PRWeek grills creative comms figures on how they got where they are, their career highlight, solving creative writer’s block and more. Today we speak to Emily Trant, associate creative director of Play PR. 

How did you get where you are now?

I spent the early part of my career pinballing around various PR and marketing roles working out what I wanted to do. 

I can’t stand the notion that there’s no room for trial and error. Get out there and find out what you enjoy, even if it takes a while. 

Uni prepared me for sweet FA. I started in Ents PR thinking I was a legend with a journalism degree, but it turned out all you really did as an assistant PR (particularly in 2012) was photocopy stuff and courier various things senior management had left in the office to their houses.

Regardless, I got a taste for entertainment and media – especially working on creative campaigns. I then went on to have roles in digital PR and marketing, social media and influencers, and even some paid media and advertising.

Then I came to PLAY – a bit of a risky move at the time, joining a start-up just as the pandemic kicked in – but it’s been the best career move of my life. 

What’s been your creative career highlight? 

Joining PLAY. It’s a creative powerhouse full of total icons unashamed to be the silliest people in the room. We work on truly exciting campaigns, I have a boss who has not only taught me how to push myself creatively but encourages me to believe in myself – and, I don’t get my slides f***ed with.

I also love the way Rowan (founder) is shaping the agency, it has heart, it has purpose and it’s being built for the people that work there. 

I’ll wipe my own nose, shall I?

We also recently worked with Sony on the Home Ents release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was definitely one of those “OMG, we’re really doing this” moments.

…and lowlight? 

Not to be a shady B, but any creative will tell you that a campaign will always be 1,000 per cent better if clients put their trust in you and let you be the expert you’re being paid to be. Alas, not always the case.

What’s your favourite campaign of the past three months (not one that you or your organisation were involved in), and why?

The Mayor of London’s ‘Have a word with yourself, then your mates’ campaign was properly great. It addressed something so important that women have had to face their whole lives in a really respectful and poignant way.

I also loved Duolingo’s ‘#DuoOver’ campaign, which translated embarrassing mistranslated tattoos and offered to fix them. I’m obsessed with ideas that are rooted in truths. 

How do you solve creative writer’s block?

Make sure you enjoy life outside of work – we need stimulation to be creative. 

I also find talking to people who really make me laugh enough of a boot up the arse to get my creative juices flowing again. 

Failing that, a bit of low-level plagiarism.

How should PR grow its creative prowess?

It’s important we never stop learning, and we’re making sure we have the right voices in the room and behind the scenes of any campaign. 

Also – and at the risk of sounding like an old fart at 31 – I think we should take heed of what Gen Z have to say and the directions they’re pushing PR in. They’re forcing us, as creatives, to be far more clever and to take much more of an unexpected approach. 

Finally, and importantly, stay curious, be interested, and make sure you know a little bit about absolutely everything – so you’re always in on the joke.

Originally published in PRWeek