Liam Pearce

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Prohibition PR – Best consumer relations campaign

CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire Pride Awards 2016. The Queens Hotel - Leeds 17.11.16 ©Steve Pope - Fotowales


If you follow us on social media, you may have noticed that this week was the CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire PRide Awards.

This is a night that the staff always look forward to and use as an excuse to get dressed up and drink lots of wine (it is a bonus when the boss pays!) It’s nice to win awards, and we were particularly thrilled to scoop one of the most prestigious awards of the night. Best Consumer Relations for our Worst Birthday’s’ campaign with Interflora at the end of last year.

The CIPR said “The team took a challenging brief, undertook some important research, such as social media listening and conversations with influencers, and devised a clear strategy, underpinned by a novel plan. The team used a variety of tactics, including an innovative interactive calendar combined with utilising online influencers. It clearly delivered tangible results for the client who was very pleased with the work.”

What began as a Christmas time brief quickly led to not focusing on Christmas at all. As most of the media were talking about Christmas throughout December, brands follow suit. To stand out from this we looked into the other time of year that focuses on celebration… Birthday’s.

We looked into what makes a good birthday and what makes a bad one. Working with professional party planner, Steve Duggan, we developed an app that allowed people to find out how their birthday date rated amongst their friends. Users could then share their scores on their social networks and challenge their friends.

As predicted, the worst birthday was in December (16th December to be exact). In the run up to this date we had a constant dialogue with media to ensure that the worst birthday wouldn’t go missed.

We started talking with media about two weeks before the date and there is always a sense of fear that the hard work hasn’t paid off when there isn’t many results in the run up to the day. However, we were rewarded in abundance with over 200 pieces of coverage, a reach of 331 million in print and online media and 355 million opportunities to hear for radio.

In short, Interflora’s campaign dominated conversation on the 16th December.

The aim was to secure at least 25% share of voice around Mother’s Day. The result led to Interflora having a share of voice of 71%, beating brands like Moonpig and M&S.

We specialise in integrated campaigns – but creative ideas and strategic insight also need to be rooted in campaigns for them to be successful and we are thrilled that our work has achieved such prestigious recognition.

Thanks to our wonderful team for their hard work over the past year and we look forward to creating even more award winning campaigns in 2017.

Some of us had too much fun

Some of us had too much fun

Instagram’s new algorithm and how you can survive the changes

Since its launch in 2010, social networking giant and celebrity favourite, Instagram, has mostly stayed true to its original format. Despite being bought by Facebook for a hefty $1 billion dollars way back in 2012, the original concept of taking a picture, adding a pretty filter and sharing to your loyal followers (with the addition of a hashtag or two), has stayed the same – even after increasing its users to an incredible 400 million monthly active users and 75 million daily users over the past six years.

However, in early 2016, Instagram shocked fans of the networking site by announcing a change to its algorithm, making the timeline appear more like Facebook by removing the chronological news feed and replacing top posts with what they believed the user would be interested in. Not so scary for businesses rolling in the big bucks – but what about the smaller, independent organisations who were now at risk of losing their content visibility, in favour of more popular pages?

If this sounds like something that may be affecting your own page, check out our handy advice to help you survive the newest algorithm change, while increasing the exposure and engagement of your page.

Is your content good enough?

The key to a successful Instagram page is a high level of engagement. With millions of businesses vying for attention, it is important to have an insight into how you can make your page stand out from the crowd. Just posting a nice photograph and a quirky caption isn’t enough these days to keep your followers interested. With new ideas and supporting apps coming out quicker than you can say ‘Boomerang’, now is the time to look into which of these new applications can benefit your page.

Read on to find out some of our ideas on how you can turn your page from a visual nightmare to a brand’s most favourite dream…

Lights, camera, action!

