Public Relations

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Prohibition wins Prolific North’s Best Integrated Communications Campaign

It’s almost time to get dressed up, bring out the bow ties and pop the Champagne as the shortlist for this year’s CIPR Yorkshire and Lincolnshire PRide Awards has been released.

The awards, decided by industry experts, recognise and reflect the hard work PR professionals across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have put into our PR campaigns throughout the year and to our excitement, we’ve been shortlisted once again for a number of awards.

This year sees our ‘Dial a Direwolf’ campaign shortlisted for Best Low Budget Campaign thanks to the help of our furry friends who roamed around Leeds, creating a buzz about the new pop up Game of Thrones bar in The Light Shopping Centre. We have also been shortlisted for Best Use of Digital and twice for Best Use of Social Media for our ‘Making Christmas ‘Real’ Again’ campaign and our work with Watches of Switzerland over in Switzerland for Baselworld.

Finally, we have also been shortlisted for the prestigious award of Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy, something we could have only dreamed when we were a small team of three back in Chris’ garage.

Much to our excitement, we have already seen one win this year at the Prolific North Awards from our work with florist, Interflora, for Best Integrated Communications Campaign. As a specialist PR and social media agency, integrated PR campaigns are our thing – so it was great for our expertise to be recognised at this year’s awards.

The campaign was birthed from our research, which found the worst and best dates to have a birthday, and was implemented during Christmas time. As any PR practitioner will know, it is difficult to ‘cut through the noise’ during the festive season, so it was hugely important for us to focus on anything but Christmas gifting.

As a team, we came to the decision to run a second phase of the campaign the following summer, focussing on the best date to have a birthday, which was in July.

Along with both of these campaigns creating a significant amount of coverage and online conversation, it was decided to go one step further and create ‘The Ultimate Birthday Surprise Video’.

The video saw a huge surprise birthday party stunt in Southampton, which included a flash mob, a horse-drawn Disney themed carriage and afternoon tea with all of her friends and family at an exclusive Southampton hotel. The content received the greatest organic reach ever for a piece of content on Interlora’s Facebook page.

Overall, the campaign was hugely successful and achieved more than 146 pieces of radio coverage and 140 pieces of national and regional print coverage, with a total circulation of 337 million for print and 355 million opportunities to hear for radio, and genuinely drove online conversation.

Following the success of previous years (and already this year), there are high hopes in the Prohibition office that a winning streak is on the cards. In 2016 we managed to scoop up Best Consumer Relations Campaign for the ‘Worst Birthday’s’ campaign with Interflora and in 2015 we won Outstanding Small Consultancy, so our fingers are crossed that the 2017 PRide Awards brings us something to smile about.

We find out if we have been successful on the PRide Award night on the 30th November so you can count on us keeping you updated then. In the meantime, fingers crossed!



The political PR moves that we can all learn from 

It’s been a hell of a year for PR in politics. Think Putin, Trump, Brexit, Obama, Farage… the list is endless. But what can we learn, both good and bad from the heroes and the tyrants alike?

The Obama effect
This one is simple, yet entirely effective. The level of positive content created to support the Obama comms schedule is nothing short of admirable. It didn’t take long for Obama’s comms team to tease out his charisma – utilising it to create a President with people appeal. The trick here was to present Obama as one of us. Somebody we can all relate to. Somebody who shares our values and indeed our idea of fun. The cute factor was utilised ten fold. Think the Joe, Obama relationship. The way Obama interacted with children… it’s the Kate Middleton, Diana tactic on speed – and it’s a guy too, so you know, additional appeal(?). Scratch the service and consider how this PR dream of a demeanour has perhaps clouded our judgement on actions and policies implemented by Obama, and we begin to truly understand the power of positive PR. The power of utilising an image of strength and solidarity.

The tyrant comparison
So, we have an example of positive PR used to spin a certain message. And this can also be seen in play by those favoured in a lesser light by the larger voices in the democratic world. A good example of this is the recent reveal of the refugee numbers that will be welcomed into the UK being slashed. The distraction PR technique, saw this announcement being buried in the Brexit debate. Unfortunately for Theresa May, this classic PR technique entirely back-fired, leaving her at the scrutiny to humanistic groups, and well just humans actually. The move is a classic, and yet nine times out of ten, it is entirely unreliable and dangerous to a reputation.

