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Refresh’s Inspiration



There’s a lot of talented women at Refresh PR. With a combined 50 years’ experience in the industry, it’s safe to say we know our stuff. As a team, we bring out the best in each other, and when working collectively, we generate PR campaigns that achieve great results for our clients.

As an all female agency, we’re always looking to channel girl power, so in honour of International Women’s Day, I asked the team at Refresh to tell me about women who inspire them.

Our head of B2B, Erin, is never one to conform, and her inspiration reflects this perfectly. She said:

“The author and columnist, Caitlin Moran – she’s really socially intelligent, probably due to having a challenging upbringing, but doesn’t apologise for herself, she embraces everything she is and if people don’t like it, well frankly, they can go to hell.

“She inspires other young women to feel the same way, teaching self-acceptance in her books, including ‘How to be a Woman’. Additionally, takes no nonsense from anyone who is a bit of a silly idiot – latest example was her challenge on Piers Morgan after his interview with Trump.

“Her writing has a huge amount of flair, and is so honest – she reinforced my love of writing and reading, because I realised it is okay to write what you want to write, and not conform to what other people think you should be writing.”

We clearly have Caitlin to thank for Erin’s ability to create persuasive arguments and write for our clients with passion.

Our head of consumer PR, Caroline, doesn’t let anything phase her and can generate fantastic results, often in the face of adversity, so her inspirational women, Serena Williams, makes total sense. Caroline said: “She is an absolute sporting legend and has shown that you don’t have to slow down just because she’s a mum. She won the Australian Open while pregnant and returned to the game just four months after giving birth.”

Account executive, Rebecca, is always willing to go out of her way and lend a helping hand and admires Katie Piper’s philanthropy and commitment to help others: “Despite everything she has been through, Katie has helped others to combat their own body issues, giving them a new found confidence. She has turned a horrific situation into a positive by giving strangers the confidence to believe they can achieve their dreams too.”

Following the Manchester attack last May, Ariana Grande’s support for the city has made her an honorary Manc, with Morecambe based account executive Emily, taking that role for Refresh: “After the Manchester bombing last year, the world saw Ariana Grande in a new light. She was no longer just a pop star, but the face of a campaign that united a city. Only in her early twenties, I think we all try and channel her strength and composure.”

Me personally, I derive inspiration from a range of people. From Beyonce to RuPaul; Meryl Streep to Malala Yousafzai, anyone that grabs life by the reins and uses their platform to spread a positive message is an inspiration in my book.

Throughout the week, Refresh PR is honoring International Women’s Day by a series of blogs, so keep an eye out for more posts about inspiring women. 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Celebrity, International Women's Day, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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PR Debate: Who was Right – The Influencer or the Owner?



Last week we saw The White Moose Café hotel owner hit the headlines for shaming a blogger and social influencer after she asked for a free hotel stay in return for coverage on her website.

 

The owner wrote a damning letter back asking the blogger, Elle Darby, who would pay his staff and bills if all he received for her stay was exposure? He later went on to announce that all bloggers are now banned from his business.

 

The response that The White Moose Café put out was anonymous, but the blogger decided to out herself to respond to the letter, admitting she had been exposed, while still feeling that the hotel owner was acting in a bullying way.

 

The blogger and wider marketing community have since been debating who was in the right and who was in the wrong. Should bloggers and influencers assume they deserve free stays and special treatment? Should businesses be more aware, and appreciative of the exposure and the impact this has on their business? Or is there a better way for small businesses to work with bloggers and influencers entirely?

 

No matter what your opinion on the situation, both parties have received a huge amount of PR and exposure from the story, no doubt increasing both of their social followings and website traffic. This hasn’t gone unrecognised, as the owner of The White Moose Café sent Elle an invoice for the PR coverage she has received off the back of the story going viral – apparently it equates to £4.6m (not bad hey!).

 

My first thought when reading this story, was would the owner of The White Moose Café have responded in the same way if it was a ‘mainstream’ journalist contacting him about a review? Something we’ll never know.

 

At Refresh PR we often work with bloggers and influencers and we know that used in the right way for the right client they are an extremely powerful medium. We have seen blogger coverage drive direct website traffic and sales, not to mention brand awareness and social followings.

 

So, although this isn’t the ‘typical’ way of a blogger and a business working together there is no denying the success of this activity, intentional or unintentional. Both parties have increased their exposure, generated column inches and sparked debate – hands down a successful PR stunt whether they intended it to be or not!

