‘It felt like a natural fit’: Matt Holmes reveals next move after departing Poem

Matt Holmes has announced his next move after departing Poem last year, the agency he co-founded, joining independent creative agency Emotive in the newly-created role of head of PR and earned creative.

Speaking to Mumbrella exclusively, Holmes explained how his role will see Emotive’s PR delivered internally for the very first time.

“In my opinion, Emotive deserves more recognition that it currently receives, which, without putting too much pressure on myself, is where I step in and hope to add value,” he told Mumbrella.

Holmes said joining Emotive felt like “a natural fit”

“And I am genuinely excited, it’s a real natural step for me.

“Emotive has been a PR agency partner over the years, I know how they work and I’ve always enjoyed working with them collaboratively. So it felt like a natural fit, something that wasn’t completely out of the blue.”

As head of PR and earned creative, Holmes’ role will be focused on brand campaign PR, rather than regular press.

“That’s where out focus lies for the short term. We’ll see as the division grows though,” Holmes said.

His role will provide extra firepower to the agency’s ‘fame’ offering, and he will work closely with Rhian Mason, head of social, talent & partnerships, and Darren Wright, group creative director.

Mason described the offering as “honing into the mechanics of how you make an idea or brand famous”.

“Thinking about how we can find those moments and opportunities to drive their media, that’s what it is all about,” she told Mumbrella.

“For the last couple of years we’ve really been weaving my specialism into that process, to bring client ideas to life. But the one thing that was missing, was having really smart PR thinking, and Matt was top of our list to bring that to the table.”

She continued: “The fact that we can now deliver on nurturing our clients, and taking them to the next level, will be really exciting.”

Holmes said Emotive will be looking to clients who are “just interested in getting some kind of earned fame”, as paid media budgets continue to diminish.

“That’s been one of the biggest struggles in my experience with a PR agency,” he told Mumbrella. “Paid PR is often forgotten, and it’s a challenge for agencies.”

Citing family time and new challenges as the reason for his exit from Poem, Holmes spent over eight years leading the agency alongside co-founder Rob Lowe.

He said at the time: “…After 20 years, I’m now lucky to be able to take a few more months off to focus on my own health, my young family and my Dad in the UK before some exciting new challenges in 2024.”

Holmes explained to Mumbrella that eight and a half years of running an agency with just one other person “takes it toll”, and he felt extremely lucky to have taken some time off to reflect.

“I’m so revitalised now, and can’t wait to get started.”

(L-R): Simon Joyce, Rhian Mason, Matt Holmes

Simon Joyce, CEO and founder of Emotive, said: ‘The truth is, good advertising doesn’t always look like advertising any more.

“Our purpose is to create ideas that change the way people feel, and with the majority of brands met with indifference, and people actively dodging ordinary advertising, that increasingly means ideas not ads and fame as essential not just desirable.

“Enter Matt,” Joyce continued. “He’s a proven creative PR leader and working closely with Rhian Mason and Darren Wright, will seamlessly weave PR into the fabric of our creative and production processes. With the growth we’re experiencing and an ambition to create the kind of work no-one has done before, this is such an exciting move for Emotive. We can’t wait for him to get started.”

Holmes will begin at Emotive on March 4, based at the agency’s headquarters in Coogee, Sydney.


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