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Prohibition Pirate Takeover

Here at Prohibition HQ, we love creative social campaigns of all natures, and video content is no exception. So when our lovely city centre client, The Light, informed us that they would be hosting another pop-up bar – after the success of the Game of Thrones-themed Stark’s Tavern – we couldn’t wait to get creative. The theme this time? Pirates.

The launch of the bar was set to coincide with the release of the much-anticipated fifth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales. The bar itself was to feature Caribbean cocktails from in-house mixologists Turtle Bay, pirate props and a steel band playing everything from Caribbean calypso to traditional sea shanties.

Our response was simple: create an engaging and humorous video. In order to encourage excitement and buzz around the bar and drive footfall to its launch, we called on ultimate Jack Sparrow lookalike, Simon Newton, to create (a lot of) mischief in and around Leeds city centre on one particularly gloomy Monday evening.

Our strategy was to release three micro videos over the weekend, teasing the people of Leeds about what was to come, and one full length video afterwards, driving people to the bar’s opening on May 26th.

The results were incredible, with the video achieving a reach of almost half a million people, all in Leeds, drove 128,000 video views and encouraged a total of 13,000 likes, comments and shares.

Did you see the video? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Check it out here.

Lighting up Leeds Lifestyle Awards

We love a good night out here at Prohibition, and an awards evening is no exception. So when our account team for our client, The Light, was invited to the Leeds Lifestyle Awards, we accepted with open arms (and mouths).

Our lovely client, The Light invited the team to join them at the event – consisting of a rather lengthy awards ceremony, music and three course meal, not to mention copious amounts of wine! So the guys got dressed up and went down to show the tenants some support and, naturally, see what all the fuss was about.

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The Light had a huge five of its tenants on the final shortlist, La Bottega Milanese for Best Coffee Shop, Radisson Blu for Best Hotel, Nuffield for Best Fitness Facility, Fabrication for Best Fashion Retailer and Firelake for Best Bar… Phew!

It was a glamorous affair, with lots of fake tan, white teeth and even a brief celebrity visit from Simon Cowell’s sidekick, Sinitta. Also a bit of a surprise was the fact that the whole event was streamed live on Made in Leeds TV – cue the wine!

With all of the amazing establishments up for nomination, the competition was extremely high, so we were all overwhelmed when La Bottega Milanese was announced as the winner of the Best Coffee Shop in the whole of Leeds, although well-deserved in our humble opinion!

We had a great time at the event and can’t wait for our next night out in the form of the annual CIPR Pride Awards at the Queens Hotel in November (we might just have got over our hangovers by then!)

Prohibition – Outstanding Small Consultancy in Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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

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

It’s always nice to win awards, and we were particularly thrilled to scoop two. Outstanding Small Consultancy and Best Integrated Campaign for our ‘Motherhood – the hardest job in the world’ campaign with Interflora earlier in the year.

The CIPR said “The judges were highly impressed by Prohibition’s ability to deliver a creative response to a very challenging brief, utilising a variety of channels and achieving high audience reach across traditional, social and online media. The strong evaluation data presented within the entry, especially in relation to metrics on audience shares of content, made this entry stand out as a worthy winner.”

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

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we developed an app that allowed mums to input the different tasks they carry out, along with their average working day. This was cross-referenced with our central data to produce a salary. Users could then share their scores on their social networks and challenge their friends. We also recruited a mum mentor/online influencer, Jessica Chivers, to provide advice on motherhood with guest features.

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 83%, 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.

80PRide-2015-Gold-Winner-ButtonOutstanding Small Consultancy was a surprise and honour to win. The judges recognised our hard work and said: “Prohibition’s entry showed that they went through a period of strategic soul searching and have created business objectives that are clear and achievable, providing the agency with clear differentiation in their market sector.

“Prohibition’s commitment to nurturing the industry’s young talent is not just laudable, but also has a clear business goal as they seek to build a regional powerhouse.

