Archive for 2012

New Year, new you

5 years ago
by guest

As the New Year approaches, attentions are once again turning to resolutions; and whether you’re looking to make improvements in your work life, personal life, health or hobbies, one thing’s for certain – January is the perfect time to make a new start.

For those of us lucky enough to take a break this festive season, the rest and relaxation will rejuvenate our minds and bodies; putting us in the perfect frame of mind to break old habits, try new things and make a fresh start.

A recent poll carried out by the Daily Mail suggests that the top three resolutions among Brits revolve around health; a surprising statistic when you take into account the fact that 23% of the UK population are obese.

Resolving to lose weight topped the poll, while getting fit and eating healthier took second and third position. Other resolutions to make the top 10 included saving more money, spending more time with friends and family, and trying new experiences.

Unfortunately, and despite our best intentions, many of our resolutions will have been forgotten by the time February comes around. Experts suggest that this could be because we simply aren’t specific enough about what we’re trying to achieve.

Instead of saying: “I want to lose weight this year”, say: “I want to lose 2 stone in 6 months”; you’ll be surprised by how drastically your chances of seeing out your resolutions improve if you set a measurable target.

Good luck!

Are we counting down to the end of the world?

5 years ago
by guest

As many of us eagerly open up our chocolate-filled advent calendars in the final countdown to Christmas, others across the globe are counting down for a very different reason.

We’re heading towards the end of the Mayan calendar, and if the doomsday-mongers have got it right we’re also heading towards a cataclysmic end to the planet Earth.

December 21st marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar and it has been reported that sales of candles, essentials and even survival shelters have increased across the globe as people prepare for the Mayan apocalypse.

However, before you go into panic mode, NASA has released a video – 10 days ahead of schedule – entitled ‘Why the world didn’t end yesterday’.

So confident is the national space agency that the world won’t come to a tragic end as threatened in Armageddon, that the video, which was meant to be put out on 22nd December, was actually released this week.

So, if the ‘powers that be’ at NASA have got it right, it looks like we’ll get to have our turkey dinner after all. Does that mean I need to go and start my Christmas shopping now – thought I might have got out of it!?

Battle of the Christmas adverts

5 years ago
by guest

Despite the fact that December only began on Saturday, for many people Christmas had already begun much earlier. I am of course talking about the high street retailers who are already locked in a fierce battle to win the accolade of 2012’s best Christmas advert.

Seemingly already winning the title is John Lewis, which had a tough act to follow after making headlines in 2011 with its depiction of a child desperately counting down the minutes until presenting his gift. Opting for a more romantic route for 2012, the advert sees a snowman falling in love with a snowgirl with a central theme illustrating that ‘no journey is too far to buy something special for the one you love at Christmas’. It has even inspired a children’s publisher to create a picture book. The rhyming text was written and pitched within 48 hours of the release of the advert and unsurprisingly John Lewis sent it to be printed that same week. It will, you won’t be surprised to hear, be sold exclusively in John Lewis!

Keen to secure that extra slice of the lucrative Christmas market, all the big players including M&S, TK Maxx, Waitrose and Iceland are getting involved, some more successfully than others. This year Boots made the decision to use real-life couples and practical gifts to create a warm and family-friendly advert successfully appealing to its diverse range of customers. Asda however, is already feeling the heat after receiving complaints about its ‘sexist’ slogan that ‘behind every great Christmas, there’s a Mum.’ Despite claiming to receive the backing of a vast majority in a survey of 4,000 mothers, the condemnation of the commercial has managed to unite both feminists and members of Fathers4Justice alike. Win the title it might not but it certainly has got everyone talking about it!

So, John Lewis still seems to be ahead, but what of the traditional festive heavyweight Coca Cola, which for many truly heralds the start of Christmas? Not to be outdone, Coca-Cola’s long-running ‘Holidays are coming’ ad returned earlier this month, this year with the added umph of social media integration. It also announced a five week UK tour of the iconic fairy-lit Coca-Cola truck, which promised to spread the Christmas cheer to a number of retailers and city centres across the country. Disappointingly this did not include Birmingham!

So who wins the 2012 battle of the festive ads? Well for me, despite a sterling effort by John Lewis there is still only one advert that marks the start of my Christmas and that of course belongs to Coca-Cola! Although it had better be ‘a-coming’ to Birmingham next year!

She’s an MP – and she’s out of here!

5 years ago
by guest

With a cockroach infested season of I’m a Celeb now well underway, this week controversial Tory MP Nadine Dorries became the first person to be evicted from the jungle after just 12 days.

Nadine was very publicly suspended from the Tory party for going on the ITV show, which is largely designed for out of work z-list celebs looking for a platform. As such, a seemingly respectable MP’s decision to enter the jungle proved both baffling to her party and most of the general public.