The outlandish cheesy puff
Finally we have Trump, Farage and Putin. The face of the right wing politician. The totalitarian with questionable (understatement) ideology. These guys literally play the Trump Card… they utilise the guise of honesty to fuel fanatical beliefs. It’s extremist communications. By utilising the controversial and engaging the historically disengaged, you can provide an outlet for comms with serious impact. In some ways it’s smart, in other ways it’s crass. But it is undoubtedly effective. Reminiscent of sayings such as ‘he who shouts loudest’, or ‘he who dares wins’, this technique is nothing short of balshy. Just like sex sells, so does the controversial.  And whilst many disagree with this tactic, be it Brexit, Russia’s growing influence or Trump’s presidency it works.

So, what can we learn from this? Well it’s difficult. It’s a matter of morality vs. impact. Negative news will always travel faster than positive news, so it’s about striking a balance. It’s where reactive commentary becomes priceless. When there is a negative to be dealt with, it’s essential that you have the finesse and balls to react to it in a way that will engage and inspire others. The best example of this in recent times…? Surely it’s got to be the way Finland reacted to Trump’s inauguration?

Leeds PR Account Manager Job Vacancy

It’s been another exciting and busy period for us all here at Prohibition. We won Prolific North’s and the CIPR’s Agency of the year and we had a record year with a number of exciting new account wins, including several high street brands, and as a result we need to expand our growing team yet again. As you’ve probably figured out, we’re no relics when it comes to clever public relations. While we do ‘the traditional stuff’ very well indeed, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what you would expect from a specialist PR agency. So that involves lots of exciting things like online community building, social media listening,  brand audits, online crisis management, content marketing and video creation and seeding.

CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire Pride Awards 2015. Aspire - Leeds 26.11.15 ©Steve Pope - FOTOWALES

CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire Pride Awards 2015.

Here’s what we’re after:
We’re looking for someone with at least 2 year’s PR experience, with a definite interest in all things social media. You need to have solid media relations skills, have managed talented PR executives before. You need to know your blogs and Foursquare from your Snapchat, and at least pretend to understand Google spiders.

But more than anything, a hunger to learn and the right attitude is key. We want someone who has their finger firmly on the pulse of digital and PR developments, as well as popular culture.

So basically we want a talented, organised and motivated account manager to work across a range of enviable high street brands in an exciting PR/social media role. A minimum of 2 years’ PR experience is a must. This is an exciting position; we’re a fast-paced, innovative team, and we’re growing.  Get in touch if you think this is you!

We are looking for an experienced public relations manager to work in a growing fun team of 12 in Leeds that has been winning awards for the last five years. This exciting new role has been created due to our rapid growth and winning of new business, it includes several well known high street consumer brands as well as some interesting B2B clients.

This account manager will be responsible for managing excellent day-to-day client work, generating high quality traditional and social media coverage, and building relationships with clients and the media. An integral part of the team, you need to be passionate about the media agenda, knowing what makes a great story and delivering innovative and creative campaigns that have a commercial impact for clients. We are looking for someone who enjoys working in a fast paced environment and thrives on getting results.

As an agency we are committed to our employee’s career development and every year you will be provided off-site PRCA and CIPR training to ensure you stay up to speed with the latest developments in the industry.

*Devise creative public relations strategies that fit the client’s profile
*Develop effective PR plans using appropriate strategies and tactics
*Organise and coordinate PR activities
*Use a variety of channels to maximise the company’s exposure
*Arrange for interviews or public speaking events and construct press releases
*Advise company on handling sensitive public issues to preserve reputation
*Assess opportunities for sponsorships and other partnerships and manage relations
*Analyse results of PR campaigns or efforts and prepare reports
* Plan and implement cohesive PR strategies.
* Working to raise the media profile of clients alongside increasing their brand reputation and displaying them as experts in their field.
*You will be directly responsible for three account executives.
* Play a supporting role in New Business.
* Maintaining the standard of press material and that any crisis are managed effectively.

