Archive for 2013


Making headlines in 2013

4 years ago
by Ruth Pipkin

 

2013 campaigns

As we draw to the end of 2013, there’s much to reflect on here at Rewired. In the year that saw us branch out into the capital, complete a successful acquisition and celebrate our 5th birthday, the business has grown significantly both in size and in the range of sectors that we now service.

To help us take stock on a transformational 12 months, we commissioned illustrator Claire Hartley to design our Christmas card this year, taking inspiration from the wealth of campaigns that we delivered in 2013.

Here are just a selection of the headlines that the team made this year:

How do you bin yours? Campaign launches to reduce chewing gum litter
Cadbury World creates regal chocolate for royal baby
Tinseltown comes to The Mailbox
Mailbox gears up for forthcoming redevelopment
Stoford starts on site for Henkel
City’s first ‘green gym’ launches in Weoley Castle
Hat-trick of awards for Mondelēz International
Free Radio Live announces Birmingham Ormiston Academy as official partner
Trott and Purnell are joined by 450 Cure Leukaemia runners for BUPA Great Birmingham Run
Wing Wah goes global with new world cuisine
JS Wright wins top award at industry Oscars
Southside’s Rhinestone Rhino becomes fashion designer as it celebrates its 1st Birthday
Solihull School celebrates record exam results
Major expansion for thestudio
New Staybridge Suites® set for an extended stay in Birmingham
Heritage Silverware restores and returns a piece of dining room history to one of Britain’s most magnificent hotels
Aldo Zilli Gastronomic Tour of Italy at Fumo

So what do the next 12 months have in store? Some new team members, certainly some headline-grabbing campaigns, and continued innovation and growth for Rewired and our clients.

A huge thank you to everyone who we’ve worked with this year, here’s to a successful 2014.

Ruth

 

 

 


How much can we really rely on social media?

4 years ago
by guest

It might be ever-changing and ever-expanding, but how much can we really rely on what social media has to say? There’s such confidence in identifying trends from Twitter activity, that a new analytical platform has been developed which boldly promises to accurately gauge opinions on products and services ahead of release.

Aptly named Tweview, the platform scrutinises tweet volume and sentiment to produce an overall score, but how reliable is the service? Well, social media agency Coup Media decided to put it to the test and launched their own Tweview X Factor. As one of the most popular television shows in the country, X Factor receives around 300,284 tweets per weekend – plenty of source material for Tweviewl to go on.

The all-seeing, all-dancing Tweview correctly predicted that Sam Bailey had received the highest votes for 11 out of 12 weeks and would be the overall winner of the show right…? Wrong!

In an article which appeared on The Drum last Friday (two days before the final) Tweview predicted that Nicholas McDonald would in fact take the 2013 title, leading us to ask: what went wrong?

Tweview’s in-built limitations went way wrong. As popular as the show remains with younger (twitter-using) audiences, the truth is that it also appeals to a huge number that aren’t social media-savvy, suggesting that there are still many lessons to be learned when it comes to equating online sentiment with general sentiment.

While there are a great number of professionals using Twitter to discuss stories that matter, the sad fact is that the outlet is in danger of becoming overrun by ‘Beliebers’ and ‘Directioners’ who are much more likely to support the Nicholas McDonalds of the world, than the Sam Baileys. It is short-sighted to tarnish Sam Bailey supporters with the same pop-culture-obsessed brush.

Is the world ready to take Tweview’s point of view ahead of any other? In my opinion, probably not.


PR trends for 2014? Gaze into our ball…

4 years ago
by guest

Fig-2-1-Fortune-teller for blog 13.12.13

As methods of communications develop as quickly as James Arthur’s career declines, it’s practically impossible to predict what trends will dominate PR in 2014.

We say: impossibility be damned! Let’s try to envisage what might take place in the PR world of 2014.  And, naturally, let’s caveat the following suggestions with this note of caution: there’s every chance we might be wrong, and we may fail to anticipate the arrival in June 2014 of a herd of PR unicorns, improbably gifted at social media planning, crisis communications, hay-munching and PR sentiment measurement.