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Taylor is welcomed to the dark side



As all PR agencies know, a rebrand is one of the best ways to refresh a business helping to attract new customers and reminding existing ones that they’re still relevant. 

Taylor Swift launching herself into the role of a villain for her new song could be one of the best rebrands of 2017.

The recent release ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ reveals Taylor’s dark side.

The video shows a transformed Taylor, overcome by the dark side and power, responding to comments and reports made about her in the media.

After playing a zombie, Swift soon takes on a variety of different hard-edged personas, including a bank robber, a female robot squad leader, and a celebrity involved in a paparazzi-caused car crash. It continues with Taylor sat on a throne of snakes, which starts the continuous references to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – The feud with Kanye West began more than 10 years ago, and whether this is simply one of the best PR stunts of the year or just Taylor’s way of re-engaging the slanging match – the media love – her transformation is making her relevant again after such a long break from the industry.

The old saying is that ‘sex sells’ but Taylor has flipped this on its head and is instead taking the ‘hate sells’ approach. Using the song, and its accompanying video, as a platform to vent her anger at her recent portrayal in the media and high-profile feuds, she has got the world talking.

The release is cleverly thought out and has rebranded Taylor away from the ‘Love Song’ fairy-tale singer we were all introduced to in 2008, to a feisty, no nonsense popstar. As the song finishes Taylor ends with ‘The old Taylor can’t come to the phone now...Why? She’s dead’. I for one cannot wait to hear the rest of the album and see what new Taylor has in store if the old version is actually dead.

Whether the rebrand is genuine or not I don’t think Taylor will really care after finally hitting the UK number one spot, and passing the 100 million-views mark on YouTube in just four days, making it one of the fastest singles in history to do so.






Tagged with: Celebrity, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Social Media

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When personalisation goes wrong...



Personalisation can elevate a marketing campaign; everyone likes to feel a bit special. A favourite of mine was EasyJet’s 20th anniversary campaign. For such an impersonal brand, intent on the stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap mentality, they used personalisation incredibly well with fantastic results.

EasyJet looked at all previous customer data and found each customer’s personal EasyJet travel story, for the past 20 years. This allowed them to create emotive, personalised stories shrouded in nostalgia for all customers. Each email told the story of previous flights, holiday destinations and miles travelled, and included suggested next trips.

The campaign was very successful; open rates were over 100% more than average, with 25% higher click-through rates. Social media also went wild for the campaign with a reach of 685,000 and 1.1 million impressions. Moreover, within a few hours, EasyJet had improved it’s positioning within the public, becoming a loved brand with positive sentiment.

Whilst this personalisation campaign was a complete success, not all go down quite so well. Remember what happened with Walkers earlier this year? To mark their competition to win tickets to the Champions League final campaign, Walkers launched a campaign on Twitter, the ‘Walkers Wave’, asking people to respond to a tweet from the Walkers Twitter account with a selfie, using the hashtag #WalkersWave. The user's picture would then appear in a personalised video, featuring Gary Lineker.

It wasn’t long people the public abused the campaign and Gary was seen holding pictures of Fred West and Harold Shipman, not what Walkers had in mind and damaging to the brand.

Earlier this month, The National Lottery experienced a PR fail surrounding their World Athletics Championship campaign, leading to them rapidly deleting tweets.

Users on Twitter were asked to retweet a post from the National Lottery using the hashtag #Represent. The National Lottery would then automatically reply with an image of the British athletics team holding a sign displaying the user’s Twitter handle; so far so good. It didn’t take long however for Twitter users to change their handles to very controversial characters, including the likes of Jimmy Saville. Despite being a total fail, the hijacking achieved more coverage than the campaign itself ever would have. 

When it’s good, it’s very good, however it is difficult to get personalisation right. Where Walkers went wrong was their lack of data. Their campaign depended on interaction with the public, rather than intelligently using already stored data to create a personalised email.

Our client, Kagool, specialises in personalisation, and understands the sensitivities and technicalities surrounding it. If you’re considering a personalisation campaign, we would recommend working with experts, ensuring the execution goes smoothly, and a using a PR agency to come up with creative and interesting content, increasing open rates and results. And if you do run an automated personalisation campaign dependent on public engagement, make sure you have a PR agency on hand to handle the backlash…

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Celebrity, Creative Agency, Marketing, PR, PR campaign essential, Social Media, Twitter

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Love Island – A Marketers Dream?



