Splendid Communications Turns 15
As we celebrate 15 years of Splendid Communications, we interview the person who started it all (back in 2004, to be exact…), CEO Alec Samways. Find out why he loves Mondays, where his inspiration comes from and what he hopes to achieve in the next 15 years.
What made you want to start Splendid?
I wanted to start an agency that was as good at strategy as an ad agency but was as authentic and connected to culture as the PR and Events agency where I was then working. To be honest I was frustrated seeing how much money clients spent on making ads that fewer people cared about. We’d be left with a shoestring budget, after the ‘lead agency’ had spent all the cash. That said, I understood why – consumer PR didn’t have the best reputation in those days and it was considered a bit lightweight by lots of clients; I assume the Ab Fab image had some truth in it
Why is your company called Splendid?
A mate suggested the name and it felt very ‘me’ and fit my vision for the business. Thank you Mike Kettles.
As the leader of creativity in the agency, where does your inspiration come from?
My team. They inspire me every single day. Also when you’ve been doing it for 15 years you know a good idea when you see one.
Who’s the real man behind the CEO?
You mean underneath my superhero costume? A vinyl collecting nerd with two great kids who cares deeply about a lot of good things but is desperately trying to stop caring about West Ham Football Club.
What’s your secret for managing to create a successful business whilst continuing your passion for DJing?
Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Without music, life would be a mistake” and I agree. I must have music playing while I work and I play music in the car and it’s always on at home. The kids share my love of music and have their own, great taste. But to call me a DJ these days is a stretch. These days it would be more accurate to describe me as a record collector who sometimes tricks people into listening to him play his favourite records loud. I had club residencies and did legal and illegal parties and pirate radio and all that … but it was a few years ago now. This might make you smile – I was in a sound system called Midnight Lover but it was a serious music crew. The rest of them went on to become a group called 4hero, they launched Reinforced Records and basically invented drum and bass. I could have ended up us their roadie and warm up DJ haha.
What has been your biggest achievement of the last 15 years (personal and work)?
It’s all about people. I’m very, very proud of my kids. I’m also very proud of my extended Splendid family – current and past. I love Mondays coming into work, I love it when the office is full and buzzing. We also have ex-colleagues all over the world in all sorts of great roles and I stay in touch with loads of them …. It gives me great pleasure to see people learn and grow. If Splendid has played a part in that growth that feels like a great achievement.
How will Splendid be celebrating the big 15?
We’re having a party at our office this Friday (November 22nd) and all our staff, friends and family are invited to help us celebrate and also raise some money for a great cause that is close to our hearts.
For one night, the office will be transformed into a tropical wonderland, well kind of, and the theme is ‘Keep The Planet Alive’ as we will be collecting donations and raising money for https://www.worldlandtrust.org/ of which Sir David Attenborough is a patron. We kindly ask that anyone who comes gives a donation either on the door or beforehand through this link:
There will be free drinks and great music so your donation will be well rewarded! Of course if you are unable to attend the event but would like to contribute to the charity anyway, we’d be delighted and you can still donate using the JustGiving link below to help raise crucial funds for a great cause.
Details for anyone interested are:
Date & Time: Friday November 22nd, 7pm until late
Location: Splendid Communications Office, 69-85 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4BD
Dress Code: Anything to do with nature, from animals to trees to whatever takes your fancy but keep it sustainable.
People should just fire over a text if they know someone at Splendid or email us to get their name put on the guest list.
What characteristics do you admire in the people that work for you?
They’re the best. We have four values at Splendid – Passionate, Creative, Collaborative and Real and that describes the team perfectly. They are 100% driven by doing the best work and I spend more time worrying about them working too hard than I do about creativity: there’s no shortage of great ideas here. I’m pleased that we’re such a diverse bunch without particularly pushing a diversity policy. We hire great people whoever they are and that helps us always present a ‘real world’ view to our clients.
Describe the last 15 years of Splendid in five songs:
Isley Brothers – Work to Do
Aaron Neville – Tell it Like it Is
Sister Sledge – We Are Family
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
Little Mix – Salute
What do you want to achieve in the next 15 years?
More of the same please. To champion People-First Creativity.To keep growing, breaking new ground, hearing great new tunes, having a laugh, meeting new Splendid people. In business terms our aim is to be the best earned media-led integrated agency in the world and I’d like to think we’re on the way.