Snap snap. Snapchat gets newsy with Discover

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Have you updated Snapchat? For the snap happy ones of us in the office that did, we were confronted with the most interesting feature yet – Discover.

For the uninitiated, Snapchat is an iOS and Android app that lets users take photos or record videos and add text and drawings, before sending them to a list of recipients. These Snaps can be viewed for between one and 10 seconds, then they’re hidden from the receiver’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers.

Developed by Stanford University’s Bobby Murphy, Reggie Brown and Evan Spiegel, Snapchat has come a very long way since its release in September 2011:

  • Snapchat is reportedly now worth $10 billion
  • 100 million people actively use the app each month
  • 400 million Snaps are sent every day
  • 1 billion Snapchat Stories are viewed every day
  • Snapchat is the third most popular social app among millennials
  • Facebook offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat in 2013. In cash

Not so bad for an app that was initially dismissed as a novelty act.

In Discover, media companies can publish content to the app for users to view. At launch, these included MTV, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo! News, National Geographic and The Daily Mail just to name a few.

According to Snapchat’s latest blog post, Discover is different because it’s been built for creatives, but keeps Stories – apologies if we don’t watch the entire narrative of your night out, we’ve got better things to do at 3am – at its core.

There’s a beginning, middle and end so editors can put everything in order and every edition is refreshed after 24 hours. Simply tap to open, swipe left to browse, or swipe up on a Snap for more.

With promises of fresh and unique content from each channel every day, Discover has certainly grabbed our attention.

Rob Brown is CIPR President Elect

rob brownOn January 1 the agency’s managing partner became president-elect of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). President Elect is one of four elected officers of the Institute, who also sit on the CIPR’s Board of Directors. Rob will take over as president in January 2016, succeeding Sarah Pinch. The CIPR president acts as chairman of the institute and as a representative for the profession in the UK. Rob said “2014 president Stephen Waddington has set a great precedent for this year’s incumbent Sarah Pinch and for me to follow in 2016. It’s an honour to be given the opportunity to lead the Institute and continue the great work that has been done by the CIPR.”

Kicking Off The New Year In True Blue Style


Whilst fans up and down the country were watching their footballing heroes go toe-to-toe for the first three points of 2015 from the stands or at home, we were delighted to be rubbing shoulders with them along with 10 year old Raza Mohammed.

The lucky Rolls Crescent Primary School pupil kicked off his New Year in true Blue style and joined the team after winning a design competition to find a mascot for the New Year’s Day home tie against Sunderland.

The creative contest, organised by Official Manchester City FC Partner, Nissan, saw schoolchildren across Manchester invited to design their dream Nissan Juke, personalised by taking Manchester City FC as their inspiration. Up for grabs was the ultimate City fan’s prize – the chance to lead the team out of the tunnel and centre stage on to the famous Etihad pitch.

Taking inspiration from the Club’s beginnings and Mancunian heritage, Raza’s design featured the Citizen’s iconic blue and features a symbol taken from the arms of Manchester – a golden eagle.

Raza was treated to a specially-created Nissan Manchester City FC Home Mascot Experience, starting with a surprise chauffeured car journey to the stadium in the ‘MCFC Juke’, a car wrapped in his winning design. His prize also included match tickets, a full team strip, a tour of the Etihad Stadium, access to the home team changing room and the chance to take a shot against City’s goalkeeper in front of a roaring home crowd.

“I was really nervous before we walked out, but I’ve had an amazing day and enjoyed watching the match. Getting picked up and driven to the stadium in my car was really cool too. I’ll never forget today,” said Raza.

As a Club with roots firmly in the local community, Rolls Crescent is just one of the schools that Manchester City FC’s award-winning City in the Community (CITC) regularly works with to help empower lives through football.

All activity was delivered by Rule 5.

Five Nominations For Rule 5 In The Northern Digital Awards

Picture4Rule 5 has been shortlisted five times in the Northern Digital Awards.

