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What does Gen Z mean for the future of HR?



You may think this is a funny topic to be included in a PR blog, but it is actually the topic we explored in our latest roundtable, this time held for our client, Lakeside Hotel & Spa, earlier today. 

Lakeside Hote and Spa

 

To showcase the superior four star hotel as the ideal meeting venue in the North West, we wanted to invite key business professionals from across the region to experience it for themselves, and what better way to do this than with a roundtable?

 

The roundtable, attended by the likes of Nando’s, AO.com, Speedy, RBS and of course, a representative from Lakeside and Refresh PR, explored the topic of Gen Z, and more specifically their entry into the workforce. Chaired by Olive Strachan MBE, the group of leading HR professionals debated this generation’s strengths, challenges, attitude and future in the comfort of Lakeside's Oak Room.

 

Exploring the differences, and similarities, of the generations that have come before them the roundtable questioned how the role of HR can maximise young people coming into the workforce, who are true digital natives.

 

It was agreed that this generation sees social media and technology as a way of life, something that has always been there, meaning they are already on the forefront of future technological advances. The big question then was how, as HR professionals, should this be managed and utilised within organisations, for the benefit of them and their workforce?  

 

The attitude of a Gen Z workforce was also touched upon, with the acceptance that “it wasn’t like that in my day” being said by every generation before us, and more than likely every generation after us. Yes, they are different, but this shouldn’t be feared - it should be celebrated.   Lakeside Hotel meeting venue

 

Gen Z’ers have grown up in a world of instant gratification and the pressure to be perfect on social media; this is mirrored in their attitudes towards work, meaning they are hardworking, hungry to learn, but need the right recognition and encouragement.

 

Overall, it was agreed that a future with Gen Z in the workforce is exciting. They will be able to teach baby boomers, millennials and Gen X, just as much as the older generations will teach them. Mentoring will no longer be one way and communication between the generations is key to allow this continuous learning and development.

 

The debate continued long after the roundtable finished as everyone enjoyed lunch in the hotel’s conservatory overlooking Lake Windermere, proving that there is a lot to be said on this topic, but overall the future’s brightLake District meeting venue.

 

Meanwhile, the hard work of securing comments, features and Q&As on behalf of the delegates starts now for the Gen Yers (and some Gen Xs, yes) at Refresh PR - watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , future of work, Gen Z, Leisure, Lifestyle, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR debate, PR event, PR Manchester, PR roundtable, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Welcome to The Lakeside Hotel and Spa



Well-known for hosting business events and conferences, we began working with The Lakeside Hotel and Spa three months ago to promote the hotel to the masses.The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

 

Ashamedly it has taken me three months to get a weekend free to nip up with my family to experience - as a customer rather than in a business context - this gem at the very base of Lake Windermere. Just a 10 minute drive from the M6 Kendal turn off, the hotel is on the shores of the Lake, meaning it’s in a very useful location for anyone coming from the south in particular.

 

Starting by shThe Lakeside Hotel and Spaowing my other half the conference centre (if you or your partner is in PR you’ll understand this), we had a quick tour of the two first-class dining rooms, traditional pub, coffee area, conservatory and spa, and headed out for a walk.

 

The steam train had just pulled into the station next to the hotel. It looked like lots of families were heading on and off the train - so for this reason I'd recommend it as something to do while at Lakeside, although we didn't try it ourselves.

 

Handily, the Lake cruises stop at three points - Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside - meaning we spent part of our day on a cruise of the Lake, eventually hopping off at Lakeside and enjoying afternoon tea on the hotel’s outdoor terrace.

 

 The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

Inside a wedding service had just taken place in one of the many downstairs rooms in the sprawling hotel, and just a stone’s throw away outside on the Lake a boat was getting ready to take a group out on a private charter. It really enforced what we’re here to do from a PR point of view: make sure the business community and holiday makers/day trippers alike know that whatever you want from your stay at Lakeside, it is probably possible!The Lakeside Hotel and Spa terrace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more visit http://www.lakesidehotel.co.uk/ and for conferences and meeting venues ask for Amy.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Public Relations North West, Silver Surfers

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Major client wins for Refresh



We are celebrating this month after two new client wins have boosted both the consumer and B2B teams in their specialist fields.


The B2B team, has been appointed by Sentinel, a water treatment and filter expert in the plumbing and heating sector, to deliver its PR and social media services.


Sentinel offers water treatment products and services that provide the best lifetime protection for boilers and heating systems in the domestic and commercial sectors. While predominantly trade facing, it is also a specialist in the social housing sector, providing products and services to help extend the life and improve the performance of heating systems.


Having already worked closely together for several years on Refresh PR’s Heating Installer Awards, the newly established campaign with Sentinel will see Refresh PR work to launch the company’s newest product, a best-yet magnetic filter set to disrupt the industry, as well as establishing Sentinel’s presence in key trade titles.


Continuing the expansion of its hospitality credentials, Refresh PR’s consumer team has been appointed by Lakeside Hotel & Spa to manage the luxury hotel’s PR. The superior 4 star hotel, based in Newby Bridge, is working with the agency to raise the profile of its leisure and business offerings, including weddings, spa and conferences. 


Refresh PR has been tasked with driving footfall to the hotel, set on the shores of Lake Windermere, from businesses and travellers from across the North West and beyond.


Talking about the two new clients, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, said: “Hospitality and construction are two industries that the team has a huge amount of experience in and passion for, so everyone is delighted to be working with Sentinel and Lakeside Hotel & Spa.


“Although the two industries are very different, our B2B and consumer teams will both pull on their previous experience to approach these accounts in a strategic and well-thought out way to achieve maximum results – whether they’re talking about spa breaks or water filters!” 


Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West

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Strong start to 2018 as Refresh PR welcomes four new clients



Manchester-based agency, Refresh PR, has secured four new clients, delivering the agency’s most successful growth period to-date.  The PR agency, which recently celebrated its eighth birthday, has won new clients for its built environment, retail and lifestyle teams.

 

After a competitive five-way pitch, Cheadle based Equity Housing Group, a social housing provider with over 4,500 properties across the country, selected Refresh to manage its PR and deliver crisis communications. The campaign will work to reinforce Equity Housing Group’s established position within the housing sector.

 

When speaking of the win, Erin Heywood, head of B2B at Refresh PR, said: “Refresh PR has extensive experience in both the housing and construction sectors and our expertise in these areas shone throughout the pitch. The social housing market presents some exciting challenges and we look forward to working on Equity Housing Group’s PR and communications.”

 

Helena Banfield, marketing, brand and comms manager at Equity Housing Group, continued: “A number of agencies pitched for Equity Housing Group’s PR contract however we were impressed with the industry knowledge, out of the box thinking and enthusiasm from the team at Refresh PR. There are exciting times ahead for Equity Housing Group and we look forward to welcoming Refresh PR to be a part of that.”

 

Following project work in 2017, Refresh PR has also been appointed by Calla Shoes, a manufacturer of beautiful and stylish footwear for women with bunions, and Esteem – No Pause, a clothing collection designed specifically for women experiencing symptoms associated with the menopause. Calla and Esteem are both part of the successful Entrepreneurial Spark Business Accelerator, the world's largest free people accelerator for start-up and scaleup businesses.  

 

Using its extensive knowledge of the fashion, women’s lifestyle and e-commerce markets, Refresh PR has developed bold strategic consumer campaigns for both Calla and Esteem, utilising a clever mix of content, video, imagery and media relations to reach the brands’ niche audiences effectively.

 

Further cementing Refresh’s expertise in online retailing PR, BuildmyGift.com has also signed to work with Refresh PR. Launched in November 2017, BuildmyGift.com, was created out of a need for better and more personalised gifting options. Refresh PR has already used a hard-working press office and influencer outreach to secure prominent coverage for the ambitious start-up.

 

Caroline Gibson, head of consumer at Refresh PR, said of the wins: “Calla, Esteem and buildmygift.com were all new business launches that required intensive PR campaigns to introduce them to both the media, and the public. Conducting project work in 2017 demonstrated not only Refresh’s ability to provide PR that has clear influence on the profitability of the companies, but also our love for the work that we do. 2018 is an exciting time for Refresh PR and our new clients.”

 

Contact Refresh PR on 0161 871 1188 to find out more about the business.

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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How PR can make a difference to new businesses



Since Refresh PR launched eight years ago the team has successfully impacted its clients business, helping to build awareness and drive sales. But the businesses we’ve worked with have all been completely different and all come with various challenges and opportunities.

Recently, Refresh PR has worked with a number of start-up companies and in the process has learnt more about what it takes to help kick-start their business.

From the launch of Skinny Lager less than 12 months ago, which now has listings nationwide, to introducing Calla Shoes to the media, with a piece in the Mail Online increasing website visitors by 300 per cent – we’ve had huge success with these start-up businesses.

With all of our clients, the Refresh team immerses itself into the industry or sector they’re operating in, but with a start-up this is even more crucial. Often working with smaller teams, any insight or observation the team here at Refresh shares could not only make a difference to the PR success, but also the success of the business.

When starting a business it can often be difficult to know where to spend the marketing budget to make the biggest impact and ultimately provide the biggest ROI. So as part of our job as marketing professionals we take the consultancy role very seriously. If the business objectives can be achieved in a more effective way, other than PR, then we won’t be afraid of telling our client just that. Ultimately we want our client to succeed so we can grow with them.

Often with smaller in-house teams, start-ups rely on their agencies to be an extension of their business, even more so than a more established brand. This is one of the best parts about working with a start-up, as you can begin to see the genuine impact the team is having, across the board, not just in the marketing sector.

With a number of new start-ups, the world of PR and marketing is often completely foreign to them, as a number of these entrepreneurs don’t have this type of industry background. Again, this is one of the reasons we love working with start-ups here at Refresh – the education and support we can offer to make a genuine difference to a business.

Talking about the role Refresh PR played in launching the business, Stuart Cordingley of Gourmet Meat Club, said: “We started working with Refresh early on to help improve our SEO and generate brand awareness, ahead of a new website launch. In the six months we have been working with the team they have gone over and above the coverage delivery you’d expect from a PR agency, also acting as consultants across a wide range of marketing and business issues, helping to drive the launch forward.

“They’ve understood the needs of a new business and have become an extension of our internal team here at Gourmet Meat Club.”

If you are starting a new business, or would like to kick-start your current PR activity, then call 0161 871 1188.

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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Is it too late now to say sorry?



Don’t worry this isn’t the Refresh PR team admitting to be secret Justin Bieber fans (we’re more One Direction in this office), this is us looking at the number of brands apologising for causing offence with  their marketing activity.

From Greggs and its sausage roll Jesus [http://www.refreshpr.co.uk/blog/post/11/2017/Flaky-campaign-or-a-roll-of-genius] to Paperchase receiving backlash for its Daily Mail promotion and many more in-between, these all have one thing in common – the apology that comes afterwards.