With 80 million images being shared daily and 8.9% of these being videos, one of the ways to create more engagement on your page is to download a great video app. Videos on Instagram need to be short, cool and fun – a snapshot into your brand’s personality – and there are plenty of different ways you can show this:


Boomerang – The most popular app at the moment is Boomerang where you can make one second clips capturing a moment and replaying it backwards and forwards (hence its namesake!). This app is particularly great for quirky fashion brands and is favoured by make-up artists, celebrities and leading high street stores like Topshop.


Flipagram – Remember creating fun flip books with your friends at school? Well now you can create interesting and unusual content using the Flipagram app. Designed to help you create short movies from your photographs, this app can really get your creative juices flowing if you use it wisely. We particularly like Flipagram’s celebratory Star Wars Day post which is great inspiration for organisations who may want to showcase their products with a fun a quirky message.

YAKIT – We love this hilarious app in which you can make funny and creative edits on your existing photographs and videos. Although we wouldn’t recommend this app for more “mature” brands, we think that this app is perfect for children’s brands, the hospitality industry and your own enjoyment!

Grab onto your partners

Another way to boost engagement and increase brand awareness is to partner up with affiliated brands, bloggers/vloggers and experts. Competitions are a great way to do this, perhaps by using a fellow brand’s product as the prize and hosting the competition on your own page, while your partner brand drives users to you.

Only recently, Diet Coke UK targeted their predominantly female market by joining forces with nail polish brand Essie UK and Boots to promote their “buy a Diet Coke and get an Essie nail polish for £5.99” deal. Followers of the Diet Coke Diet coke ukInstagram page were drawn to this offer with aspirational lifestyle images, the hashtag #DietCokeBeautyBreak and the participating brands tagged into the copy used. What perfect way to while away half an hour than by sipping Diet Coke and giving yourself a manicure at a bargain price?

You can also alert Instagram users to your own page by simply commenting and engaging with fellow brands through interacting on their posts, liking pages and making your presence well known. Their support can be invaluable as can yours to their business. It’s supposed to be one big happy online community after all – why not spread the love!

Hashtag Hashtag Hashtag

Yes, hashtagging may seem a bit uncool on some social sites (thanks #bae) but the fact of the matter is, hashtagging is the perfect way to boost awareness amongst the high volume of photos and videos that are posted every minute.

According to Webstagram the top hashtags used in 2016 so far include:

  • #love
  • #Instagood
  • #tbt
  • #photooftheday
  • #cute

You’ll notice that a lot of leading brands sneak these hashtags into their posts, boosting their chances of being seen. However, you need to make sure that your hashtags are relevant to your target audience, alternating between five to fifteen tags as well as keeping your eye out for trending hashtags that you could jump on and join in on any online conversations. Just be careful that you don’t end up hijacking a hashtag that has no relevance to your post, product or brand (an issue that left a few large organisations red-faced after pop icon Prince’s recent passing!)

Have you found a change in engagement on your Instagram since the new changes? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your experiences.

Is live broadcasting taking over social media?

Live video has become an emerging market within social media, with a high percentage of influencers and brands joining the cause. With 52% of marketing professionals worldwide naming video as the type of content with the best ROI, it is vital that the industry knows not only what to include in videos but also where to host the videos.

We have looked at all the live video services and simplified each platform to help you decide which is best for your brand.


16571671357_f50c31aa76_bMeerkat was the first on the scene in the live video world, released in February 2015. Meerkat can connect to Twitter and allow you to Tweet a link to the live broadcast and when you begin a recording, your Twitter followers that also have the Meerkat app will be notified.

Meerkat also has a feature call Cameo that allows the broadcaster to select a viewer to take over the stream for up to 60 seconds. This makes streaming more interactive for both the broadcaster and the viewers. Although this sounds like a cool feature that fosters interaction between the streamer and viewer, the broadcaster host does not have any way of controlling what the viewer shows during the cameo which means they can easily spoil the stream with nonsense and obscenity, something a broadcast host may not fancy.

These new features may sound like the platform is being innovative and has a strong future ahead but Meerkat only has 2 million users compared to Periscope’s 10 million. The lowest of all the video streaming platforms.