Confession time: I am currently going cold turkey, suffering withdrawal symptoms from my latest TV addiction – Love Island.

 

For the past few months I would sit at my desk desperate to talk about last night’s ‘muggy’ behaviour and who everyone’s type was on paper. But now it is over and all I have to remind me of the good times is my Love Island personalised water bottle (not even ashamed). Celebrity endorsement and PR

 

But although the show may be over, its marketing power isn’t. Superdrug was the headline sponsor for the second year running, but there are plenty of other brands that are utilising the show’s runaway success to reach their target audience.

 

From the contestants’ constant sponsored posts on social media to Primark’s range of slogan t-shirts, there has emerged a range of new celebrities and a common interest that binds this young audience together.

 

I imagine that the names of the show’s finalists will be banded about in brainstorms in every creative agency in Manchester and beyond, and we will see them feature in marketing campaigns for years to come. For example last year’s contestant Olivia Buckland has just been announced as the face of Cocoa Brown – securing plenty of coverage for the brand with the campaign launch.

 

So what is it that makes these game show contestants just so appealing? Well firstly they’re all ridiculously good looking, but it’s more than that. Brands have used models to showcase their wares for decades, but these are a new breed. They are models who consumers watched live their lives on a daily basis and created a genuine relationship with. Having these people represent a brand means that the relationship and bond with the ‘model’ can instantly transfer to the product or service you’re trying to sell.

 

Secondly, they’re just like us. Before they went on Love Island they were just normal people with normal lives and jobs – hairdressers, careers advisors and bomb disposable officers (OK, not that normal). Which means that the glamourous lifestyle they’re now living seems almost attainable to mere mortals like us. Their teeth are so white because of this tooth paste – OK I will give it a go. Their bodies are so toned because they drink this protein shake – sign me up…you get the picture!

 

So for now I am going to sit back and watch how brands utilise these new found celebrities – the good, the bad and the ugly. Because for all the brands that get it right with their celebrity endorsements, there are always going to be some that look like they’re jumping on a bandwagon.

 

When considering a celebrity endorsement, it is important to consider the brand and its audience – all of the audience – not just the ones you’re wanting to target, as you don’t want to lose customers in the bid for new ones. As well as that you need to closely look at the celebrity; no matter how old or new, you don’t want their scandals or misdemeanours reflecting on your brand.

 

It can be a minefield but when done properly it can have a really significant impact on a campaign and brand reputation. So if you want to talk about incorporating celebrities into your marketing campaign to boost its reach then contact us at info@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, creatiive agency Manchester, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West , PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, Product Placement

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Is bigger always better? How micro-influencers are putting authenticity back into marketing



Increasingly, social media influencers who amass millions of followers are becoming the new celebrities, working with media partners, such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as luxury brands, including Range Rover and Mulberry.

However, is bigger always better? As an avid viewer of vloggers such as Zoella (11m YouTube subscribers), Fleur de Force (1m YouTube subscribers) and Patricia Bright (980,000 YouTube subscribers), I’ve found a shift in the style of their content has impacted authenticity.  

The blogosphere has changed from a community of people who reply to every comment, struggle to fit blogging around their ‘normal’ day jobs, and share the best bargains at Primark, to an elite group of full-time blogging superstars, with management teams and professional photographers.

This shift, generated as a result of higher earnings from Google, partnerships with brands and the pressure to be politically correct, means that the majority of content is advertorial in nature and no longer as relatable.

There’s no doubt that the success of social media stars is an incredible achievement - they are no longer just internet-famous. Publishing best-sellers, forging TV careers and taking on Hollywood has become the norm.

But today’s savvy consumers are more aware to when they are being targeted by advertising, helped by the Federal Trade Commission’s recent enforcement of actions, influencers need to take to keep advertising clear and conspicuous. Sponsored posts must be clearly marked with the hashtags #spon or #ad in a visible place, which often causes a negative backlash from audiences.

Research from Markerly also shows that Instagram engagement drops as follower numbers rise. While macro-influencers with one to ten million followers have, on average, an engagement rate of 1.66 per cent, those with a reach between of 1,000 and 10,000 have an increased engagement rate of four per cent. Bloggers with fewer than 1,000 have an even higher engagement rate of eight per cent.     

Looking at the general reach of a blog post is no longer enough to see its true value and the return on investment for a campaign; it’s comments and engagements that really matter.