“A clear sign that the agency is well on the way to achieving this goal was demonstrated by a campaign for Interflora that was one of the most creative uses of PR techniques to generate conversation that the judges have seen in a long time.”

Thanks to our wonderful team for their hard work over the past year and we look forward to creating more award winning campaigns in 2016.

 

Welcoming students to Leeds with The Light

Boasting three universities and numerous colleges, Leeds is home to thousands of students. As they returned to the city for a new academic year, we helped our client, and leading leisure destination, The Light, welcome theImagem back with an exclusive event, The Student Hub.

Open for business for two days during Fresher’s Week, The Hub was a zone of fun and freebies from the centre and its tenants. Students could ‘tweet for treats’ at the exclusive tweet shop, browse a variety of pop-up shops, exhibit their talents at an open mic session, get medical and fitness advice, and take on an fitness challenge.

The popular online news site, Student Wire also blogged live from The Student Hub – showcasing exactly what the centre has to offer the city’s student population, and beyond.

Aiming to raise awareness of the centre with a student audience, and drive on and offline conversation, 12039687_10153683016972490_6476803645190448860_nThe Student Hub was buzzing for the whole two days. The dedicated hashtag reached more than a million people across, there were spikes in engagement across The Light’s social channels, its online community grew significantly and student footfall improved by 30 per cent. It certainly shaped up to be a major event in the Freshers’ calendar.

Pannal Sports scores with Prohibition sponsorship

Pannal Sports Under 7sWe are pleased to announce a new sponsorship deal with Pannal Sports’ Under 7’s football team in Harrogate.

The junior football club was established back in 1966 and hosts more than twenty mixed ability and age group teams for both boys and girls. Pannal is the hub of Harrogate, and many children go along to make friends, keep fit and develop their footballing technique for the future.

Club Treasurer, Wendi Higgins, said ‘We’re really thankful that the guys at Prohibition have decided to support our Under 7’s team with a full brand new kit. It’s made the boys feel like part of a real team, and they love dressing as their favourite footie idols – it makes them feel like the real deal!’

I think it’s important that a business doesn’t forget its local community, and being born and raised from Harrogate and the fact I started the business here, I wanted to give something back to the town and invest in future local talent! The coaches really do such a great job turning up every week in their own time, and as a father of two myself, I wanted to help out in any way I could.

Big client win ‘suits’ Prohibition

Yorkshire-based Online PR and Social Media specialist agency, Prohibition, has won another major new client by adding the national formal menswear retailer, Suit Direct to its ever-expanding portfolio. suitdirect

Suit Direct, a national formal fashion brand with more than 15 stores across the UK sells suits, shirts, jackets, belts, shoes and many other men’s accessories. The male fashion brand has hired the integrated PR agency to manage and grow its social media and digital presence, with the core aim of boosting online visibility and securing sales through social media.

To date Prohibition has already surpassed all of its targets on Suit Direct set by the brand and has more than quadrupled its sales through a strategic social media engagement programme.

Suit Direct is owned by The BMB Group which is one of the largest menswear companies in the country. The wholesaler offers a mix of formalwear and casualwear fashion brands including: Gibson London, Racing Green, The Label, Pierre Cardin, Scott and 1 Like No Other and many more.

Divisional Director at BMB Group Andrew Thomson commended: “At Suit Direct we have stores across the UK and our mission is to provide the best outfit possible for the right price. We currently offer ten different brands, with three different fits, to try and ensure we have the right outfit for anyone. We appointed Prohibition due to their extensive experience in social media marketing, the campaign has already surpassed all of our expectations and we are looking at other ways to work closely together. ”

This latest announcement follows a number of exciting client wins for the agency including Country Baskets, Robinsons Relocation and national house builder Keepmoat Homes. 2014 was already Prohibition’s most successful to date as the agency has appointed a new company director, hired an additional two staff members and moved to much larger premises in Chapel Allerton.

