Posts from January 2017

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Things are heating up at the Food Porn Awards



Last week, the Refresh team had the best job in PR – managing the Food Porn Awards regional cook-offs. And yes, we got samples!


Alongside Shoot the Moon and STM Photography, we witnessed some of the best chefs across the North West, Cumbria and Yorkshire work their magic to create some serious Food Porn.


From freakshakes to Michelin star masterpieces, last week proved that Food Porn takes many forms – all a feast for the eyes in their own individual way.


Following an incredible 2016, the 2017 campaign launched in September, attracting entries from some of the best pubs, restaurants and cafes. Since then, the team of expert judges have had the tough job of whittling down the finalists to attend this week’s cook-offs.


At the four-day event the chefs got to cook up their dishes, before seeing them captured by STM Photography, with a little help from food stylists, making already Food Porn worthy dishes even more tantalising.


The next stage will see all of the dishes showcased in all their Food Porn glory for the judges to select their regional and category favourites, which will be announced at the National Restaurant and Bar (NRB) show in March – so watch this space for more updates on the regions tastiest looking treats!








Tagged with: , Food & Drink, Food Porn Awards, Leisure, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Restaurants

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Could Manchester give the green light to the congestion charge?

Greater Manchester’s new Elected Mayor is being urged to reconsider introducing a congestion charge in the city.


Think-tank Centre for Cities has reignited the controversial issue, suggesting that the road tax would be a ‘quick win’ to help manage traffic, cut pollution and pay for better transport links to outer boroughs.


In 2008 voters rejected the congestion charge following a referendum, but with city centre traffic steadily increasing, it could be back on the agenda for the region’s decision makers.


The congestion charge in central London, which was introduced in 2003, is £10 a day, 7am – 8pm, Monday to Friday. Yet with regular 24-hour buses and an expansive underground system, commuters are well served by the city’s public transport system.


Like London, Manchester is heavily populated with people living within the city centre boundaries, making it a bustling hive of activity even in the evenings – something since moving here seven years ago, I have always loved.  


A congestion charge would certainly have implications for those who live in Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas. On top of high council tax, this would be another monthly charge, which many can ill afford.


The charge could potentially have a direct effect on property prices in the city, which could lose value if demand were to fall. Then there are those who come into the city to enjoy the restaurants, bars, theatres and shops Manchester has to offer. In order to avoid additional charges, it is possible these shoppers would opt for out of town shopping centres as an alternative – driving footfall out of town.


Manchester is a hugely accessible place to work – by adding a congestion charge we could be discouraging skilled and talented job hunters from taking positions in the city centre. It would be down to the employer to decide if the increase in living costs due to the congestion charge was reflected in wages, which could be a considerable cost to a company. This may also mean businesses in Manchester could choose to relocate out of town, which could have an impact on the city’s economic infrastructure.


The congestion charge would undoubtedly make Manchester a less appealing place to work and live – potentially detrimental for a city growing so rapidly. With public transport already at capacity, would Manchester’s infrastructure cope with the additional commuters?


Surely this needs to be considered first and foremost before implementing a tax that will prevent a lot of people from living and working in our great city.




Tagged with: , Debate, Manchester, North West

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Refresh PR brews up a storm for SkinnyBrands' launch


This month we started working with exciting new brand, SkinnyBrands, to launch its new range of low calorie alcohol drinks.


The first product we will be working on is Skinny Lager – a full strength and full flavour lager that contains just 89 calories per 330ml.


We’ve initially been tasked with launching the unique new brand to consumers via targeted media relations throughout the key January period.


We will continue to support SkinnyBrands with creative campaigns throughout 2017 as it creates the perfect portfolio of lower calorie alternative products, including ready-to-drink cocktails, Skinny Wines, including Sauvignon, Merlot and Frizzante, as well as ciders, speciality beers and spirits.


For the launch, we will once again be collaborating with Shoot the Moon, which is responsible for creating a social media strategy that defines and aligns with how SkinnyBrands’ consumers behave.