We are now living in a world that people can give instant feedback on anything they want – adverts, news, celebrities – and they do, in abundance. Because of this increased two way communication brands are able to know within seconds of their latest marketing campaign going live if it is going to have the desired effect.

And for many, this doesn’t always end well.  Just this year alone we have seen big brand names have their advertising approach slated across social media – look at Pepsi (Kendall Jenner), L’Oreal (Munroe Bergdorf), Dove (racist Facebook advert) and McDonalds (children’s grief advert). All household names with multimillion pound marketing budgets, that really should know better.

All of these brands have since come out to apologies about their ill-advised advertising decisions. But is an apology enough? Do they mean it? Does it really make an impact to their bottom line?

In many cases an apology is an absolute must, however sometimes (just sometimes) an apology is wasted. Look at the Protein World’s ‘Beach Body’ campaign, where social media exploded with complaints about the brand putting pressure on women to look a certain way. Protein World’s marketing team didn’t back down to the pressure and never apologised for the campaign, because realistically that campaign was never targeting the men and women who found it offensive.

I respect a brand who stands by their campaign and understands its audience enough not to back down. So sometimes it isn’t too late to say sorry, but it is unnecessary.



Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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How to adapt campaigns to fit in with popular culture and trends



We currently live in a world where an endless amount of information is available to us at the tap of a finger. We are bombarded with news, adverts and brand messages constantly, and we have the ability to stay up to date with whatever is going on in the world, at whatever time of the day.

Because of this constant access to information, social trends and crazes are now playing a bigger part in our day-to-day lives than ever before. Therefore, as a creative communications agency we need to be aware of what’s going on around us – planning for the trends and responding quickly to the crazes.


We  know that the media will be guided by these seasonal trends and in the next few months we have two big annual events coming up – Halloween and Christmas. Although Christmas has always been a major calendar date, we are now seeing Halloween growing in popularity.


Last year retailing around the holiday reached more than £472 million. It is now the third biggest calendar event for retailers, growing 3,000 per cent since 2001, and we don’t expect this to slow down anytime soon. In response to this, we're seeing thousands of brands update their stock, strategies and social media campaigns to compete for sales and maximise Halloween’s new found popularity.


While we can plan for calendar events, social crazes aren’t something that we can predict or build into our campaigns ahead of time. But this is one of the reasons why they are so successful. Crazes respond to popular culture, mirror a mood of a nation, or simply surprise people, so they sit up and take notice. Who would have ever thought that pouring freezing cold water over yourself/loved ones would raise hundreds of millions for charity?


If businesses stay ahead of these trend,s and keep a close eye on the crazes, with the help of a PR agency, they can respond and ultimately drive sales. One of the best examples of this is Starbucks. The global coffee giant is known for its special edition Pumpkin Spiced Latte (maximising each year on the Halloween trend), and who can forget this summer’s Unicorn Frappuccino (linking to the hype around the mythical creature), which sold out in stores in just three days?


As a PR agency we are constantly looking for opportunities for our clients to join these nationwide conversations – whether it is something that we can plan into our campaigns, or simply something that we respond to quickly with social engagement and rapid media relations. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can maximise crazes and trends for your business, get in touch at info@refreshpr.co.uk


Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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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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Refresh PR proves a success for start-ups



As an entrepreneur, launching a new business is an incredibly exciting time, but also one that carries overwhelming commitment and often, a lot of stress. It is therefore important for any entrepreneur to be working with companies that are equally excited and invested in the business’ success.

 

For new, often unheard of businesses, PR can play a significant role in raising awareness of a brand to their target market; introducing them to a potentially lucrative audience. Get it right, and it’s a worthwhile investment for the business owner and can help build the foundation for a successful future.

 

In order for PR to be effective for new businesses, the start-up and the agency have to be completely aligned on the business objectives. The start-up businesses have to be clear on what they want to achieve from PR – from listings and sales to brand awareness or improved SEO, while also taking the professionals’ advice on the best approach to achieve these goals and what will most benefit the wider business plan. An open and honest relationship from the start, as well as clear account direction, is required to deliver strong results.

 

Over the past few months, Refresh PR has worked with some impressive start-ups, including SkinnyBrands, the producer of Skinny Lager and Skinny Cocktails, and Calla Shoes, a bespoke shoe designer for women with bunions.

 

With each client, we worked to deliver results quickly and efficiently, understanding the client (and any investors) would need to see return on investment within weeks, not months.

 

For Calla, we carried out a press trip introducing the brand to some of the UK’s largest consumer magazines including Prima, Good Housekeeping, and newspapers including the Daily Express, all of which offer the perfect reader demographic for Calla.

 

Earlier this month Calla was included within the Daily Mail’s round up of brands that were set up by entrepreneurs looking to solve their own health issues. This feature went into the Daily Mail and the MailOnline, a combined reach of nearly 240 million, increasing traffic to the Calla website and resulting in a considerable increase in sales, a phenomenal and potentially pivotal achievement for a start-up brand.

 

For SkinnyBrands, trade press was a huge focus in order to secure listings in the UK’s major multiples, a target the brand quickly achieved. Buyers in Tesco and Morrisons, which now stock the product, expressed that they have been impressed by the brand’s unique product offering, as well as its strategic PR and marketing campaign running parallel to the sales success.

 

Seeing the tangible difference that a piece of coverage can make to sales isn’t always something you encounter every day in PR, but with start-ups, this impact is noticed and hugely appreciated.

 

If you are a start-up and would like to have a conversation on how we could support you, then please give us a call on 0161 871 1188 or email info@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Good product placement examples, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR for start-ups, Public Relations North West, Wellbeing

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Being passionate in PR



99 per cent of PR professionals are passionate about what they do. A love for telling a great story, the buzz of media relations and the fast-paced nature of the job is what gets us up in the morning. Sometimes, however, a love for the industry is just not enough.

 

If you work in a PR or creative agency, chances are you will have clients in a range of fields. From glitter to plumbing, we have it all at Refresh PR and that old cliché, no two days are the same, rings very true. In order to do justice to your clients, a love of their industry, as well as your own is imperative.

 

PR’s speak with dozens of journalists in a day, and we need to persuade them that what our client has to say is more valuable than their competitors. Unless you speak about your clients with true passion, you’ll get nowhere. If the news doesn’t excite you, how do you expect a journalist, who’s received 40 similar calls that day, to be enthused? If you love what you do, and love working with your clients, this will come across. 

 

Being fully engrossed in your client’s work will eventually lead to your PR agency being an arm of their company, rather than a supplier-customer relationship. Once this happens, you’ll automatically be kept in the loop regarding company news, be able to contact everyone and anyone when that golden opportunity comes through and be totally honest with them- a valuable but often over overlooked trait in our industry. At Refresh PR, we promote hot desking at our clients’ offices, giving us a chance to see what they do, and how they work day to day. Realistically, can you ever really get a true insight into your clients from just a bi weekly WIP call alone?

 

You’re much more likely to want to learn about an industry or topic that you’re interested in. Whether it’s cosmetics, food and drink or heating installations, find what excites you and you’ll never work a day in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: alcohol, B2B PR agency Manchester , Beauty, Built Environment, Construction, cosmetics, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, drink, Food, glitter, heating installation, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , plumbing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, Social Media

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Three things we loved at NRB



 

 

On Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March Refresh PR joined thousands of other passionate foodies from across the North at the annual Northern Restaurant and Bar Show 2017.

 

The NRB brings together industry professionals, food and drink lovers, as well as suppliers from across the North for an action packed two days, with 300 exhibitors, 65 live demonstrations and over 7,500 trade professionals.

 

The event was a highly anticipated one in the industry calendar and here are our top three highlights.

 

1.       The Food Porn Awards

Of course NRB is particularly special to Refresh PR as we joined our client and creator of the Food Porn Awards, STM Photography to announce the Yorkshire and North West winners of this year’s coveted prize.

The announcement took place on the second day of NRB in The Hub. This highly anticipated announcement came after months of trawling the region to find the most mouthwatering and food porn-worthy dishes, all of which were be available to view on the day.

 

Huge congratulations to Black Swan for taking the Yorkshire title and The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House for scooping the North West coveted prize, as well as all the other deserving category winners.

The winners’ announcement also gave us an opportunity to showcase products from another client, SkinnyBrands. All those who attended were treated to Skinny Lager and Cocktails – which went down a storm.

 

2.       Manchester Three Rivers Gin

Due to its geographic origins this is a gin that has been on my radar for some time now and as a gin lover – it’s one I was excited to know more about. So when I heard they would be exhibiting this year, I was delighted.

The Manchester Three River Gin is actually based in Green Quarter, an unusual spot for a boutique gin distillery, but recently I’ve seen this brand pop up behind the bars of several Manchester haunts. And after tasting the drink at NRB and learning more about the brand, I can safely say I will be changing my drink habits and supporting Manchester’s gin economy more often!

 

3.       Getting up close and personal

Northern Restaurant and Bar Show was a hub of activity across the two days and it gave us a fantastic opportunity to network with some of the North’s most prolific food and drink professionals.

Since moving to Manchester seven years ago, there has been an unprecedented number of openings including bars, restaurants and eating concepts. It’s really what I love so much about this city – the amount of variety on our door steps, which leaves us spoilt for choice.

NRB gave me the opportunity to see the faces behind a lot of the establishments I find myself in far too often, meet some of the most successful restauranteurs in the North, as well as introducing me to some new brands I am now keen to try.

 

We’re already excited for next year!

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, PR

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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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Refresh PR's Christmas gift guide 2016



December is in full swing and it’s the season of giving, but we all know it’s not so easy to pick the perfect present for the loved ones in your life. Here at Refresh, we’ve compiled a Christmas gift guide with the help of our client Arbonne that not even the fussiest of family members could refuse.

 

1.      For the one waiting under the mistletoe

It’s hard to find the perfect red lip to enhance your look during the festive season, but Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick will leave your lips super soft and with the perfect pout, ideal for kissable lips under the mistletoe! Elle Magazine recommend Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick in Hibiscus, as the perfect deep red shade in its Christmas Gift Guide this month.

 

2.      For mum

Mums deserve extra love and attention at this time of year, especially after they’ve most likely prepared most of the Christmas dinner and done most of the shopping! Cosmopolitan thought the Olive Blossom & Eucalyptus Gift Set is the perfect treat for any mum underneath the Christmas tree.

 

3.      For the toddler

It’s sometimes difficult to find a gift for a toddler as they become more independent and want to take on the world, but their little hands aren’t quite capable yet! This is where Arbonne’s Leaf it to Me Gift Set comes in. Recommended by B Baby Magazine, the parent and child friendly bottles have larger pumps, giving children the confidence to use it on their own, and the clean refreshing scent is bound to be a hit with both parents and grandparents this Christmas.

 

4.      For the teenager

For the teenager that no longer springs out of bed on Christmas morning, a revitalising hair mask is just what they need.Treat their tresses after a lengthy lie-in; cotton pillowcases can dry out the hair, which can leave a serious case of ‘bed head’ - a big no-no for any stylish teen. Popular TV streaming service Hayu recommends Arbonne’s Pure Vibrance Hair Masque in its gift guide for reality TV lovers.

