When Volpa was offered the chance to pitch for PR work for actor and stand-up comedian Allan Havey, we jumped at it.

It goes without saying that we’re Mad Men fans here in the Den, and Allan shot to TV fame for his role as Lou Avery, curmudgeonly successor to Don Draper at Sterling Cooper.

The inside joke in Hollywood was that Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men, cast a long-time stand-up comedian to play a very straight, humourless character.


Allan needed PR support for his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe. And although this was somewhat outside of her usual PR remit, account manager Gillian Drummond has long-time associations with the Fringe; she worked on the weekly Fringe publication Festival Times, and reviewed Fringe theatre and comedy for The Scotsman.

When it came to gaining press coverage for Allan’s show – which ran for the whole 3-week run of the Fringe – it was clear that it wasn’t going to be easy to cut through the media buzz surrounding no less than 3500 shows.


Volpa did what it does best – some cunningly executed ideas which would thrust Allan into the spotlight. Gillian drew on her national media and Edinburgh contacts to facilitate:

* a feature in BBC Arts online which grouped him together with big names such as Frank Skinner, Su Pollard and Jason Donovan, in a piece which focused on established performers appearing at the Fringe;

* a profile of Allan in the Scottish Sun proclaiming him as a ‘comedy king’;

* an interview on BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie Show;

* an appearance on Radio Scotland’s Afternoon Show with Janice Forsyth;

* a guest appearance on the popular Fringe talk show Fred Macaulay In Conversation.

Meanwhile, Volpa’s Head of Publicity Fraser Kirk came up with the idea to maximise Allan’s Mad Men fame. An approach was made to Scotland’s biggest ad agency, the Leith Agency to collaborate on a series of film shorts in which Allan appeared as Lou. The idea was to put Lou, still stuck in the ‘60s, in a modern-day setting, struggling to get to grips with both modern technology and 21st century office etiquette. Leith, Volpa and Leith’s sister company, video producers Tanami, produced the shorts while Allan, ever the comic genius, frequently ad-libbed to produce some moments of brilliance. Video viewings quickly went into the thousands. They even got the blessing of Mr Matthew Weiner.

The result? A reach of more than 7m readers and listeners, some great reviews, and a nod from Allan that he’d love to do it all again next year.