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The not-so-smart market of smart speakers



“Google, how long will it take me to get to work today?”

 

This request rings out from my living room every, single, morning as my husband asks our personal assistant, Google Home Mini, to do the job he could do perfectly well himself just one month ago.

 

When it came to deciding which smart home assistant we should purchase, there was a lot of deliberation. After all, there are a wealth of options now available to compare. But it was decided, a Google Home Mini would tick all our boxes. And we’re not the only family venturing in to this arena.

 

It’s predicted that 164 million smart speakers will be purchased worldwide in 2019, according to Deloitte. If achieved, this figure will be up 67 per cent on the previous year; so, there’s no denying, uptake is strong. Will 2019 be the year of the smart speaker?

 

Well, seemingly not. Further research from Deloitte shows that even though lots of us are out there purchasing smart speakers, we’re nowhere near making them a part of our daily lives. In fact, smart speakers are our seventh most used device every day, coming behind the likes of smart watches, tablets and even the desktop computer. Why, when it was predicted that smart speakers would become a fundamental part of our connected homes, are they not achieving their envisaged potential, from both a personal and professional perspective?

 

Our preferred smart speaker has so many capabilities, it is almost mind-blowing such technology is possible from a device 10cm in diameter. But the fact is, I don’t have time to figure out all its functions (of which there are hundreds); to release its full potential would require significant investment time from me and my family. I just want it to work quickly, and to make my life easier. I’m not marrying it so therefore I don’t need to know its intricacies. Has overthinking the possibilities of smart speakers in turn, turned us off as consumers?

 

From a business perspective, to achieve voice search-Nirvana and be the business Google and its equivalents recommend when tasked with finding ‘the best garage in Manchester’ or ‘Cardiff’s number one restaurant’, a huge amount of background work is needed. The way voice search works requires another level of expertise entirely to SEO, and by the time we have engineers trained to meet this need, we’ll be on to our next gadget. Either that, or businesses must spend thousands on the relevant search engines, and I’m not sure it’s a good business model to base your success on, when the top uses of smart speakers, Deloitte says, are listening to music, checking the weather and setting alarms.

 

The market saturation of smart speakers is leading to a race to the bottom on price, so while sales and revenue are up, margins are dropping quickly. Not until a manufacturer creates a smart speaker that is by nature intuitive, rather than requiring training, will they be part and parcel of family life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, smart speakers, Tech PR Manchester agency, Tech PR. Digital PR

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Influencers: Are they still influential?



2018 has undoubtedly been the year of the influencer… whatever industry you are in, from tech to plumbing and from food and drink to construction, there will be people with a huge online following who are now promoting brands and making a living from social media activity. This ‘trend’ of influencers has gained praise and criticism alike, because amongst all of the genuine influencers, you can often find people who have paid for followers in a bid to become ‘Instagram famous’.

 

I recently attended a brilliant and insightful Chartered Institute of Marketing influencer event at Manchester Metropolitan University. The event reaffirmed my belief that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to influencer marketing, and that despite the rise in the number of influencers, they are definitely still a force to be reckoned with.


The making of an influencer

The panel at the event started out by discussing what makes an influencer, for instance can you be an influencer if you have under 1,000 followers? After all some people have more than 1,000 followers that are just their friends. However, after some discussion, a conclusion was reached that in some cases fewer followers can mean a more engaged following. Through being more engaged, the followers often care more about what the influencer has to say, which can be more valuable.

 

By taking this view, this saturated market can definitely be seen as an advantage, as it just means more choice. For different opportunities, companies can target niches and specific sectors, whereas in the past only ‘traditional celebrities’ and large multinational companies with big budgets had the means to do this. Now, whilst celebrities with millions of followers are still most likely to promote bigger brands, micro influencers (people with 10,000-50,000 followers) are more accessible to smaller companies with smaller budgets.