This is good news for smaller brands that may not have the budget to work with talent-managed bloggers, or the resources to spend the time it takes to build a relationship with them.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, the majority of Instagram’s 200,000 advertisers are small businesses, while Buzzfeed reported this week that brands are taking a new approach to target the everyday shopper, by paying people with as little as ten followers to promote products.

It’s important to consider a brand’s objectives before ruling out collaborations with high profile influencers, as there is no doubt that the impact is still impressive. However recognising the relationship between bloggers and their audiences is a great way to keep the authenticity in marketing.

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Vloggers

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Refresh-ing the ClaireaBella Classics



It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for the consumer team here at Refresh PR’s HQ in Manchester. Our client, personalised lifestyle brand ClaireaBella, has relaunched its popular range of classic jute bags and we’ve been drafted in to help spread the word!

 

Female fashionistas can now enjoy a suite of brand new outfits, accessories and hair styles, designed to bring out their true aspirational selves and reflect their day-today personas.

 

A project such as this one is so much fun to work on, so we’re never short on ideas from the team! As well as a high-impact press office, we’ve been liaising with our celebrity agent contacts to ensure the UK’s fan favourites are armed and ready to strut the red carpets and exotic beaches with a refreshed classic on arm.

 

We've had some lovely feedback in the first couple of weeks from the likes of Corrie's Samia Ghadie to Ex on the Beach starlets, Talitha Minnis and Jess Impiazzi.

 

The press also love the refreshed designs, especially our friends over at Love It! magazine!

 

Have a read of the write-up: http://loveitmagazine.co.uk/article/290/clairabella-relaunches-popular-bag-range. 

 

The ClaireaBella classic jute bags are available in two sizes, medium (£34.99) and large (£39.99) and can be purchased from toxicfox.co.uk.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Gifts, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party



Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party

 

Manchester has long been established as a hub for the creative industries, with music playing a huge part in capturing the vibrancy and true spirit of the city in recent decades. 

With the Hacienda transformed into apartments, Oasis separated by feuding brothers and The Smiths long defunct, it appears that Manchester-born fashion is the next big thing!

With that in mind, the Refresh PR team went along to the STYLEetc Spring Party at Harvey Nichols this week, welcoming the magazine’s new editor Gemma Latham with a glass of champagne, whilst also taking a peek at the latest edition of the free quarterly glossy.

The magazine is a fantastic opportunity for Manchester-based designers and boutiques to get in the spotlight, and I would urge you to pick up a free copy of the magazine or visit the website to check it out for yourself!

In attendance were Manchester Evening News’ Diary Editor Dianne Bourne, stylist Matthew Moxham and TV presenter Michelle Eagleton.

I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a Coronation Street cast member in sight, nor was there an appearance from Manchester designer Nadine Merabi.

Despite Manchester Fashion Week being postponed for the foreseeable future, it still remains an exciting time for Manchester fashion and it’s great that it is finally starting to gain the recognition it deserves.

If you have a fashion or lifestyle brand that you would like to see grow, why not get in touch with the award winning Refresh PR Team here.

 

Tagged with: , Celebrity, Coronation Street, Dianne Bourne, Fashion, Food & Drink, Gemma Latham, Harvey Nichols, Lifestyle, Manchester, Manchester Evening News, Manchester Fashion Week, Matthew Moxham, Michelle Eagleton, Nadine Merabi, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, STYLEetc

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Healthy meals champion Jamie Oliver adds hotdogs to his £150m empire



Jamie Oliver already has a huge list of ventures; there’s his restaurants, crockery line, range of sauces, magazines, advertising deals, cookbooks, worldwide TV shows and cookery school. With all this going on it isn’t surprising that Jamie tops the list of The Times richest chefs with a whopping £150m fortune.

 

What is surprising however is the chef, who has very publically campaigned for healthy school meals, is adding a hotdog and burger bar to his portfolio of restaurants.

 

The Dog House and Diner is set to open on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue later this year. Hotdogs and a range of burgers and steaks will make up the American themed menu.

 

Although a spokesperson for Jamie says that the menu will feature healthy options and will not be what is traditionally known as fast food, it does seem an unusual venture for a chef who has taken such a staunch view against the serving of fatty food.

 

Perhaps, in the words of Jessie J, it’s all about the money, money, money?

 

Jamie has already been criticised for the amount of calories and levels of salt in his (highly-profitable) line of ready meals.

 

I’ve no problem with calories or salt (a fish and chip supper makes me quite the happy chappy), however if you are going to harp on about nutritious food a la Jamie, then marketing fast food probably isn’t the best idea.

 

Stop preaching to me Jamie; I know it’s bad for me, I just want the occasional kebab. Stop whinging and I might even be persuaded to try your hot dog.  

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, empire, fast food, Food & Drink, healthy eating campaign, hotdogs, income, Jamie Oliver, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, ready meal range, wealth

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Horns at the ready, fingers steady – it’s the end of an era as legend Chris Moyles exits Radio One



Chris Moyles: Officially my saviour!

 

Its 2004, I’ve been in my first ‘real’ job for four years and struggling to get out of bed in the mornings.  Then Chris Moyles arrives on my airwaves.

 

I do remember breakfasts with Zoe Ball and Sara Cox…vaguely.  I will remember The Chris Moyles Show forever. 

 

I like Chris Moyles because he has an opinion about everything, and everyone has an opinion about him.  Whether good or bad, he polarises the nation.  I like that.  He’s not afraid to say what he thinks, even if it’s not the popular opinion of the day.  When Refresh PR was established we said we’d stay true to our roots, commit to clients long-term and also be honest with our clients – whether this was the popular thing to do or not.  These values are important to us all, and perhaps that’s why I enjoy the breakfast show so much.  He is definitely honest, northern and frankly, I find him funny. 

 

I’m not a mornings person, I never will be.  But waking up from a deep sleep to hear Moyles ranting about a lack of pay (I remember cringing at that one), how he needs to go back to bed, his traumas with his trainer at the gym or the footie result the night before really does help me crawl out of my pit.  He gets excited when he meets celebs – he’s just like the rest of us!  And he dares to see how far he can push them.

 

But it’s how he’s evolved the show over the past eight+ years that’s amazing.  Eight years in the same job is impressive, particularly in the job he’s in.  Truth be told, The Chris Moyles Show has seen me through four jobs, and while they have all shaped my career massively, that’s four jobs that I’ve had while he’s got up week in, week out pre-6am to deliver my morning entertainment.

 

When he’s off on holiday I find myself resenting his need for a break while watching BBC Breakfast then listening to the iPod on the way to work.  So this Sunday night will mark a milestone in my life as I move my tuning dial on the radio over to Mike and Chelsea on Manchester’s Key 103, which could be a big benefactor of the BBC’s decision to get rid of Moyles here in Manchester.  After all, where are eight million listeners who love the chat show-style broadcast meant to move their allegiance to?  Chris Evans?!?  Or will they stick with Nick Grimshaw, who’s been given the remit of attracting a younger audience to the show (aka the online generation with playlists on Spotify and iTunes that they particularly like to listen to…?).  Ideas below please, what will you be listening to?

 

No more McFly Day, no more parodies, no more cheesy songs, no more Monday Night Pub Quiz, no more golden hour and I’m not sure Christmas 2012 will be the same without the annual fix of Dominic the Donkey. Perhaps the only good things is that I may be able to judge the time of the morning from on-time news bulletins from now on – and maybe make my early train.

 

If I had to pick one moment, my outstanding memory is the radio marathon show for Comic Relief.  An absolute epic, raising well over £2m for charity and producing some must see red button TV.   I’m sure that even after 52 hours he didn’t want to get off air.  And that’s what will make Friday’s show tough.  Fearne Cotton will have the onerous task of shutting him off our airwaves indefinitely.  Good, some may say.  For me, I need him (in fact the TEAM) back on air.  I’m following on twitter @chrismoylesshow (he cleverly kept his own feed when the BBC started to push @BBCR1), liking on Facebook, and I’m waiting with baited breath for some announcement…

 

I’m sure he’ll be great in Jesus Christ Superstar, but Chris & Co need to get back to doing what they are brilliant at: entertaining a waking nation.  Whatever station, I don’t care.  Please!!  

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Comic Relief, Facebook, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Radio campaign, Twitter

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Samantha Brick: The self-publicist



Samantha Brick has hit the headlines in the last few days as she speaks out about her bad experiences as an attractive woman.

 

Recently, in the Daily Mail, Samantha divulged her life story of flowers from strangers, bottles of champagne from pilots and free drinks from waiters. However, according to Samantha life in the pretty lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Her article on the Daily Mail Online describes the abuse and coldness she has received from other women, and she has come to the conclusion that “women do not like attractive women”. And it’s this, not her opinion on her appearance, which has attracted huge outrage.