*Experience as public relations executive or similar role of at least two years
*Experience of managing junior team members
*Solid knowledge of social media
*Excellent communication and presentation skills;
*Ability to build strong relationships with key people or organizations
*A desire to learn and develop your career
*Strong understanding of both traditional and digital public relations
*Digitally savvy
*Curious – a desire to learn, improve, apply new knowledge and develop self
*Excellent grasp of clients’ marketplaces, audiences and routes to market
*Excellent written and verbal communication skills
*Creative thinker and problem solver
*Commercially aware and decisive
*Confident networker
*Organised with excellent time management skills
*Supportive, inspiring and motivational team player
*Personal drive and passion for the industry
*Self-aware and able to adapt personal style and approach to clients and team
*Ability to juggle multiple and changing priorities
*Ability to assimilate information quickly and recommend a practical response
*A creative mind partnered with the ability to find the best practical solutions
*BSc/BA in PR, marketing or similar field

We’re growing fast, so if you’re interested in growing with us, and rolling up your sleeves to get involved in all aspects of our client work then get in touch.

Send your CV to  along with a brief overview of your favourite campaign of the last 12 months.

No agencies please.

The ‘Micky Mouse’ degree. Are qualifications holding back communicators?

The importance of a university degree and demonstrating a certain level of learning, has long been spearheaded as an ideal route into the PR industry. Whilst some have wrongly deemed it a ‘Micky Mouse degree’, the need or preference for a degree when applying for roles isn’t uncommon, with many industries offering non-graduate roles with a glass ceiling guaranteed – this is particularly notable, quiet ironically, in the public sector.

But is a degree really an absolute must when it comes to being an effective communicator? In my experience this answer tends to be no. I have worked with a number of highly professional and skilled people over the years that offer real insight and life experience when it comes to the industry, similarly I’ve worked with a lot of young, fresh faced graduates that can talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk. Which raises the question – is a degree really required, and if so, what could be done to make such courses more effective?

I didn’t study PR at university. I undertook a joint honors degree in English Literature and Art; it’s arguably relevant… the art represents the creativity and a certain level of understanding on how political movements can impact on consumerism and society as a whole, whilst the English element of my degree taught me how to become more eloquent in my writing. But these are just two very small traits required to be an effective communicator.

The above didn’t teach me common sense, it didn’t expose me to a fast paced, deadline driven environment, it didn’t show me how to handle clients, manage a team, get under the skin of business management or generate an eye for a news story. Arguably a PR degree would have offered me some of these distinctive skills – but from my experience of graduates leaving university following a PR degree, I’d beg to differ.

In fact I have a couple of examples of truly inspiring communicators that didn’t go to university. And, I’ve got to say, the majority of my colleagues that did go to university, certainly didn’t study PR as a discipline. So, for me, this raises an interesting question. Should we be doing more on the ground to entice young blood into the industry at an earlier age? Pre-university, perhaps even pre-college? And if so, how would this shape the way we approach the industry as a whole? How we connect with our audiences and how we embrace new technology?

There’s a skills shortage. This is apparent across a whole range of different industries, and PR is no exception. The shortage in PR however sits in the middle ground. Good quality execs are not hard to come by, good quality managers however are. So consider this. If the majority of practitioners are heading to university, we don’t receive the bulk of new blood until they’re around 21 to 23 – meaning it will take another three to four years for them to fulfill the roles we so desperately need to in management positions. However, if we were to engage with a younger generation of potential communicators, we could have them at management level by the time they hit their 20s. That’s a time saving of at least three years.

But it’s not just youngsters we should be encouraging into the industry. From journalists, to other creative sectors, there are plenty of people; skilled and talented professionals that can help shape our industry in a more effective way. Degree or no degree. It’s time we invested more in vertical sector outreach to ensure we’re attracting people into the sector at all ages, up-skilling them and providing our businesses with the skilled labour we desperately need.

To conclude, being an effective PR practitioner is less about the certificates you keep under your bed, and more about your real life experiences – your ability to connect and relate with your audience. As a successful PR, you need an eclectic skill set – if that includes a degree then great. If it doesn’t… I personally don’t see the problem. Regardless, one thing is clear. In order to really spearhead industry development we need to focus less on the traditional and more on the upcoming – surely this is something that fresh faced school leavers, combined with a healthy mix of experience from sister sectors can provide in abundance?

