Interview with Patrick McCaully from United States

Interview with Matthew Arquette from the United Kingdom
August 15, 2023
Grand Jury Panel | NYX Video Awards
The Seasoned Grand Jurors of the 2023 NYX Video Awards
August 16, 2023

Patrick McCaully

Patrick McCaully, the founder of Pointman News Creation that he founded 22 years ago where he brings his experience of being part of newsrooms and assignment desks at three different national broadcasting networks.

Interview with the 2023 NYX Marcom Awards Winner -
Patrick McCaully

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.
Hi! My name is Patrick McCaully and I am the founder of Pointman News Creation. I have worked in the newsrooms and on the assignment desks of 3 national broadcasters. Understanding what journalists REALLY need comes naturally. I founded Pointman News Creation 22 years ago and has been behind some of North America's most media-dominating PR campaigns ever since.
2What led you to become a marketing communications professional?
Working on broadcast assignment desks as a journalist really gave me a lot of insight into what media needs to produce a story, what their realities and frustrations are and how PR professionals can do better (I had to endure several thousand really bad media pitches). It seemed like a natural transition to start my own agency armed with that knowledge - I also wanted to explore humour as a massively underused tactic to win media coverage.
3What is your role in the agency, and what traits should a marketing communications professional possess to be successful in their role?

My somewhat unique job title is 'Vanquisher of Vanilla PR,' but essentially, I choose to be a one-man show (although Pointman is ranked the number one boutique PR agency in the world) so I do it all from creative to writing, pitching and securing media coverage.

I think that marketing professionals need to be capable of embracing the chaos of a successful PR pitch and be able to roll with a lot of unexpected twists and turns to get the best possible results. But more than anything, they need to have incredibly strong creative skills - At the end of the day, PR is about having the most captivating pitch to media - the best ideas win. If you aren't truly creative then maybe PR is not for you.

4Tell us more about your agency/company.

Pointman News Creation works with major companies/organizations like Samsonite, Hipcamp, Scouts Canada, Sifto Salt, Casper etc. As well as start-ups and solopreneurs to create media-dominating campaigns that the news media can't ignore.

For the past 22 years, we've been behind some of the most successful and memorable pitches in North America, including 'Canada's Best Summer Job' (Hipcamp Canada), 'Are You An Undercover Trump Dumper?' (Vassi Menswear), 'The Real Cost of Love' ( and 'Scouts Canada is Kinda Concerned About Your Camping Competency' (Scouts Canada) and hundreds of others.

5What is your own definition of marketing communications?
Consistently winning major media coverage for clients by consistently having the best PR campaign ideas.
6Describe your marketing communications style and its main characteristics.

I believe in the 'trojan horse' approach. This means creating a PR pitch that is independently newsworthy and then relating it to what the client does or wants to publicize. The world is melting!

A simple 'we have the best product' or 'we have the best team' or 'we're the Uber of ...' just doesn't cut it with media in 2023 and won't cut through the noise. You need to push boundaries, use humour, shock and awe to secure media coverage. I'm at war with 'Vanilla PR,' I won't do it, and I won't let my clients do it either.

7Tell us about your ideation process.

A lot of the time, an idea starts with something that I personally think is funny or interesting, I spend a lot of time absorbing the cultural zeitgeist then using my finely developed news sense (from 8 years in broadcast media) to reverse engineer a media pitch.

Sometimes it's by proving a concept with a third-party survey and sometimes it's highlighting a trend or using humour to stand out. Then all the magic is in the details from email subject line to sub-headlines - pro tip: alliteration is the key to the universe.

8Congratulations! As the winner of the NYX Marcom Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
It's incredibly gratifying because it proves that a small agency (even an agency of one) can compete with the giant companies and conglomerates of PR based on results and creativity alone. If there was ever proof that 'the best idea wins' it's winning two Grand PR awards over hundreds of much larger international competitors.
9 How has winning an international award help to promote your agency and works?
The most simple way is that I now have 3 incredible (one MUSE and two NYX) statuettes to passively signal Pointman's internationally recognized excellence in every Zoom call. They tend to be a conversation starter!
10What are the challenges of your winning entry(s)?
Hipcamp was a relatively unknown entity in Canada and we needed to create a campaign to win the hearts and minds of Canadians and Canadian media. Offering an epic cross-Canada camping adventure, 20,000 miles and $20k was just the thing to gain and sustain positive media coverage as they expanded across Canada.
11How has the country you are based in helped during your ideation process?
Canadians famously have a sense of humour. We are very conservative in business but we appreciate a good joke. Strangely, most PR agencies shy away from humour and tend to play it straight with really conventional pitches - this gives Pointman a huge advantage.
12What are the current trends in the marketing communications industry that you are most excited about?
AI is both concerning and exciting; I've always believed that shifting from asking people what they think (surveys) to predicting what they will actually do (AI) would be a really interesting evolution for creating PR pitches.
13What are the top three (3) favorite things about the marketing communications industry?

That PR and securing media coverage is still a meritocracy; the best idea still wins.

Technology has made it possible to pitch widely as a one-man show.

Smart SMOs know that pitches have to be less conventional and more creative to work.

14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their marketing communications ideas and concepts?
If you are still in school, do a media internship - there's no substitute for real newsroom experience to understand the media.
15Where do you see the evolution of the marketing industry in the next 5-10 years?

AI replacing surveys for news creation.

Small agencies winning business away from big agencies based on the strength of creative and consistent results.

16What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Find the funny. Nothing works in PR as well as a truly funny pitch.

Winning Entry

Canada's Best Summer Job: $20K, 20 camp sites & 4000 miles | 2023

Canada's Best Summer Job: $20K, 20 camp sites & 4000 miles | NYX Marcom Awards
To create media-dominating coverage for Hipcamp's Canadian launch and drive direct traffic to the website, Pointman ...
(read more at NYX Marcom Awards)

Patrick McCaully

Patrick McCaully, the founder of Pointman News Creation that he founded 22 years ago where he brings his experience of being part of newsrooms and assignment desks at three different national broadcasting networks.

Read more about this interview with Elva Pacheco from Germany, the Gold Winner of the 2023 NYX Marcom Awards.