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Holmes Report
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Holmes Report

Consumer branding firm with corporate capabilities


Nothing impresses clients quite as much as the ability to achieve big results with a tiny budget, so the in-house judges at our SABRE Awards competition last week were blown away by Threepipe’s efforts on behalf of the Adam Street Club, taking a budget that barely made it into four figures and creating a “speed mentoring” event that generated major media coverage. That effort provided proof that smart creative thinking can’t be constrained by limited resources and that Threepipe, still only a couple of years old, is already able to hold its work up for comparison to some of the biggest public relations agencies in Europe.

            As for that name, when the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes was faced with a particularly intractable mystery, he would describe it as a “three-pipe” problem, meaning that he would have time to smoke three pipes (of whatever it was he was smoking) while he came up with the solution. Threepipe looks to help clients solve equally obstinate corporate reputation and branding problems, and its principals have a track record that augurs well.

            Eddie May was previously marketing director for sporting goods giant UMBRO and has spent the majority of his career on the client side, helping UMBRO with its sponsorship of the England football team, club sides such as Chelsea and Celtic and individual players such as Michael Owen and Alan Shearer. Jim Hawker has agency experience with Harvard and MacLaurin as well as in-house experience at And newly appointed non-executive chairman Ian Crammond has ad agency experience, having previously served as chairman of Crammond Dickens Lerner.

            The fact that the two top execs have marketing as well as PR experience means that Threepipe’s creative ideas are not restricted to media relations, and the firm’s solutions often include sponsorship, event management, an one-to-one marketing. It also means that Threepipe has a firm commitment to developing programmes that have a measurable impact on marketing objectives. “These guys really understand brands,” says UMBRO marketing director Adrian Cory, “and how to deliver PR that truly connects with the target consumer.”

            The firm has added 10 staff, more than doubling in size over the past 12 months, with key additions including Nina Otero, Jo Snow and Liz Yonge., a trio of Red Consultancy account directors who joined to lead the new Threepipe Junior division, which targets children under 12. In addition, Wendy Crammond, previously deputy managing director of Edelman Europe and director at Shandwick, joined as associate director to help build the FMCG business and James Southerland joined from his position as sponsorship manager at McLaren Formula 1 Racing to head up Threepipe Sport.

            Fee income doubled too, and Threepipe recorded income of £500,000 in its second year. New clients such as TOMY and textiles company Coats joined a roster that includes Umbro,

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