wires.

The pair told PRWeek they wanted to avoid the "database-led scattergun approach of phone-bashing junior account execs bombarding journalists with formulaic and transparent, brand-heavy press releases" and then "harassing them with constant follow-up calls to see if they’ve found them in the spam box yet".

Goss said his father and brother are both senior journalists and often share examples of "hundreds of abysmal attempts at PR that clog up their inboxes each week".

He added: "After nearly ten years in the industry I’ve had enough of feeling ashamed to admit I work in PR. It got to the point where I found myself saying that I’m a taxman or estate agent, as that seemed to evoke less scorn and ridicule."

"PR shouldn’t be a dirty word, it’s an industry that we should be proud of. When it’s done well, it’s one of, if not the best way to impactfully communicate a brand’s identity and offering."

Olley said that in the current PR environment, brands that "produce and activate strategies that have a hard-nosed news filter will win; the others are just adding to the noise".

"Everyone is a ‘storyteller’ these days, if not a ‘disrupter’ or an ‘influencer’. For your story to cut through it must be newsworthy and that’s where we can add value," he added.

"Making and keeping clients newsworthy is the fundamental job of a good PR – but it can get lost in bloated pitch documents and coverage reports that try to gloss over a distinct lack of meaningful coverage. We will be judged by the coverage we secure and the positive impact it has for our client’s reputation, business and ultimately commercial growth."

Olley was recently a director with Borkowski, and has previously worked at M&C Saatchi, Teneo, Hill+Knowlton and Edelman. His career highlights include the launch of Xbox Kinect, EE, campaigning against legal aid cuts for the Criminal Bar Association and corporate comms for UMG, Live Nation and UTA.

Goss has had stints at Borkowski and M&C Saatchi, where he worked with major brands including Twitter, Spotify, Fox, EE, Universal, Live Nation, Peroni and Diageo. He has also built his own talent agency business in the art world, with offices in London and Shanghai, promoting and exhibiting artists around the globe.

The agency launches with foundation clients in "innovative technology companies" and established figures in the entertainment and wellbeing industries.

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