 


The role of social media

Social media has also meant the rise of unlikely influencers, for example 30 years ago I don’t imagine you’d find many builders that could reach tens of thousands of people as easily as they can now via social media communities. This means that influencers are not just useful to obvious brands, there is an influencer for everyone! This view was supported by a number of statistics at the event. For example:

- 81% of marketers that have used influencers have found them to be effective

- 51% of marketers believe that they have a better customer base due to influencer marketing

- Social Media Explorer discovered that 92% of consumers are more likely to trust an individual (influencer) over a brand

 


Trusted voices

One of the final points made at the event was that 92% of consumers say that they trust word of mouth recommendations, and that influencers are basically an extension of this. For me, this really solidified the important role that influencers should play in a marketing strategy. We all listen to recommendations from friends, family, colleagues, and anyone with an opinion that we trust. And ultimately, that is all influencers are, just an extension of every day word of mouth recommendations. It’s nothing new, it’s just the social media tools that are different. And even with the rules of social media that state you must put #ad in any paid for posts, if followers trust and engage with an influencer, this #ad is irrelevant and people will still listen.

 


Importance in PR

So why should this be considered in PR? As reiterated throughout this blog, influencer marketing is going from strength to strength as the world becomes increasingly integrated. From a public relations perspective, this opens doors to a number of opportunities to improve and increase awareness for businesses through relevant influencers. 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Influencers, Lifestyle, PR, Product Placement, Public Relations

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Manchester now rivals some of the top cities in the world for tech: why the sector needs to shout about it more



I’ve come out of two events in recent weeks, centred around Manchester’s digital tech sector – Manchester Digital’s ‘digital revolution’ and Insider’s ‘Northern Powerhouse digital and tech conference’ – feeling energised, excited and proud to work in the sector. I genuinely think you’d struggle to find a more exciting place in Europe to be doing business in the tech sector than Manchester.

 

While skills, talent acquisition and retention, the region’s digital ecosystem, and investment were of course high up on the agenda at both events, I wanted to write a few words about something else: marketing and promotion. Attending these events and hearing about the exciting things going on in our city and region, I’m often taken aback at the number of companies that are doing brilliant things in the sector, but forgetting to shout about it.

 

Why it’s important

For companies with their heads in R&D, their latest round of investment, trying to attract and retain staff, or any of the other critical focuses of an innovative tech company, it’s easy to see why promotion often falls to the bottom of the pile.

 

However, prioritising promotion will often lead to benefits in a number of the above areas – whether that’s more investment opportunities through increased awareness in the right places, at the right time, or attracting staff due to prioritising building a great brand on social or sharing regular positive news stories, for example.

 

How tech companies can do more of it  

But, with PR options often feeling like a minefield, how can time-strapped entrepreneurs choose which tactics will benefit them most? Of course, that’s down to the goals and objectives of each individual organisation, but there are number of ways to get you started:

 

Figure out what you need from PR

It’s easy to fall down the route of taking a scatter gun approach to PR, particularly in the early stages. This can, however, leave you time poor, stressed, and unable to realise all of the opportunities afforded to you through it. Start by working out your PR aim by asking yourself why you need PR and how it can feed in to the wider business goals? Cleverly thought out PR campaigns can help you achieve a number of core business objectives - from gearing your business up for investment or sale, to launching a new product or increasing sales – so it’s crucial you identify the business need and mould your PR around it. 

 

Make a name for yourself at events

Events will always be a great way of meeting likeminded people and sharing your story. Securing a speaker or panellist slot is a great way of raising your profile and demonstrating expertise on key topics, themes or issues. You’ll often find that these opportunities don’t start and end with you up on that stage: there are lots of opportunities for cross promotion, whether that’s blogging ahead of the event, being included in post-event press coverage, or tagging onto social media campaigns around it. In terms of the events to target, it’s worth considering getting out of your comfort zone and instead of going to solely tech-focused events, seek out ones in other sectors, where you’re keen to make inroads.

