Rule 5’s Lockdown Venture to Keep Leisure in Focus

Today the team at Rule 5 officially launches Twenty Twenty, a publication for the leisure and hospitality industries. The aim is to keep these businesses in the public eye during the pandemic and beyond.

 Twenty Twenty, which has been in beta for a fortnight, fixes a spotlight on destinations in the UK such as tourist attractions, bars and restaurants, as well as features on global attractions and how they are coping with restrictions and their plans to bounce back.

 With several clients within the sector currently not welcoming visitors, Rule 5 has allocated staff time to keeping the whole industry firmly in focus. It’s an entirely not for profit initiative and it won’t take advertising or sponsorship. The agency wants to support not compete with existing media. The MediaCityUK-based agency will use the platform to promote and support all destinations with a story to tell, no matter how big or small.

 “As a team, we’ve found ourselves with a some extra time on our hands, so whilst we’re unable to visit our favourite weekend spots – we thought we’d try to keep them front of mind for when we get back to the new normal. Twenty Twenty is there not just for our clients but for the whole industry and we’ll welcome submissions.’ said Managing Partner Rob Brown.

 “It’s also a great way for us all to stay motivated – we all love to travel, eat out and attend events; writing about what we love and where we’ll be going when this is all over has been a passion project for us all.”

Live from today, Twenty Twenty will run daily stories about what the leisure and destinations industry is doing to keep resilient and updates of plans for the present and the future.

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


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


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


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.

Rule 5 Makes National PR Awards Shortlist


We are thrilled to have made the short list of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards.

These awards are national and Rule 5 has been short listed three times in the Outstanding Small Consultancy category and twice in the Best Sporting Campaign category. This comes less than 18 months after the company launched. The Outstanding Small Consultancy award recognises the achievements, performance and excellent work of a small agency over a period of up to three years.  Rule 5 is one of only six agencies to make the list.

The competition is no less illustrious in the Best Sporting Campaign, for which the agency is recognised twice for its work for the UCI Track World Cup and World Taekwondo Grand Prix.  Other shortlisted campaigns come from the Football Association and the RBU 6 Nations.

The CIPR’s national awards are hotly contested with 700 entries from the UK and internationally.  The short list was announced on Friday 4 April.

#SocialMedia WhatsTrending at the BBC


One of the many advantages of being in MediaCityUK is our proximity to the media and anchor tenant the BBC. This happy juxtaposition occasionally throws up a real gem of an opportunity and #SocialMediaWhatsTrending was one such, in the form of a one day conference.

It brought together a series of panels and speeches that only a broadcaster of the BBC’s weight and stature could manage. It was also the first time I’ve seen Google Glass in the flesh on the face of New York based Vice Journalist Tim Pool (should that be in the ‘glass and metal’?). There were about 500 people in attendance – perhaps a quarter were BBC employees, most others by invitation. The wealth of expertise gathered on stage was truly extraordinary; BBC Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper, Matt Cooke from Google+, Newsnight Editor Ian Katz, Football Focus presenter Dan Walker, Anna Dobbs Channel 4 Head of Online, Tim Gatt of ITV News, Luke Lewis BuzzFeed UK Editor, James Everton of Hits Radio, Alex Miller and Tim Pool of Vice. This feels like quite a list but I’ve missed out most of the talent. The full programme is here.

The day opened a window onto the ways in which many media channels and programmes are continuing to evolve in a dramatic fashion through the use of social tools and channels. This was insight from the coal face and the pace and diversity of change is extraordinary. This wasn’t just a catalogue of social strategies from programme makers, the sessions also tackled difficult questions such as the line between content and marketing. The decline in radio listening for example is widely being tackled by radio stations producing video content. So is this still radio? It was fascinating also to hear Philippa Law of The Guardian explaining how the news organisation uses the social network accounts of content suppliers to test the veracity of their stories, photography is also reverse searched to ensure it hasn’t just been grabbed from the net.

The day straddled, music, sport, hard news and more. If anything the event had more content than can be consumed in a day and there were two streams running throughout. Happily the sessions will all be shared online. Check the BBC Academy College of Journalism website, the should be uploaded next week.

Rule 5 Makes National PR Awards Shortlist

CIPR Excellence

Just five months on from our launch we were thrilled to hear that we’ve made the shortlist of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards.  These national awards are hotly contested with just under 700 entries from the UK and internationally.

Rule 5 has been selected in the Best Sporting Campaign category for our work with British Cycling on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Glasgow.  The agency is up against illustrious competition with Heinz, British Airways, Channel 4, iris PR and The FA and Lloyds Banking Group representing the other short-listed finalists.  Three of the five entrants involve PR campaigns featuring London 2012.

“We had already worked with the people but the agency was new, Rule 5 rose to the occasion and really delivered at the Glasgow Velodrome” said Paul Rowlands Cyclesport Marketing Manager at British Cycling. “Elevating social media engagement was a key part of the campaign and together with the agency we broke new ground at the Track World Cup reaching over 100,000 people with 4,000 people directly engaging with the event.”