The awards recognise the very best in digital marketing campaigns and talent in the North and will be staged at the Royal Armouries in Leeds in January 2015.

Rule 5 has received nominations in each of the five categories entered, including the Best Digital Marketing Campaign – Entertainment/Sports, Best Use of Social Media, Best Use of Video and Small Digital Agency of the Year.

Recognised campaigns include the agency’s work for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, for which Rule 5 receives three nominations, and the launch of Royal Albert’s Miranda Kerr range.

Both campaigns are nominated for Best Use of Social Media, a category the agency won at this year’s Big Chip Awards.

Track World Cup Social Impacts Top 130m

Track Cycling World Cup

The agency working with British Cycling delivered an astonishing 137 million impacts on Twitter last weekend for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, a key contest in the run up to Rio 2016. Teams from 39 nations were at the Lee Valley VeloPark in the velodrome that was used at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The social media campaign incorporated video content, edited and shared in near real-time ahead of TV highlights which will be shown on BBC 1 next Saturday. Gold Medal wins from the men’s and women’s team pursuit teams plus Laura Trott in the omnium, Owain Doull and Mark Christian for Great Britain in the madison provided some of the electrifying content.  The social campaign also used interviews with fashion guru and cycling fan Sir Paul Smith and fellow knight and six times Olympic track cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy.

“We had a team of five working shifts throughout the weekend posting content on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as a live blog from 7am through to midnight”, said Rule 5’s Rob Brown. “We were working hand in hand with British Cycling’s team to ensure that if you were following the event on your phone, laptop, tablet or PC you got a real sense of the excitement.”

Social coverage was monitored using Facebook Insights, YouTube Analytics and TweetBinder, which allowed the Twitter statistics to be tracked in real time. Over thirteen thousand tweets used the hashtag #TWC or #TrackWorldCup or the phrase ‘Track World Cup’, reaching 24.4 million people at an average of 5.5 times across the weekend and generating 137m impacts.

So This is Christmas?

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Love or loathe it, that time of year is upon us again. Apple Weather increasingly threatens cloud with a scattering of frostbite towards the afternoon, and inboxes ping with the daily flux of year-end invitations, “Dear <<firstname>>”.  The rebels among us might already be quietly snaffling spiced mince pies.

Yesterday, retail giant John Lewis revealed yet another suitably visceral Christmas TVC. The reception at Rule 5 HQ was decidedly mixed — there were goosebumps sure, some coincidentally watering eyes and what one staffer is calling a penguin-induced nostalgia for all things merry and bright.

It’s widely accepted that the official festive season begins each year when John Lewis deems it so, such is our national affinity with the brand’s hallmark adverts. Some maintain this right belongs to Coca-Cola, the sugar king’s ‘Holidays are coming’ commercial topping Metro’s list of things that put us firmly in the Christmas spirit.

Whichever school of thought you subscribe to, it’s clear the keen effect brand messages have on us during these sentimental months. Would John Lewis’ winter wonderland be so beloved were the ad’s £7m price tag proudly attached? That’s a lot of turkey dinners for people in need.

As an agency, we are often charged with delivering a message that must compete for share of voice against a tide of seasonal news, views and other more abstract editorial interests. It is the remit of every PR to discover what is unique about a story, to express this in real terms and make it matter.

We’re entrusted with the heart and soul of each campaign we deliver, and as the silly season arrives ever-earlier, it reminds us that no year will be the same as the last, no message guaranteed to top the news agenda and no matter how heavy the campaign price tag, there is no ready formula for commercial success at Christmas.

Penguins, however, are eternal.

Rule 5’s PR Tech Guides

photo (7)Since we set up the agency in November 2012 we have actively sought to use the best of the ever-increasing range of technologies. Applications that impact on every aspect of how PR agencies now work.  This week marks the start of a new regular blog feature where we share insight into the applications and latest tech innovations that the Rule 5 team is using.

