Spark’s top 20 pieces of media coverage

Alex By Alex

As you may have seen, Spark celebrated its 20th birthday this year. So while Lauren has provided some musings on starting a tech PR agency 20 years ago and Ana shared the 20 things she has learnt in PR, I thought I’d look back at 20 of the best pieces of media coverage we have achieved as an agency.

The list is by no means definitive and I’m sure there are at least another 20 pieces that warrant a mention!


As an agency one of the things that we specialise in is data driven projects, whether that be market research, academic studies or Freedom of Information requests. Over the years we have worked on lots of really interesting research campaigns. Typically, we’ll come up with the idea, work out the right research methodology and tell a story that’s used to educate the market and drive leads. Media pitching is always at the heart of this and has resulted in a number of highlights over the years:

  • The FT writing about how twittering workers are costing the UK economy £1.4bn – this led to the story going viral and the stats even being referenced on the BBC’s One Show.
  • Did you know that France was the Wi-Fi hotspot capital of the world in 2014? Neither did we until we commissioned a market analysis and forecast for iPass. Using the numbers to create an interactive map helped us secure coverage on BBC News Online amongst others.
  • In the lead up to MWC 2009 we commissioned research looking at the difficulties in setting up a new phone (it was a thing back then trust me!) which ended up being one of the most popular stories on BBC News Online that day, and a great piece of pre-event coverage for the client.
  • In previous posts we have talked about the value of academic research and it is fair to say that the work the team has done on Bromium’s Web of Profit has been one of our most interesting projects. But as we have only 20 slots to choose from we’ve gone with this piece on Bloomberg as one of our favourites.
  • We have also written in the past about Freedom of Information (FOI) requests as a PR tool, so we got a bit sentimental and went with one of the first we ever did back in 2011. The FOI request, on behalf of Viasat, highlighted that the ICO had only punished one per cent of data breaches, resulting in this great write up in The Telegraph.
  • Finally, it would be amiss if we didn’t talk about how we have played a big role in promoting Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) over the last eight years. Condensing this down to a couple of favourite pieces was difficult, but in the end we went for these two in The Times and on BBC News Online.

News, editorial features, and opinion pieces

News, editorial features and opinion pieces are a core part of any media relations programme and the team has had some amazing results over the years due to their creative pitches (and some pretty awesome journalist relationships):

  • The Bromium team have had a number of highlights, but two standout pieces were this piece on BBC Technology of Business which compares the company’s tech to a ‘superpower force field’ and this piece on Sky News Online looking at how the Metropolitan Police is using Bromium for digital investigations. Case closed!
  • Creating an interesting story around individuals and companies also goes a long way to securing top-tier business coverage. Over the last 20 years we have been able to tell a number of stories including a spokesperson’s journey from fleeing Iran to making the Internet safer, and the world’s most oversubscribed school on BBC News Online, through to how a tablet computer is improving aid in Africa on The Guardian.
  • We’ve been growing our life sciences practice in recent years. So, we were really pleased when the Pistoia Alliance were quoted in this piece on the FT looking at how a lack of diversity is undermining clinical trial data.
  • We were also really happy with this piece on Wired after the team pitched some worrying findings from IOActive which revealed how a security flaw could let anyone take control of a moving Segway!
  • Tristan recently wrote about the huge amount of work that went into this BBC Technology of Business piece for MuleSoft earlier in the year – so this was an automatic entry for the list 😊.
  • Finally, when it comes to opinion pieces we’ve taken a step back in time and chosen this one for Veeam, which appeared on the FT during a time we had a fantastic hit rate securing opinion pieces on its Connected Business section (RIP).

News hijacking

You can’t beat a good news hijack and as an agency we have prided ourselves of being able to quickly spot a story and jump on it on behalf of our clients. We could easily have done a list of top 20 news hijacks, but here are two of the best:

  • First up, is a personal favourite (as I was the one who came up with idea and pitched it!) with this piece on The Guardian looking at the demand for 2012 London Olympics tickets. However, it wasn’t a gold medal experience for people trying to buy tickets online, which was a perfect opportunity for Hostway to comment on the need for better website traffic management.
  • Coverage in The Economist is the Holy Grail for many PRs, so we were delighted when we secured IOActive comment looking at how Tesco Bank had been hacked. The fact that we got the client quoted (something the publication very rarely does) was testament to having the right story and a close journalist relationship built over a number of years, which led them to calling us to fact check the quote!


Over the years we’ve scored a number of broadcast pieces for our clients, but they aren’t always the easiest to link back to unfortunately. However, the below are two great pieces we were particularly proud of:

  • CNBC Squawkbox is a highly coveted early morning broadcast slot, so we were delighted when we secured this piece for iPass’ CEO to discuss the future of Wi-Fi.
  • Should we be afraid of killer robots? Channel 4 News asked that very question, so it was high-fives all round when we secured IOActive as an industry commentator in this news report.

Hope you enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of our top 20 pieces of coverage – it does show how great storytelling and creativity along with targeted media relations can achieve fantastic results!

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash