'PR needs to reclaim its crown' – 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 Jacquelyn Whyte, creative lead at Muckle Media.

 Jacquelyn Whyte: 'We need to continue to demonstrate that PR teams are just as good at storytelling as the ad guys'
Jacquelyn Whyte: 'We need to continue to demonstrate that PR teams are just as good at storytelling as the ad guys'

How did you get where you are now?

My first job was at Good Housekeeping magazine. I worked with amazing PRs who inspired me to change career, as well as terrible ones who made me think I could do it better! I learned the ropes at Attenborough Saffron, Good Relations and Grayling before settling at Cow. Personal circumstances saw me relocate to the Middle East, where I took a career break to start a family. Four years later, and home in Scotland, I rejoined the industry, starting at Muckle Media in February 2020. A baptism of fire after being away for so long and working at home with two kids during the pandemic, but thankfully, just like riding a bike, it all came back.

What has been your creative career highlight?

Working with Sian Morgan and Matt Wilcock at Cow was inspirational and helped me develop my creative process. I had the opportunity to work on some fantastic creative campaigns for clients including Heathrow and Superdrug, which I’m really proud of. But this role I’m in now at Muckle Media is definitely a career highlight. Returning to work after an extended period of leave and having the opportunity to shape and grow Muckle’s creative offering is exciting and challenging. Over the past few months we’ve had some fantastic client wins, including Bella & Duke, The Burrell Collection and the National Trust for Scotland, so watch this space for some big creative campaigns landing in 2022.

...and lowlight?

Being a junior, pitching to The Sun newsdesk and the reporter screaming: "Boring, boring, boring…" down the phone at my survey story pitch! It was tough at the time, but it did wonders for developing a thick skin and better creative stories.

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

I loved Visit Iceland’s parody of Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse speech. The tourism industry has been hard hit, so it was great to see a brand bringing some light relief. What’s impressive about the campaign is the speed at which it was turned around; it’s a great example of a strong client/agency relationship, showing how great work can be delivered quickly and effectively when everyone is aligned. It only took days to pitch, produce and launch, and the results are astounding – over six million views in its first few days, and it even prompted a response from Zuckerberg himself.

How do you solve creative writer's block?

Stepping away from the laptop. Walking around the loch near home lets me clear my thoughts and allows me to look at the problem from different angles so I can return with fresh thinking and new ideas.

How should PR grow its creative prowess?

By going head-to-head with the ad guys. , and we know what’s going to land that earned media coverage, too. As the lines blur between PR, above-the-line, social media and wider marketing, PR needs to reclaim its crown as a profession full of big creatives, with strategic ideas that make things happen.

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