 

There has been an overwhelming negative response against Miss Brick as tweeters brand her an arrogant, self-absorbed woman, who is deluded about other women and their opinions of her. And this may be the case, but there is something more prominent to be noted than her opinions of herself. That is the effect of self-PR.

 

She has become an overnight ‘star’ – out of one simple article for the Daily Mail, her name has become a national phenomenon. Celebrities have been tweeting about her, she appeared on This Morning and she’s even written a follow-up article about the response from her initial article. Samantha is clearly a publicity-hungry individual, and she’s succeeded in getting the publicity she wants. She is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame, and the scale at which it has escalated overnight purely demonstrates the power of the internet, including twitter.

 

So, what can we learn from Samantha Brick? The fact that the response to her article has been overtly negative is beside the point. She certainly knows how to sell herself, and that is the most important thing to take out of this whole media frenzy. Now, she can turn her bad publicity into good publicity, or go back to her idyllic home in the French countryside. Whatever she chooses, she’s certainly made her mark. 

 

Blog by Katherine Mountain, PR Assistant at Refresh PR

Tagged with: Celebrity, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, Public Relations

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Royal Wedding fever hits Refresh PR



Ok, I’ll admit it: I’ve caught the Royal Wedding bug. Big time.

I honestly didn’t think I’d get swept along in the national excitement in the lead up to the big day, but whether it’s because we get an extra holiday, because Kate Middleton is a becoming the epitome of a style icon before our eyes, or because all the Royal Wedding merchandise flooding the high street and online stores is so wonderfully kitsch, I can’t seem to get enough of it.

 

I also have a lot to thank the Royal Wedding for; Refresh PR’s clients are thriving as a result of the event that’s captured hearts the world over. Online retailer www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk has seen sales soar as people prepare for post-War style street parties with streams of bunting, flags, commemorative kitchen and homewares, and even some rather fetching Kate and Wills masks (modelled here by my good self and the lovely Laura):

 

The national papers have really got into the swing of things, adorning their pages with fabulously patriotic merchandise. www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk’s Royal Family Celebrity Masks have gone down particularly well with journalists at Grazia, the Daily Mirror and The Sun, and we’re hoping the This Morning sofa will soon be sporting a Union Jack cushion. And with The Royal Collection launching a Royal Wedding app – “the only app one needs” apparently – even our phones aren’t safe from infectious Royal Wedding excitement.

Another of Refresh PR’s clients, Photolink Creative Group, has also been able to make the most of the ever-burgeoning popularity of our future princess, producing video tutorials for its high fashion hair salon client, Regis, on how to get Kate Middleton hair. And what self-respecting young lady wouldn’t want Kate Middleton hair?

http://www.haveagreathairday.co.uk/2011/04/kate-middleton-hair-royal-wedding/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUcoWpkcXJE&feature=player_embedded

So, how will you be spending the day on 29th April? Are you avoiding the Royal Wedding at all costs, or street partying with the best of them? From a PR point of view, the Refresh PR team is really looking forward to the BBC’s clever take on covering the ceremony – they’re going to be filming at Grazia’s offices to capture the live reaction of a newsroom and its journalists as the day unfolds. I for one can’t wait!

Tagged with: bunting, Celebrity, Daily Mirror, Facebook, Gifts, Grazia, Kate Middleton, merchandise, patriotic, PR, Prince William, Royal Wedding, The Sun

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Chris Moyles and ‘Radio 1s Longest Show Ever’ Rocks!



Chris Moyles certainly polarises opinion. Personally, I love him for his honest, straight talking approach to life, but I found out during a meeting today that others are definitely not so keen.  Love him or loathe him, you can’t deny the contribution he’s made to charity over the past few years, using his celeb status to amazing effect and raising massive amounts of money for Comic Relief.  The past week has continued this trend with the DJ attempting to break a world record with 'Radio 1s Longest Show Ever’.

 

Particularly interesting for us PRs is the media campaign that the Comic Relief and BBC teams have executed with the DJ over the past couple of days alone.  Spanning TV (ITV1’s This Morning did a live link up on day 2), the red button (genius), radio (obviously), the bbc.co.uk homepage and social media, the campaign didn’t stop there.  In my daily scan of the newspapers I found myself engrossed in a Daily Mirror interview with Moyles which ran the day the show started and provided the paper with a relevant angle - his love life - on which to bring in details of the charity show.

