Opinion 3 minute read
Bruce McLachlan has been an integral part of PR firm Nelson Bostock Group for over ten years, creating the agency Fever with Lucy Mayo and Frankie Oliver in 2010. However, McLachlan didn’t always want to work in PR, his earliest ambition was to be a marine biologist: “The fourteen-year-old me would probably be slightly heartbroken to find out he wouldn’t be spending his days cavorting with dolphins and cataloguing reef invertebrates on the Barrier Reef.”
A reluctance to take a science A level scuppered such a career, although McLachlan believes his late-teenage self would have been pleased with the way things turned out: “If I was to tell the late-teenage me that my nine-to-five would involve working with companies like PlayStation and Warner Bros, and I’d get to play with the latest gadgets, gizmos and games before most other people, I think he’d be pretty happy with that.”
McLachlan admits that a career in PR still wasn’t on his list of ambitions when he graduated: “The plan was actually to leave university and walk into a glamorous job as a music journalist, whereupon I would swan about Camden holding forth and enjoying the hospitality of white, middle class indie bands who would like my trousers. What I hadn’t factored in was the bit in between, where I would have to spend all day bagging up competition prizes, running out to buy 20 Marlboro reds for grizzled rock hacks and endlessly alphabetising photographic negatives. For no money.”
“So I quickly decided I needed a different career. The only two things I was really good at were writing and arguing, so one of my friends suggested I try advertising or PR. And that’s what I did.”
Discussing how he landed his first job, McLachlan explains: “I sent almost 100 application letters to PR and advertising firms, and one of the first companies to reply was Text 100. In hindsight, I didn’t really know what PR was, and I gave a presentation that was pretty much an advertising pitch; luckily for me, they saw something they liked and they gave me my first job."
A couple of years into his PR career and McLachlan still wasn’t convinced he was cut out for the industry: “I’d actually decided that PR wasn’t for me. My then girlfriend (now wife) and I spent a year travelling and taking a career break, and when we came back to London the plan was to change jobs. But while I was trying to get enough money to keep a roof over my head (and prevaricating about which job I wanted to do), Nelson Bostock offered me a contract managing Canon’s sponsorship of Euro 2004. I loved photography and football, the money was good and the people seemed great, so I took it.”
This career move, at last, proved to McLachlan that PR was for him: “Almost 11 years later, I’m still part of the Nelson Bostock Group. I think I found an environment that worked for me; Nelson Bostock was, and is, a company that encourages talent and rewards people who want to make their mark. Being given the freedom, with Frankie Oliver and Lucy Mayo, to set up Fever in 2010 and shape an agency that we believed would be fit for a changing industry was testament to that. Four years later, we’ve transformed a consumer team into a 33-person, award-winning agency that works with some of the best brands in the world”.
Bruce McLachlan, joint MD, PR agency Fever