Joe Mackay-Sinclair, the founder of The Romans PR, talked to Cision about what drove him to launch the agency in 2015, the focus on creativity, and favorite creative ideas he’s worked on.
You can find the original interview with Cision here.
Reasons for founding The Romans PR
Joe knew he was pretty good at PR but was doing it for the wrong clients and wrong briefs. The work he was doing didn’t feel right for him. So he threw it all in the bin and founded the only PR agency in the UK with a sole focus on creative ideas.
Backing from ad agency Mother
The Romans PR’s founder thinks of Mother as the most exciting, creative, and innovative ad agency of the last two decades. Mother’s investment was less of financial backing but more of an endorsement of a shared conviction that the PR industry was missing an immense creative opportunity.
Combining creativity and commerce
The MO of The Romans PR is all about creativity. Sometimes it can be a challenge to combine creativity and commerce. Joe explains that he holds the biggest PR creative department in Europe in headcount percentage terms, which is not easy for old school PR people to get their heads around. Not just in terms of how we bill creative but also how to structure a business so that winning awards leads to financial success.
It’s a work in progress, but Joe gradually continues to shift his financial model to be one that values ideas, as well as delivery.
Saturating the agency with creativity
When asked how Joe ensures that creativity permeates throughout the agency, he did a shout out to Ottilie Ratcliffe, his associate creative, who is with the agency since almost the beginning. She runs a weekly creative forum and mentors all of The Romans PR’s junior creative talent. This paid off in 2019 when the PR agency sent its winning Young Lions team to represent the UK in Cannes.
What’s most important for The Romans PR
Cision mentioned chatter within the PR industry about agencies having ideas lifted and used without payment. Joe answered that it’s essential to protect your IP legally. He added that, when engaged by a client, any idea that The Romans PR has for that client is usually the client’s property.
But this is not so much a worry for The Romans PR. Joe cares more about ensuring his team has great ideas everyday. Instead of thinking of ideas he had a long time ago, he focuses on winning tomorrow’s pitches and awards.
Joe Mackay-Sinclair’s favorite creative idea
The Romans PR team killed it in the last 12 months with jobs and projects, as well as new clients like the underwear brand Heist and Playstation. Joe especially loves the agency’s D&AD award-winning work, creating the @JohnLewis Ad for Twitter and the suicide prevention campaign for Virgin Trains. For this campaign, The Romans painted 7.5km of the script of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on platforms from Euston to Glasgow.
You can learn more about The Romans PR through third party reviews.