 

Throughout the day today, ‘Radio 1s Longest Show Ever’ has been grabbing the headlines.  On Fearne Cotton’s morning show the charity show was trending on twitter worldwide – that’s a fair achievement.  It’s been trending top of the UK list all day too.  #r1moremoyles is the hashtag to be associated with, moving so fast up tweetdeck it’s hard to read all the messages of support.

 

How a radio show hasn’t broadcast like this using the red button before is a wonder – it’s addictive viewing on a par with the first time we all tuned in to a brand new show called Big Brother.  Could this be the start of a new direction for radio (perhaps opening the door for the lovely Product Placement logo to appear on the red button soon too!)?  We think so – how can the BBC can go back to simple audio content for The Chris Moyles Show from now on?  What I’m more happy about is that DJ Chris seems to have found his TV niche too – for some reason his TV attempts so far, including the Chris Moyles Quiz Night, haven’t quite hit the spot even though all his fans (including me) were willing him on.  But this certainly has – more please!

 

To top it all off, Chris and Comedy Dave are aiming to break a world record, putting them and Comic Relief in the record books for years to come to leave a legacy and provide longevity to the campaign too.  All in all, a PR’s dream.  Oh, and did I mention they have raised £700k so far for Comic Relief too?  Congratulations to everyone involved, and all the best for the coming hours – we’ve donated (just text CHRIS to 70011) and we hope many more people will too.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Comic Relief, PR, Product Placement, Public Relations, Radio campaign

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REFRESH PR PONDERS THE SURPRISE WINNERS AND LOSERS IN FEBRUARY 2011’s ABC FIGURES



We were pretty shocked when the ABC Circulation figures for February 2011 were announced yesterday – not only is there a general downward trend that suggests the predicted shift in Britain’s media consumption habits is finally gaining momentum, but some of the stalwarts of consumer media have been dislodged from their seemingly secure positions at the top of the ladder.

 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though; there are some definite winners emerging triumphant. Publishing houses BBC Magazines and IPC Media are up 0.5% and 1.1% year on year respectively, and despite Natmags dropping 2.4% year on year overall, its Good Housekeeping magazine boasts one of the highest rises in circulation at 5%. Zest, however, has fallen 11% over the past six months – does this mean we love our homes but not our bodies? Not so, if IPC’s Essentials is to be used as a guide; its circulation is up 9.6% in just six months. IPC will no doubt also be celebrating the fact that its seven home titles are also up year on year, indicating that the home is still the Great British public’s castle.

 

Hachette Fillipacchi has cause to crack open the champagne too, with Red magazine posting its highest ever circulation at 231,028, a rise of 2%. Elle is also up 2.6% on last year, taking some of the sting out of the publisher’s difficult decision to close Sugar magazine last month as a result of teens opting to consume media online or using smartphones.

 

Bauer Consumer Media, however, is more likely to be drowning its sorrows than toasting its success. With circulation down 8.6% year on year overall, its former jewel Heat Magazine has dropped 19.3% and Zoo magazine falls an alarming 32.8%. Could we finally have fallen out of love with celebrity culture? It remains to be seen whether this is the case, or whether people prefer the more instant gratification that platforms such as Twitter and celebrity bloggers such as Perez Hilton can deliver. Either way, PR practitioners up and down the country need to keep a keen eye on developments and adjust their strategy and their tactics accordingly – their careers depend on it!

Tagged with: Celebrity, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR, Public Relations, Retail

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Let’s hear it for the Fish



The #fishfight being aired across our TVs at the moment really is raising a lot of interest and rightly so!  Since it launched,  Refresh PR has been monitoring the impact that social media is having on the campaign - twitter has been going crazy as the great British public pledges its support for the campaign; Facebook already has over 167,000 fans and www.fishfight.net has generated over 500,000 supporters.  Everyone is talking about the campaign and rallying behind Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey to encourage the industry, our supermarkets, policy makers and the like to make fundamental changes to the current EU fishing quota and landing laws.

 

It’s reported that half of all the fish caught in the North Sea are being thrown back overboard which is a huge waste of perfectly good fish.  They could instead be sold or even donated to needy charities instead of simply being left to drop to the bottom of the ocean – and that’s just one way to avoid this awful waste. 