Founder and managing director, Chris Norton commented: “We’re really excited about working with BMB Group on the Suit Direct brand as we love a good challenge and anything that is sales related from social media is a genuine test. The marketing team strongly felt that our specialist expertise in social media marketing and online PR would greatly benefit the brand and our service is already paying huge dividends in terms of exposure, referrals and of course sales.”

Leeds: Creative Agencies in abundance

The creative and digital sector is broad in definition but is nonetheless an important and thriving component of the UK economy. This sector covers areas such as media, computer services and marketing, with the common feature between them being technology and a flair for creativity. A 2008 study showed that the GVA (Gross value added) of the creative and digital sector was £59.1 billion, which equated to 5.6% of the GVA for the entire country. This is a measure of the value of goods/ services produced by an industry, area or country. Leeds City

West Yorkshire has developed into one of the leading business regions in the country with Leeds in particular going from strength to strength. Its GVA contribution as a city is £1.5 billion, but it is the creative and digital sector which has really shone in recent years. The industry has seen considerable growth over the last decade with advertising and architecture in particular seeing the most improvement.

Leeds is now the largest new media city outside of London with only Birmingham being on par. Its growing reputation and valuable network means that it is one of the prime locations for new businesses, while its recent growth could also have been attributed to its proximity to the Media City in Salford which sits a mere 40miles away.

According to a 2011 survey conducted by the Creative Leeds group, there are nearly 3,400 creative firms in and around Leeds. Creative and digital businesses in Leeds make up for over 50% of those in West Yorkshire and around 35% within Leeds city centre itself. Despite the large number of businesses, around 70% are considered to be ‘micro firms’, meaning that they employ 10 people or less. In fact, a 2005 study showed there were 2000 self employed people within this sector. These figures reinforce the notion that this industry is prime for entrepreneurs and tends to be start up focused. Taking a wider look at the sector we find that there are over 30,000 people employed in creative firms throughout the city. However, there has been a decline in employment in this area with an overall fall of around 11% since 2008. The areas to be hit most are TV, video, advertising and radio which have seen a slump of 30%.

Prohibition PR is one of the companies that have recognised this growth in the digital and creative sector, both regionally and nationally, and has based its business plan around this trend. Prohibition PR is a company which focuses mainly in online PR and marketing and aims to strengthen its clients presence in an ever evolving digital and social media market. It stands out as one of the leading PR firms in the region and can boast such clients as Audio-Technica, Park Lane Properties and Keepmoat Homes. Managing director Chris Norton, is an award winning PR practitioner and his blog is listed amongst the top 100 marketing blogs in the world.

Some of the other prominent Yorkshire firms in this sector includes Numiko. It is a digital communications agency that creates campaigns and internet applications, whose clients have included the BBC, the NSPCC and Channel 4. They currently employ 24 people and this puts it into the minority of businesses, i.e. the 30% who are not classed as a ‘micro business’.  In 2011 the company had a turnover of £1.5 million and has gone on to win numerous of awards. In May of this year, their multi-platform project, ‘Foxe’s Live: Wild in the City’, won the award of best website at the Rev awards 2013. This project, which collaborates with Windfall Films and Channel 4, also won the award for Best Mashup and Data Visualisation at the BIMA awards in 2012. Some of the other leading businesses in the city include DS.Emotion, which is a marketing and digital specialist and Elmwood which specialises in brand design. Elmwood recently made some redundancies but insists it is still growing ahead of the market. They have also recently appointed a new chief executive in David Godber.

The biggest trade association for this sector is the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA). BIMA try and support and promote the British digital industry as well as sharing knowledge and communicating with other bodies. Other associations include Pact, NESTA and Chinwag.  As for recruitment, Orchard is the largest Digital, Creative and Marketing recruitment consultancy in the north of the country. Leeds Metropolitan University are also helping the industry as their new technology institute is offering 90% discounted courses to help train creative and digital micro businesses.

