Hawksmoor’s Winegate

PR Stunt or Genuine Cork-up?

In certain PR circles it has been suggested Hawksmoor’s media domination in the last 24 hours after two lucky customers were accidentally served a £4,500 bottle of red wine, was a full-bodied PR stunt. The mistake came to light in a tweet from the restaurant:

As an agency with several restaurant clients we decided to put the theory to the test.

In the red corner, the half-case for the prosecution:

  • Neither the member of staff nor the customer has been named. Admittedly the staff member would need a lot of bottle to come forward, but the same doesn’t apply to the diners. It conveniently makes it difficult to check the facts.
  • The £260 bottle ordered and the £4,500 bottle don’t look remotely similar, as Hawksmoor Founder Will Beckett said, the similarity doesn’t go beyond the fact that: “They’re both 2001 Bordeaux and there’s a “P” in there somewhere.” The member of staff has been described as manager level so it’s an unlikely mistake for an experienced employee.

The case for the defence:

  • The story was announced with one tweet at 1.15am. That’s hardly a carefully planned, multi-channel strategy calculated to deliver maximum impact.
  • There’s a definite authenticity to the tweet. Despite the forgiveness they say “One-off mistakes happen”. Why the implied warning not to do it again if it didn’t actually happen?

The view from Rule 5 is that it was a genuine cork-up, and someone correctly spotted that it might make an amusing piece of social content. When the tweet started to go viral the PR machine sprang into action to maximise the media opportunity.  There is one aspect of this story though, that we find hard to swallow – who orders wine priced at £4500?

2018 Predicted By Pinterest

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Pinterest, the platform described by CEO Ben Silbermann as a “catalogue of ideas” that inspires users to “go out and do that thing” has evolved into a trend prediction platform.

Launched in the US in 2010 the social media site has, in comparison to platforms Facebook and Instagram, struggled to develop as a commercial retail platform, despite garnering over 175 million daily users.

Media outlets and retailers are, however, now fully realising the benefits of Pinterest as a customer insight tool and not just a sales one.  It’s a move that sees the power shift between consumers and retailers move increasingly in consumer favour, with users’ daily pins no longer just capturing trends but informing them.

Published every December Pinterest 100 captures the top 100 biggest trends based on the activity of its subscribers.   Style, beauty and home decor are just some of the categories covered, with analysts looking for topics that showed critical mass, grew at least 50% in 2017 and trended up towards the end of the year.  You can view 2018’s top trends to try here.

Such is the credibility of the predictions, leading influential media outlets are using the platform as a source for new season forecasting features, the very articles that influence our buying behaviour for the year.  Coveteur, WhoWhatWear, the Daily Mail. Metro and Instyle are just a handful of those that have run over recent weeks.

In a world where data is gold, it’s no surprise Pinterest plan to further build on the predictions.  This year the platform will launch Audience Insights, a subscriber based tool that will afford businesses the opportunity to take a deeper look at its audience and how it engages.  The tool will be available to US business accounts early in the year and is expected to roll out to follow.

With traffic to Pinterest having increased significantly over the last six months, the platform’s potential to inform new product development and business marketing strategies is only set to grow.

The use of the platform by media outlets as a source for seasonal trend features isn’t new but it is gathering momentum.  Where trends were once dictated by designers and magazine publishers, consumers are increasingly the ones to watch.

Rob Brown Talks Google Ads to the BBC

Rule 5 Managing Partner Rob Brown, was interviewed by BBC Breakfast Business Reporter Ben Thompson, this morning (Tuesday 21.03.2017).  The interview followed the revelation at the weekend, that Google was allowing adverts on its YouTube platform to run alongside extremist content, such as videos promoting terrorism and antisemitism.

Hundreds of advertisers have pulled ad spending from the online video platform.  Rob believes that this will mark a tipping point for online advertising. The revelations and the subsequent outrage from advertisers will result in a “fundamental change in the way internet advertising is going to be bought and sold in the future” said Rob. Online platforms “are going to have to employ more people and write new algorithms” he added.

Dock10 Adds Rule 5

Studios

Rule 5 has been appointed by MediaCityUK based media services business dock10 to deliver a regional and corporate PR campaign.

dock10 is well known as a major supplier of studios, post production and managed services to the BBC, ITV and a host of independent TV production companies. It is now actively growing its customer base beyond the broadcast sector.

Video is growing at an exceptional rate, with significant growth in corporate and advertising. Last year, UK video ad spend grew over 50% to £711million, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK. “Broadcast continues to be our core business but the demand for broadcast quality video content is expanding well beyond traditional TV” said dock10 CEO Mark Senior.

“We’ve appointed Rule 5 because they understand the market, with the additional benefit of being located very close to us in MediaCityUK” he added.

Rule 5 founders Rob Brown and Julie Wilson both have extensive previous experience working for agencies in global advertising networks.

 

 

Tips from the top. What journalists really think when you’re selling-in

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Selling in is core to a PR’s role and as the media landscape continues to evolve and develop, so must we. We are never too old or ‘good at PR’ to learn new tricks and getting insight from our peers is fundamental to growing our expertise.

