What was the inspiration for starting Purple Pilchard
Inspired by my happy Ben & Jerry’s days I wanted to become a champion of ‘personality packed’ disruptor brands that stubbornly refuse to be kowtowed by bland, insincere, ponderous or over-massaged bigger brand egos that shamelessly trade in mediocrity.Much has changed since I set up 13 years ago, (one man designers, PR agencies and marketing consultants now work out of back rooms and bottom of garden sheds) but there was a time not so long ago when it was hard to find an affordable agency with the foresight to support big brands of tomorrow. When I worked ‘blue chip’ side’ (usually on smaller, bottom rung brands) one was often obliged to use rostered agencies who didn’t give a jot about Bajan rums or melon-flavoured drinks and simply saw you as something for the junior exec to cut his/her teeth on or a short-lived forum to try out an idea that had been rejected elsewhere. Their sole motive was to get noticed by one of big boys within your company’s brand stable & not get bogged down in your ‘small time’ aspirations.
The simple truth is that small brands with shallow pockets needed a strategic vision more than anyone because they have neither the time nor the money to change direction easily.Thankfully we now live in an age where fleet-footed entrepreneurs, artisan aspirations and understanding one’s customer needs are very much in vogue and corporates are finally seen as soulless voids that trade in profits, convenience and safeguarding the bland status quo.
Describe a typical day at Purple Pilchard
Meeting and working with interesting individuals. Entrepreneurs by their very nature are ‘confident souls’ with brave visions and unflinching confidence. There are as with any industry a number or ‘arrogant arses’ but in 78% of instances these are inspirational masterclasses in clear, cut-through thinking.
No two days are ever the same. I work both retainers and ad hoc projects in order to support disruptor brands of every financial persuasion. Company side it was always a tad dull to immerse yourself in a single brand at a time. These days I can be talking dog food in the morning, coconut themed drinks at lunch time and ice cream by the afternoon. It’s great not to work with pontificating ‘sloth like’ brands obsessed by stifling data or cautious baby steps.
Of course reckless is never a sensible mindset, but calculated risks and gut feelings are certainly to be applauded. I loathe brands that are simply launch pads for brand owners looking to preen themselves in public, but if your motives are sincere (healthier living, a new level of indulgent, ‘non-cardboardy’ gluten free…) then you have nothing but my respect.
Where Do You See Purple Pilchard in 5 Years Time
Pretty much where I am now, doing interesting work and meeting inspiring people not roubles was always my primary motive (although a few more roubles/brands with slightly bigger budgets would be lovely). I’ve always admired underdogs who are willing to stick up their middle finger to establishment as long as the motives are sincere not attention-seeking.
Copywriting is a particular bugbear of mine as it amazes me how many people will pay a fortune for a cool brand identity/stonking packaging but think they can scribble down the tone of voice on the back of an envelope. Here’s the thing, not everyone can draw and not everyone can write. The right words written in an appealing way can be captivating whilst lazy mimicking can be the kiss of death.I’d like to write another children’s book when the moment’s right. It appears I was a tad obsessed with alliteration when I wrote The Toxic Toadburger Conspiracy. I went to creative writing to extend my writing repertoire; I certainly never expected my 1st effort to succeed. The idea is cracking the cover stunning but I know I write so much better these days and have a few big ideas bubbling – and that’s the thing, nothing stands still!
Biggest Food Trends in Next 5 Years
Buying British artisan brands – Brexit has created an environment that will focus the minds and remind us why GB is such a hot bed of fab ideas (P.S. I voted stay but you have to make the best of a bad situation).
Cold pressure (HPP) how we can still be dependent on antiquated pasteurisation amazes me
Functional foods – not gimmicky nonsense – but this is an intriguing world where we’ve only scratched the surface.
What is your favourite meal?
A seriously good home-cooked Spag Bog, a Rhubarb & Ginger gin and treacle pudding
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