 

 

5.      For the vegan

More and more people are turning to veganism, not just for the health benefits, but also for their concerns about the environment and the treatment of animals. The experts on all things ethical, Veggie magazine, also included Arbonne’s Olive Blossom & Eucalyptus Gift Set as the ideal luxury gift set, which includes a cleansing body polish and body butter that will help keep dry winter skin at bay and you feeling good that it’s 100 per cent cruelty free.

 

 

Tagged with: , Christmas, gift guide, Gifts, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, Public Relations, Wellbeing

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Twice is nice for Arbonne at the Pure Beauty Awards



Our skincare, cosmetics and nutrition client, Arbonne has been shortlisted in two categories at the prestigious Pure Beauty Awards 2016. A highlight of the beauty industry’s calendar, the awards celebrate the most innovative products launched in the sector over the last 12 months.  

 

Arbonne’s Prime and Proper Eye Makeup Primer, which helps to prevent eyeshadows from creasing or fading, has been nominated as one of the best new eye products.

Arbonne award Refresh PR

In the Best New Electrical Product category, the recently launched Intelligence Genius Ultra Device secured a coveted place in the line-up. The Genius Ultra offers the ultimate next generation solution to help target signs of ageing, by using a gentle circular movement which smooths products onto the skin for just one minute on each area.

 

Kelly Lloyd-Sanderson, marketing director at Arbonne UK, said “We pride ourselves on the creation of innovative products that are vegan friendly and 100 per cent botanically based. To be recognised in two categories is a wonderful accomplishment and is testament to the hard work of our product development teams who stay ahead of industry trends to create products that our customers really want.”

 

Voting is now open for this year’s Pure Beauty Awards. If you’d like to vote for Arbonne, you can do so here: http://www.hpcimedia.com/pure-beauty-awards/award-categories/.

 

 

 

Tagged with: awards, Beauty PR, Health & Beauty, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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We Need Your Help To Find The UK’s best ‘Window With a View’!



Refresh PR is half way through a visual, interactive, online campaign for MyGlazing.com, the new consumer facing website from The Glass and Glazing Federation – and now we need your help!

‘Window with a View’ is a national campaign to find and celebrate the very best the UK has to offer in terms of architecture, design and landscapes. It was created to help boost awareness of the new MyGlazing.com website, as well as encourage people to think about the benefits of modern, energy efficient glazing.

During March and April, people were invited to nominate their favourite ‘Window with a View’ from any building or attraction open to the public. As well as media relations, the team at Refresh took to social media to find suitable images and encourage people to enter. At the end of May, a panel of experts from the construction, architecture, interiors, photography and tourism industries came together to whittle the 150 nominated entries down to four for each region.

Now we need your help to determine which shortlisted entries are the best for each region. Regional voting for ‘Window with a View’ is now open and runs until 29th July. Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win a GoPro kit, and the regional winners will all be put forward for the title of the UK’s Best Window with a View.

So whether you like the images of city skylines, sea fronts, countryside or mountain ranges, vote now to help us find the ultimate winner!

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Window with a View

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Ban women? In 2016? Seriously?



When I was nine years old I picked up my first golf club and trudged out to the practice ground with a group of 10 boys for my first ever junior golf lesson. My mum, a passionate and very good golfer, drove me there and waited in the pro’s shop for an hour with all her fingers crossed that I’d return with even a tiny amount of the passion that she has for the sport instilled in me – which I did. It was 1986 and I was the only junior girl playing at my golf club.

 

Week after week, year after year I learned to play, the pinnacle of my short love of the game coming when I was 16 years old and won the club’s annual Ladies Open.

 

My parents and brother regularly told me that despite my love of hockey, tennis and badminton, my talents lay in golf – it was something I should pursue. So why didn’t I?

 

It was the late 80s and golf clubs were sexist. There was a clear hierarchy in the club: firstly men, then women, then junior boys, and lastly junior girls. My brother and I would queue up on the first tee on a Sunday afternoon and regularly wait one or two hours while adults came and went, taking priority. Add to this the fact that I’d been brought up by a mother who absolutely believed in equal rights for girls and boys, yet finding myself in an environment which had ‘men only’ lounges in the club house where my younger brother could go but I couldn’t, meant my frustrations grew. The final nail in the coffin was the dress code: as the only teenage girl in the club my lessons were with the boys I went to school with, yet being forced to wear out-of-date, old-fashioned outfits meant I regularly tried to bend the rules, and regularly got told off by the adult male members (who in my opinion should have been concentrating on their own games rather than mine).

 

What I didn’t appreciate at the time though was the fact that, being a girl, I actually should have been grateful I was allowed on the course at all! Nothing in my education had prepared me for the fact that girls wouldn’t naturally be allowed the same permissions as boys. And is there anyone who can actually believe that, 30 years on, women still aren’t allowed to walk on all courses in the UK?

 

A lot has changed since the late 80s and the club I played at as a child has been very inclusive for decades now – no areas are out of bounds for either women or men, the dress code is more relaxed which has invited in a whole wave of younger people (and junior girls!) which will ensure the club continues to thrive for decades to come. Like a lot of changes of policy in this life, I put this down to a new generation coming in and leading the club forwards.

 

So I’m proud, really proud, of the decision by the R&A to refuse to let Muirfield host The Open because it has voted to remain a men only club which continues to ban female members. It’s the only decision that could have been made by the R&A, but at the same time a decision that shouldn’t even have to be made in the first place. How embarrassing for golf, which incidentally this year is hosting the Championships at another Open venue which still excludes women, Royal Troon. 

 

Muirfield is yet to really comment on the decision, other than to defend its member's voting system. But after enjoying such an illustrious heritage for well over a century, I’ll be enjoying watching the outcome of this antiquated decision, while pondering how in 2016 it’s even possible that this debate is taking place. And if any PR agency steps forward to defend Muirfield, good luck to you (unless of course the decision is reversed) – sometimes the indefensible really is just that: indefensible.

 

 

Tagged with: golf, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Muirfield, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Get snappy, UK!



Here at Refresh PR we love a good visual campaign. A few of us in the office are constantly testing out our photography talents (jaunty angles, abstract and meaningful images – you know the drill) and sharing them on social media with the hope of receiving umpteen likes to gratify our self-taught skills with the lens (find good and bad attempts by searching ‘refreshpr’ on Instagram).

 

That’s why when we began our PR campaign for The Glass and Glazing Federation, which wanted to run a campaign to raise awareness of the new consumer-facing website MyGlazing.com, along with the benefits of modern, energy efficient glazing, we devised a photo-led, visually-engaging social media competition. We knew that not only would it put the public’s (and our) photography skills to the test, but it would also get the nation thinking about the importance of using window frames and modern efficient glass to keep a home warm, bills low and views clear.

 Window with a View

And so ‘Window with a View’ was born. In a nutshell, the competition asks for those visiting or working from businesses or locations that are open to the public to enter a photograph of a window boasting a great view. It could be anywhere; from a theme park or golf club, to a derelict cottage in the highlands or restaurant in a city centre – it’s up to you, and we can’t wait to see your images!

 

Once your photo is submitted it’ll be judged by a panel of pros, who will select the four best photos submitted in 12 areas across the UK. After that, it’s your turn to get involved again, as the images will be open to a public vote, determining the 12 area winners. These will then go into the national heat, competing to be crowned the UK’s Best Window with a View.

 

Now we don’t mean to burst any bubbles, but there are some rules. Yes it’s 2016 and yes we’re all filter-happy – but to count the photos submitted must be the originals. The location of the photo must be somewhere that’s open to the public (people and car registrations must be unidentifiable) and – here’s the biggy – at least some of the window frame MUST be in shot. 

 

Whether you’re a traditionalist with a Canon EOS, or you use your smartphone to snap images, it can’t be denied we’re living in an age where photo sharing is rife – so if you’re out and about over the next few weeks and spot an amazing ‘Window with a View’, test out your photo flair and submit the entry at MyGlazing.com/WWAV.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , #WWAV, Construction, Glass and Glazing PR, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Window with a View

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An Eggcellent Easter at Refresh PR



There really is no better time to exercise your creative juices than ahead of a long Bank Holiday weekend.

 

So this Easter at Refresh we’ve gone old school; we’ve taken everyone back to their younger years by challenging the team to an eEaster egg Refresh PRgg painting competition.

 

Today the team carried their precious eggs to work, trying to avoid their eggstravagant (sorry!) masterpieces from tipping over. Each was lovingly and proudly displayed in our meeting room – and tweeted out too, of course.

 

We never shy away from a bit of friendly competition at Refresh PR, but this Easter, things got serious. Despite everyone’s effort and hard work, there had to be one winner. The eggs were analysed and the votes were cast, and we can proudly announce that the winner of this year’s Refresh PR eggstravaganza is Fliss, with her eggoji’s (see pic).

 

Tell us what you think @refreshpr and #refresheggstravaganza

 

 

 

Tagged with: decoration, Easter, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Twitter

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The new health-conscious hybrid set to conquer the caffeine craze



Over the past few years, food and drink hybrids have proven extremely popular with consumers who are chomping at the bit to try new flavours, and retailers that are consistently looking to drive innovation to stay ahead of the competition.

 

We’ve seen products such as the Cronut (croissant and doughnut), the Flagel (flatbread and bagel) and the Brookie (brownie and cookie) try their luck as serious food mashup contenders but nothing has quite hit the spot like beverage hybrids.

 

Variations in tea and coffee are nothing new, with brew lovers spoilt for choice in terms of blend, flavour and even temperature (extra hot skinny mocha with an iced frappe on the side anyone?!). Brands certainly haven’t been shy when it comes to fusion innovation and the newest kid on the block is no different…

 

Joffee, a Fairtrade coffee mixed with fruit juices, is new for 2016 and is aiming to bridge the gap between coffee lovers and haters. Created in the heart of Texas, the new coffee/juice blend is fast gaining momentum in America, with health conscious consumers opting for a Joffee instead of an energy or fizzy drink due to its lower sugar and caffeine content.   

 

As an office of coffee fans (or caffeine fans), we’re not overly enthused by the idea of sharing our coffee with anything other than milk and two sugars, but we are looking to get fitter in 2016 so Joffee could be the answer! Feedback to follow…

 

Refresh PR has extensive experience in working with a wide range of food and drink brands – spanning both trade and consumer campaigns. If you’re looking to speak to an agency about your company’s communication plan for 2016, why not give us a call on 0161 871 1180.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Coffee, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations

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Are you Peachy keen?



So there is a new kid on the block, a social media platform that is getting a hammering on the download charts and causing ripples amongst the major players in social networking. Named Peach it could be said to be the virtual lovechild of Facebook and Tumblr. In basic terms, it’s social media messaging minus the effort. 