To kick-off, let’s go online.  Indeed, next year, it’s very probable that every PR professional planning a campaign has to think ‘to kick off, let’s go online’. The industry’s mentality has had to shift in this direction anyway in the last 18 months or so, but next year the shift will be almost complete: do we need to ensure PR collateral is internet-ready in the first instance rather than print-ready? Rather than writing a 250 word press release with a snappy headline at the top and enquiry details at the bottom, do we need to think in terms of ‘how do we package stories for our clients in pictures and video, ahead of text?’  And, if that’s increasingly the case, how do we do this quickly, cost-effectively, and of a sufficient quality?  And is internet-ready enough?  Should we be thinking mobile-ready?

It’s probably still too early to say 2014 will mark the death of the press release – the question is whether its status as PR’s first form of communication to journalists still holds.

Text isn’t as important as it used to be to some newspapers: look at the ambitious, well-received rebrand for the Sunday People. Its subtitle says ‘News Without The Boring Bits’ – judging by the picture-heavy homepage, the ‘boring bits’ appear to refer to ‘words’.  If you look at the articles themselves, images dominate throughout: this X-Factor comment piece is brought to life as much by Gifs, pics and embedded YouTube clips as it is by witty copy (though to be fair, the copy is pretty good too).

Going back to the Sunday People homepage, and you notice another trend that will almost certainly take root next year: online news being instantly judged, even before context is absorbed.  On the homepage, visitors can give the thumbs up or thumbs down purely on the basis of the picture and the headline. A culture of immediate appraisal makes a PR person’s job even more challenging: more and more journalists will insist on only publishing immediately engaging pics and copy, lest their readers promptly display their contempt for all to see.

The previous point hints at the rising power of the people – they’re the ones telling the PRs and the journalists what stories they’re interested in reading, and they can tell us without hesitation.  The public now have such influence, they’re even commissioning the content they want their favourite brands and people to deliver.  Sounds ridiculous, but that’s what Kickstarter, er, kickstarted in recent months. Through Kickstarter, fans of music, TV shows, celebrities etc are invited to contribute dosh to see the creation of the content they want. It worked for the team behind cult (but cancelled) US TV show ‘Veronica Mars’ – with the encouragement of a group of diehard fans calling for its return, the series  creator Rob Thomas used Kickstarter to ask for a little help in bringing his detective character back to life.  $5 million later, the Veronica Mars film went into production.

Veronica_mars_for blog 13.12.13

We head into 2014 with the knowledge that Abba (that’s ‘multi-gazillionaires’ Abba) have asked fans to contribute to their next release and Downton Abbey actress Elizabeth McGovern has offered 15 minutes Skype chats at £50-a-pop to support a new album by her band.  In an age where the internet has made access to famous brand names easier and cheaper than ever (it’s not that hard to get tweeted back by Kanye or Gaga – and I’m still chuffed to have been @’d by Steph from BBC Breakfast), it’s interesting to see some are more willing to pay for content if a) it’s good enough b) fans feel they’ve helped create it c) it means they’re more likely to have exclusive content that their stingier peers won’t have.  The cash should be there to make this happen more regularly, if general prosperity (and presumably, people’s level of disposable income) really is back on the rise. PR people should bear this in mind when planning their campaigns and wondering how they can achieve deeper brand engagement.

So that’s us finished looking into our balls (crystal balls, that is). In 2014 PRs will, we think, need to think more about online (or mobile) ready content,  they must be aware the public is increasingly empowered to instantly dismiss content not worthy of them, but PRs should also remember the public are prepared to pay for content if it’s a strong enough proposition.

But, in summary, PR still fundamentally remains all about quality of content.  Which it probably did back in 1914, never mind 2014. Plus ca change.


Everyone’s coming to Birmingham and so they should!

4 years ago
by guest

Birmingham has achieved the biggest leap in festive visitors in the world!

According to Expedia, Christmas and New Year bookings have increased by 118 percent, making Birmingham the most popular option for Britons staying in the UK.  Birmingham even beat Sydney into second place.

No wonder huge American brand InterContinental® Hotels Group selected the city to open its latest four-star extended-stay hotel, Staybridge Suites.

