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Interview: Thomas Drewry, Chief Executive, Bluffer's Media

Kelsey Martin
By Kelsey Martin  //  Mon 20th January 2014
Thomas Drewry on the evolution of Bluffer's Media, the importance of content and the next big thing in media. Please note, all of his answers are bluff-free! 

Tell us a little bit about Bluffer's?
A 5-million-copy bestselling series, The Bluffer's Guides® have been helping people out of sticky situations for over four decades. With titles on everything from beer and cricket, to management and golf, the Guides' mission is to eradicate social embarrassment from this world.

I bought Bluffer’s back in 2012 and have surrounded myself with a team committed to updating the iconic series (which consisted of 88 titles) for the digital era. The Bluffer’s Guides is a beloved series that has fostered an overwhelming sense of community, so it seemed a shame to let that sizzle out, especially in our age of smartphones and tablets and impossibly sophisticated technology when we’re all expected to be instant experts on everything. 

How has the digital era changed things for Bluffer's?
As well as the guides, we have a daily-updated website at www.bluffers.com which offers articles on everything from current affairs to our ‘how to date’ series; and we’re proactive on social media, with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest pages, as well as more than 30,000 newsletter subscribers. 

Our mission? Help people to hold their own in any situation. In addition to developing the Bluffer’s brand across media channels to become the global entertainment brand for knowledge with a sense of humour, we also create original and fun content for other brands.

How important is content for brands today?
Content is king. Google might be infuriatingly particular in many ways but it is also a stickler for sites with unique quality content, which is good news for Bluffer’s as content is at the heart of what we do, but bad news for Viagra sites. In today’s world of short attention spans, it’s vital for companies to have personality, to stand out from the competition. With our irreverent style and witty writers, that’s something we can help brands with. 

Favourite media campaign?
Volvo’s recent Jean-Claude Van Damme ad campaign was pretty spectacular. It’s reassuring to know that even in our media-saturated world, if you do something genuinely impressive people will still gasp.

How did you get into media?
Via corporate finance of all things. After graduating, I worked for two investment banks, one British, one Dutch, both defunct (nothing to do with me I assure you) before building up a couple of headhunting businesses. But I found media in the end.

What’s the next big thing in media?
Bluffer’s! As a wider trend, with an increasing number of video apps and Facebook developing its mobile video platform, I think 2014 is going to be the year for brands to fully embrace the powerful medium of video marketing.

Best industry resource?
Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook on how to tell your story in a noisy, social world. I just bought copies of Jab, Jab, Jab: Right Hook for the whole team. Can I get back to you after our book group?

Best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
‘If you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.’ Michael Dell taught me that, well, not me personally.

What has inspired you recently?
The power of video. Haven’t you heard, it’s the future?

Biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn about it?
Assume that because you have great content, it will be easy for people to discover it. Regardless of the quality of the content, the competition for eyeballs is intense and relentless. Now, before we produce any piece of content, we think very carefully about the audience we want to reach and how we’re going to go about it.

Favourite pub?
The Phene Arms in Chelsea

Tell us something we didn’t know about you..?
I love stand-up comedy and have done a couple of gigs. My next one is in February but I won’t say where…

Where do you holiday?
Anywhere where people are unlikely to reserve sun loungers with their towels.

A dual French and British citizen, Thomas Drewry is the CEO of Bluffer’s Media. He started his career in investment banking after graduating with a first class degree in Economics and Finance. He soon realised that banking involved working very long hours and a great deal of numbers he did not always understand, so set his sights on entrepreneurship instead, having heard that it was the new rock ‘n’ roll. He is still waiting for hordes of uninhibited groupies to mob him. 
Thomas Drewry
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