 

What makes Peach unique is the existence of ‘magic words’, so keywords that act as text commands allowing the author to share information with his or her network quicker.

 

For example, prompts like “song” commands Peach to “listen” to what you’re playing and paste the song title/artist into a new status update. Peach will also let your network know what the weather is like where you are, it can pin point your location, and even share the percentage of your phone’s battery life. Peach also has an in-house GIF-maker – which is lots of fun!!

 

The core aim of Peach is to keep users more easily connected and equip users to share content with greater ease; the technical term for which is being touted as ‘contextual data’.  It’s similarly used by platforms such as Snapchat, which uses filters specific to a certain context.

 

The question is whether Peach will put a dent into the existing social media matrix or if will disappear like so many others that have gone before it. Command-prompts along with contextual data have been inherently linked before now, the difference with Peach, is that it has neatly packaged both together in an intelligent, user friendly app.  

 

Peach certainly seems to be leveraging wider cultural trends, namely jumping on the bandwagon of private social networks, since Peach allows you to share stuff, but only to your close network. It supports native multimedia content, relies on emojis and makes content sharing more efficient. As far as using social media platforms go, we are certainly becoming lazier and less reliant on manual information-finding and more reliant on a social network’s ability to allow us to share information efficiently, spoon feeding us content that we wish to consume and interact with without having to spend time looking for it.

  

As a result, we’re likely to see a continued shift towards contextual data applications but whether or not Peach will do damage to the likes of Facebook will be down to how quickly they and the other big players adapt to changes in social behaviour. If you’d like to find out more about Peach or need some advice about which social media platforms you should be utilising to support your business, call Refresh on 0161 8711 188.

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , Peach, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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ClaireaBella Paints London Pink



It’s the end of November, and at the end of a month we like to sit back and look at what we’ve achieved.

 

Going right back to the start, November kicked off in style for the Refresh PR team with an exciting and uber glamorous press for client ClaireaBella.

 

ClaireaBella is a fabulous personalised lifestyle brand with a huge celebrity following, boasting Michelle Keegan, Little Mix, The Saturdays and the TOWIE girls among its army of fans. Each ClaireaBella product is completely bespoke and every bag is hand painted, making it the perfect brand for extra special Christmas gifts this year. The aim of the press trip was to achieve coverage for ClaireaBella within the consumer press Christmas gift guides – features we knew the brand would make a lovely addition to!

   

It can be a challenge to arrange meetings with the press, especially at this time of year when journalists have extremely hectic schedules, so we needed to do something different to give editorial teams no option other than to see us. With this in mind, we secured the most ClaireaBella-esque vehicle in the land, a hot pink limo no less, complete with sparkles and lighting to boot. Journalists wouldn’t be able to resist, right?

 

After lots of planning we lined up meetings with leading publications such as the Daily Star, OK!, new!, The Sun, Woman, Woman’s Own, Now Magazine, Reveal and Closer.

 

The limo itself created quite a buzz around London, with lots of pedestrians taking photographs as we hopped between media houses. This was a great opportunity for the press to meet Claire Barrett, founder of ClaireaBella, personally. Claire got to tell her inspiring success story and share the history of the brand, starting the company with just a £30 loan and through belief and hard work, developing it into what it is today.

 

The journalists were extremely impressed with their personalised ClaireaBella jute bags packed full of goodies. I have to say, the bag we had made for Steven at OK! magazine was my personal favourite – and as I am sure you can imagine, it was a huge relief that we managed to get everyone’s personalisation details correct and no one had drastically changed hair colour over night!

 

The press trip was a lot of fun for all involved and the results spoke for themselves. Coverage is expected across a range of publications and we can’t wait to see ClaireaBella listed alongside other Christmas must-halves at every shopper’s favourite time of year!      

 

 

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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A taste of success for Chip Strips!



When a new snacking product like nothing we'd ever seen before landed on our desks, we jumped at the chance to represent the brand. After all, who doesn't love a good snack; particularly one that's obviously going to fly off the shelves?

 

With its unique proposition Chip Strips is a new snacking product from Mr Cookes Kitchen, a fellow Manchester-based company which has innovation and a focus on good quality food at its core.  

 

The company has boldly gone where no brand has gone before, launching with no less than 10 (yes, that's 10) different flavours to deliver taste twists for Britain's snack lovers, meaning there is something to suit everyone's potato penchant. And the brand is set to take over the shelves of a supermarket, or corner shop, near to you soon.

Chip Strips and Refresh PR

As experts in food and drink PR, the Refresh PR team was well aware of the potential for the brand: media outlets across the UK would go mad for Chip Strips and its flavours, which range from sour cream and onion, cheese and onion, sea salt and vinegar and sea salt to wasabi, bacon and onion, sweet paprika, tangy ketchup, chilli and paprika and smokey bbq.

 

So there was only one thing for it! We packed a few rather large suitcases full of product, booked our trains and headed to London for the biggest press trip to date. With no less than four representatives hitting the streets of London, we met with dozens of journalists and tasted more Chip Strips than we thought we'd ever be able to eat!

 

Meetings were held with the trade magazines, national newspapers, supplements, glossy magazines, bloggers, reviewers, vloggers and so many more!

 

As expected the journalists loved the brand, seeing and tasting how the potato snack is completely different to anything else on the market. With such positive feedback and the ball rolling with impressive coverage, Refresh PR successfully converted some of the UK's top food journalists to Chip Strips.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a pack at local One Stop shops and selected Tesco stores from 23rd November!

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Good product placement examples, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR wins at the CIPR PRide Awards 2015



Last Thursday night Refresh PR graced the stage at the CIPR’s North West PRide Awards, collecting a gong for Best PR Event 2015.

The judges recognised Refresh PR’s event which ran in conjunction with OTONE Audio, a fellow Manchester-based company which manufactures and sells Bluetooth speakers, headphones, soundbars and computer speakers.

Refresh PR wins CIPR award

So why did this event stand out? Otone briefed Refresh PR to conduct a media trip to launch its latest range of speakers. Knowing the media houses well, demonstrating the true power and sound quality of Otone’s speakers in an open plan office full of busy journalists was a big no-no. So, Refresh PR hired a branded stretch Hummer, filled it with drinks and party food, and took the journalists for a quick spin.

It meant Otone was able to really show off just why its products are superior – both in sound quality and price – to its (world-famous) competitors. In a confined space Otone could really ramp up the sound and show off!

‘rOadTONE’ was a huge success; media coverage came flooding in and it’s created good will which lives on nine months later.

From all this year’s entries, Refresh PR appeared twice in the shortlist of six agencies in the Best Event category, firstly for its Otone event and secondly for the Arbonne Manchester Drive-By. Refresh PR was also shortlisted for Outstanding Small Consultancy 2015.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: awards, CIPR , Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Spooktacular Halloween



Each October the UK is engulfed and bewitched by Halloween costumes, props and products. It is becoming a much loved event for children, adults and not surprisingly brands, especially on social media. Last year, retailers were expected to see a £330 million boost in sales, an astonishing amount compared to the meagre £12 million spent in 2001. Therefore, it is no surprise that brands areRefresh PR Manchester using social media to engage with their consumers, whether it is to increase company sales or just to have a little bit of ghoulish fun.

 

The great thing about social media is the ‘social’ aspect, especially during timely events such as Halloween, because everybody can get involved. In a world which now focuses heavily on digital and social media, the realms of creativity for brands are endless.

We have selected a couple of examples that we loved last Halloween based on their creativity.  

 

Mobile network Three helped customers choose their last-minute Halloween costumes with an interactive Vine video, allowing them to flick through a mountain of interactive cards and ‘click’ to discover their perfect costume!

 

Oreo Cookie, known for amazing campaigns, went all out last year and created the online #OreoLab. Oreo posted five Vines in the run up to Halloween, showcasing different creations made in the Oreo Lab. See some of the examples here. The Oreo Lab Nomster was a Refresh PR favourite. You can understand why we’re looking forward to seeing what the brand does this year!

 

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Pringles and Guinness also put a twist on infamous logos for the seasonal event and we can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves this October!  

 

And if you’re looking for thrills, screams and a fright night in Manchester, look no further than Manchester’s number one scare attraction ‘House of Dead’ at the Great Northern. House of Dead opened its doors to the public from October 9th ‘til the end of the Halloween season. It looks frighteningly good!

 

 

 

 

   

Tagged with: Halloween, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, Social Media

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Refresh PR whips up a storm in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support



On Friday 25th September we rolled up our sleeves, dug out our whisks and all got baking in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Refresh PR Manchester

 

With recipes including raspberry brownies, lemon layered sponge cake and cherry and almond cake, we pulled out all the stops to deliver a variety of sweet treats in order to tempt our neighbours into digging deep for charity.

 

We opened our doors from 11am, welcoming neighbours and passers-by with a chance to indulge on a Friday afternoon. As the day came to a close we also went out and about in the Northern Quarter to sell the remaining cakes, ensuring we collected the most we could for charity.  

 

On the day we managed to tempt our favourite Tariff Street haunts into generously parting with their cash, with Tariff and Dale, The Whiskey Jar and newcomer The Pen and Pencil all making a donation in return for cakes. Neighbours such as My Clever Agency, Paul Danson Imagineering and Spacemen helped us raise a grand total of £70.

 

We want to say a huge thank you to all of our generous neighbours who made a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support – with a special thank you to Tariff and Dale, which kindly let us sell cakes to all of its customers, and the team at Paul Danson Imagineering which generously donated in return for a full tray of our remaining cakes.

 

Refresh PR’s Gemma Killackey commented, “As a team we were delighted to have contributed to Macmillan Cancer Support. This is an extremely worthwhile charity which supports not only cancer suffers, but also their families, helping them cope with the illness. The money raised from our cake sale and the infamous coffee mornings which took place up and down the country will go towards ensuring those facing cancer are not alone – this is something we are proud to have been a part of.”

 

This year alone Macmillan Cancer Support has raised nearly £1,000,000 from coffee mornings across the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Charity PR, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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A lot can ‘appen in a week



Heading into the app store can sometimes seem as overwhelming as checking out the shelves of an overstuffed shop; there’s just so much to look at and such a lot of it seems useful! Following extensive research into the most popular apps around (yes, including Candy Crush and the Kim Kardashian game), team Refresh has compiled the seven most useful apps – one for each day of the week, and of course they accompany old faithfuls such as social media, messaging apps and storage!  

 

Monday

An ultra-busy day at work means nipping out for lunch can be tricky, however, you may well be tempted by a post-weekend treat. Step in Deliveroo, which allows users to order from their favourite restaurant and have their ideal meal delivered straight to their desk. With many of Manchester’s most popular eateries already signed up, this is the perfect app for those who fancy a cheeky burger for their Monday midday meal.

 

Tuesday

Stay fully organised throughout the week using Evernote, a productivity app that makes syncing devices, to-do lists and even documents ultra-simple. Ideal for workers on the go, Evernote acts like a digital personal assistant – think of it as Siri meets Stepford Wives.