Manchester is one of the other British cities to figure in the greatest growth destinations table, but at just 67 percent we won’t dwell on that!

In addition to this, Birmingham was recently praised by The New York Magazine.  In October, the publication ran an article about winter travel entitled ‘Birmingham instead of London’ highlighting the city’s ‘burgeoning food scene’ and the cultural offerings which could ‘keep a pace with the capital’.

Everyone’s finally realising what we already knew.  Birmingham is great.

So, come shop, eat and drink in Birmingham and remember: Birmingham is for life not just for Christmas!

Festive Birmingham


The selfie sensation

4 years ago
by guest

photo

This week Oxford Dictionaries announced the word ‘selfie’ as its Word of the Year 2013. Yes, selfie.

Beating off competition from the popular saying ‘twerk’, made famous by Miley Cyrus after that performance, the selfie reigned supreme after its rise to fame through social media by everyday people and celebrities alike.

Classed as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’, the selfie has become the trendiest way to take a photo, whether it’s with family, friends, or simply flying solo.

But what is it that makes the selfie so significant? Some do it for the feel-good factor, some do it to tell a story, but either way its power is undeniable – Oxford Dictionaries’ research concluded its frequency in the English language had increased by 17,000% in the last year alone. Now that’s some serious selfie-ism.

Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Madonna are all known for being serial selfie junkies and Kelly Brook posted so many selfies on social media she even ended up putting herself on a selfie ban.

Selfie cemented its status in English vocabulary in August of this year when it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online, but when it will be included in the printed Oxford English Dictionary remains to be seen. But with words like bootylicious already sitting pretty in there, something tells me it won’t be long!

Other contenders for World of the Year included ‘binge-watching’, ‘showrooming’ and ‘schmeat’.

What do you think of the selfie phenomenon?


Christmas Eve vs ‘Cyber Monday’: Christmas for the last-minute shopper

4 years ago
by guest

As we move further into November, Christmas is the word which seems to have taken a permanent seat on the tip of our tongue. Love it or hate it, Christmas is coming ever-closer and for those taking the ‘why worry, we have plenty of time’ approach to their shopping, you might want to look away now.

In the past, last minute shoppers have waited until Christmas Eve to make their purchases, but recent research has shown that the 2013 festive season will see more than £10billion spent online, bringing the average shopper’s deadline forward to 2nd December.

Branded by retailers as ‘Cyber Monday’, 2nd December, just 17 days away, will be the last guaranteed delivery day before Christmas (if all goes according to plan) and as such, retailers expect sales to soar.

But does online shopping really give you a true sense of the Christmas spirit that comes from visiting stores decorated with tinsel and baubles, or seeing your local town centre transformed into a winter wonderland?

For me Christmas shopping is all about the experiences that come along with it. I’ll definitely be making a trip to the city’s various Christmas markets, including the brand new ‘Induldge in Handmade Luxury with Crafty Muthas at The Mailbox’, and paying Santa a visit at Southside’s South Pole.

So whether you’re looking to indulge in the festivities, or just need the extra 22 days shopping time, avoid ‘Cyber Monday’ and step into Christmas.

The Mailbox

 


Brands: is big always best at Christmas?

4 years ago
by guest

fat-santa-2

Remember the time Christmas meant ‘Jona Lewie’, not’ John Lewis’?

I do, for I am 113 years of age.  When I recall yesteryear, Christmas marketing used to be an innocent thing, free of zeitgeist-grabbing, enormo-campaigns.

For a start, in the days of yore, you rarely saw anything too tinselly before the last weekend or so before the big day.

Secondly, TV ads were modest in both budget and scope. More often than not, commercial directors would employ the old ‘stick a plastic Christmas tree in the corner of the frame and add a sleigh bell onto the end of the usual jingle’ ruse.  For example, Old Spice, which presumably does well in the ‘it’s 4.56pm on Christmas Eve – what, in the name of Rudolph, do I buy Uncle Barry?’ market, clearly relied on mass panic-buying rather than the strength of their Christmas ads in the 80s.