Prohibition helps Interflora celebrate the best birthday ever! (video)

This week has been really rather busy at Prohibition HQ, with the phones ringing off the hook. Following on from our integrated campaign late last year with Interflora in which we discovered the best and worst times of year to celebrate your birthday (Daily Mail), we used the trusty Birthday calculator app we created to help identify the very best date, which was found to be today! (July 28th)

Tasked by the client with highlighting this special day in July, we commissioned some social media listening to identify insights and decided to deliver an experiential stunt to raise awareness and share the love. We identified one lucky Interflora customer from their database whose birthday actually fell today, before planning a very special birthday celebration which took military style organisation.  Interflora Surprise Bir

Katy, who turns 29 today, was given a surprise of epic proportions in her hometown of Southampton. A surprise dance and fairy tale themed flash mob greeted her with a specially designed routine. This was followed with her fiancé, a serving marine who had been away on active duty, appearing in a stunning fairy-tale style horse-drawn carriage. Her fiancee presented her with a beautiful bouquet and then whisked her away for a special Birthday afternoon tea with thirty of her friends to celebrate properly.

You can find the full video of our stunt below or read more about it on our campaign microsite. Here’s a mention of it in The Metro, it’s also been in today’s The Sun, Telegraph, Irish World and loads of more media we are just glad it all went smoothly.

A very happy birthday to Katy from all of us here in the Prohibition team. I hope everyone involved had a brilliant day and it was brilliant to see months of planning in action.

I have cross posted this on my own blog too here.

Prohibition Scoops Best PR Agency at Prolific North Awards

Spring is here, kind of and it has definitely sprung for us here at Prohibition HQ.

The first awards nomination of the year have been judged and the results are in. Last night we were triumphant in receiving the award for best ‘Small PR Agency’ at the Prolific North Awards in Manchester! It may have come as a pleasant surprise at first, but we are thrilled to be recognised for delivering “best in class” work.

We are all very proud to accept this award and add it to the growing cabinet of prizes rattling around in our office. Let’s hope this acts as a stepping stone to us winning again at the CIPR Excellence Awards in London on the 8th of June this year. I am on holiday until 7th June so it will be something to look forward to. Awards are great but just being shortlisted with so many fine agencies is good enough for me.

Thanks for your continued support.

Prolific North Awards

Leeds Paid Work Placement – Magazine Editor

We are delighted to announce that we are offering a new paid placement role, for Leeds students, as our voluntary magazine Student Wire is recruiting a new student editor for the next twelve months.

Want to stand out from your peers? Student Wire is the perfect way to do so. With editor of one of the most successful student magazines around under your belt, you’ll be irresistible to future employers. Fantastic for your portfolio you’ll have experience to spare and won’t struggle to impress during interviews for placement etc. student wire

In its fourth year – written for students, by students, Student Wire is a unique online magazine providing lively, relevant and credible news and features about the ups and downs of student life.

• More than 80,000 page views in the last 12 months
• 78,000 unique visitors in the last 12 months (and growing every month)
• More than 700 articles published

We are looking for a motivated, creative PR or journalism student who is currently in their first year and who will be able to make Student Wire their own. You will be required to spend at least one day a week at Prohibition’s offices in Leeds where the work will take place.

To apply for this role please email your CV and covering letter to

Good Luck

Top 10 Street Food Blogs

The revolution of street food has burst onto the scene in the last couple of years with its alluring combination of affordability and taste. It’s quick, easy, cheap and freshly made. The concept of street food is broadening the horizons of our taste-buds, and matching this revolution is a raft of new blogs, chronicling every development in this area. Here’s a pick of some of our favourite street food blogs from all over the world:


A cool blog run by a couple from Australia who have an honest passion for good, tasty food. They eat as the locals do wherever they travel and are well connected on other forms of social media. The blog’s name is a Japanese B-Kyu Gurume which translates as ‘B Grade Gourmet’, which reflects affordability and real life enjoyable food.

2. The very hungry Londoner on the road. 

‘The very hungry Londoner on the road’ is another combined food and travel blog with a large section dedicated to street food. Fiona left her job in 2015 to do a bit of living and luckily this well-informed and up-to-date blog is a result of that act of freedom.

Bun Thit from Hanoi Kitchen at Kerb Kings Cross

The Very Hungry Londoner

3. London Street Foodie. 

A fun and insightful blog into London’s street food scene written by Victoria Stewart, who previously worked as the ‘food editor’ at the Evening Standard. This blog covers all areas of street food, from price to taste, simplicity and geographical location, with an interesting section titled ‘London Street Food on Tour’, where Victoria has shared her international experiences of street food.

4. British Street Food. 

A well-established blog run by Richard Johnson, an award winning food journalist and broadcaster. He was also heavily involved in the opening of the Trinity Kitchen in Leeds’ biggest shopping centre. The blog also features a useful app that showcases the top spots in Britain for good street food. Richard keeps his blog well up to date with diverse posts about things, people and events.