That said, hearing those nine magical words – ‘can you send it through to the news desk’ – when you’ve finally managed to reach a real person after hours of being stonewalled by man’s friend, voicemail, can be frustrating.

News creation and distribution agency 72Point hosted a breakfast seminar last Thursday. Hosted by Doug Shields, Sam Allcock and Chris Brooks, the talk offered insider tips and advice to help extend the reach of radio, press and digital campaigns.

Notebooks, pens and mobile phones in hand to tweet using the official #72seminar hashtag, Account Executives Chidi and Rachel headed into town to hear what they had to say.

Here are just a few of the tips we came away with:

  1. Send stories early

Journalists on national news desks start their day around 7 or 8am and head into news meetings at 10am. Get your news to them as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of getting on their agenda.

News site web traffic is at its peak at 9am, 1pm and 4pm, with the most popular content featured prominently on home pages and in dedicated ‘trending’ sections.

  1. Keep it brief on the phone and don’t overlook the power of newswires

Tell them you’ve got a story and read the first paragraph. You’ll know if you’ve got their attention if they keep listening. Having the story on a newswire gives it extra credibility too.

  1. Paid for promotions are worth thinking about

So you’ve secured coverage on a national news site and have hit a KPI. Being published shouldn’t mark the end of your activity. You should share links on social media and consider boosting your posts. What works in print shouldn’t be confined to that – extend the reach of all stories in rounded and integrated outreach.

  1. Know your audience

Think about tailoring copy to fit in with style of your target title, as it will be noticed. This is especially true for radio. A press release written as a 15 second news bite shows the story at its full potential. Don’t forget to send the full story along with it for background.

  1. Time is a premium

Make a journalist’s job as straightforward as possible. They just don’t have the time to chase you for extra information. Put the story’s key facts in bullet points at the top – the body of your release might be edited when published, but the most important details will remain.

The Future’s Bright, but Not Always Digital

Magazine Circulation

If you’re planning on picking up a copy of Company after this month, we’re afraid that won’t be possible. The monthly magazine has stopped printing after 36 years and has gone online-only. After our initial surprise abated, the mag fans in the office had to be honest and admit we were now much more likely to get our lifestyle fix online.

The news of the title’s demise came just one day before the latest ABC magazine circulation figures were published. A seemingly sad repetition of Bauer Media’s suspension of More! magazine last year after poor sales, we were curious to see how the wider consumer lifestyle magazine market was performing.

Company’s print circulation was down more than 30% year-on-year, not including 2,000 digital editions. The overarching and ongoing conclusion was that magazines continue to suffer, but some iconic mags are still flying the print flag flying high. Cosmopolitan, Ideal Home and Vanity Fair all showed strong sales.

Cosmopolitan’s strength appears to be in its content – steadfastly dealing with topics relevant to all women, from careers and self-improvement, to fashion and celebrities, relationships, sex and beauty. So popular is the magazine, it has 64 international editions, printed in 35 languages and circulated in more than 110 countries.

The best-selling homes-magazine in the UK, Ideal Home knows when to move with the times. Now 94 years in circulation, the glossy continues to capitalise on the nation’s fascination with home improvement.  Inviting a turnover of new readers each month, the magazine gives great focus to specific sections and standout DIY project areas.

George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Will Smith and supermodels that “won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000”. Vanity Fair only deals with the Hollywood A-list. A magazine of popular culture, fashion and current affairs, readers are taken on a fashionable journey of luxury and bright lights, and get to see how the other half live. Escapism at its best.

Capitalising on the strength of their brand, moving with the times and staying true to readers’ interests are all core themes in the success of the print stalwarts.

We often hear the millennial generation now only consume news with the simple click of a mouse instead of in the ‘traditional’ black and white, but it was good to see an article – online, ironically – on The Huffington Post diffusing that notion. It’s true to say we’re well-versed on digital outlets like Buzzfeed and social media, but we’re reading traditional news outlets too.

So how have print magazines stuck around for such a long time? The Guardian’s Mark Hooper attributes it to the internet. We had to scratch our heads on that idea for a moment too. Then one word stood out – permanence. Even the big hitters like ASOS and net-a-porter have print versions too.

It is true that news can be accessed with the mere click of a button, but for some, there’s no escapism like that 30 minutes tucked away with a new mag and the feeling of pages between your fingers.

Yes, we’re in a digital world full of tablets, laptops and smartphones, and a digital world may be on the horizon, but the print pages aren’t finished turning just yet…

Rule 5 Shortlisted in Northern Marketing Awards

Picture1 NMA 2We are thrilled to have made the shortlist of the Northern Marketing Awards.

The awards champion the work of some of the UK’s biggest brands and this year attracted over 200 entries.

Rule 5 has been shortlisted twice in the Sport Campaign of the Year and Social Media Campaign of the Year categories.

The nomination for Sport Campaign of the Year features the agency’s work on the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Prix, pitted against Manchester City FC and Salford Red Devils.  Rule 5 is also nominated for Social Media Campaign of the Year, a category that it won at this year’s Big Chip Awards and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards last November.

The agency is already shortlisted for Best Social Media Campaign and Outstanding Consultancy in this year’s PRide Awards.

The Northern Marketing Awards will be announced on October 16.