[Dutch PR Awards 2024] Sophie Nicholson on The Romans Amsterdam

[Dutch PR Awards 2024] Sophie Nicholson on The Romans Amsterdam

The Romans Amsterdam enters the Dutch PR Awards 2024 with an entry for PR Bureau van het Jaar 2024. Marketing Report interviews Sophie Nicholson, partner at The Romans Amsterdam.

Can you introduce The Romans Amsterdam?

The Romans was founded in the UK in 2015 and came to the Netherlands in 2023. If you think we’re punchy to enter ‘Agency of the Year’ in our first year, we wouldn’t disagree. But you can’t call yourselves The Romans if you don’t have a little 'fortitudo'…

The Romans was born of being bored of boring PR. We use creativity and our obsession with culture to connect diverse audiences with stories and collaborators they care about. We earn attention by being genuinely relevant – staying at the forefront of niche and mainstream trends to find ways for our clients to show up for communities authentically.

Since inception, The Romans has had a singular business strategy: seek out the very best talent in the world and develop them to be individually exceptional. Build a culture that celebrates the exceptional in everyone and the rest is history.

Having expanded its empire across London, New York and Dubai, The Romans’ latest office opened in Amsterdam in 2023 – and started hiring exceptional talent from the Dutch market.

Our first hire was Associate Creative Strategist, Daisy Mijnals, formerly of BAAS. Then we brought on a raft of talent from agencies like Ogilvy Netherlands, Media.Monks and Team Lewis. And then bolstered our international capabilities with hires from Clarion and BCW in the UK. We’re a proudly diverse bunch too, with 40% of our workforce Black, Asian or Mixed Heritage.

The strategy is working. Together, we’ve won projects and retainers for some of the world’s best-known brands and products, from Tony’s Chocolonely to Diageo. We’ve created and executed major consumer campaigns at a global and local level, for the likes of Don Julio, Blue Band and Heineken. We’ve secured coverage for our clients in every Dutch consumer title bar none. We’ve delivered the most talked about campaign in years for one of the Netherlands’ biggest brand’s - Heineken (Campaign: Boring Phone). We’ve made a lot of friends at agencies and brands alike. And we’ve had a ridiculous amount of fun.

Globally minded, locally connected. Culturally ravenous, creatively ambitious. We are The Romans Amsterdam.

What is your vision on the development of the PR profession?

Our approach to PR is to earn attention with creativity that cuts through the cultural and media agenda and allows the brands we partner with to authentically become part of the cultural worlds of our audience. Identifying the places and spaces, niche and mainstream trends and passions, that connect us with diverse audiences and showing up through stories, innovations, collaborations and campaigns that really get us talked about.

We want to see more brands truly believing in the power of earned in The Netherlands. Not just using PR agencies to develop the communications messaging and the distribution strategy; to send out press releases, forge influencer collabs and host media events. But having them in the engine room of creativity. Delivering work that takes their brand (and budget) further, by earning attention and giving audiences cultural currency just to know about it. Ideas that enable them to connect on a deeper level with the consumer of today and tomorrow.

How do we want to see it done? By continuing to invest in the best, most diverse talent from The Netherlands and beyond. Mining creativity from people from the vastness of race, gender, sexuality, education, social class and neurology. Empowering them to be exceptional individuals, and to connect in the complex, fragmented, culturally thrilling, dynamic world we live and communicate in.

Which new clients have you won in 2023 and 2024?

Within months of opening our agency in late summer last year, we picked up global retainers with Heineken, Upfield and Tony’s Chocolonely – three of The Netherlands’ biggest brands - as founding clients. We’re also extremely proud to have won Blue Band, Diageo, Veloretti, Inner Circle, Shea Moisture and Virtue Worldwide.

Can you describe a PR campaign from 2023 or 2024 that you are proud of?

Within a week of opening the agency we’d won Diageo. Our first brief? Don Julio for Amsterdam Dance Event. An ambition from the brilliant and trusting client team to go big and make a splash on the scene. We took the brief extremely seriously. And made the work unbelievably fun.

We gave ourselves the humble ambition to make the Don Julio Blanco Paloma THE drink of the event. How? By partnering with tequila loving techno titan, Charlotte de Witte, to take-over Amsterdam Theatre with 'Tacos, Tequila and Techno' – a unique, day-to-night concept that blended lifestyle, music and modern Mexican culture. With media, influencers and thousands of party-goers through the door – to say Don Julio was unmissable at one of ADE’s coolest parties would be an understatement. But we didn’t just stand out at the event, we also secured top notch messaging in every consumer lifestyle title in The Netherlands and a raft of influencer content and UGC – with 125 pieces of coverage and a total potential reach of 18 million.

We also partnered with other key venues across the city to set up Don Julio Paloma stations – a super cool collab with Four Amsterdam; exclusive interviews with The Magician at Chin Chin Club; and Paloma tastings at The Andaz to name a few.

In line with Don Julio’s overall culture strategy, it was also important to make connections between the brand and the heavyweights of the global music industry by personally seeding bottles. Using our formidable network in the music scene, we smashed our KPI of getting the product into the hands of 25 of the biggest DJs of the event – and personally gifted 100 highly influential global techno royalty – who variously celebrated, shared and posted about the product.

Not bad for a first campaign.



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