Alan Edwards is the Founder of public relations giant The Outside Organisation which has represented an eclectic range of clients including the biggest music stars on the planet, corporations and brands, government, royalty, celebrities, charities, events, sports legends and clubs. During an incredible 40-year career, he has worked with David Bowie, The Who, Victoria and David Beckham, the NFL, Bon Jovi, AEG and Led Zeppelin. Not to mention Amy Winehouse, Shakira, P Diddy, Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Michael Jackson, Channel 5, Aerosmith, Paul McCartney, Sunderland and Leeds Football Clubs, Northern and Shell, entertainment company AEG, Sony and EMI record labels, the Big Brother TV franchise and, of course, The Spice Girls.
In 2015, through a unique live event, staged in London’s historic V&A Museum, Alan reflected on the evolving role of PR within fashion, culture, modern media, entertainment, sports and politics over the last 40 years. Over three weeks, he was joined by a range of influential guests including Dylan Jones, Editor of GQ magazine, Sir Bob Geldof, Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, Lord Tim Bell and Alastair Campbell.
Alan left school early and took numerous jobs but after a year as a penniless freelance music reviewer for music papers like Sounds and Record Mirror, he was offered a job by the doyen of music PRs, Keith Altham, whose clients included The Who and Marc Bolan. In his spare time Alan began representing punk bands, a real passion for him – including key movers like The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks and The Damned. As the movement exploded, he set up his own company operating out of a squat – where the Clash once played at the office Christmas party. One of his highest profile clients were Blondie who he was involved with from day one when they were a struggling band playing clubs. He still represents them today.
David Bowie (who he also still represents), Duran Duran, Bryan Ferry all followed in quick succession as new clients. Alan also worked with Prince and represented him once again in 2007 when he completed a record-breaking 21 nights at London’s O2. The company continued to grow quickly throughout the 1980’s, working with artists as varied as UB40, Robert Palmer, INXS and The Cure.
In 1997 Alan received a call from the offices of Virgin Music asking him to be in their building in 45 minutes. When he saw the helicopters hovering overhead and limousines outside Virgin’s HQ, he realised he was about to be asked to represent the Spice Girls – the biggest act on planet earth and soon to be selling out stadia across the US to the Far East. The Spice Girls as clients no doubt took the firm to another level and led to a whole host of pop acts following in their wake. Outside became the leading pop music PR company in the UK handling Atomic Kitten, Boyzone, Westlife, All Saints and Leona Lewis alongside the Spice juggernaut. He also worked with Amy Winehouse, Katie Price and Naomi Campbell.
PRs truly earn their money when a crisis flares up and Alan grew a reputation as one who could put out such blazes – otherwise known as crisis management. The company was instrumental in the construction of ‘Brand Beckham’ – representing both David and Victoria during their elevation to a global brand.
He has consulted for government committees and alongside the core entertainment work he has worked with numerous businesses and corporations including the acquisition and later sale of Channel 5 by Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell the Guy Hands/EMI takeover; the sale of Chrysalis to BMG to and work with AEG, the owners of SSE Arena, Wembley and The o2. On the charity front he has been involved in campaigns including Teenage Cancer Trust, Nordoff Robbins and the Prince’s Trust.
There have been many awards through the years, most recently (2015) Alan was named the Number 1 PR in the sports and entertainment sector by industry bible PR Week. This followed the accolade in 2014 of Outside being named the number 1 entertainment PR company in the UK, again by PR Week.
The Evening Standard has named him one of London’s most influential people in 2015. Alan is also contributing editor to GQ Magazine.
In 2017, Alan was inducted into the PR Week Hall of Fame by Roger Daltrey.