Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tis the season?

With just 151 days to go, it seems Christmas is well and truly upon us, at least for those of us who work in the PR world anyway. When I mentioned to my friends at the weekend that we were holding our Christmas event for one of our beauty clients this week they looked at me as if I’d completely lost it. However, those of us in the know can appreciate that the ‘Christmas in July’ phenomenon is in full swing. If you’re not familiar with ‘Christmas in July’ then let me explain very briefly. December in the world of media mostly means one thing – Christmas Gift Guides. And with some monthly glossy magazines working on their features, and in this case their gift guides, as much as six months advance, July is the time PRs start selling in all that their clients have to offer by holding Christmas in July events. Now, this is where I come to my point. Christmas in July events come in all different shapes and sizes with varying degrees of Christmassyness in all its gaudy glory. This is where I think the problem lies for PRs – how do you create stand out from the competition in such a crowded market place where everyone claims their product is the ideal gift for a coveted place in magazine gift guides. The standard offering from Christmas in July events normally consists of festively dressed rooms adorned with tinsel, Christmas crackers and the obligatory Christmas tree in the corner as well as an abundance of mince pies, turkey sandwiches and mulled wine, not forgetting a guest appearance from a carol singing school choir. Now this I’m sure journos have seen many times over (and don’t get me wrong, being pro Christmas, I love it!) so PRs are now under more and more pressure to up the stakes, with one beauty brand recently causing debate by having real life performing penguins at their Christmas in July event – creative thinking or a step too far? It’s a question of gimmick vs style – how far do we go?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Postcards a thing of the past

According to a survey from travel website ebookers, over two thirds (39%) of Brits no longer send postcards to loved ones due to a national obsession with social networks.

The trusty postcard has been replaced with status updates and tweets as 49% of British holidaymakers spend time checking and updating social networks when on holiday. With a whopping 59% spending two or more hours using social media because they have so much spare time.

Now I like Facebook but you wouldn’t catch me updating my status on holiday. After spending most days of my working life looking at my laptop, the last thing I would want to do whilst lying on a beach is look at a screen of any kind! Mind you my phone is about ten years old and probably isn’t up to the challenge of connecting to the internet even if I wanted it to. Call me old-fashioned but I think I’d rather put pen to paper (or should I say card) and write a little note to the ones I miss the most.

But what do you think? Will you be updating your status when you’re on your summer hols or sticking to snail mail?

Friday, 8 July 2011

It’s the ‘End of the World’

It’s a news story that you can’t possibly have missed. Yesterday was a historic day in the world of media. It is officially the end of the News of the World.

It was announced, that after 168 years, this Sunday, 10th July will see the last edition of the News of the World.
With so much controversy surrounding the paper due to its phone hacking scandal, I think we all suspected some sort of announcement, whether it be an apology or arrest, however the news that Rupert Murdoch took such drastic measures to cease publication shocked us all.

It also emerged yesterday that more than 4,000 victims may have been targeted, including murder victim Millie Dowler and families of the 7/7 victims. Something that ex-editor, Andy Coulson (and possibly Rebekah Brooks) will be arrested for today. What they did was, as Rupert Murdoch said himself ‘deplorable’ and can be in no way, shape or form be condoned.

With advertisers such as Ford and Virgin pulling out left right and centre, all support and respect for the paper had diminished and it seemed that closing this sinking ship was the only option. In James Murdoch’s statement, he said ‘While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations - many of whom are long-term friends and partners - that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity. We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend. Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers’. Whilst this is all well and good, it will never compensate for the damage the company has caused to so many lives.
The people I feel most for are both the victims of the phone hacking and the innocent employees of the News of the World, all of whom have been innocently punished for other people’s unacceptable actions. Let’s hope this is the end of the revelations that come out of the police investigation. But what’s next for News International? There’s already speculation that there will be ‘The Sunday Sun’, with the domain name and Twitter account being registered as early as Tuesday. Watch this space…..

Monday, 4 July 2011

Cirkle takes part in this year's Marketing Industry Triathlon

‘Friday could be just another day in the office or an unforgettable day out with mates, colleagues or clients.’ This is how the Marketing Industry Triathlon markets itself to potential participants, and it couldn’t be more true. The event provides a great opportunity for marketing and PR agencies to come together and engage in some good natured sporting competition and raise money for charity, away from product launches, brand building and media events. All elements of the industry were represented, from in-houses teams at Bacardi and Coca-Cola Enterprises to marketing, digital, design and PR agencies. Cirkle put in a strong team for the 3Quarter Relay, with members from all our key divisions taking part. We had Brooke from our Life+Leisure division on the 800m swim, our Body+Soul colleague Jenny on the 30km bike and me from our Food+Drink division on the 7.5km run.
Arriving at the beautiful Dorney Lake, the privileged sports ground of the famous Eton College, there was already a buzz of excitement in the air, coupled with the whir of lightweight racing bike wheels as the first cyclists set off on their high speed dash around the lake. Meanwhile, the next of the swimming heats got underway with a frenzy of splashing limbs and loud music. Our team put in some good transition times, with Jenny ready and waiting to pedal off as soon as Brooke raced out of the water. Electronic monitor on and she was off round the track, Brooke and I cheering her on at every lap. 30km done, Jenny raced in to hang up her bike and we quickly swapped the monitor over to my ankle before I dashed off to join the runners racing up and down the side of the lake. Sure enough, the girls were there to cheer me on whenever they caught sight of me. Sprinting to the finish was a great feeling and even better to come together afterwards and have a good old chat about the race and how we’d all got on. It was a great day and brilliant to be out in the fresh air doing something active for a worthy cause. Results for all teams can be found at: www.marketingtriathlon.co.uk.
Looking forward to next year’s race!