When Meerkat launched in February 2015, it blew up the social media industry, by March 2015 however, Twitter launched Periscope (which it had actually acquired in January that year).

provincia_2016329_862673192When the app was released, Twitter cut-off Meerkat’s access to Twitter graphs, as it allows users to directly stream to Twitter users. Twitter has used celebrities to entice Meerkat users to use Periscope. A source told TechCrunch “Twitter hounds every celebrity after they try Meerkat. Almost to the point of stalking.”

Periscope is all about live streaming, so a host couldn’t schedule live streams or record videos only to be streamed at a later time or date. However, it’s a great tool for sharing any events or stunts. Another plus for Periscope, is that one can use both rear and front cameras on their smartphone. The host just has to double tap on the screen while ‘Periscoping’ to change camera.

With the most recent update, viewers can now view old streams however, these are deleted after 24 hours.

YouTube Live Streaming

CaptureAs the current main video streaming website with over 4 billion video views a day, it seems like natural progression for YouTube to tap into the live streaming market.

YouTube has attracted a large audience for specialising in gaming, news and sports. BT Sports recently live streamed the Europa Cup Final and UEFA Champions League Final on YouTube, allowing everyone to watch it without paying the usual subscription fee.

Users have the option to start streaming immediately or schedule live streams,  they can also change privacy settings so you can decide if you want your live stream made public or keep it private (only subscribers can view it).

There is also a method to monetise the live stream by showing viewers ads or creating a ‘fan fund’ where fans can donate money.

YouTube Live Streaming doesn’t work on a smart phone so to start streaming you would need a laptop or desktop making it more difficult to stream live events. You will also need to download an encoder before you can start streaming, as this compresses the video so it will be available for viewing on more devices including mobile.

Facebook Live

maxresdefault (2)With more than one billion active users on Facebook, using the large audience already on the social media platform is an unmissable opportunity to advance live streaming even further.

It is the easiest to use out of all the platforms, when creating a status just press the live stream icon to start streaming. Also, unlike the other apps that delete the live stream after 24 hours after it is finished, Facebook saves the stream as a video on your timeline where you can delete it if you like or keep it for posterity.

As part of the Facebook algorithm, the live videos will be places higher on users’ newsfeed. This means that when your brand is broadcasting a live video, the content will be boosted to the top of your follower’s newsfeed meaning a wider reach for a brand without boosting a post.

However, it doesn’t come without faults. Earlier in the month, Buzzfeed was supposed to host the first interview with President Obama using Facebook Live.

Shortly before it was supposed to begin, Facebook Live failed and BuzzFeed turned to YouTube to stream the interview instead. BuzzFeed began streaming with some opening remarks, but the feed cut-out before President Obama arrived. As a result, BuzzFeed began directing Facebook watchers to YouTube and the interview went as planned.


We have tried and tested each of these platforms and we are leaning towards Facebook Live as the best live video service. The audience is already there, it places your brand high on a user’s Facebook and it means you don’t have to use a third party app which normally decreases engagement.

Periscope, just like Twitter is a lower quality version of Facebook. It doesn’t receive as much engagement or users as its competitors.

Meerkat is slowly dying and will soon be the Myspace of video streaming platforms.

The true battle is between YouTube Live Streaming and Facebook Live, both platforms have a strong user and engagement rate and both are tapping into celebrities, influencers and popular events.

We expect to see much more of the live platforms begin used over the summer with both brands using the Euros and Olympics as a method of growing its network.

Prohibition Shortlisted in the CIPR Excellence and Prolific North Awards

weve-been-shortlisted-graphic-w800 - Copy

Summer is on its way and the sun is certainly shining at Prohibition HQ today.

The end of a tax year is important to most of everyone, but it has been extra special for us as we finish this year on a high. We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ at the 2016 CIPR Excellence Awards due to our work with Interflora for a campaign we delivered last Mother’s Day. The awards are the longest-running and most-rigorous scheme that rewards best practice in public relations.