Thirdly, we weren’t online, so the only time you’d see the ads were on telly, on billboards, or in newspapers.  We had no ‘second screen’. No You Tube links from aggro Mumsnet forums upset by Christmas gender stereotyping.

Now, the marketing of Christmas is bigger than Santa’s gut – £390m-big, according to market analyst Nielsen.  We’re at the stage people await the premiere of the John Lewis ad.  Actually, we’re beyond that – we’re at the stage people await the first PR snippets hinting at what the John Lewis ad campaign is going to look like.  The music from Christmas ads is now so heavily promoted, it’s become the biggest challenge to The X-Factor’s Christmas chart dominance.  And, when people whinge that Christmas is now much more likely to be in your November face, they’re right: over 50% of retailers now launch their festive campaigns in the two weeks following Halloween.

There’s something else to throw in the seasonal pick ‘n mix: the increased desire to make a splash online. Big brands know if people like their ad on YouTube, they’re only a click away from visiting the store’s online presence, and one click closer to purchase (that said, they’re also a few clicks away from a complaint too – look at last year’s Asda campaign, which enraged mummy bloggers with its notion that dads spend the majority of Christmas with their slippered feet up).

It’s a tough, expensive decision for smaller brands to consider: Christmas is the vital trading period for most businesses, but can you fight fire-with-fire with the Coca-Cola Polar Bears, or whichever razor-cheekboned clotheshorse Marks & Spencer has parading in their skimpies this year?

That’s why, instead of drowning in the inevitable syrupy overkill of brands with the biggest media spend, it’s worth looking out for under-the-radar activity that could resonate in December 2013.  I’m far more interested to see what ASOS does this year, after last year’s #bestnightever campaign. I’m intrigued to see if Diesel can surpass its parodic, ‘hypnotic’ The Magic of Christmas.

Even more excitingly, we will see much smaller brands that are limited in resource but strong in ideas – they’ll be the ones having to take risks, making the most creative use of social media and using imagination to overcome budget restraints.

And, for the sake of my nerves, they hopefully won’t be relying on soppy cover versions that soundtrack scenes of winsome-looking children breaking the squidgy hearts of grown-ups.

I can’t help but think there’ll soon be a big brand backlash against those that are ostentatiously ubiquitous at Christmas.  If that’s the case, could this present the perfect gift for the smaller retailers?


What an ‘eventful’ month!

4 years ago
by guest

October was a month where I spent a lot of time working on one of my favourite things – events!

I enjoy being organised and detailed – both key to arranging a successful event – but most of all I really thrive on seeing it come together … and I love a good party!

So what have I been working on and where have I been?

Our client Italian-restaurant San Carlo, tasked us with organising two press lunches hosted by the Group’s chef consiliere Aldo Zilli.

We held the first at San Carlo in Corn Street, Bristol on 18th October where Aldo created and served a menu of delicious seasonal ‘cicchetti-style’ dishes including wild mushroom and truffle risotto followed by stuffed panettino with blueberry pastry cream and raspberries – sampling these was a real perk of the job! 

My colleague Sam Pennell and I are now working on Aldo’s second visit which is taking place at San Carlo Leicester in mid-November, this time in association with the National Finals of Miss Great Britain.  With glamorous women and great Italian food on the itinerary, we’re pretty sure the acceptances will come rolling in!  

Another ‘event in progress’ is the launch of Staybridge Suites which opens in Birmingham city centre later this month. 

To mark the occasion we are organising a drinks and canapé reception at the new four-star ‘home from home’ hotel in Corporation Street on Thursday 5th December, so look out for your invitation!

Whereas Sam and I have been working on projects where the stars of the show are beautiful women and mouth-watering food, Keith and Ruth are helping promote an event where the most famous participants have been dead for hundreds of years!

That would be xHumed, an innovative multi-media experience that’s taking place at the Library of Birmingham from 2pm on Tuesday 5th November, and features unusual contributions from the city’s legendary industrialists.

Of course, attending functions that you’ve not been involved in is also great fun – during October I managed to get along to the Press Club ‘first Thursday’ drinks at thestudio in Cannon Street as well as the JQ Fashion and Lifestyle event , held at The School of Jewellery, just round the corner from our offices.