These technologies have improved every aspect  of how we deliver a service: from the tools that we use to creat content, sharing amongst the team, uploading and issuing to the media, right through to how we evaluate and optimise our work. We will make the guides easy to digest, picking out our top five observations and recommendations based on our experiences. Over time we will build a contemporary guide to the vast range of technologies that help us to do everything better.

Why would we share this when it enables other agencies to gain insight?  There are several reasons:

1. We are happy for other agencies to learn and improve because we want to be part of a movement that elevates the practise and delivery of PR.

2. Technology is constantly evolving and we are confident that Rule 5 will remain an early adopter and innovator.

3. We want everyone including prospects and staff to understand more about how we work.

For our inaugural feature we focus on business blogging platform, Passle.

MediaCityUK Video with Instagram’s Hyperlapse

Two days ago Instagram launched a new app for iPhone called Hyperlapse. It’s a free application that opens up new frontiers in creating professional standard video content with just a phone.

With the huge growth in content marketing and an exploding demand for short engaging videos, apps like this will play a vital role. The app instantly topped the download charts and with good reason.

Hyperlapse is a video format similar to time-lapse photography but the position of the camera moves. In the past it has mainly been achieved with painstaking use of still images. It’s a very time consuming process requiring expensive equipment – 10 seconds of film requiring 300 separate precisely planned camera positions.  The alternative would be to use a Steadicam or a £10,000 tracking rig.

Hyperlapse from Instagram lets you shoot in real time and uses stabilization technology to process the images into a professional looking timelapse video. Yesterday we road tested the app around MediaCityUK.  The clips took about 40 minutes to shoot (that was mainly walking time).  They were edited together on the phone in about 10 minutes using the Splice app (£2.49). We topped and tailed the video and added some music using Windows Live Movie Maker (free).

Rob Brown Elected CIPR President

Rob squareThe agency’s managing partner is set to become CIPR president-elect 2015. Rob will take over as president in 2016, succeeding Sarah Pinch, who will take over from current president Stephen Waddington next year. The CIPR president acts as chairman of the institute and as a representative for the profession in the UK. Rob said “The practice of public relations is undergoing a significant upheaval.  It has become obvious in recent years that PR needs to change to remain relevant.  The CIPR has emerged as a trailblazer in modernising public relations practice in the UK and across the world and in raising standards of professionalism. I’m very honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead the Institute and continue that process.” In addition, 38 people have been nominated for 24 positions on the CIPR Council, the organisation’s governing body.

Rule 5 Becomes Seven


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Rule 5 has appointed Chidi Onuoha and Rachel Drabble as Account Executives.

Prior to joining Rule 5, Chidi worked at Souter PR where she worked on Warburtons, the Dental Law Partnership, and Gorvins Solicitors.  Rachel, a graduate from Salford University and former member of the GB Waterpolo Team, joins following internships at Beattie Media and Jam PR.

Speaking on the signings Rule 5 Managing Partner, Rob Brown, said: “An agency is as good as its people and in Rule 5 we have built a team that we are proud of and that we are confident rivals any other.  We’re delighted to welcome Chidi and Rachel on board.”

Both executives will report into Account Manager, Miranda Wade, and work across the agency’s British Cycling, Virgin Money Cyclone and WWRD accounts.

Rule 5 Crafts Blu Tack Digital Comms


We’re delighted to have won a brief from Bostik, the leading global adhesive specialist, to develop a social media presence for the Blu Tack brand.

Work is already underway with a Facebook page focussing on arts and craft applications in development. Bostik Communications Manager, Matt Hicks, said: “Social is a great fit for the Blu Tack brand. Driving engagement through Facebook will help to increase awareness and advocacy for our products in the stationery and craft categories.

“Rule 5 has an excellent understanding of digital and how it relates to our target audience, so we’re delighted to have the team on board.”

