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Annie Blake-Burke

The daughter of Irish immigrants, Annie grew up cooking alongside her mom and older sisters in her family’s kitchen in California. Offered a job at a luxury lifestyle PR agency overseas publicizing Michelin-starred restaurants, hotels and bars, she ate it up. The London food-and-drink scene was crowded and competitive — sometimes cutthroat. It took creativity — hello, world’s highest gin pour — and tenacity to garner meaningful publicity that helped her clients stand out. Annie delivered, amassing attention for her clients on social media and in the press and pulling customers through the doors.
Senior Account Director
Social media inventor
Starting pitcher
Cultural adapter

Annie’s take on:

 Thinking creatively for social media

Annie worked with London chefs and bartenders to invent menu items and restaurant events that would appeal to customers’ tastes — but also seize attention on social media. London’s first pumpkin spice cocktail. The world record breaking two-story cocktail pour, in which a bartender poured gin from the bar’s second story window into a glass held by a server on ground level (they nailed it). That CBD cocktail served in a smoking bong. These are among Annie’s ideas that garnered hundreds of thousands of views online along with media coverage by international publications.

Annie says:

The trick to editorial social media success, is to combine novelty, storytelling and relevance — a dash of surprise with information that people really want to consume.

The art of the pitch

Annie aims to make it as easy as possible for media to cover her clients’ stories. That means being sensitive to journalists’ deadlines and other timing issues, but also serving up the information and resources (interview subjects’ names, photographs, video) they need to tell stories important to their audiences. So, in Annie’s hands, a pitch isn’t so much a pitch as it is a well-timed offering.

Moving among cultures

In Ireland, Annie’s father worked as an accountant for a dairy business. There were perks, sure, like take-home yogurt at week’s end. But her parents wanted more opportunities for their family, so they moved to the U.S. after winning a green-card lottery. New to California, Annie’s family lived with relatives — eight people in a small apartment. Eventually, her father joined a tech startup. “They made a life for themselves,” Annie says.

Annie learned about Irish culture (warm, welcoming) from her family. She learned about London culture (cooler) by living there for almost 4 years. While she says she’s grateful for her international perspective, she feels most at home in the U.S., closer to family and amid the cultural quirks she grew up with.

Education

Bachelor of arts, public relations, Gonzaga University

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