The sector in Leeds has been given a further boost with plans for a £90 million investment to create a digital centre in Westgate being approved by Leeds City Council. It is thought that the renovation of a grade 2 listed building into a creative and digital workspace, with a high spec infrastructure, will create 40 jobs in the next year and a further 300 jobs in the Leeds city region by the year 2026. It is also predicted that it will create an additional £95 million GVA in that period.

It is clear to see the importance of the creative and digital sector, not only for the national economy, but also for the success of a region or city. It is anticipated that the sector will continue to develop in Leeds with a 6% growth expected in the next 5 years, consolidating the city’s position as one of the UK’s key creative hubs and the largest media city in the north of the country.

Image credit to Tom Blackwell.

Breast is best – or is it?

This is a bit of a random introduction to the blog and I honestly didn’t plan for my first post to be about boobs! However, after hearing recent news reports that Britain has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Western Europe, costing the NHS millions of pounds, it brought back my own ‘issues’ around breast feeding and I decided to air my few little thoughts on why the rates might be so low!

Throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t really have any preconceptions or plans on how I’d bring up my child or whether I would breast feed or not – my plan was just go with the flow and see what happens…

So when the time came and my son began to breastfeed with no issues (and I know I was lucky), I just thought I’ll carry on for as long as I can. Though there were initial problems such as only feeding from one side due to bruising from forceps, it was all going quite well and I felt it was easier than getting up in the middle of the night and heating bottles etc.

The midwives at the hospital, the ones that visited my house after the birth and my local Little Angels group were all supportive but when I asked any questions around when to introduce a bottle I got pretty much the same response: ‘the baby will get confused and could refuse the breast if you start to introduce a bottle”- so basically don’t bother!

So when after a couple of weeks I decided to get my haircut and leave my son alone in the hands of his father for the first time, I expressed milk, invested in some ‘top of the range’ Medela bottles and left him to it.

It was when I returned and my boyfriend told me my son had refused to feed, that the nightmare began… you see, though I’ve heard it from almost everyone I talk to since, no-one felt it necessary at the time to mention to me that the this ‘nipple aversion’ can work the other way round – and your baby might REFUSE TO TAKE A BOTTLE… for NINE WHOLE MONTHS… And there begun months of stress and pain!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did find breast feeding a really bonding experience and I’m really thankful that it was relatively easy for me to do it – I know that babies refusing to latch on causes a lot of stress. But, honestly, I think that being unable to bottle feed my son was every bit as stressful – if not worse!

In the weeks and months that followed, I tried every bottle known to man… well every bottle I could find in Boots and Mothercare – NUK, Medela (including the £15 a go ‘Calma’ teats), Tommy Tippee, Asda’s own brand, Avent… the list goes on… and eventually as time passed, this turned into trying sippy cups, straw cups etc, etc. You get the point…

I know a lot of people at this point would suggest just refusing to feed my baby and eventually he would take a bottle but after withholding one feed and him refusing any other substantial feed; I just couldn’t face banning him from eating! He was only tiny anyway and I’m a bit of a wimp like that. But I did try everything else people suggested from different positions, to allowing every man and his dog to have a go at trying to feed him, to cup feeding and so on… he was very stubborn.

All in all this lead to a nightmare few months. Not only was I unable to leave my son with his dad or my parents for a few hours or overnight, but he started teething at four months and literally didn’t stop – they came one after the other and I ended up with bite holes and weeping wounds that I wouldn’t wish on anyone! But with what I felt was no other option than to carry on, I had to just ride through the pain.