We’re excited to create a real buzz in the food and drink market!




Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Public Relations, Skinny Brands

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Goodbye 2016, hello 2017




Well, what a year that was. Many people will be glad to see the back of 2016 and will be looking forward to the challenges and possibilities of 2017.


But for Refresh PR, 2016 has been one of our strongest years yet. From client wins and new appointments to award wins and campaign success, it has been a busy but a hugely rewarding 12 months for the team.


We will be working hard to mirror this success in 2017, with a focus on creating the strongest team possible and continuing to deliver award-winning campaigns. Emma McCallum joined us in May 2016 as associate director and Caroline Gibson was appointed shortly after as consumer account director, bringing with them a wealth of experience, which will support our existing clients and spearhead our future growth strategy.


2016 also saw Sarah Mashiter join the team as HR and operations director, utilising her experience to improve operational processes, implement stronger training programmes and launch the Refresh Academy to provide the highest level of training to our team. 


2016 was an interesting year for the PR industry; with consumer demands and technological advances developing at a faster rate than ever, it is becoming a more challenging, but undoubtedly more exciting industry.  We reflect on 2016’s changes, and our 2017 predictions in previous blogs, but only time will tell what this year holds for the PR industry and Refresh PR – watch this space! 







Tagged with: 2017, Lifestyle, Manchester, New Year, North West , Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Looking ahead: Prolific North Live


Prolific North Live 2017 will take place at EventCity, Manchester, and Refresh PR will be there!


This February, Refresh PR will be exhibiting at Prolific North Live, offering businesses advice on how to maximise their use of PR and social media to help achieve business objectives.


The annual media, marketing and creative industries expo, which takes place at EventCity in Manchester on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th, will see more than 100 exhibitors and an anticipated 5,000 delegates attend.


As well as offering delegates the opportunity to have a one-to-one PR consultation with our team of experts, our managing director, Laura Mashiter, will be leading a talk in the main exhibition hall.


The event is free to attend and delegates can attend a range of informative seminars from experts in the creative and media sectors.


Book your free place, and come and see us on stand 85!







Tagged with: Marketing, North West , PR, Prolific North Live

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Award-winning campaign back for 2017

Having won two awards at the 2016 Construction Marketing Awards – claiming first prize in the Best Use of Press and Public Relations category, and Highly Commended in the Best Mid-Range Campaign category – the campaign is back bigger and better, complete with a rebrand and redesigned website.


The Heating Installer Awards work to champion plumbers and heating installers who make it their mission to bring a superior level of credibility and customer service to the industry. It recognises those using innovative skills and technicality to install energy efficient solutions which change the lives of homeowners.

Sponsored by LG , Vaillant UK, Danfoss, Graham The Plumbers’ Merchant, , Pegler Yorkshire , Sentinel and Continental Underfloor, the Heating Installer Awards is open for entries from now until February, when an expert panel of judges will select the best heating installers from 11 regions across the country.

Following the announcement of the regional winners in March, it will be over to the public to decide the UK’s Number One Heating Installer. The winner will be announced at the industry’s leading plumbing and heating show, Installer2017, in May 2017 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “The 2016 Heating Installer Awards campaign was a bold move from our agency – we wanted to create something unique that had a positive impact on the heating industry, which for so long has been plagued by the ‘cowboy’ tagline.

We know that’s not a fair representation of the industry, so we thought it was high time that there was a scheme that recognised the excellent standards of work taking place by tradespeople, and which created a new buzz for the industry.

“We had high hopes back then, and after the success of year one and the multiple award wins, we’re aiming even higher in year two. We’ve created an integrated campaign which utilises online PR coverage, a mobile-responsive website, social media, emarketing and direct marketing which not only works to promote the superstars of the heating industry, but which ties into the individual PR objectives for each of our sponsors over the next 12 months.