 

In less than a week we’ve had our eyes opened to some pretty shocking revelations, mixed messages and misleading claims which, had these high profile chefs not championed the cause, we’d still be unwise to. First it was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall uncovering the plight of the poor chickens, then Janet Street Porter reporting on the shocking findings of beef, Jamie doing his bit with the turkey twizzlers and school meals, and now our well-loved TV chefs are uncovering the shocking truths of our fishing industry. It’s these chefs who are passionate about sustainability, quality and freshness, and who can capitalise on their high profiles, who are helping to make a difference.  Sad that it takes this, though.

 

Having witnessed the truth about the UK’s mass fishing industry, , we’ll certainly be buying fresh fish from our local fishmonger on the infamous Northcote Road in SW London and avoid the temptation to buy ‘FRESH’ fish from the supermarket counters unless they can guarantee that it is indeed what is says it is – FRESH. As a business, Refresh PR will continue to monitor this campaign closely and will be keeping our eyes on the social media activity which is already proving to be  a powerful influence alongside the TV, digital and print coverage for the campaign.  What a great example of an integrated PR campaign – we hope it gets the outcome it deserves. 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Food & Drink, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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Tedious links: Celebrity marketing campaigns - Refresh PR counts down the most cringe-worthy



Michael McIntyre being announced as the third judge on Britain’s Got Talent this morning got the team at the Manchester Refresh PR office thinking about other random celebrity associations with big brands. There have been some real crackers, some fantastically memorable ones, and some we’d rather forget. As, I’m sure, would the celeb involved. Join us as we count down our most cringe-worthy:

·         Jason Donovan - Iceland

I’ve got nothing against drag - I love a good bit of camp cabaret. And I’ve certainly got nothing against food. But when Jason Donovan dons fishnets and full make-up to promote frozen food it’s enough to put anyone off their vaulovants. And the songs aren’t catchy, they’re just annoying.

 ·         Jedward - Nintendo DS

Jedward. Need we say more?

·         Tim Lovejoy - Giovanni Rana. Pure cheese

This ruined Tim Lovejoy for me. I used to harbour a little crush on the Chelsea-loving southerner, but his lack of acting skill has firmly extinguished that flame. I still feel a little outraged that he was used as lazy shorthand for a typical "bloke", and as if he’d be able to seduce his sexy Italian neighbour by asking for help making easy-cook pasta. Any self-respecting Italian lady would be straight out the door. Stick to ‘Something for the Weekend,’ kid.

·         Barbara Windsor – Jackpotjoy

Come on, Babs is a legend – don’t reduce her to a pantomime Queen having to reel out the astoundingly unoriginal line "Come on boys, show us yer ball.” She deserves better than that. Shame on you.

·         Spice Girls - Walkers’ Crisps

Not really sure what the connection is here. Eating Walkers’ crisps gives you girl power? I know, I know, it’s two great British institutions joining forces, but you can’t tell me a crisp has passed the lips of Posh Spice since 1996. False advertising if you ask me.

·         Jamie and Louise Redknapp – Thomas Cook

Isn’t it enough that their domestic bliss trumps ours without even trying? Now they have to have the perfect holiday as well, when we’re stuck in chav hell with no aircon after having believed the brochure that told us it was a ‘lively, sophisticated resort – ideal for couples looking for the perfect getaway.’

·         Justin Timberlake – McDonalds

No, I’m not having it. There’s no way Justin Timberlake loves McDonalds so much that he wrote a song about it.

·         Shane Warne – AHS-FP (hair loss remedy)

Shane Warne’s appeal comes from him being a real ‘lad,’ and this partnership is so off message for the Shane Warne brand. He needs to be promoting beer (and that’s VB, not Peroni), not positioning himself (however temporarily) as a metrosexual gent concerned with such matters as hair loss.

And finally, to show we’re not all bah humbug, two brilliant ones:

·         M&S – various

M&S gets its celeb partnerships on the money every time. The current Christmas ad with Peter Kay is genius, and has our favourite aspirational yet approachable female celebs rocking out in their PJs and partygear. Add an iconic – but always classy - soundtrack, and you’re away.

·         John Lewis

More of a celeb soundtrack partnership than an in-person one, the songs carefully chosen by John Lewis’ ad team for its TV ads consistently have the nation close to tears. The clever cover versions by up and coming British artists reinforce the retailer’s image of an intelligent, thoughtful and elegant British stalwart. They don’t do the original songwriters’ album sales any harm, either!

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, John Lewis, Manchester, PR, Retail