 

Make the most of industry bodies

If you’re member of a trade organisation, such as Manchester Digital, ensure you make the most of your membership. Many of these organisations will offer promotion as part of your membership – whether that’s a profile page on their website, shout outs on social media, allowing you to draft content for their websites and eShots, or even be part of news stories they’re putting out to media. Speak to your contact at any trade body you’re a member of about how you can get involved.  

 

Get out there!

Network, network, network. The more people you meet, the more you’ll be able to spread the word about what you do: simple. While it can be difficult to find time to get out to these events, if you select them wisely, they can bring huge benefits. Consider making the most out of networking sessions by talking to as many people as you can while you’re there, engaging in any social media before or after the event by following event hashtags, for example, or writing up a short LinkedIn or blog post following the event to give your time there more longevity.

 

Leading the way

Manchester and the wider North West are making strides towards becoming one of Europe’s top tech destinations. However, in order to ensure sustained growth, businesses must understand the importance of PR and marketing, whether that’s starting small and testing the waters or employing the help of a specialist PR company to elevate your business to the next level.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Manchester, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Tech PR Manchester agency, Tech PR. Digital PR

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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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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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Memes speak louder than words



We’ve all come to appreciate the power of social media, and no longer underestimate its influence when it comes to consumer opinions and purchasing.

 

However when brands miss the mark, social media is always there, ready and waiting to shine a spotlight on any mistakes. This doesn’t just come down to spelling and grammar, using content that doesn’t align with your brand identity is also something that often gets picked up on. Therefore it’s important to be in tune with what’s happening in the world of your audience at all times, regardless of the business objectives.

 

Here are three times social media owned marketing and some of its mistakes from the last few weeks: 

 

1.       Wendy’s ‘beef’ with McDonald’s

I’m a great supporter of fun social media activity by brands. It gives them personality, making it more appealing for consumers to engage with them. Take Wendy’s ‘beef’ with McDonald’s that made headlines worldwide for its quick and witty response.

 

McDonald’s used Twitter to announce that by mid-2018, all of its Quarter Pounder burgers will be cooked with fresh beef in the majority of its restaurants. Wendy’s, a popular fast food chain in the US, used this as an opportunity to show its fun side, and ask what most of us were probably thinking. Not only did this gain thousands of retweets, it also made national headlines, gaining coverage for Wendy’s off the back of it.

Although this garnered a round of applause for Wendy’s social media team, it’s important not to forget that anyone in the world of social media can be just as quick to point out anything you do wrong. And remember, a negative opinion is always louder than a positive one.

 

1.       The Gucci meme

 

Memes are images intended to be funny through relatable captions, the majority of these are sent between 20-something millennials. Recently however, Gucci, a luxury fashion brand, launched its #tfwgucci campaign, a series of fashion-focused memes that poked fun at the social media culture. Although this is a blatent attempt by Gucci to tap into a younger audience, for me it just didn’t work.  Gucci is a luxury brand and this is a try hard attempt at being something it’s not.

Some people love it and some hate it, but the people that hated it seemed to have a louder voice.

 

 

 

Social media is a natural phenomenon that brings people together through their shared sense of humour, culture, hobbies and aspirations, and memes are proven to work well in achieving this. But as a luxury brand trying to cash in on this, it takes away from the light-hearted nature of sharable content, and is a step away from the premium origins of the brand.

 

1.       The Kendall Jenner Pepsi Advert

If you don’t know about the Pepsi advert released this week, where have you been? Less than 24 hours after going live, the advert has already been pulled due to its insensitive nature, leaving the brand labelled as tone deaf to today’s political climate. However, it wasn’t advertising experts that triggered this, it was social media that gave people’s reactions a platform leading it to be covered worldwide. 

 

 

 

The advert didn’t need people to sign a petition, or an investigation by the ASA, as the backlash brought it down almost immediately.

 

 

 

This reaction is my personal favourite:

 

 

So what should brands take away from this?

That you can never be too aware or too prepared, and that you can’t control the opinions of others.