With a wealth of experience in building and engaging online communities in this sector under our belt, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Bostik to launch this social media platform.  It’s a fun and highly engaging campaign and we’re looking forward to inspiring a new generation of families to get creative with Bostik stationery and craft products.

The Blu Tack Facebook page will provide a community focus for young parents and offer a wealth of hints, tips and ideas on how to keep children entertained whilst inspiring their creative development. Running alongside the Facebook activity is a blogger outreach programme, engaging over 20 of the UK’s top parenting bloggers.

Rule 5 Makes Prolific North Awards Shortlist


Rule 5 has made the shortlist of the 2014 Prolific North Awards. The agency has been nominated in the Best Newcomer and Best Small PR Agency categories.

It is the second year in a row that Rule 5 has been recognised in the Best Newcomer category having scooped the prize title in 2013, just six months after our launch. It’s fair to say we’re thrilled.

The Prolific North Awards profile leading creative and media companies from across the North of England and are judged by prominent figures from the media and creative business community. Featuring on this year’s panel is: Andy Barke, Industry Head, Google UK; Russ Brady, Group Head of Public Relations, The Co-operative; and Richard Frediani, Programme Editor, ITN.

The final award winners will be announced at a dinner on May 1st at Lancashire County Cricket Club, co-presented by broadcaster Jim Hancock and by the BBC’s regional week-end presenter Beccy Meehan.

Got Talent’s in Town

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Working in MediaCityUK it’s not uncommon to spot the odd familiar face when you pop out to get a sandwich at lunchtime.  Today we discovered that Britain’s Got Talent had rolled into town. Alesha Dixon and David Walliams stepped out of their limos to say hello to the waiting crowds.  Ant & Dec are hosting the 2014 live auditions at the Lowry Theatre. Fire eaters, acrobats, dancers and divas are stuggling into their sequinned onesies as we write.

New Year, New Office


For many, today marks the start of the new working year. As the nation takes down the remainder of the tinsel and jolts back into routine, Rule 5 has a special start to 2014 with the opening of the London office.

Based in the heart of London’s thriving digital creative scene, Shoreditch, the team is a stone’s throw from all the major publishing houses, including modern media marketing title, The Drum.

News of the office, which is run by Account Director, Carolanne Bamford, was first announced in late November, coinciding with the agency’s first birthday and recruitment for an Account Executive is underway.

We look forward to sharing with you further news over the coming weeks and months and wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Virgin Money Cyclone Drafts in Rule 5


The agency will promote the four day national cycling festival, staged in the North East.  The Virgin Money event, which has attracted some of the world’s greatest riders including Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Hannah Barnes and Sarah Storey, is part of Virgin Money’s sponsorship of national sport and community events that include The Virgin Money London Marathon and Walking With The Wounded, Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge.

Virgin Money Head of Sponsorship Marketing, Andrew Nicholson, said:  “We’re looking forward to working with Rule 5.  The team’s extensive experience in sports event communication combined with its expertise in managing national brand sponsorship campaigns makes Rule 5 the perfect partner.”

Virgin Money Cyclone Founder and Organiser, Peter Harrison, added: “Virgin Money Cyclone is a multi- faceted event designed to cater for the needs of competitive and non-competitive cyclists.  As we enter our eighth year and celebrate the Beaumont Trophy being recognised as an official UCI event, our focus is on further raising awareness of the Virgin Money Cyclone on a national and international scale, and increasing rider participation across all levels.  We are confident that Rule 5 will help us achieve this.”

Commenting on the win Rule 5 Founding Director, Julie Wilson, added: “This is a significant win for the agency.  The Virgin Money Cyclone is a recognised event within the international cycling calendar and we’re delighted to play a part in further realising its potential; attracting new riders and spectators.

“With the UK playing host to the Grand Dėpart and dates for next year’s British Cycling Elite Road Series confirmed, 2014 promises to be an exciting year for cycling.”

Virgin Money Cyclone takes place from Thursday June 19 to Sunday June 22, 2014.  Entries are open now.  For more information or to register visit