The greasy pole; episode 1

May 9, 2007


As promised, here is the first of our planned series of profiles of young PR professionals. Mr Tom Merrifield, Account Exec at Edelman, is the first to step into the [rather dim] limelight, and bare his soul to you all…


  • So Tom, What made you want to work in PR?

Because I’m shallow and place excess value in the consumption of Champagne and celebrity spotting. Just kidding, I decided to move into the heady world of PR having questioned my decision to practice law following a rigorous three year degree. I wanted to try something which would allow my creativity and analytical skills to be used concurrently, whilst also being involved in contentious current issues (feel free to paste that into your application form…)

  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?     

In terms of professional cool, I guess that working for the GLA and presenting to the board of directors at the top of City Hall as Ken walked past was pretty good, as was working for the National Aids Trust on World Aids Day 2006. In terms of pure, arbitrary, cool; the kind of cool that were I Vince Vaughan chatting to one of his compadres in Swingers, I would describe as being “money”…I reckon gate-crashing Gordon Ramsey’s wife’s book launch at the Century Club, landing myself free Space NK freebies, chin-wagging briefly with Messrs Ramsey and Clarkson (Jeremy) and topping it off with a quick “hello” to Neil ‘Doctor’ Fox, all whilst sipping free Champagne and Pomegranate cocktails (Yes, I really am that masculine!) comes quite high up the list.

  • Least favourite part of the job?

Media monitoring. This really needs no explanation or justification.

  • When I’m 40, I’d like to be…

Happy. Preferably with more money than my wife (I’m making another assumption there) knows what to do with…*reconsiders his career trajectory*  

  • Top tips for those wanting to get into the industry?

Do research the job and agency. Don’t apply to agencies just because they look ‘cool’. Do be certain that PR is for you – try and get work experience. Don’t’ place too much value in working in a ‘cool’ office. Do be honest with yourself and your interviewers. Don’t try and use buzzwords/phrases like “blue-sky thinking”(though depending on the agency and interviewer, this may or may not help – judge this by how skinny their jeans are and if they’re wearing square rimmed spectacles and a cultivated look of Shoreditch ‘cool’). Don’t apply if you think Nathan Barley is actually ‘cool’ and not just an amusing parody of someone in media. Don’t overuse the word ‘cool’. Don’t take yourself too seriously (hence the photo)

  • Best advice received so far?

When worrying without reason: “nobody’s dead and no one’s pregnant – so what’s the problem!?”

  • And now for the important bit…Merrifield, this is your life:
  • FT or Heat?


  • Grazia or Country Life?


  • Cameron or Brown?


  • Running or the gym?


  • G & T or JD & Coke?

JD & Coke

  • Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Baskin Robbins

  • Caffe Nero or Starbucks?


  • North or South?


  • If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

Edward Norton

4 Responses to “The greasy pole; episode 1”

  1. Least favourite part of the job?

    Media monitoring. This really needs no explanation or justification.

    A bit self promotional I will freely admit, but can I ask what you use to monitor stuff online? We are just in the process of launching a tool that helps monitor what is being said online.

  2. Tom Merrifield Says:

    I’m not sure shameless plugging was quite what Alain and Alex had in mind when designing this blog but….I personally am not using an online tool for the monitoring as it needs to be done early so i’m flicking through the broadsheets, old school style, then checking for updates on Factiva later. That being said, I do know of quite a few other online monitoring tools such as Google Reader, Blog Pulse, Google Blog Search, Board Tracker etc etc.


  3. Ed Lee Says:

    Is Dr Fox really a Dr?

    I remember he had a bit of a spat with Gervais on his XFM show about it…

  4. Tom Merrifield Says:

    Ed – I suspect not. He’s rather too corpulent and clearly spends too long on sunbeds to be a real doctor. Nice guy though.

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