About Pete

Pete is too shy and self-effacing to do this bit himself.

Or rather, as he put in his brief: “You do it – it’ll be better than trying to piece together my own rubbish”

What can you say about a guy who’s barely 27, has only just taken on his third paid job in PR – at The Red Consultancy – and has never run his own agency?

Moreover, he proposed meeting in his local greasy spoon, where he shovelled in an all-day breakfast in the middle of the afternoon. His excuse: “I’ve had a few work do’s this week and a hefty brainstorming session with a client this morning”.

Then, transformed by zeal and a piece of hot toast, Pete mentions the deal clincher: his ambition to establish his PR Hall of Fame, an online collection of the best PR out there, updated daily, to be probed, prodded and celebrated by PR people, journalists and students alike.

I have no commercial interest in this site. Pete and I have never been work pals and we’re not mates. Thankfully, we’re also not related, as his first foray into the world of blogging and PR involved shamelessly exploiting his cousin, when she was only four days old.

“It does sound a bit sordid. It was 2002. My second cousin had just had a baby and I wanted to send a present. But it was my final year at university so I had no money, plus it was tipping down outside,” explains Pete, laughing guiltily. “This thing called ‘blogging’ was just taking off, so I thought, why not set up a blog for the baby and see if anyone visits the guest book?”

They did, in droves. At their peak, hits to the site reached rates of 10,000 a day from guests around the world, including a bunch of guys at Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas.

Ripley\'s Believe It Or Not, is one of the longest-running comic panels in history, continues to fascinate comics readers with unbelievable facts from around the world. These fascinating illustrated panels are read every day in more than 37 countries including Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Norway.


News that the infant Robbie Grace Cripps was laying claim to being the world’s youngest blogger went mainstream, with ITN and the international media phoning the newborn’s unaware parents to request interviews. “I’m not too sure what my cousin thought about it all,” admits Pete.

This reflects his somewhat cheeky, but jocular nature, which 18 months later inspired him to organise a flash mob armed with food under David Blaine, when the US illusionist was suspended over the River Thames in a plastic box on a 44-day fast.

“Actually only 60 to 70 people took part, but lots of people visited the Flashblaine website and turned up to watch the event, including Coldplay’s Chris Martin,” says Pete. Crucially, the media also bought into the non-violence and surrealism of this internet-fuelled act, with coverage appearing in the Evening Standard and on Sky News and Radio 5 Live.

Organised while making ends meet as a club DJ, this stunt proved Pete’s calling card and helped him to land his first official job in PR at Mission 21, where he came under the wing of agency founder and creative director, Richard Knight.

“Pete’s enthusiasm was absolutely infectious and he was a creative dynamo: if one option closed off, he’d find another and give you the whole picture of how it would all pan out, from press to TV and online,” says Knight.

With his own CV boasting The Big Breakfast, the launch of the original Sony PlayStation and Europe’s largest space company EADS Astrium, Knight adds: “Clients loved him, he had more integrity than anyone I’ve ever employed and if we’d been doing more of the work that suited his talents and ambitions, I’d never have let him walk out the door”.

During this 16-month stint, Pete worked on some fairly dry-sounding accounts, including The Science Museum and the Institute of Physics. However, projects included searching for a new jester for English Heritage, using a rapper to explain e=mc² and launching Einstein year by creating a terrifying 360 degree BMX flip. “It gave me a real education in how a good PR story fits together,” says Pete.

Courtesy of mission-21


He continued this notion of story-telling at Hotwire, where he was appointed to the tech agency’s first dedicated creative role. “It’s important to know how a journalist writes and how they make a story. And while there’s no magic formula to creating a good PR campaign, you need to have an idea of how to flesh things out and not always go for the conventional,” he says.

Over three years, Pete applied this unconventional thinking to clients including BlackBerry, Google and O2. He was also part of the Hotwire NetNames team that won best Technology campaign at the 2007 PRWeek Awards, by using cases of celebrity “cybersquatting” to raise the issue of online brand protection.

Most recently, Pete spotted the media hubbub when London Underground dumped the voice of “mind the gap”, Emma Clarke. Seizing the opportunity to hijack the headlines, he promptly signed Clarke to become the new voice of sat nav software specialist CoPilot.

Relishing his latest role at The Red Consultancy, working on accounts for Windows Live, Nintendo and Experian, he says: “I will still have my pulse on the daily news agenda and be updating my blog each weekday to share the best examples of PR and where possible, source the people responsible”.

According to Knight, Pete’s word is as good as his bond: “If that’s what he’s promised, then you can be sure that’s what he’ll do,” he says.

Mary Cowlett

Mary is a freelance business writer, editor and copywriter


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