'It’s very rare a campaign manifests exactly as originally envisioned' - Creative Q&A

PRWeek grills creative comms figures on how they got where they are, their career highlight, solving creative writer's block, and more. Today we speak to Emma Grace, co-CEO and ECD at PrettyGreen Group.

'It’s very rare a campaign manifests exactly as originally envisioned' - Creative Q&A

How did you get where you are now?

I moved to London after university in 2000 with no clue what I wanted to do. My boyfriend at the time worked in radio and his friends were all music PRs; it was the first time I knew PR even existed. I loved to write, and I loved to drink so thought “I am all over this!”

My first role was at a PR agency called Lawson Dodd as an admin assistant - I worked on media relations for posh interiors clients. I moved to Exposure after a couple of years as a senior account manager as I wanted more experience in creative, brand-led work. Exposure was where I learned my craft and really understood the power of creative, integrated work on brands such as Coca-Cola, OXO and the LTA.

After four years at Exposure and a freelance stint at Freuds and Shine, Strings (Mark Stringer, ex-Exposure MD) approached me to work on a consultancy project for the launch of Red Bull Cola. We worked out of Red Bull’s office and six months later we were recruiting a team to deliver the whole Red Bull comms business. Nando’s and Cadbury quickly joined us and suddenly we were an agency, with a logo and an enviable client list – eternally grateful to those clients that took a chance on us.

Thirteen years later I have played multiple roles at PrettyGreen as the agency has grown and evolved. Associate director, comms director, MD, and I am now co-CEO/ECD with a focus on our creative and strategic output.

What's been your creative career highlight?

Any campaign that my mum sees and therefore understands what it is that I do and campaigns that have purpose at the heart. Recent campaigns that hit both the mum/purpose criteria are 'My Hair Won’t Be Silenced' from Pantene – a campaign highlighting Afro-hair discrimination and microaggressions - and 'Is TV Making your Child Prejudice?', a provocative campaign we did for inclusive content App Hopster about how a scary amount of kids TV content on streaming platforms are all racist, sexist, ageist etc.

... and lowlight?

You quickly learn in this job that it’s very rare that a campaign manifests exactly as originally envisioned.

What's your favourite campaign of the past three months (not one that you or your organisation were involved in) and why?

I loved the recent Calm x Tyson Fury content – what an authentic talent fit, and the manifestation was pure genius.

How do you solve creative writer's block?

Feed the mind. I always tell my teams to watch something different on telly/pick up a random magazine in the newsagent/follow a random influencer/walk a different route, something always unblocks. Deck of Brilliance is also a fantastic free online tool that helps to prompt different creative strategies. If all else fails, I recommend Scott Morrison at Boom for creativity unlocking and unblocking training.

How should PR grow its creative prowess?

By investing in strategy and creative. We have two amazing planners within our business, two creative directors, two designers, and an amazing network of ideas people that help with the crucial thought sparks.

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