Nadine’s argument for entering the jungle was to raise awareness of issues by ‘going where the public go’, with shows like I’m a Celeb and X Factor pulling more votes than general elections. I personally am not so sure how watching Nadine eating a camel toe would entrust her as a leader of our society by anyone I know.

Nadine’s swift entry and exit into the jungle for me sparks underlying questions around what constitutes a ‘celebrity’ in our society, but largely about her reasons for going on the show. Did Nadine achieve what she set out to achieve? Do people now care as much about politics as they do X Factor? Highly unlikely. But it did get people talking. And if people are taking about you, you’re half way there.

Innovative collaborations

5 years ago
by guest

This month has seen the arrival of one of the most anticipated fashion collaborations: Maison Martin Margiela for H&M.

Ever since H&M announced that its partnership with Margiela would feature iconic pieces from the fashion house’s archive, excitement has been growing about the opportunity to bag a designer bargain.

Shoppers queued throughout the night with the hope of snapping up a piece from the collection and within minutes of the doors opening H&M’s website succumbed to the overwhelming demand and crashed.

This approach isn’t the first for H&M, in 2004 the retailer joined forces with fashion heavyweight Karl Lagerfeld and more recently it has worked with Stella McCartney and Lanvin to create designer pieces at high street prices.

These innovative collaborations have worked wonders for the Swedish retailer with it enjoying whopping profits and opening more stores than ever, and the partnerships haven’t hurt those they’ve teamed up with either.

Collaborations and partnerships can have a real benefit to both brands. For H&M the approach has enabled it to flourish and grow during a time of economic uncertainty whilst others have floundered. Creating a buzz around the launch of its collections it’s cleverly positioned itself as the brand that stands for fashion credentials but at affordable prices. For the likes of Lagerfeld and McCartney they’ve been able to tap into a whole new audience, forming new relationships and increasing awareness amongst a younger, fashion hungry crowd. Its well thought out and strategic partnerships have propelled it through the recession.

However, choosing the right partner to be associated with is key, as is the timing. Take Nadine Dorries’ decision to enter the jungle for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Some say it was an ill-advised move, opening her up to criticism at a time when public perception and confidence in our politicians is at a low. Her attempt to reach out to a new demographic appears to have done her no favours, though thousands have picked up the phone to vote for her, even if it has been to bury her in a coffin full of cockroaches. But, we’re only a week into the show and although she’s bearing the brunt of public judgment now she still has time to change things.

Finding new and innovative ways to communicate with your audience is key and can be the difference to ‘making it’ during these challenging times. Whether it’s teaming up with someone new, or putting yourself out there with a different crowd, it would appear that he who dares, wins. Though I may reserve judgement on Nadine’s appearance until I’ve caught up with the series on Sky Plus!

One thing is for sure, H&M has proved that an innovative collaboration that harnesses the successes of each brand is a sure fire way to stay ahead.



What women want

5 years ago
by guest

The US presidential election is an event which never fails to spark controversy between the general public, not just in America but worldwide; and this year’s competition was no different. In fact, figures published this week show that not only was there the expected split of Republican and Democratic supporters; the results also produced the biggest gender gap of any election in US history.

Official statistics show that with 56% of females voting for Barack Obama (compared to just 46% of the male population) the re-elected President of the United States really is what women want. Further than that, trends suggest that had more men voted, Obama would actually have lost out to his Republican competitor.

The election also hit headlines in the social media world when it became the most tweeted about event, ever. The ‘Election Day’ trend received 3.1 million tweets, with a peak of 327,452 per minute after the announcement of Obama’s re-election was made. This more than doubled the previous record of 116,000 tweets per minute which occurred at the Olympics closing ceremony.

Although no one can pin-point the exact reason that the gender gap was so high during this year’s elections, suggested reasons for Romney’s failure to translate to his female followers include a lack of support for key issues including abortion and health care, and a business background which is more appealing to men.

Results also revealed that an overwhelming 25% of voters were unmarried women, with 67% of this demographic voting Obama. To reference the Beyoncé classic, all the single ladies really did have their hands up.

Silver success at CIPR

5 years ago
by Ruth Pipkin

After a very eventful week last week, we were delighted to pick up two Silver trophies at the  CIPR PRide Awards in the Best Consumer category for our work with Cadbury World and Best Corporate Responsibility for Kraft Foods.

It was fanatastic to join the great and good of the Midlands’ public relations sector and celebrate in style.

Here’s the Rewired Media Group team out in force.

Congratulations to all the other winners flying the flag for the region’s  PR industry.