The entries are evaluated by more than 85 judges to draw up a shortlist of the best for each category (see a full list of all shortlists here) The judging isn’t over yet though, our directors will be going down to the big smoke next Friday (15th April) to be put through their paces by expert category judges at panel interviews, hosted at the CIPR offices.

This is great news for Prohibition, especially as we have also been shortlisted for a Prolific North Award and back in November we even won two Pride Awards for this campaign and Outstanding Small Consultancy 2015.

The team are all looking forward to visiting London for the awards evening on Weds 8th June, so keep your fingers crossed for us. We will keep you all updated once we find out.

We shall fight them on the beaches; we shall fight them on Facebook

In the next few months, politics will be all over the news agenda with the EU referendum, campaigning to either leave or stay in the EU.

At one point, campaigning meant that a group of people would knock on every door in the street and persuade you to listen to their point of view and vote alongside them. However, just like everything in recent years, campaigning has changed with the times.

During the General Election last year, Conservatives spent a £1.2 million on Facebook advertising, compared to its biggest competitor Labour who spent just £16,000 on the social media site.

Three questions jump out to us when we look at the spend:

  • Why the other parties spend so little compared to the Conservatives?
  • Does throwing bundles of money behind the Facebook advertising create more of an ROI than using good, engaging content?
  • Did the aggressive PPC budget win The Conservatives the election?

We have to hope that the decision at Labour and Lib Dem HQ (and others of course) went along the lines of: “We’ve tested Facebook Advertising; we feel other channels offer better returns”

Clearly there was a very different approach when it came to spending on social media between Labour and the Conservative Parties.

A year later, it is easy to pass judgement and claim that Labour should have spent more, but there will be reasons why it chose its specific spending strategy.

A report by Ofcom claims 60% of adults online have a Facebook account, this isn’t every single voter that Labour would want to target but it is a large chunk, meaning this wasn’t a case of audience reach.

Obviously, the budget wasn’t unlimited, therefore spending needed to be prioritised but can be really effective when trying to speak to a specific group of voters with targeted messages.

However, when just boosting a post a ‘filter bubble’ comes into play. Almost all the non-advertising content on Facebook is mediated through the Newsfeed.

This is the screen of updates and content you see when you login to Facebook; not every possible item that could appear on your newsfeed does. A complex algorithm decided what should and shouldn’t appear.

This algorithm looks at a number of factors both based upon the brands and the consumers behaviour and ensuring they see the most relevant content.

However when it comes to politics, this isn’t anything new. Gone is the blanket approach of trying to speak to every single voter, it is time consuming and ineffective.

Even when campaigners knocked on doors, they would ask who the resident is planning on voting for and shift the strategy accordingly.

With Facebook Advertising it’s entirely feasible to target people in a constituency with known swing voters. Not just people in the area but people who either supported Lib Dem in 2010 or fit the demographics of someone who supported them.

This type of targeting can be quite unwieldly, just because someone liked a local political page doesn’t mean they are planning on voting for that party. Finding someone’s true political stance via social media can be tricky.

Instead, a more effective approach is to use clever market research to find connections through other brands and views. For example; people who like Doctor Who are more likely to vote to remain in Europe. People who want to focus on gang crime may be a fan of X Factor. If there was a connection with any of these, you could create adverts accordingly – and believe it or not, there are.

The user of Facebook will have no idea that you’re showing them an advert about your commitment to an EU Referendum because they like Doctor Who and they live in a certain area, but you can.

If your research is right, that advert is going to be effective. Much more effective than mass forms of communication and advertising open to political parties.

Voter ID is powerful; it makes these platforms and direct mail activities easier and more concise. It means a party can invest in an expensive and extensive campaign on a specific seat (much like Conservatives on the Rochester & Strood – Nigel Farage’s aimed seat).

Really targeted, potentially cost effective and almost certainly missed by rival parties. This strategy is going to change the way a campaign is marketed, leading to what could be the first ever digitally led election.

A breakdown of Facebook spend by political parties

A breakdown of Facebook spend by political parties