“If you know a heating installer or plumber who deserves to stand in the spotlight, encourage them to enter – they could go on to be crowned the UK’s Number One Heating Installer!”

To enter, plumbers and heating installers should visit and fill in the short form, detailing a project the installer is particularly proud of, or which demonstrates going above and beyond for the customer. The deadline for entries is 5pm on 17th February 2017, and full terms and conditions can be found on the website.




Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Heating Installer Awards, Marketing, PR

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Food Porn Awards heat up

The awards are bigger and better for 2017, with more entries and a successful expansion into Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Our team has been liaising closely with key media and influencers in the target regions, generating a real buzz around the 2017 competition and driving restaurants, pubs and cafés to enter.

Following a competitive shortlisting process, our prestigious judging panel selected the 32 most mouth-watering dishes from the North’s best eateries, including Menagerie Restaurant and Bar, Mr Thomas’ Chop House, Ricci’s Tapas and Ciccheti, and The Star Inn the City.

The next stage of the competition will see our finalists move through to the cook-off stage, recreating their favourite dish in the specially selected kitchens, with the culinary creations captured on camera by STM Photography. Our team will be there on each of the four days, working closely with STM Photography to ensure the events run smoothly and generate great content for social media.

The judges will then review the final images and select the category and regional winners, due to be announced at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show on 22nd March 2017.

One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to see the final dishes in all their glory!




Tagged with: Food Porn Awards, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR

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2017 – What’s in-store for the PR industry?

So as 2016 sped past us in a whirl of elections, weather warnings and Kardashian scandal (just me?), we’ve finally reached a new year and with that brings new technology, trends and challenges. We’ve already reflected on how the 2016 predictions came to light, so now it is our turn to look into our crystal ball and foresee what is to come in 2017:


Media Expansion

For years we’ve been told magazines and newspapers are dying, but despite the amount of publications on the shelves decreasing, I don’t think it’s a dying industry – simply changing and evolving. We’ve already heard about Chat and Marie Claire moving into TV production – a brave move, but one that demonstrates their commitment to adapting to consumer trends.

As PRs it is essential that we align ourselves with this media expansion – whether it’s using video messages over a press release or tailoring our content to meet their changing platforms – 2017 will see us working with journalists in new and exciting ways to meet their needs.



A buzz word for 2016, that isn’t going anywhere in 2017. Yes your mum and dad don’t know who they are, your client might not either – but consumers do and they care about their opinions.

With budgets getting smaller and expectations and competition increasing, micro-influencers are an effective way to engage with your audience. Bloggers have become celebrities in their own right, as explored in our previous blog, and now demand the same fee as the famous folk we’d listen to on the radio or watch on TV. Whereas micro-influencers are respected, but attainable and most importantly engaging.

However, in 2017 we will see marketing professionals explore different ways of working with these micro-influencers to get maximum impact.


Standing for Something

With so many new brands coming to market, consumers now have more choice than ever before – meaning brands need something to differentiate themselves. So, in 2017 I think we will see more brands choosing to stand for something more than just their product or service offering. Research has shown that customers are looking to support brands that feel part of their community, so for national companies they must look at their operations and marketing to find how they can immerse themselves in the local area, to have this consumer appeal.


The Death of B2B

OK, so not quite – I exaggerated for a good headline – but we will see more brands begin to treat their B2B target audience as the everyday consumer they actually are. With trade titles no longer appealing to the full spectrum of professionals, especially in areas such as construction, we must look at ways of communicating a business message, in an engaging, fun way that appeals to the target audience, and beyond.

Our Food Porn Awards for STM Photography is a great example of this, already in its second year, and seeing more success than ever before, we’ve created a campaign that communicates with the hospitality industry, while still being of interest to the everyday consumer – meaning we have more avenues for press coverage, and we expect to see more B2B campaigns adopting this approach in 2017.





Tagged with: , 2017, B2B, Marketing, New Year, PR, Public Relations, Social Media