BBC Future Media Event Part 1: Perceptive Media


Last night, Rule 5 had an exclusive opportunity to attend the BBC Future Media Event at Quay House, getting a sneak peek at some of the exciting technologies coming out of the Connected Studio and R&D departments . Also at the event were the record-breaking Digital Sports team, CBeebies and CBBC, Connected Red Button and iPlayer talking through their existing products and how they’re future-proofing developments to enhance viewers’ experience. There was a lot to see and learn, so for those who didn’t score an invite, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite insights from the night in a two-part blog.

Perceptive media: The variable digital landscape

As a comms agency, we were there to glean an insight into how we might utilise developments in our constantly evolving outreach strategies, but it’s not that clear cut. How do you keep up with the Meta Data technology that created ‘Perceptive Media’ – adapting the viewing experience in line with your social cues to ensure that broadcasts are tailor-made to each individual? Got a PHD and find Patrick Cox patronising? No fear, your TV knows your academic credentials and will personalise the documentary to match your level of intellect. Horror film getting a little too much? Perceptive Media will adjust the intensity of your fright-fest accordingly.  The team are still a way off from making something like this mainstream but you can get a glimpse of the future of viewing here .

Good communicators know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to their strategies. PRs accept that blogger outreach isn’t a case of a cut-and-paste press release (or we at least hope most do) and that broadcasters want something more bespoke, more in-depth than your average sell-in. On the door-stop of the BBC, we know the importance of getting face-to-face with journalists and brainstorming ideas together, but what of these developing technologies? The BBC Future Media showed us the scale of investment in driving research forward to bring us the best possible user experience for each of us. Communicators need to ensure they keep on top with these developments in order to deliver ground-breaking, effective campaigns that are still relevant in line with the constantly evolving digital landscape.

Want more?

Sparked your interest? You can learn more about BBC Future Media here:

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Google Glass Rule 5

Google Recruits First Users for Project Glass

Google Glass image

Google has today announced that it is looking for ‘Explorers’ to test the first versions of the futuristic Glass product.  Founder Sergey Brin was spotted testing the product on a New York subway in January.

  “We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass.” They are inviting hopefuls to use Google+ or Twitter to say what they would do if they were given the chance to be one of the first users of Glass using the hashtag #ifihadglass.

 Applicants need to be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S.  The deadline for applications is February 27th and ‘Explorers’ will need to shell out $1500 plus tax for the ground-breaking eye-wear.

Along with the announcement Google has released a video that gives a good idea of the Glass experience and how integrated it will be with other Google products including search, Google Hangouts and no doubt Google+.    You will be able to call up flight information whilst at the airport take pictures and video of what you see just using voice commands and make video calls all from the headset.

Bringing Down the Boundaries: An Editorial First

ELLE-LOGO-black Rule-5

Speak to anyone in the communications industry and they’ll tell you that the media landscape is changing.

The way in which we consume news has evolved; fact.

One of the most significant recent developments in the consumer magazine sector is the launch of this month’s new-look Elle magazine format.

In a move that sees the barriers between print and digital media banished, a philosophy we at Rule 5 champion; Elle Editor in Chief, Lorraine Candy, has introduced what she says is “the first editorial team trained to personally produce exclusive content for both the website,, and the glossy magazine.“

The aim?  To be a part of readers’ lives on more than just a monthly basis.

In so many cases, the merging of online and offline editorial teams is about one thing – cutting costs.   This, from an observer’s stance, doesn’t appear to be the case at Elle however.  The bridging of the gap between digital and print content isn’t just taking place behind the scenes of the acclaimed title, it’s evident in the copy too.

From the demise of the traditional readers’ letter page to the introduction of a replacement ‘Tweet, email, reply’ feature; editorial headlines encouraging readers to ’see it, love it , shop it and share it’ and a noticeably increased and highlighted number of references to the publication’s digital and social media platforms throughout the magazine,  the new-look format is certainly making all of the right moves to satisfy the demands of the modern day reader.

How many will, of course, down their weekly magazines in favour of an interim online fix remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting move from the style bible in its on-going fight against the weekly competition and in capturing the attention of the on-line media advocate.

Jaspan Unveils Prolific North

Launching by stealth is obviously all the rage with Bowie last week and prolific entrepreneur and journalist Nick Jaspan today.

Nick and his team have unveiled Prolific North  a new destination for news, opinion, features and gossip about the comings and goings of creative and media companies in the North.

The trained observers amongst us will spot a similarity with ‘How-Do’, Jaspan’s last major publishing venture.  This is a better product.  It covers a wider geographical area,  it’s a better design and a much better name.   When How Do first launched I didn’t get the idea of a web based publication with a limited and defined geographical reach.  I do now.  How-Do left a void.  The north of England and particularly Manchester is a powerful source of creative, digital and media expertise and it needs a regional voice.  The emergence of MediaCityUK, with the BBC, dock10 studios and ITV set to arrive in March elevates the status of Manchester to that of a global media player.  There’s a great deal to talk about.

I had just a little forewarning of the launch as I was honoured to be asked to write Prolific North’s first opinion piece, but there was little or no pre-publicity.   The reaction to the launch of the title today has been vocal and overwhelmingly positive.   At Rule 5 we’re delighted that Prolific North has arrived.