The need to always carefully consider your contents, platform and format. For example, is Snapchat or Insta-stories right for your brand and your target audience?

Is it potentially risky?

 

Consider all of this, but then remember you can never be too prepared as the thoughts of the public will always find you. Because memes speak louder than words.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Product Placement, Public Relations, Social Media

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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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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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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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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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September Success for Refresh PR



As all PR agencies will know, every month brings with it triumphs and challenges but for Refresh PR, September has been particularly triumphant. We couldn’t let October kick off without celebrating some of the team’s fantastic achievements, so without further ado, here are our nine PRoud moments (in no particular order of course – they’re all great):

 

1.       Breaking a Guinness World Record: back at the start of the month Hannah and I travelled to Birmingham to attend our client Arbonne’s annual team conference, AAC. Equipped with a glamorous line-up of Independent Consultants, Vice President and UK General Manager, Vicky and Chief Sales Officer, Heather, we attempted to break the  Guinness World Record for the most kisses in 30 seconds – previously set by comedian David Walliams (we like a challenge). After careful planning and a few morale boosting team talks, we were absolutely delighted to break the record. A very proud moment for the team to be involved in such a landmark occasion and a fantastic reaction from the 2,000 attendees of AAC

2.       A triple client win: we’re very excited to announce that we have won three new clients this month. New snacking brand, Chip Strips, interior architecture company, SpaceZero, and website www.myglazing.com have all retained the services of Refresh PR to execute high-impact campaigns. The team has worked hard to meet the brief for all clients and their tenacity has certainly paid off

3.       Grand nationals: we’ve secured a flurry of high profile national coverage this month across numerous client accounts. Shout outs to the Bras and Honey team for coverage in The Sun, The Mirror, Daily Mail and the Metro, the ClaireaBella team for the Telegraph and Daily Mail and the Continental UFH team for securing The Sunday Times. Just another day at the office…

4.       Welcoming a new Refresher: September brought the arrival of our brand new team member, Emma! After completing work experience at Refresh earlier this year, we were delighted when Emma interviewed for our junior account executive role. A great addition to our team  

5.       Re-Fresh for the win: another great boost for the team this month was receiving a nomination for Freshest Consultancy Team at the national Fresh PR Awards! We’re looking forward to mingling at the glitzy ceremony next month and hopefully we’ll be bringing the award home to Tariff Street

6.       Client nominations: as well as a nomination for Refresh PR this month, we’ve also helped some of our clients receive award nods too. Catering Academy has been nominated in the EDUcatering Excellence Awards for Secondary School Caterer of the Year and Arbonne has received a coveted nomination at the Pure Beauty Awards for its RE9 Advanced® Lifting and Contouring Eye Cream

7.       New projects: we can’t say too much, but we’re VERY excited to be working with our lovely client ClaireaBella on an exciting new campaign this Christmas…stay tuned

8.       Baking for charity: we love an excuse to eat cake, so we were thrilled to get involved with MacMillian’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Check out our Twitter feed for the best bakes and to see how much we raised!

9.       Doing the do with flu: and finally, we’re pleased to be surviving September after being hit with a bad bout of flu - which originated from a team member who will remain anonymous (Laura). We’re stocking up on vitamins and Arbonne’s Fizz Sticks in the hope of a healthier October!

 

Well done team!

 

 

 

Tagged with: CIPR , Fresh Awards, Health & Beauty, Home Interest, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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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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Ten of the Best Christmas Jumpers for 2014



Blog drafted by Emilie.

 

Friday 12th December is Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children. The charity has secured the support of a whole host of celebrities for its annual campaign which is now in its third year and gaining momentum.

 

Strictly star, Frankie Bridge, along with the vivacious Fearne Cotton and mumpreneur Myleene Klass, have all been involved in digging out their favourite Christmas woollies to show their support for the charity.