Sam Pennell’s been an especially busy lady: firstly with the Birmingham Future AGM,  an evening at Two Snowhill where new plans were announced including the renaming of Birmingham Forward to Business Professional Services Birmingham or BPS Birmingham.

Sam also attended Southside’s Illuminate – a three day event organised by the Birmingham Hippodrome featuring amazing interactive light artworks.  Last weekend Sam was invited to one of the highlights – a private viewing of ‘The Lanterns of Terracotta Warriors’ exhibition.

And then there’s been the Cure Leukaemia 10th Birthday; Leading Ladies and the War Horse Gala Dinner at the Hippodrome, Southside Showcase and Leee John’s Imagination at The Jam House.

With the ‘silly season’ upon us, events (parties!) are going to be in even more abundance and, if I’m not organising them, I’m certainly looking forward to going along for a canapé or two!

xHumed main promotional image 72dpi


The importance of creativity

4 years ago
by guest

Earlier this week I was sent a link to an art project by photographer Queenie Liao who’s turned her son’s naptime into an amazing collection of images focusing around his dreams. Her album, entitled Wengenn in Wonderland, features a number of different images of Wengenn asleep but she’s cleverly used an assortment of props and a very creative eye to bring his dreams to life and the end result is enchanting!


Unsurprisingly, the adorable images have generated a large amount of national press attention and to me showcase the need to be able to think creatively! Creativity is most certainly a PR buzz word and can definitely make the difference between an award winning campaign and a mediocre one. Developing creative solutions and angles is imperative and includes generating not simply ideas but also identifying the best approach to engage target audiences.

 
However, as it’s Friday afternoon I’m going to stick with the theme of creative Mothers for now and give you a couple of other examples to check out, especially if you’re experiencing a slight creative slump!

 
1. Lee Samantha from Malaysia. When pregnant, Lee started getting creative with her elder daughter’s meals and after posting the images to her social media pages has now raked up an impressive 25,000 likes on Facebook and 321,000 followers on Instagram. She’s also made a number of appearances on popular Malaysian television shows recreating her dishes.

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2. Mica Hendricks. Following a spontaneous joint drawing session between the illustrator and her four year old daughter the pair now produce a series of unexpected portraits. Mica draws women’s profiles whilst her daughter brings her child’s creativity to the design of the subject’s bodies. The end result is a charming collaboration mixing adult creativity and art with a child’s unrestrained imagination!

 
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Rewired gets ready for the BUPA Great Birmingham Run!

4 years ago
by guest

L-R Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin, Tom Kirtaind, Clare Gillbe, Glynn Purnell, Bhavisha Daudin, Max Kreighton, Tom Kirtaind and Deloitte partner Dom Wong

There’s been blood, sweat and tears over the last few months but the day has nearly arrived – the Rewired girls are pumped and ready to take on the BUPA Great Birmingham Run this Sunday 20 October!

Sam, Ruth and Bec have been training hard in preparation for the 13.1 miles they will run around Birmingham to raise money for their respective charities. Sam is running for the British Lung Foundation in memory of her loving dad who sadly passed away in 2007. This is the first half marathon that Sam has ever attempted, but she really believes in the charity and we know she will make her dad, friends and family proud.

Ruth and Bec are notching up the miles for Birmingham based charity and Jewellery Quarter neighbours Cure Leukaemia. In 2012, Cure Leukaemia had a team of 20 runners take part. However, this weekend they have an incredible 432 individuals hoping to raise £100,000 for the blood cancer charity which treats patients across the Midlands.

Cure Leukaemia is turning up the heat even more this year with its fantastic Head2Head challenge, which will see the charity’s runners split into two teams. Competing for the fastest time and most fundraising, each team will be headed up by honorary team captains, Michellin starred chef Glynn Purnell on Team Red and England Cricketer Jonathan Trott on Team White. With our very own Ruth on Team Red and Bec on Team White, who will be triumphant?!

I’m not running this year because I’ll be manning the Cure Leukaemia cheer bus with a team of supporters on Hagley Road, cheering on all the runners to the finish line. Hope to see you there!