Carlsberg don’t do PR companies, but if they did…

The staff at London PR agency, Luchford APM

Picture the scene. You’re a handsome, trendy 20-something bloke with a peach of a job in one of London’s most talked about PR companies.

You work in a smart, fun office and represent lots of funky and blue chip clients. Life doesn’t really get much better. You’re the king of the world.

Did I mention, the office receptionist is a total babe? And by the way, the account execs are all babes, the account mangers are babes, the account directors are babes. Oh – and the founder of the company is – yes you’ve guessed it – a bit of a babe.

In fact everybody else in the office is more than presentable. And female. In fact you’re the only bloke and you’re outnumbered 21 to 1. Sounds like a Carlsberg/Lynx advert.

In fact, judging by this picture it seems to be the reality for one young bloke at hotly tipped London agency, Luchford APM (click on the pic to see a larger file).

The agency features in the newly published Top 150 PR Consultancies in the UK – compiled and published by industry bible, PR Week. Luchford appears at number 76, with fee earnings of £2.4m in 2007. In other words, it’s really going places.

I don’t really know what this says about either Luchford or their clients. I’d be a bit perturbed about working for (or with) a firm almost exclusively populated by attractive, white, 20-something, middle-class women. Representative of society/the media it aint.

What it does say is that PR firms in Scotland and PR firms in London seem to be very different beasts. I’ve never worked in the Smoke and I’m sure Luchford and all the other agencies which are jam-packed full of shiny and attractive young women do a sterling job. But I’m not sure they’d survive in Scotland – despite the amazing novelty factor.

So all the more reason that congratulations is due to the BIG Partnership which has flown the flag proudly for Scotland with it showing in the Top 150. It is the biggest agency outside of London (number 32 in the list with annual fee income just shy of £6.5m), and one of only six non-London agencies in the top 50. It is also number 6 in the list of best performing independents

Just two other Scottish firms make it into the top 150 list – Glasgow outfit 3X1 and Edinburgh’s Pagoda PR (both also due congratulations for their inclusion). I’m pretty sure that if you looked at the staff in all three of those firms you’d find a pretty representative sample of Scottish society and not a tartan Luchford.

The fact only three Scottish firms are inluded makes it sound as though Scotland is a PR desert. Yet there are dozens of well-thought of practitoners delivering excellent results in small and medium-sized agencies across Scotland.

Of courste the top 150 list is based on financial performance – if you aren’t generating fees of £600,000 per year, then you’re not getting in.

However, even by that yardstick, I suspect there are a few Scottish agencies that should have merited a mention.

For instance, where is the granddaddy of Scottish PR, Beattie Communications? And what about recent stellar performers Dada, whose exponential growth seems to defy normal business models?

I know why the Top 150 list isn’t much talked about in Scotland – because while it is interesting it is so incredibly London-centric as to make it broadly irrelevant.

What I’d find really meaningful is an accurate guide to the Scottish PR scene. Or failing that, a job with Luchford. 

Actually, just the job with Luchford.


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