 

Not to miss an opportunity for a bit of fun, the Refresh PR team will be getting involved too this year.  But on our quest for the most stand-out jumper of 2014, we’ve found there is just so much choice when it comes to festive fashion. So, we’ve donned our thinking Father Christmas caps and rated our favourite Christmas jumpers across the high street. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our final choices on Friday!

 

10. When it comes to Christmas jumpers, not everybody likes to stand out as much we do here at Refresh PR. If you like to blend in whilst still feeling festive, check out this sparkly sequinned number from New Look

 

9. Christmas jumpers aren’t all sequins and glitter you know. Check out this fantastically festive and very manly ReinBEERS top, perfect for the pub on Christmas Eve

 

8. If you love Christmas films, Home Alone in particular, then this one’s for you - MERRY CHRISTMAS YA FILTHY ANIMAL!

 

7.  Those darn Christmas tunes are playing everywhere you go, so instead of getting annoyed, join in! JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS…

 

6. If you prefer your Christmas jumpers to be cosy, cuddly and all things fluffy then get hold of this gorgeous snowflake sweater, from our neighbours at Boohoo

 

5. For all the Scrooges out there, we recommend this delightful jumper from River Island. Just try to at least smile when you wear it

 

4. This jumper has everything: snow, a Christmas tree, twinkling lights (no seriously, it lights up)...but maybe it’s just a little too much?

 

3. Some of us prefer to think of the Christmas jumper season as an excuse for fancy dress, so if this is you, why not go for this (slightly eccentric) elf jumper from River Island

 

2. If you still like the idea of dressing up as an elf, but aren’t quite sold on going all out, this jumper provides the perfect solution

 

1. Our absolute favourite Christmas jumper from Peacocks combines festive colours, glitter and pompoms! So here it is, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

We absolutely adore Christmas fashion over here at Refresh PR, so why not let us know your favourite jumpers, or even send us a pic? Don’t forget to join in with Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day – find out how to get involved here.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Christmas jumper; Christmas, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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We’ve been rated!



“When you find an Agency which far exceeds your expectations, hang on to them!” – a Refresh PR client (August 2011).

 

Last month we decided to ask our clients what they thought of Refresh PR.   They didn’t have to tell us though, instead they filled in a questionnaire and told the experts directly (and anonymously).  We’re delighted to report that, thanks to the testimonials given, we are now on the UK-wide Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

 

RAR covers every aspect of the UK marketing sector. It provides online searchable information free of charge to brand owners looking for agencies and has a team of specialist agency selection professionals who assist brand owners on an individual level, using the wealth of information contained in its database.

 

We’ve just received the comments and, having truly put our money where our mouth is, are delighted with what we’ve read: Refresh PR team

 

“Refresh PR always goes beyond the call of duty to understand the industry within which they are working, the key drivers, impending changes and trends.  They always strike a good balance between allowing client input but also bringing new and innovative ideas to projects. I work with Refresh on a range of PR activities and find they always give value add and more importantly get results.”

 

“We have been working with Refresh for the past six months, so far they have exceeded our expectations on every level. We have consulted on our advertising direction, award entries, press liaising, social media voice and they have also managed to secure a fantastic company profile in the trade press.”

 

“The brand I am promoting has featured in several articles with positive feedback. They have assisted with my preparation for the Autumn Fair International 2011 and have been extremely supportive in my new venture.”

 

“Refresh PR have worked hard since we started working with them to understand our sector, hit their targets and maintain and develop relationships with media contacts. They are a friendly agency who are easy to work with and have a lot of experience in their field.”

 

We received a rating of 100% for creativity, 100% for on budget and 99% for client service...and we’re all wondering how our heads are going to fit through the exit of Piccadilly House tonight now!

 

We’d like to send out a MASSIVE thanks to all our clients who took time out from their busy days to fill in the questionnaire.  We appreciate it a lot and it’s spurred us on even more.

 

For more information about the RAR visit our new profile, which recommends us for Public Relations Services, at ww.recommendedagencies.com/profile/3646/experience.

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, Product Placement, Public Relations

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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Product Placement: Things are about to get interesting!



