Andrew Bloch hired to lead AAR's PR practice

The Frank co-founder succeeds Alex Young, taking up a remit that includes helping clients adapt marketing models and evolving the pitching process.

AAR's new PR lead Andrew Bloch and CEO Victoria Fox
AAR's new PR lead Andrew Bloch and CEO Victoria Fox

Marketing consultancy AAR has appointed Andrew Bloch to lead its PR consultancy practice. 

Bloch will take over the PR division from Young, who will be leaving AAR to set up her own consultancy.

AAR has consulted on PR pitches for more than three decades, recently handling briefs for EDF, Smart Energy, Homebase, Lidl, Subway and TalkTalk.

Bloch will join with an expanded remit that includes developing new approaches to supporting brands and PR consultancies as the AAR helps clients adapt marketing models for the future. This includes evolving the pitch process to make it more efficient and less emotionally and financially taxing on those involved. 

“The PR landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and choosing the right agencies for the job in hand is tougher than ever. Having participated in hundreds of pitches over the years, I’m excited to put my experience to good use on the other side of the table,” Bloch said.

“Pitching is the lifeblood of any agency, and when the process is managed effectively, is hugely rewarding. Equally, when a pitch process is run badly, it is frustrating and draining for all involved.”

AAR chief executive Victoria Fox said Bloch will bring “a fresh perspective” to pitching in the PR space.

“As well as working together to develop new ways to support clients and agencies in this rapidly evolving landscape, Andrew’s breadth of experience and lateral thinking will also support us in the broader consultancy offerings we have been building across AAR over the last 14 months,” she added.

In an email to her clients seen by PRWeek, Young said the past eight months of pandemic had led her to reflect on her future.

She added: “After more than two decades leading the PR practice at AAR, I’ve decided to step back from my role in order to develop my own independent consultancy, using my extensive experience and expertise to support both PR consultancies and brands.”

Pitching under pressure?

Bloch, who stepped down from his day-to-day role as managing partner of Frank to become a non-executive director and take up several advisory and NED roles, joins the AAR at an interesting time.

Early in the pandemic, pitching substantially slowed down and most of the process went virtual. The pitching pipeline has since recovered, but some parts of the process are still being held virtually.

Pitching has come in for criticism in recent years, with some agency leaders describing it as "broken", "not fit for purpose" and a "shallow, time-wasting beauty parade".

There has also been criticism levelled at the role of procurement, processes that drag on for many months and bloated shortlists.

Bloch has previously said pitches are fair when run well, but many pitches aren’t. It has also been suggested that clients do not take PR pitches as seriously as those for media and advertising.

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