15 Dec 2016

Surviving PR during the dreaded Christmas period

Paula Munteanu – Junior Account Executive

Fairy lights; the citrusy smell of fir trees; glittery, sparkly baubles hovering over dozens of streets (making your average £250m Hollywood alien invasion film look amateur); lopsided Christmas trees erected at roundabouts; overly decorated shop windows; a sudden increase in retail prices as demand peaks; frantic prowls down Oxford Street – it’s that time of the year when magic meets mediocrity, commonly known as the Christmas period.

And while some contrast the madness of the outside world with carefully crafted, aromatic mince pies and a cup of milky tea in the comfort of their own home, the world of PR couldn’t be any further from this dynamic.

To be more specific, words like “insane”, ” triple whammy” and “frustratingly bubbly” have been used to describe pre-Christmas days, inevitably leading to the idea that those who claim December is a quiet month are shameless liars.

But what exactly is it like to be in the midst of the festive hysteria? Four Spreckley colleagues offer first-hand accounts to provide a glimpse of PR office.

“We never seem to have the downtime that you hear so much about as there is lots of planning to do and review meetings,” said Jessica Davis, Senior Account Manager.

From here, it’s just a downward spiral (no biggies, it’s 2016 after all).

Nick Ringrow, Account Manager added: “Everybody is filled with excitement about the Christmas party, the terrible secret santa gifts, and who’s doing what for Christmas.”

So what’s the secret in preventing being a living wreck wrapped around in tinsel before the Christmas break?

Ultimate survival tips:

  • “Don’t leave it all until January. You’ll only live to regret it” – Jessica Davis
  • “Don’t listen to Christmas music, it only makes it worse” – Nick Ringrow
  • “Plan, plan, plan. Think ahead. Keep drinking to a minimum” – Richard Merrin, Managing Director
  • “Give up your evenings and weekends – that is the only way you will deal with the additional strain,” Richard added
  • “Start planning at the end of September – Q4 goes by in a blur. The best thing you can do is get as many projects mapped out and completed early, as inevitably things will come out and surprise you in those last remaining weeks,” said Nick Bird, Account Director

Essentially, business does not stop because of Christmas. Yes, it is stressful. Yes, it is hectic.

“There is a misconception that it’s all parties and festive fun. It’s not,” said Nick Bird. “Clients love to push out last-minute projects and often tee up new projects for the new year which require a lot of groundwork – add onto that PR reviews and plans for the upcoming year and it is a crazy, busy time!”

However, in this love-hate relationship, given the choice between celebrating Christmas twice a year or not at all, Spreckley office dwellers have unanimously agreed: twice.

For some, it means two months of listening to the finest Christmas anthems and being labelled as the Grinch by his colleagues, as Nick Ringrow conceded.

Others have a more practical approach: Nick Bird, for instance, said: “At the end of the day, when you’re 12 projects deep, down three members of staff and only have one week to turn it around, you can always say f**k it; at least it’s Christmas!”