There were other issues – as my son got older and bigger, I can’t describe how awkward and uncomfortable I felt whenever I had to go anywhere and feed him in public. None of my family or friends had breast fed before for any length of time so it was strange enough when visiting them – and I am the first to admit that its mostly down to my own insecurities, but I am just not one of those people that feels comfortable whipping my boobs out in the park, supermarket, local Italian restaurant etc. and just expecting people to deal with it! I still find it really strange seeing someone else breast feed so to do it myself was a strange and often uncomfortable thing. And most places are still so ‘un-breastfeeding friendly’ it’s a joke! Alton Towers – one of the leading amusement parks in the country – and I found myself trying to find a staircase hidden out of view or hiding in a corner in a restaurant just so I could feed my son. The main expectation I have to say is the breast feeding rooms in The Trafford Centre which were recently revamped by Laura Ashley – worth a visit!

My final point is that breast feeding is meant to help your baby fight off infection, yet my son has been riddled with lots of coughs, colds and sneezes, and was even hospitalised with measles at eight months. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on any other this and I’m sure there are lots of research papers that can prove me wrong and say that in the long run Hari is less likely to get eczema or become obese later in life, and his teething was definitely the cause for a lot of his coughs and colds, but he certainly doesn’t seem vastly healthier than his bottle-fed mates!

So I know I have rambled slightly but getting back to the point – it’s commonly argued that the people feel pressured into breast feeding and that people in the UK don’t embrace breast feeding enough, but there’s much more to breast feeding than just if the baby latches on your fine and if he doesn’t, you’re not. There’s plenty of other issues and struggles and when my baby didn’t take a bottle there was no real support or people to turn to – every health professional I spoke to was like ‘oh yeah that happened to me’ or ‘oh yeah that happens sometimes’ you’ll just have to wait until he is weaned.

Luckily after nine months, one day my son just randomly started taking a bottle – I genuinely think the stress it was putting me under was drying up my milk and he wasn’t satisfied. But for others I know the problem didn’t rectify itself and there was little support for those breast feeding mums who are finding it hard.

Is breast best… not always!

The best PR people in Yorkshire fight for the title of Quiz team of the year

Last night I was a busy bee again hosting my one big charity event of the year – it almost kills me. No doubt if you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me banging on about the charity pub quiz I organise for the regional committee of the CIPR. I bore myself with the amount of ticket pushing I do but as it’s all for a good cause so I try and make sure I do it just the once a year.

The event was in its third year, and if I am honest, seems to be creating a bit of a cult following – for which I am very grateful. Most of the regions’ best PR agencies took time out of the busy schedules to meet up at the Alea Casino and get together to have some fun. I chose the casino as it means we can collectively take over the entire top floor and have the bar all to ourselves as I know how thirsty some in our industry are.

We had well over a hundred people again this year and the proceedings went on until late with several different quiz rounds from pot luck, general knowledge through to music in films. It was an extremely close run thing this year with the longest game of lucky numbers (a legally different game to bingo you understand) I have ever played packed in between rounds. Unbelievably, last year’s champions QUIZ TEAM AGUILLERA brought their trophy with them and boldly told me they were going to win again. Even more unbelievably they actually did it. So well done to their team on a great result. I wonder if they will be bringing both trophies next year? In the first year, the table I was on actually won but sadly this year it wasn’t to be but we we didn’t do too badly as we came joint sixth with a quiz name that I am not repeating.

I just wanted to write this post just to say a huge and special thank you to everyone that came along and bought tickets to last night’s event. I know how busy everyone is and I know we all have homes and busy social lives to enjoy. So to see friends and former colleagues from across the region from the likes of Grayling, Hatch Communications, Raw Creative, the University of Leeds, Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Finn, Clear Silver, Network Marketing, IseePR, Brand8, Turnkey, Approach, Campus and my lot from Prohibition PR and Lucre was truly brilliant and that is one of the reasons I love doing it.

It’s a fun event and it’s great to get everyone from the PR industry in one room together rather to have fun. We have a great industry in this region and I believe we should have more social events which get us together. With that in mind last night we managed to raise well over £1,000 for the cancer charities that looked after Nigel Scott in his final days  – so that means I am very happy today.

And in case you are wondering, last nights leader board looked like this: