60 Seconds with Mercieca’s Pete Calvert

Pete Calvert, Mercieca’s creative director, reveals why he believes media intelligence software is an essential part of the modern PR toolkit, what it means to be a truly integrated agency – and why he loves a classic martini.


Pete Calvert

The strapline on the Mercieca home page reads “integrated, not complicated”. What does that mean? And why is it so important for agencies to offer integrated PR solutions?

It defines the way we approach our work. The world is moving faster than ever, as we live in a “now” society. Gone are the days when it was okay for an agency to take a couple of weeks to turn things round. Brands need to react to consumers with lightning speed, and we’re here to help them do this.

Our uncomplicated approach allows us to cut through the red tape, remove the jargon and get straight to the point – to ultimately deliver stand out, results-driven work, fast.

It’s never been so important for PR agencies to have an integrated approach to their work. As the digital revolution continues to change how people consume media, PR agencies need to move with them by developing new skills and techniques to deliver campaigns in new and unexpected ways.

Having an integrated proposition allows agencies true freedom to produce the best possible ideas and be more effective for their clients. Agencies should not be limited by channels, only by their imagination.

We talk a lot about how the media is becoming more fragmented and influencers are growing more powerful. But what would you say are the most significant ways the media landscape has changed over the past decade?

The swift acceleration in the evolution of digital platforms has transformed the media landscape and defined the last decade. The way brands used to communicate with people has altered beyond recognition during this time.

The rise of social platforms has given everyone a voice, empowering influencers has come as a result. This growing trend has fundamentally changed the way brands behave. There is now, more than ever, the need to have greater levels of interaction, engagement and transparency with consumers.

What do you predict will be the biggest PR trends over the next five years? And how is Mercieca positioning itself to meet these new demands?

We’ll continue to see a shift in what people think of as conventional PR. The media landscape is evolving quickly, shaped by technology that allows consumers greater freedom and advocacy. There will be a growing need for PR agencies to adapt to the changes and to keep pace, which will increase the need for greater skill sets in house.

The future is becoming increasingly unpredictable. That’s why many brand managers are reviewing their long-term plans with increasing regularity. The only thing we can ever be certain of is change. An agency that’s able to react to changes, expected or unexpected, will best placed to succeed.

At Mercieca, we have gone to great lengths to create a multi-disciplinary team, with experts from many different media channels. We back this with a full creative studio, whose skills allow them to create almost anything. We feel this set up makes us incredibly flexible when responding to client briefs, giving us the ability to operate with confidence, whatever the challenge. This gives us the freedom to concentrate on the most important thing – the idea.

How important would you say it is for PR agencies to measure and optimise the performance of their campaigns using media intelligence tools?

Very. To make effective campaigns you need understand your audience. Just like any relationship, the better you know someone, the more likely you’ll know what interests them. If we can use tools to help us gain a better understanding, then it’s a no-brainer for me.

It’s also vitally important to measure the performance of campaigns for their effectiveness, so that you can all learn for the future. I find that it always pays to be a good listener.

Paint a picture of the perfect integrated campaign. What elements might it include, and how would they work together?

Without wanting to be vague, there are no perfect elements in terms of media. It is simply the media mix that is right to reach the audience in the most memorable, engaging and effective way. Each and every brief presents a fresh challenge.

The best integrated ideas seamlessly translate across every media they appear in. Every touch point should always feel natural to the central idea.

Of all the campaigns you’ve worked on during your time at Mercieca, which are you most proud of and why?

I think probably our work for Tia Maria. It’s a genuinely integrated global idea that we have been able to craft right from the initial strategy stage, through to a new brand identity system. Working above the line, right through to influencer-led content platforms, we have covered all bases.

This campaign has really allowed us to push ourselves as an agency, and has provided a great opportunity to showcase the different facets of our talented team.  It’s been a brilliant journey so far, which has already produced some fantastic, award-winning work. And the pleasing thing is, we’re only just getting started.

Mercieca recently helped Tia Maria reposition itself as a brand in the coffee cocktail sector. But what is your favourite cocktail and, why?

A martini. Classic and simple, no fuss. Whether you like it with gin or vodka, or even with an espresso thrown in, it’s a versatile drink that’s stood the test of time. A cocktail without limits.

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