 

Wednesday

Ever wondered how much (or how little!) activity you actually undertake in the day? Then you need to download Moves. This app tracks how much physical activity you complete in terms of time, actual steps, distance and calories burnt; ideal for those who are working on their fitness, Moves can even be used to set targets and will reward you with personal bests.

 

Thursday

Late night shopping on Thursday may inspire a cheeky post-work trip to buy a weekend outfit. Ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your splurge by downloading Quick Scan Bar Code Scanner before you shop. Simply open the app and photograph a product’s bar code; the app will then show where the item can be bought and will show you which store is offering the best price, leaving you with more spending money in your pocket.

 

Friday

The best music always seems to play on the office radio on Fridays. While this is no bad thing (who isn’t happy when Crazy In Love plays on Kisstory?), what can be annoying is when an absolute tune plays but the name of the track or artist cannot be remembered. Worry not; simply open Shazam and hold your phone in the direction of the music. Shazam will tell you the artist and song name and can even link up to iTunes so you can buy it.

 

Saturday

Taxi to your favourite haunt on a Saturday with Uber, which can be booked and paid for via your smartphone. This app proves especially useful when heading home with, perhaps, a little less cash to hand then you originally planned at the start of the night. It has rescued us on many occasions.

 

Sunday

Find that those Saturday night selfies don’t look quite as fresh upon review on Sunday? Filter to your heart’s content with FaceTune to make sure none of the weekend’s shots are duds. Providing more editing options than Instagram, FaceTune is an ultra-simple way to improve your pictures. Be warned however, the temptation to stray into Mariah Carey levels of airbrushing can be all too tempting; less is often more.

 

We’d love to know what apps are your essentials throughout the week, be they for selfies, storage, social media or singing  – tweet us @RefreshPR or simply comment below.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Best apps, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR advice, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh PR speeds up with Jan Farrell



You may not have heard of Jan Farrell before now, but he is the UK’s fastest speed skier in 2015; speed skiing being the fastest non-motorised sport in the world. At the end of Jan’s last season which finished in April 2015, he came sixth on the World Cup circuit. When Jan approached us recently, it came as a shock that ourselves and the British public had not been made aware of his sport, that he was one of the best in it - and comes from just down the road in Lancaster.

 

Jan wanted to make the British media aware of himself and his highly technical and admirable sport, encouraging more people to follow it and the younger generations to get involved with it. We knew this challenge wasn’t going to be an easy one: it was out of season and the UK press was focusing on summer sports, the Grand National was a week later and the golf coverage was in full flow, but we certainly believed in what Jan was doing and were going to try our damnedest to make this great sport known.

 

Three weeks later we’d done it, and we were on the train on our way to London where Jan was meeting us for a live interview with Sky Sports News, skis and helmet in tow. Jan headed into makeup and then was placed in front of the presenters where the ten minute interview commenced. This is just what the sport needed - the chance to be on live TV and to tell avid sports fans why they should follow it. Jan highlighted all the great stuff coming up for him and encouraged younger skiers to come up through the ranks and join British teams. This interview also gave Jan the chance to tell the viewers about the seven world record attempts he would be going for over the next few years, or as we favourably named them; the seven deadly skis.

 

Later that day we’d also arranged for an interview for Jan with The Independent’s sport team. A very lively journalist quizzed Jan on speed skiing, the tremendous speeds Jan and his competitors reached and how it feels racing down a mountain at over 140mph (yep, you heard us). This lengthy interview resulted in a great write up online and nearly a full page in the paper - a piece of coverage that now hangs proudly on the wall next to my desk.

 

Jan completed day two of his trip with an appearance at Chill Factore, the indoor ski centre in Manchester, where he wow’ed onlookers with his red latex skiing outfit and beat the centre’s record for the fastest to ski down its slope, all captured on cam by CBBC Newsround. A quick pop back down to London for a live chat on talkSPORT’s Hawksbee & Jacob’s show then turned into 20 minutes of friendly chit chatter on-air, followed by a quick try of Jan’s helmet for the presenters - all publicised on the show’s Twitter feed. Jan then flew back to Madrid after a hectic but fruitful two days to make up for his short break from the intensive training regime, which involves long mornings in the gym and even longer days on the piste.

 

This is just one example of the dedication and passion of the team at Refresh PR. We produced amazing results, and it’s a campaign that I will personally always be proud to have worked on. We’re counting down the days to join Jan out in Andorra this winter, when the season kick starts and the slopes speed up!

 

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Skiing PR, skiing PR agency, snow PR

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A PR team’s guide to August action in Manchester



We are well and truly in the swing of summer and Manchester has already played host to some fantastic events. From Parklife at Heaton Park to Noel Gallagher at the Castlefield Bowl and most recently Manchester International Festival - which saw a selection of internationally renowned artists, performers and musicians entertain at iconic venues across Manchester - there has been something for everyone at Refresh PR HQ to appreciate and enjoy.

 

Looking into August (I know, how is it August already?), Manchester has plenty more to offer. Take a look at just a few of the events we are looking forward to in Refresh PR’s What’s On Guide for August:

 

1.      Manchester Jazz Festival (31st July - 9th August) - this is the longest-running music festival in the city. With almost 80 gigs and performances from over 400 artists, this 10 day event celebrates 20 summers of jazz. Albert Square is the heart of the festival, hosting the main performance hub where live music will start at lunchtime and run ‘til late every day. Some of the events are free and some are ticketed but with a festival bar and plenty of food outlets, we will certainly be dropping in!  

2.      NQuiz Frog and Bucket (Sun 9th August) – if quizzing is more your thing, check out the monthly NQuiz.  Tipped as the fastest, funniest and best quiz around, teams go head-to-head through rounds comprising elements of infamous shows including Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Countdown and QI. With the title of NQuiz champions and £50 prize money up for grabs, Refresh PR is up for entering a team – if nothing else it will be a laugh! 

3.    Dig the City (31st July – 6th August) – this seven day summer siesta returns for 2015 and promises to bring a summer garden festival vibe to some of the busiest and most urban streets in Manchester.  As a fan of all things quintessentially British, this series of pop-up picnics, markets, music, gardens and floral installations sounds a delight! Mix this with the chic city atmosphere, street food, treats and discounts from some well-known fashion outlets, it is Manchester’s own version of a classic summer garden festival

4.   Musical Madness – a couple of members of our team unashamedly like a good musical! Manchester Place Theatre will host West Side Story. The all singing, all dancing American story of gang warfare hits the stage from 13th - 15th August.   For those looking for something a little more light-hearted, Duncan James (of boyband Blue) will make an appearance in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Manchester Opera House from 20th - 29th August

5.   Opening of Pen and Pencil - ok, so there isn’t an August launch date confirmed for the latest addition to the NQ family, but the team at Refresh PR has been closely monitoring the progress of this new bar. With the promise of brunch, lunch, cocktails and good times, just over the road from the office, we are hoping this exciting new bar and restaurant will open during August. We will keep you updated and review our first official visit very soon!

  

If none of the above events tickle your fancy maybe the Manchester Food and Drink Festival would be more up your street? Food is always a hot topic of conversation at Refresh PR HQ and the team is already discussing which stalls and attractions to visit during the September event – keep your eyes peeled for our MFDF highlights coming soon!

 

Are you looking forward to other events during August? If so, share them with the Refresh PR team in the comment box below or tweet us @RefreshPR.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Networking Event, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Tempted to take a bite out of Apple Music?



When it comes to listening to music, I use Spotify. It allows me to listen to albums, create playlists, and since I have upgraded, I no longer have to suffer interruptions from the ads. Other than that, I have a small selection of music I appear to have at some stage downloaded on iTunes (which is now embarrassingly out of date). My Spotify app on my iPad gives me everything I need but I am, like many, a fickle and fleeting consumer, easily persuaded and attracted by free trials.

 

So as the owner of an iPad and iPhone I am now starting to wonder if Apple’s latest venture should be something I look more seriously at. All of a sudden my Spotify app on my Apple iPad seems a little pointless - it surely makes more sense to use Apple Music on an Apple device? Is it worth the challenge (well, for me) of getting to grips with how to use yet another music service?

 

I was never won over by Tidal, the Jay-Z owned American-based streaming service which claims to pay the highest rates to the artists. Costing £19.99 for its premium service, I think of it more as ‘status symbol streaming service’ – one for the cool kids. I am most certainly not a cool kid. Neither is Taylor Swift, who after removing herself from Spotify chose not to stream through Tidal either. However, in the wake of the Apple Music launch at the end of June this year, Taylor Swift controversially chose to pledge her allegiance to Apple and decided the streaming service was for her – a move she claims is not part of a lucrative deal. Taylor Swift even took on the corporate giant over their decision not to pay musicians and songwriter’s royalties for any music listened to during the free three month trial, needless to say, Taylor won.

 

The Apple Music app certainly looks impressive, and using the handy ‘heart’ button you can tell Apple what you like in order for it to make further suggestions for your playlist - perfect for when you are needing some inspiration. It costs the same £9.99 per month as Spotify and even has the same 30 million plus tracks at its disposal. However, several features make this app distinct; Apple Music is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC – Spotify however, is available across a handful of other devices. Apple Music does not have the much loved Spotify feature of being able to see what your Facebook friends are listening to, however, after accidentally connecting my Spotify to my Facebook and listening to Shania Twain’s first album on repeat for two days, the lack of this feature is of huge appeal.

 

Further to this, Apple Music’s most crucial difference is the fact it lets you access all of your music on the streaming app. Old CDs you uploaded onto iTunes will be available, as well as all your other iTunes music downloads. This clever feature allows me to keep hold of those outdated downloads I am so fond of, whilst enjoying the latest music from the Apple Music library. Naturally, it is this feature that appeals to me most and seems like the perfect solution to collating my music collection. Everything, altogether, in one place. On top of this it also offers Beats 1, a 24 hour radio station that allows users to be inspired by music outside their current collection and keep up to date with music news.

 

I believe it will be tricky to persuade some of the diehard Spotify fans to convert to Apple Music, but as a self-confessed tech amateur simply looking to make my technical life a little simpler, I see no reason why I shouldn’t try it. I won’t be kicking Spotify to the curb just yet, those three years of playlists cannot simply disappear into the abyss like the artists who sang on them (…Dido, Javine and Gabrielle to name a few). I have made the executive decision that for the next three months, whilst I can enjoy the luxury of Apple Music’s free trial, I will continue on Spotify and make an informed decision. Check back then to see how I get on!