British Street Food

5. Street Food Galore. 

Like many food bloggers, Tina Aboutaan seemingly has an equally strong passion for travelling as she does for food, which makes this blog well-informed and full of a variety of food culture. The blog is well kept and up to date, with active communities on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

6. Migrationology, Travel for Food. 

Mark Wiens has created his website and blog for ‘people who travel to eat’. He shares, very regularly, meals that he has had and enjoyed and reviews them, focusing on quality, location and price.

7. Streats. 

Written by ‘Olivianoramark’ dedicated to ‘recreating street food from all over the world’, ‘Streats’ is a slightly more hands-on blog, meaning, the author has brought her experiences of street food to the blog to share them with her audience with the intention to promote the recipes to the readers for them to experience themselves. The blog was inspired by a year in China and the cuisine that went with it, and shares some intriguing street food ideas such as dried fish, tea eggs and rice burgers.

Lamian Broth Boiling


8. Two Peas Street Food. 

Two Peas is a fairly new blog, run by a couple who decided to open a street food truck after returning from travelling the world, both with experience in hospitality and catering. The blog broadcasts the launch and success of the company so far and makes for interesting reading.

9. Super Happy Street Food Love Story. 

Super Happy Street food Love Story follows two ‘foodies’ on their travels through South-East Asia and the food they had. This diary-style blog captures the reader’s attention with vibrant photos of their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Less informative than other blogs listed but every bit as interesting.

10. Street food. 

‘Street food’ is an organisation run and maintained by NCASS (Nationwide Caterers Association). The blog itself is more commercial and informative than others listed including events, reviews and discussions. The focus still remains on a love of street food, its uniqueness, ease and price.


Street Food

Do you know of any other blogs that are as passionate about street food as the list above? Let us know, we’d love to hear your comments.


Prohibition Shortlisted in the Top 50 PR Agencies

What a way to kick start the hot summer month of July! Sorry for the shameless self promotion guys but hey it’s our blog so we can write what we want!

July 1st is a pivotal day for most of us, as it usually marks the start of the summer and the long awaited sunshine. However, today proved to be extra special for us as an agency. We’re delighted to reveal that for the first time ever we’ve been shortlisted in the Top 50 PR Agencies 2015 in the North from Prolific North. The list which is released annually, albeit for a bit of link bait, ranks each PR agency according to its financial information taken from Companies House and also from supplementary information from us PR companies ourselves.

The ranking looks at information from more than 200 PR agencies, which are either based in, or have offices in the North. Click here for the full list. There are some great companies in here that we respect so we are delighted to be included in some esteemed company.

This is great news for our company as we enter our 5th year and with a headcount of just eight, we may not be the biggest but we are hoping to become the best.

So there you have it, we are starting to make waves in the Yorkshire region and this year is looking even better than last, so thanks for your support and hopefully we will see you all soon.


Interflora campaign: The hardest job in the world?

Hot on the heels of our successful Verses for my Valentine campaign, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve been working with international flower brand, Interflora yet again – this time we’ve been helping the brand celebrate Mother’s Day.

Tasked with implementing a multi-stranded, integrated communications campaign to recognise hardest-job-hed-2015the hard work mums do for their families on a daily basis, we created a delicate mix of social media engagement, traditional media relations, SEO, blogger and influencer relations, as well as a series of strategic content marketing initiatives.

Here’s some of what we did…
We questioned British mums to find out how long they spend doing different ‘mum jobs’ each week (cooking, cleaning, driving, teaching etc). We then used their responses to calculate what the average British mum would earn if motherhood was a profession – a massive £172,000 for 119 hours work a week!mum salary calculator

We kicked off the campaign with a spoof job advertisement in The Times, which got people talking, both on and offline including, unfortunately, the infamous Katie Hopkins, which you can read what she said for yourself here.

We also engaged with experts and online influencers asking them to tell us what made a mum a Super mum you can watch our highlights video here.

The whole campaign directed people back to a dedicated microsite which we helped to design and build: The microsite is packed with useful content and also lets mums work out their own mum salary using our bespoke app, the mum salary calculator, they can then share that with their friends.

All of our activity is aimed at creating genuine conversation (currently measuring this with social media monitoring tools) around the brilliant hard work mums do in homes all across the UK every single day.

interflora social