Skyfall's the limit

5 years ago
by guest

The name’s Bond, James Bond. One of cinema’s most legendary lines and one undoubtedly heard by millions of eager cinema goers across the globe this weekend, following the release of Skyfall, the 23rd and universally dubbed “best Bond yet.”
Due to an incredible amount of media hype and a sustained marketing campaign you probably won’t have escaped the fact that this release coincides with James Bond’s golden anniversary. The media campaign to promote ‘50 Years of Bond’ and the release of Skyfall has been extensive and varied. Examples include everything from Sky’s dedicated 007 channel, the auction which raised over £44,000 simply for the sale of the swimming trunks worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, and of course the most high profile stunt of all, Bond whisking the Queen to the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
The one that really caught my attention however was the joint global marketing campaign with UK tourist body, VisitBritain. Capitalising on the legacy of the London Olympics and iconic London landmarks used throughout Skyfall, the new campaign aims to encourage more people to holiday in Britain. Launching with the slogan “Bond is GREAT Britain” and spanning across international cinema, press and outdoor advertising, the campaign hopes to ‘stir’ people into coming and exploring the home of the world’s most dashing secret agent. In my opinion this is a very smart move for a franchise desperate to establish itself as a great British institution and a country eager to build on the PR success generated by the London Olympics. The big question of course is; will it work? It’s certainly a well thought out campaign and I particularly like the online competition element, Agent UK. Until 2nd November, Agent UK allows participants to take part in five online missions with the lucky winners being flown to the UK to have the chance to ‘Live Like Bond’.  Tempted? I certainly was!
However, I want to finish by sharing a video of a PR stunt from Coke Zero promoting the release of Skyfall. Although some people believe this to be staged, it’s certainly a fun example of the creativity and depth of the associated Bond marketing campaign. Enjoy.

Google under heat from EU watchdogs

5 years ago
by guest

Internet giant Google came under some serious fire this week from EU watchdogs who’ve said it must revise its privacy policy and sharpish.

Google, which owns YouTube, Google+ and Android, changed its privacy policy earlier on in the year to consolidate 60 separate privacy policies into one, essentially allowing it to pool data from across all Google’s products to help it target adverts. Sneaky, I hear you say!

Well, it is sneaky, and now Google is being hounded by French data privacy regulator CNL which said Google has only months to change its policy, or else.

It seems to be an on-going battle for internet users these days to protect any kind of personal data from corporate internet giants – who are they and why do they want to know so much about us?! There is definitely a need for clearer information about what companies like Google is taking from us and why, so we can make informed choices about what personal information of ours is being shared and where. No wonder we’re all getting so much spam these days!

Google claims it is now forming a response which will commit to protecting user information. Although to me, this sounds as ominous as all the mumbo jumbo policies that are used in the first place.

I think there is a serious need for privacy policies to be reviewed over a number of online media, not limited to just Google but social media platforms like Facebook. It seems every other day people are panicking about what photos people can see and whose private messages have been published – I find the whole shebang just unnecessary stress and frankly quite unhealthy.

Let’s hope CNL sort Google out sharpish so we can all crack on with more important things!

Hit the ground running

5 years ago
by guest

This weekend will see thousands of runners take to the streets of Birmingham to compete in BUPA’s Great Birmingham Run, and whether you’re a seasoned professional, a complete novice or somewhere in the middle; you can be sure that competing in a half marathon will bring an experience like no other.

I was lucky enough to complete my first half marathon (The Great North Run) in September, and I say lucky because at some points I genuinely didn’t know if I’d make it! For those of you who think you can just turn up on the day and run the 13.1 mile distance without breaking a sweat, think again!

Completing the run was easily one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to face. My legs felt like they were going to give out from around mile 9, every muscle in my body ached for days afterwards, I was so exhausted that I slept for 14 hours straight, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The negatives of the day are easily outnumbered by the positives! The Great North Run is the biggest half marathon in the world and running alongside 55,000 people is definitely better than running alone.

The most important part of the day for me however was raising money for a great charity. I chose to donate to Great Ormond Street Hospital but with so many fantastic organisations trying to raise money for their cause, it was a really difficult decision.

The fact that almost everyone involved was running for charity created a fantastic atmosphere. Crowds of people lined the streets with banners, drinks and even digestive biscuits to show support for complete strangers. Even the runners were in great spirits – one man even completed the whole 13.1 miles carrying a fridge (and did it faster than me!)

I had a fantastic day during my first race and hope that all newbies taking part in the Great Birmingham Run this weekend enjoy it as much as I did!

Here are my top tips for the day:

  1. Stay hydrated – you might think that the extra weight from the water bottle you’re carrying will slow you down but it will benefit you in the long run.
  2. Start in the right position – BUPA are great because they ask you for a realistic finishing time and base your start position on that. As tempting as it might be to start the race with a friendly face, your time will suffer if you get caught behind slower runners.
  3. Take it easy for the first 4 miles – It’s easy to get carried away on the day but if you start the run thinking it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t burn yourself out too quickly.
  4. Avoid iPods – I made the mistake of training with music and missed the beat in my ear on the day. The disadvantage of running wearing headphones is that you miss the atmosphere and support from the crowds.
  5. Enjoy it – The chance to compete in a half marathon doesn’t come around often, don’t waste your day worrying!