 

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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A Manchester PR agency’s guide to holidaying in 2015



To say that we’re an eclectic bunch at Refresh PR really doesn’t cut it. We often find ourselves disagreeing and agreeing on music choices, liking and disliking celebrities and debating over lunch choices. So after having studied article upon article telling us where the place to be is this year, we decided to conduct our own mini social experiment to create the ULTIMATE PR agency holiday guide; so pull out your swim shorts, slap on some sun tan, because we’re going to… urrr, Manchester (and a few other places):

 

Rome: this was a big hitter with the Refresh PR team this year with two people planning a trip in their calendars. We know what you’re thinking, it’s because of the pizza... and yes, it is largely to do with the pizza, but believe it or not, when we’re not busy working away at Refresh Towers we do like to better ourselves with culture. There’s plenty to see and do in Rome, especially if you’re into history; visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel, and if you like your Italian cuisine, one of our team’s recommendations is the Twilight Trastevere Food Tour. One more thing, if you’ve got a selfie stick be sure to take it ..as apparently you’ll be the odd one out if you don’t!

 

Berlin: another double scorer for the team this year; Berlin has so much to offer in terms of history and it’s also a European epicentre for nightlife. The city is host to a number of famous techno nightclubs. Perhaps you fancy the famous Berghain, which opens on Friday and closes on Monday? If so, you may want to research some tips on how to get past the world’s strictest bouncer, Sven - here’s a bit of help from the Telegraph. By day there’s museum upon museum and from the Reichstag to Checkpoint Charlie, there’s plenty to do - just make sure you don’t fall asleep in one after a night clubbing, like one member of our team... To eat in Berlin try Katz Orange and 3 minutes Sur Mer.

 

Amsterdam: this quiet city situated in the heart of Holland…okay I’ll start again...this city situated in the heart of Holland is absolutely perfect for a weekend break. You can get a pretty cheap deal to Amsterdam, and with a flight time of only 45 minutes it’s quicker to get to than some parts of the UK. While you’re in Amsterdam be sure to rent out a bike and cycle along the canal belt, where you can find a whole world of wonders up the side streets; then make your way to the beautiful Vondelpark for an afternoon picnic. For food, try Bazar, for African and Middle-Eastern food served in the setting of a mural-adorned converted church.

 

Madrid: before you head to Madrid, make sure you swot up on your Spanish as English speaking isn’t as common-place as it is in Spanish holiday resorts - trust us on this one! Do you like football? If you do the Real Madrid stadium tour is only 19 euros, a small price to pay to ditch the other half for a day out shopping! Be prepared for late evenings in Madrid as the normal time for dinner is 10pm but you can always make time for an afternoon siesta to compensate. In the evening head to the trendy area Malasaña, where the restaurants and bars are set between modern street art covered walls and the siesta doesn’t stop until the early hours.

 

Budapest: Corey went to Budapest earlier this year and when we say it’s for the history, we really aren’t joking. A big lover of all things historical, Corey swapped Downton Abbey and Poldark for a weekend of persuing the sites of Budapest. A big recommendation from Corey is the Houses of Parliament, but make sure you go when the assembly isn’t in session for the entire tour and be sure to ask for the Lady Gaga lookalike tour guide. When all the historical stuff makes you thirsty, you need to visit at least a handful of the city’s ruin bars. Built in Budapest’s District VII neigbourhood (the old Jewish quarter), these bars are a popular hot spot for locals and tourists.

 

Manchester: so what happens when your holiday’s been and gone? Rather than getting the holiday blues check out what’s on near you over summer. We’re going to see Noel Gallagher on the 11th July at Castlefield Bowl and are more than excited for The Striker with Maxine Peake as part of the Manchester International Festival.

 

Where will you be going, what will you be doing and what will you be eating? We want to know your suggestions so tweet us @refreshpr.

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Twitter

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We're on the road again...



The Refresh PR team recently brainstormed event ideas for our consumer technology client, OTONE Audio. Otone was launching a new range of portable speakers and we wanted to make a song anRefresh PR stunt with Otone Audiod dance about it. We researched locations, venues, bands and DJs which would appeal to our audience (savvy tech journalists). But we wanted to do something different. That's where rOadTONE was born.

 

 

 

Journalists are extremely busy people; many don't have time to attend every event in their calendar, so instead, we decided to take the event to them! For two days we hit the streets of London in a gleaming white #Otone branded stretch Hummer which was fully equipped to sit, feed and water up to 16 people at a time. The Hummer was decked out with green lighting, the full colour range of Blufiniti speakers were on display, the cooler was filled with beers and an impressive party playlist was pumping.

 Otone Audio and Refresh PR gadget

 

With our route planned out we wound through the city to 20 separate appointments where at each stop the journalists (and their colleagues) were escorted to the Hummer and promptly driven off. During the quick spin our client was able to talk about the new product, and more importantly let passengers hear the power and sound clarity of the new Blufiniti. We dropped our guests back at their offices with a Blufiniti sample, goodies to take away and hopefully fond memories of their best meeting yet - all in a day's work!

 Refresh PR Manchester Otone Audio

 

 

 

rOadTONE showed us that in this day and age, when journalists simply have less time and competition between brands is fierce, it's more important than ever to think outside the box. Here's what just one passenger said:

 

 

Drew Middleton, ZOO magazine: "The event was classy and professional; the PR team and Otone designers were friendly, informative and knew their product inside-out i.e. its features, its beginning and its future. I thought it was a fantastic idea. The slow drive around Camden, plus product conversations in and outside the vehicle was opportune to show ZOO the range of Otone products."

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Here come the hens!



Manchester has its fair share of weekend visitors, with its thriving food scene and two of the country’s biggest football teams.  One thing the city is also famous for is playing welcome host to hundreds of hen and stag dos each year.

We thought we’d provide some top tips on planning arguably the most important and possibly last night out in the single girl’s calendar. So unless you want your hen do turning into high-street carnage with inflatable dolls, handcuffs and a nervous mother-in-law, we suggest you pay close attention:

1.     The all-important invite list - as if the wedding list wasn’t enough of a pain! Consider who you’re inviting and remember the wild-night out that your best mate has in mind, may not be suitable for your mum and auntie. You can always split the weekend up into parts, a spa day or a cocktail making masterclass followed by a meal for all of your party, followed by a night out on the tiles for your more energetic attendees

2.     It’s never too early to fix a date - remember people’s diaries fill up quickly and it’s best to make sure you let people know well in advance to ensure you get a really good turnout

3.     The dreaded M-Word - the cost of a hen do really can be a deal breaker for some people, especially if they are strapped for cash! So before you plan that Las Vegas weekend getaway, set a realistic budget. No-one likes talking money or being lumbered with collecting the cash, so make sure whoever is in charge makes it clear how much is needed and when

4.     Home or Away - location, location, location! Again, budget will be a big decider on this but sometimes there are some great weekend deals to be had, in the UK and abroad. Do your research and then sound out options. Also remind everyone to check their passports are up to date if you’re jetting off overseas!

5.     The big idea - everyone loves a theme and hen parties are no exception. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for ‘vicars and tarts’! Far from it; Sex and the City, or the 80s are just some of the themes that are quick to pull together (think shoulder pads and backcombing!!)

6.     The personal touch - personalisation makes all the difference and can make a hen do feel that little bit more special. A Refresh favourite is the personalised jute bag from our client ClaireaBella, also a fave with a whole host of celebs from Michelle Keegan to Kelly Brook. Not only will you be bang on trend but it will be a great keepsake

7.     Plan for success - we know drinking and bit of naughtiness will undoubtedly be on the cards and some venues might be able to provide both! However, don’t forget to include some day time activities such as beauty treatments to make the bride feel special. That said, don’t also over plan to military precision so that the day is so jammed packed that you’re rushing from one place to another

8.     Delegation and collaboration - as seasoned planners, team Refresh knows the importance of the above! Make sure that if you are delegating, people are clear about what you’re asking them to do.  Involving people in decisions can be a great way of generating some fun ideas, but remember, what you think the bride would like is the final decider

9.     What would the bride say - if in doubt on any aspect of the day this is the great decider. If her idea of fun isn’t straddling a stripper and walking round with a 6 foot inflatable then think again! Having said that, if she is a wild child what the heck, you only live once and you are planning a night to remember

10.  The big day - on the day itself there are two key buzz words - communication and pace. We know it sounds a bit school teacher-esque, but how many nights out degenerate because people are lost in a strange city? Make sure everyone knows where to meet, what’s happening where and when. Discuss a meeting point just in case you get split up and mobiles run out of juice. 

We hope these tips come in handy for your hen dos and if you are planning on coming to Manchester we’ll be happy to provide a Refresh PR selection of favourite venues to hit!

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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Refresh PR’s Top 10 Festive Food Picks



Blog by Emilie.

 

It’s nearing lunchtime and we’re starting to think about food – again! Working in the city centre of Manchester gives us so many food choices, and every time we walk out of the door at the moment we’re surrounded by the sights and smells of Christmas food – we are spoilt, we know!

 

We’re all slightly addicted to Costa Coffee’s Orange Hot Chocolate and Gingerbread and Cream Latte. But drinks aside, we’ve pooled our thoughts together and come up with our favourite food picks for the perfect Christmas dinner. Our picks have been inspired by our food and drink client, Catering Academy, which has some creative and tempting festive dishes on its catering menu this year.

 

10. Roasties! Our mums, grandmas and aunties all have their own tips and tricks to make the perfect roast potato. They always taste better on Christmas Day too (and they beat Brussel sprouts!)

 

9. Roasted veg. Drizzled in olive oil and thyme, slow roasted veg has a gorgeous sweetness to it which you can only really appreciate on Christmas Day! We think that Jamie Oliver’s take on it is perfect

 

8. The turkey. As vegetarianism is popular here at Refresh, this one didn’t manage to get the 100 per cent vote needed for a #1 top spot. Plus, does anyone even care about the turkey? After around 100 hours in the oven, it’s usually as dry as toast and enough to keep a family of five going on turkey sandwiches for the next three weeks! Check out these turkey tips from Delicious magazine to help you out this year

 

7.  Christmas Pudding. For 364 days of the year, we all vehemently deny our love for fruit cake, but there’s something special about pouring brandy all over the pud and setting it on fire which appeals to us

 

6. Smoked salmon. If you’re not too hungover from Christmas Eve, you might wake up on Christmas Day to a champagne breakfast with smoked salmon pinwheels and scrambled egg. If salmon and eggs don’t excite you, have a read of Good Housekeeping’s breakfast ideas to savour the start of the day

 

5. Cranberry sauce. Sweet and a perfect accompaniment to turkey, this comes bang in the middle of our Christmas food list. We think Nigella has cracked it with her “Redder Than Red” recipe

 

4. Nut Roast. For those of you who haven’t tried it in place of turkey, it’s packed with protein and deliciousness. Our favourites include mushroom and cashew nut, and cranberry and Brazil nut. If you make one change to tradition this year, try this! We will be using this lovely recipe from Food.com this year

 

3. Pigs in blankets. Sausages wrapped in bacon, dipped in gravy - what’s not to love?!

 

2. The stuffing. Whilst not a key part of everybody’s Christmas dinner, we firmly believe that Tom Kerridge has possibly the most delicious recipe for stuffing in the world and you can find it here

 

1. The absolute winner has to be chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Really, any excuse for indulging in chocolate from 7am until we all collapse into bed during the early hours of Boxing Day is a winner for us here at Refresh PR! And if you feel a bit guilty the day after but still haven’t had enough chocolate, why not try Weight Watchers Jaffa Cake Hot Chocolate, it tastes deliciously festive!