With the announcement this week that product placement is to be allowed on British TV programmes for the first time from next year, PR agencies across the country are already vying for opportunities for their clients.  It means that from 28th February, paid-for references to products and services will be permitted in films, sports programmes, soaps and one-off dramas – and not forgetting reality TV - which is sure to be a massive money spinner.

 

It’s good to see that restrictions will remain on children's, religious, news and current affairs programmes – it seems the powers that be have taken a sensible approach. 

 

As the new rules state that product placement must be editorially justified, we’ve taken a look at some examples from across the pond where the laws have been relaxed for years – there are some good ones, some bad ones, and some downright ugly ones...and this by no means is an exhaustive list, just some of our high (and low) lights!

 

Twilight: New Moon – I still to this day cringe at the point in the film when Bella and Alice take off for Italy to save Edward.  In a film that I love, it’s very hard to watch a five second clip of a Virgin Atlantic plane randomly flying across my TV screen – so out of place and unnecessary in the context of the rest of the film (which was amazing!).  Thankfully there were no major plane journeys to be taken in Eclipse, so I hope Breaking Dawn doesn’t stoop to this level again when part one comes out next year!

 

Twilight Saga – Whereas Virgin Atlantic’s appearance in the film was annoying, I wonder how much Volvo has benefitted from the fact the whole world now knows that sexy vampires drive the brand's cars?  What a coup for Volvo, not known for being the trendiest car on the planet...sudden exposure to a whole new generation of teenagers undertaking their driving test as we speak: genius move!

 

James Bond: Casino Royale – For me the James Bond films are allowed to have major product placement, it just fits with the gadget story lines and adds to the credibility of this well loved franchise.  So whether its Omega watches, Sony gadgets or a whole host of fast cars, bring it on, it’s allowed and we love it.

 

Sex & The City – If what this programme (and subsequent films) did for Manolo Blahnik could ever be quantified, I’d love to see the outcome.  Built into the story lines, it’s another example of how product placement just works.  So whether it’s the storyline with Lucy Liu and the Hermes Birkin bag or it is simply the famous shoes themselves, a whole range of designers have done very, very well out of this fabulous show!

 

The Women – With far, far too many lingering close-ups of various Dove products, it seems subtlety is an art that was lost on the makers of The Women.  Apparently, the film deals with many of the issues that have been the focus of Dove’s 'Campaign for Real Beauty'.  It might just be me, but isn’t leading lady Meg Ryan a poster child for bad plastic surgery?  Not Dove’s wisest move.

 

Music Videos – The worst surely has to be Lady Gaga’s Telephone video?  In almost 10 minutes it plugs at least 10 separate brands, including Virgin Mobile, Diet Coke and Polaroid.  Although it brings in a lot of money for the star and her team, doesn’t it just really date the video? Technology is moving too quickly – don’t do it!!

 

Mission: Impossible - Apple paid a lot of money to have Macs pop up in the film and were right by his side whenever the lovely Ethan Hunt needed one – but does it do for Apple what the association for Sony does in Casino Royale...?

 

The Devil Wears Prada – A massively popular film, particularly with PRs like us, had the unforgettable connection to Starbucks.  And with the multiple mentions and sightings of the coffee giant, perhaps it was a cliché too far?  We’re on the fence with this one...mainly because of our allegiance to the film!

 

US X Factor - It has been reported this week that Simon Cowell has signed a £35 million deal with Pepsi for the US version of The X Factor.  The judges will be seen drinking Pepsi products during the programme, plus contestants and presenters will be shown with the drink on The Xtra Factor.  You have been warned!

 

So as commercial stations begin to prepare their product placement/sponsorship packages, PR agency after PR agency will be watching the outcome.  Manchester’s Coronation Street, London’s EastEnders and Yorkshire’s Emmerdale will be the ones I’m watching first – it’s going to be an interesting year!

Tagged with: Good product placement examples, PR, Product Placement, Public Relations, X Factor