 

If you have any suggestions or tips which we can add to our cracking Christmas menu, let us know in the comments below.

 

 

Tagged with: Christmas; food, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Manchester Bierkeller, How Refreshing



The Bierkeller On Thursday evening a few members of Refresh’s food and drink PR team took a trip to the opening of The Printworks’ new bar, The Bierkeller Manchester.

With business for The Bierkeller booming in neighbouring cities Liverpool and Leeds, it was only a matter of time before the chain opened a venue here in Manchester, occupying the former Pure nightclub site in Withy Grove.

On arrival we were met with a complimentary cocktail and left to our own devices to explore the enormous complex, which combines four different bars in one venue.

First stop was the Around the World in 80 Beers Bar where apparently you can get over 100 different beers from over 80 different countries – complete with a live ukulele band!

Having grabbed another free drink at the bar, we went in search of Shooters Sports Bar. Opening just in time for the start of the Premier League Season, the bar has over 20 HDTVs and claims to be the largest sports bar in Manchester.

It was here that we got to sample Rekorderlig cider’s new passionfruit blend, which is delicious but I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t got a sweet tooth!

The venue will also be serving a selection of food from across the globe, ranging from Kangaroo Burgers to Quesidillas, with more traditional German dishes available in the Bavarian Bierkeller. Sadly we didn’t get to sample any of the fayre, but I’m sure it would go down nicely with a Stein!

It will be interesting to see how busy The Bierkeller is on its opening weekend, with Live Oompah Band shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Manchester’s food and drink scene is thriving at the moment, with newcomers popping up all over the city. Not that the Refresh PR team is complaining – we love a complimentary Bellini.

For more information about The Bierkeller, visit the website: www.thebierkeller.com

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Around the World in 80 Days Bar, beer, cider, Food & Drink, Leeds, Leisure, Lifestyle, Liverpool, Manchester, North West , Oompah Band, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Pure, Rekorderlig, Shooters Sports Bar, Stein, The Bierkeller, The Printworks

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IS WI-FI ON THE MENU?



“How will you cope?”

That was the main question I was asked when I announced to the rest of the Refresh PR team that I wouldn’t be taking my mobile phone on holiday. In fact, that was the question most of my friends asked me too.

Despite the fact that I am always found within millimetres of my iPhone when I’m at home, for the past five years I have left my phone turned off and in the UK when travelling abroad.

I do this for a number of reasons:

1.       Surprisingly, it is nice to have a break from: texting, whatsapping, imessaging, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming – after all I do this all day every day, so why would I want to do it on holiday?

2.       I find that I actually enjoy myself more by not having my phone glued to my hand and I’m not worried about losing it, damaging it or having it stolen

3.       As an aside, I think  people will like me more for it, as it saves me from boring my contacts to death with holiday photos and updates

4.       Crucially, it means that I don’t run up extremely high phone bills and roaming charges too

However, this year for the first time, I realised how much we really have come to depend on the smartphone.

To begin, it didn’t occur to me to take a watch on holiday in order to be able to tell the time as I always rely on my laptop or mobile to do that for me. As a result, I spent most of the week living life in the dark ages, trying to use the position of the sun as some kind of guide.

I also realised how much I rely on social media and apps to provide me with the latest news. It wasn’t until Monday lunchtime that I found out that Andy Murray had become the first British man to win Wimbledon in over 77 years. How did I find out? By reading the front page of The Sun of course!

Now, as you can imagine the friends that I went on holiday with most definitely did not leave their phones at home and were glued to them throughout the week. Rachel phoned home on a number of occasions in order to speak to her dog! Meanwhile Natalie and Nikki were busy uploading photos to Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, such was their need to go on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp, we could only eat at restaurants that had free Wi-Fi! Their desperate need to connect to the internet meant that they asked for the Wi-Fi code before even looking at the menu.

All I can say is that I am quite relieved that Kate Middleton didn’t go into labour during the past seven days, as I would have been a bit disappointed if I had missed that.

Tagged with: Andy Murray, Facebook, Holiday, Instagram, iPhone, Kate Middleton, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Refresh PR, Smartphone, Social Media, The Sun, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wimbledon

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Refresh PR launches video as part of campaign for client OTONE Audio



Our client, speakers brand OTONE AUDIO, has been exhibiting at the Gadget Show Live 2013 this week. We have worked with them to create a cheeky film asking the show’s gadget loving crowd how it likes to relax and let loose... We got some pretty funny responses! Check out the video here:

Tagged with: , Birmingham, Facebook, Home Interest, Leisure, Manchester, NEC. Gadget Show Live, Otone Audio, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Retail, Social Media, Twitter, YouYube

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The Dog Bowl Launch Party



Refresh PR began the bank holiday weekend by attending the launch of Manchester’s newest bar.

The Dog Bowl is a new bar and restaurant complete with a bowling alley on Whitworth Street fronted by I’m A Celebrity star Helen Flanagan.

Decorated with dark wood and featuring the brand’s dog Bruce the Patterdale Terrier at every turn – on the toilet signs, menus and even in the bowling ball dispensers - the Dog Bowl is more stylish than your average bowling alley.

Food wise the Dog Bowl offers a Mexican inspired menu featuring everything from nachos to barbecue wings (which smelt amazing).

Adding to the Mexican flavour that evening were the mariachi band from the Doritos advert. Their Latin flavoured rendition of Don’t You Want Me Baby went down very well (especially after a few mojitos) and the band had several encores.

The members of the team who enjoy a celebrity spot (ie. all of us) were not disappointed. Coronation Street cast members past and present including Tina O’Brien, Jack P Shepherd and Paula Lane were in attendance along with Helen Flanagan who opted for an eye-catching hot pink ensemble.

Refresh PR even managed to snag a quick chat with John Miccie (aka Corrie arsonist Karl) and he happily posed for a snap.

Best bowler of the night goes to Gemma Cannon. A less impressive performance came from Kimberley Bull (pictured top) – she blames the free cocktails.

Tonight the bar officially opens to the public – it’s the perfect mix of food, drink and fun.

Tagged with: Black Dog Ballroom, Coronation Street, Dog Bowl, Doritos, Food & Drink, Helen Flanagan, Jack P Shepherd, John Miccie, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Airport City: we’re excited, are you?



Refresh PR has been out and about networking a lot over the past few weeks.  From Women in Business events to the CIM Manchester’s Building Credibility in the Boardroom talk, we’ve been hearing about the amount of optimism out there at the moment in Manchester.

 

One talk that has got our tongues wagging in the office is a presentation about Manchester’s Airport City, which we watched while at the CIM Construction Industry Group’s Northern Conference. 

 

In recent years airports have had to diversify to generate income; with an increase in taxes on aviation and fuel prices, plus an increased need for security, the profit per person has been in decline.  So through car parking, retail and accommodation, airports have been able to re-address this balance and build new areas of profit into their business plans. 

 

Manchester Airport Group (MAG)’s biggest development plan is Airport City in Manchester.  It recognises that airports can be more than places that people use to travel.  That said, Manchester is the third busiest airport in the UK and flies to over 200 destinations (more than Heathrow).

 

So, what’s Airport City?

 

More than 80 Airport Cities have been built across the globe in the last 10 years.  Hong Kong, Singapore and Memphis are three examples.  Airport Cities consist of retail malls (which, we’ll be honest, is what really got our attention), conference centres, warehousing and logistics, office space, hotels, advanced manufacturing sites – and basically create areas for people to live, work and play.  Manchester’s Airport City will compete with Amsterdam, Barcelona and Frankfurt.

 

Airport City will reach out to international companies needing international access quickly.  These include graduates and entrepreneurs as well as those working in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, R&D, pharmaceuticals, professional services, IT, retail and leisure and hotel and conferencing.  The enterprise zone will offer tax breaks. 

 

·        Location: Land adjacent to Wythenshawe is being developed, which is situated between Jn5 and Jn6 of M56 over 4m sq feet of land.  It will take 15 years to complete and will cost £650m to build, becoming the best connected business destination in the world

·        Transport:  Links will be via train, bus and coach, plus via the Metrolink in 2016 which will go through various stops in Wythenshawe on the way into the city centre

·        Jobs: The airport employs around 19,000 workers, mainly from the local community.  The expansion of Airport City will see more local jobs created for people from Wythenshawe and the surrounding areas

 

So all in all, a great move to boost Manchester’s economy, create jobs and make us our city an even more desirable destination to visit than ever before – we’ll be up from seventh in no time!  Watch You Tube for more information:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhg5RVBidLk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrfAoQ_zzfw

 

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Team Refresh Go Ape!



 

You wouldn’t think throwing yourself from tree to tree was that much fun (unless you were a monkey, of course), but we like a challenge here at Refresh PR, so we recently took up  the tree top adventure that is Go Ape.

 

We thought safety in numbers might be best, so we enlisted the help of our client Rare Creative to bolster our numbers up to eight! Fully equipped with our safety gear and gloves, we took to the trees (something I never thought I’d say) and began our adventure.

 

It’s fair to say we laughed through any nerves we may have had and Tom’s attempt at the ‘wooden stilts’ was definitely a highlight for the Refresh ladies!

 

After the terrifying finale of the ‘Tarzan Swing’, we made our way over to the café for a well-deserved hot chocolate and debrief.

 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for everyone, with hilarious photos from the day still circulating the Refresh PR office!

 

 

Tagged with: , Buxton, Go Ape, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Rare, Rare Creative, Tree Top Adventure

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The Baby Show



Some of the Refresh PR team headed over to The Baby Show at Manchester Central this morning to drop off the press packs we’d prepared for our client Puddle Ducks, which was busy presenting its unique baby and toddler swimming programme to mums-to-be and families in Manchester.  Its stand was brilliant and attracted plenty of parents and little ones throughout the morning.  Whilst we were there, I had a stroll around and took in some of the other stands too.  Here are my highlights:

The Superdrug stand and manicure barThere was a fantastic array of stands and some really interesting information and advice being given out to new and/or expectant parents.  The Superdrug stand stood out as they had great show offers on and some pampering treats for mums-to-be too.  There was even a brow and manicure bar where it offered very reasonably priced treatments.  Not too bad for the pregnant lady looking for a little bit of me time before her big arrival. It also had discounted beauty products and a great offer of a free yummy mummy pack when you signed up to their Superdrug beauty card, free of charge.  It was the perfect stand for the mummy with all intentions of being yummy.

The next stand that caught my eye was the Mothercare area, which had fitting rooms ready for pregnant women to go and try some of their maternity clothes and underwear.  I spoke to one of the fitting room assistants who told me that it can be difficult to find the right fit and style to suit your body when pregnant, so they are there to lend a helping hand and advise women on how to dress their bump as it grows and changes throughout the nine months.  There were plenty of baby bumps being dressed by the Gok Wans of the Mothercare world this morning.  I thought this was a fantastic idea and a great help to mums-to-be.

The Puddle Ducks stand

Mothercare also has a photography service called Pixifoto, which is available in many of its larger stores.  It’s running a special offer over this weekend which lets families pay £9.99 for a photo sitting and then receive a 12 x 10 portrait as a free gift worth over £45.  It’s also holding a competition to find the new face of Pixifoto…could your baby be the new face of Mothercare’s photography service?  Get down to the baby show this weekend to find out.

A really impressive stand was Pregnacare, which had a midwife on hand to offer guidance and support to new parents and pregnant women.  It was great to see that The Baby Show was covering all areas, right through from pregnancy to the first few years of a baby’s life.

The Pregnacare stand with a midwife on hand for advice

Sky Living was also at the show, searching for a mum-to-be to feature in a new programme called The Perfect Pregnancy.  They want to film a pregnant woman all the way through her pregnancy, making sure that she is achieving the ‘perfect pregnancy’ with guidance and help from experts, doctors and midwives, covering everything from doctors’ appointments to baby showers.  If you think you could feature in the show, why not contact Simon Mcdonald and tell him about yourself on 0207299 3448 or e-mail scott.mcdonald@nutopia.com.

Of course, with this being The Baby Show there were plenty of little ones pottering around with their mums and dads checking out some of the latest baby gadgets.  There was a crèche available though, sponsored by Fisher Price, where there were mountains of toys and plenty of staff on hand to take care of the kids in case mum wanted to have a wander on her own or maybe visit the brow bar or nail bar for a mini pamper session.

The Prima baby stand

So if you’re an expectant or new parent and if you want some advice, help or just fancy having a little wander around Manchester Central this weekend to take in the stands and offers, then head over to The Baby Show which is on all weekend, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September. 

 

Have fun!

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, Puddle Ducks, The Baby Show

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In the end….these things matter most



July has always been a special month for me, and not just because we start to feel the sunshine just that little bit more than usual, or because the countdown to a long awaited summer holiday is usually down to the final few weeks!  No, it’s because my birthday lands on the fourth, which means I spend a good few weeks before hand getting ridiculously excited, making party plans and guessing presents.

 

This year it was a little bit different… In the build up to my birthday I was spending two weeks island hopping in Thailand, visiting a very good friend who moved out there almost a year ago.  If there is anywhere in the world that removes you completely from your normal life and general mindset, it’s Thailand.  I was sitting on paradisiacal beaches, surrounded by cliffs and mountains, with nothing but sea around me. It is very difficult to imagine that life is going on as normal at home when you’re so far away, in a place that could not be more different to the world that I am used to.

 

It wraps you up in a bubble and you’re carried along, in awe of the beauty you see before you.  I have never been one to venture too far from my comfort zone, so travelling all the way to Thailand was a very big deal for me.  Not just that, I had to limit my packing, because nobody wants to be lugging a suitcase around from island to island!  For a girl like me, who has to decide the next days outfit and accessories before going to bed at night, you can imagine it was just a bit difficult.  However, one can’t be silly about these things when a once in a life time opportunity arises to travel to a far away land, with a life long friend, for a guaranteed fantastic holiday.  Wardrobe issues aren’t worth a second thought.

 

Lately, certain things have happened in my life that have urged me to push myself forward just that little bit more than usual.  I received news recently that a friend I had known well in school had lost a cruel battle with cancer and her life was taken from her.  She was 22, the same age I was up until this Monday just gone.  The truth is, we don’t know how long we are here for and the path that life has carved out for us is one we walk with uncertainty.  I read an article yesterday, on the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London.  I read of families that said goodbye to loved ones in the morning expecting them to walk through the door at the end of the day, but they never came. I also read of people that had changed their route, unexpectedly, and were saved by a fleeting decision or a random mishap that had prevented them from being in the danger zones on that fateful day. 

 

I have decided not to be scared, or question what life holds because I don’t think that gets us anywhere.  I think the key is to be brave, and live with courage.  If we had to live our lives over, what would we do differently?  I know that for a long time I was questioning travelling so far away as Thailand on my own, I worried about money, I worried that something bad would happen.  In the end, I chose to be brave….and had the best experience of my life so far.  I travelled through Thailand, dragging my rucksack on my back (not the best part of the trip I must admit!), I snorkelled, I ate fabulous food, and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and I had tears in my eyes every single day. 

 

In a world where we are faced with terrorism, ill-health, and stressful existences it can be difficult to take a little time to stand back and observe.  What I’ve learnt though, is that time waits for nobody.  So I have decided to walk my path courageously, and fill it with fun, the people that mean the most, strive for those things that I hope for, because in the end these things matter most.

 

When I returned home, not only was it my 23rd birthday, but I was coming home to my new job at Refresh PR.  A fresh start, with a slightly altered state of mind after being in a place as amazing as Thailand, and a determination and the motivation to work hard, aim for the best and most importantly, enjoy it all.  It is the time for a busy life, of hard work but plenty of fun with Refresh PR, to discover what the next year holds…..before the birthday countdown to next July begins!!

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle

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CIM event review: Creating one of Manchester’s greatest assets



Refresh PR went along to Manchester Airport’s Concorde Conference Centre recently for a very insightful Chartered Institute of Marketing networking event.  Situated just next to the runway, and housing a Concorde (pic to follow we hope!), the facility was a great venue to hold a conference – if you don’t mind the sound of planes taking off and landing every few minutes of course.

 

So, to start off, here are a few facts that you may not know:

·         19,000 people are employed at Manchester Airport

·         There’s 3,000m of runway serving the three terminals

·         The airport typically targets people in a 90 minute travel time radius with its marketing

·         There’s a brand new Escape Lounge in Terminal 1 (which we like the sound of a lot)

·         There are still opportunities for more carriers to fly from Manchester airport – even now it has capacity

 

After networking and lots of food, we sat down to listen to some of the marketing plans, strategy and tactics employed by one of Britain’s best airports.  What quickly became obvious is the massive marketing machine that sits behind its public face.   The airport certainly has a well thought out, and continually evolving, marketing strategy that considers every aspect of the customer experience.  So, whether it’s subtle lighting to subconsciously guide a traveller around the terminal (and into the shops) or the amount of research and feedback being constantly processed, everything revolves around making the customer centre stage, and ultimately making sure numbers come through the door. 

 

Understanding that the most visited page on its website is the flight tracking page, the airport has developed an iPhone app for people to check flights on the move.  Car park booking is now a lot easier over handhelds too – and as a major revenue generator for airports around the country it’s certainly worth the investment.  The car parks have been made much more visitor friendly, with green traffic lights above a space to indicate that it’s free, meaning those in a rush can easily see where the free spaces are – whilst trying to stick to the car park speed limit of course...

 

Twitter, which began as a discount/promotions newsfeed, became a major news source for customers and journalists during the ash cloud in April ’10.  Again, during the snow for the past two winters, the @manairport feed has been a way to communicate with travellers and those seeking the most up to date information.  It’s got nearly 17,000 followers and Sky News journalists are big fans.

 

While embracing social media has been a priority, it’s also great to see the airport sticking to tried and tested methods of marketing.  Local door drops to inform residents of changes and promotions are measured for success through visits to specific URLs, redemption of specific discount codes and the general uptake following an e-shot is tracked.  In addition, the team works in the Wythenshawe community (near to the airport) to support local initiatives to ensure the airport gives back to the community.

 

It was also interesting to hear about a new CRM package being implemented which means that when travelling through the airport, all passengers will soon be tracked and data on each visit recorded.  Those flying regularly will develop patterns of behaviour which will be highlighted on the system, from using the car park to purchases made inside the terminal, opening the door for specific discounts and more targeted campaigns.  Well, I’m hoping for the specific discounts anyway – must remember to hand over my boarding card when I buy a G&T! 

 

All in all, this was one of the best CIM events of the year so far – informative, interesting, well attended and useful for marketers to know what’s happening on their own doorstep.  More please!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, North West , PR, Retail

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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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A Gleeful return to our screens?



Glee made a comeback to British TV this week. Did you see it? Did you deliberately avoid it? Love it or loathe it, it gets people talking… and puts us back in touch with fab tunes we didn’t know we knew all the words to. Now, the teams in both the Manchester and the London Refresh PR offices love a good night howling down a karaoke microphone, but a couple of my friends have well and truly caught the Glee bug. They’ve even gone and joined the UK equivalent of a Glee club: a show choir. Manchester Show Choir to be precise.

Manchester Show ChoirI know what you’re thinking, but it’s nowhere near as ‘tantrum and tiaras’ as its US counterpart. It actually has a very noble founding principle – its sole reason for existing is to raise money for a fantastic Manchester charity, The Christie cancer hospital. Their goal is to raise £100,000 for a new early years treatment centre, and they’ve already made an impressive £20,000 dint in this. The fact that its members get to have a good sing every week is a bonus!

The fact that the choir’s founder doesn’t have a PR background certainly isn’t stopping the Manchester Show Choir making a name for itself.  His commendable ‘just do it’ attitude has seen them become Coronation Street’s resident choir – they even sang at Roy and Hayley’s wedding – and they’ve sung live on Radio 5 and Manchester institution Key 103 radio in recent months. They’ve now turned their attention from sell out shows to the dizzying heights of Britain’s Got Talent, another ‘marmite’ TV show that’s set to grace our screens this Spring and is guaranteed to get the nation talking. Having aced the first round of auditions, the show’s producers have asked them to attend the live heats in front of star judges Michael Macintyre, Amanda Holden and the legend that is The Hoff.

The BGT machine rolls into Manchester this week, and Refresh PR wants the Manchester Show Choir to know that this PR agency is in full support of its mission and is sending its members a huge amount of luck. After all, the more famous they get, the more they can charge for gigs and the more money they raise for The Christie. Simples!

Manchester Show Choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Manchester, North West , PR, Public Relations

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Things I'm loving this week...



I've never really looked forward to Monday's before now until the Inbetweeners hit our screens last week and I ended up actually laughing out loud in my living room, on my own, for a solid 30 minutes, and I still can't decide if that's ok or just tragic.  Everyone I've spoken to who loves this fab show, which is fast becoming a TV classic, thinks the series got off to a belter and I'm sure the rest of the episodes are going to offer a lot more. 

 

Then, having been persuaded to buy a copy of TV Choice by my very excited cousin who was on the front page (and page 5 too) celebrating Corrie's wins at the magazine's annual awards, I got distracted by a write up on the brilliant Spooks. Cannot. Wait.  I'm still banking on Harry having a few flash backs to the series with Rupert Penry-Jones though...either that or I'll have to spend more time down at Refresh's London base as he lives just around the corner!

 

Now all I need is for Shameless to come back for another series, Sky Sports to come back onto Freeview and any (Freeview) channel to take up Entourage season 7 and my winter TV indulgences will be complete!   

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle