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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.

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How to be legally compliant on social media

Yesterday morning. the Prohibition team jointly organised a successful breakfast seminar exploring the important issue of legal compliance in social media.

Held in conjunction with leading Intellectual Property law firm, HGF, the central-Leeds seminar was attended by 50 marketing and legal professionals from across the region.

HGF 1Social media undoubtedly provides brands with fantastic opportunities to promote themselves and powerfully engage directly with their customers and stakeholders, as many well-publicised cases show. However, social media can also be a huge trap for those unaware of the potential legal consequences.

The increasingly blurred boundaries between professional and private social media use can pose challenges for organisations, as employees unwittingly go “off message” in their personal social media networks.

These issues were explored in two short, but lively sessions, from Anthony Gold, Partner at HGF, and Chris Norton, Managing Director of Prohibition, as both talked through the challenges, opportunities and risks for brands seeking to expand their use of social media, whilst also discussing some of the key tools for success in this area.

The event was the latest in a series of seminars from Prohibition, exploring all aspects of social media best-practice. Our next events cover online crisis management, and take place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Ramside Hall in Durham.

The Top 10 PR Campaigns in 2013

Time is ticking away and we are now five months into 2013 and after several stonking PR campaigns in 2012 which we shared with you lovely people in our lengthy review last year, we felt it was only right to analyse some of the best of 2013.

Feel free to have a look through our list, we hope that some of these ideas might help inspire you when creating your own campaigns. This is all about sharing best practice.

1. Three ‘#DancePonyDance’

Advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy, launched #DancePonyDance on behalf of mobile network Three. It featured five year old Shetland pony ‘Socks’ moon walking in a field. The video went viral online and proved to be a raging success. The tagline ‘Silly stuff, it matters’ and ‘Keep on intereneting’ was to encourage people to have fun and also to make their own videos via the PonyMixer to revive the nations love of sharing funny things on the internet.

2. Carlsberg ‘Standing up for a friend’Brewery group Carlsberg created an online video, twisting original tag line ‘That calls for a Carlsberg’ to ‘Standing up for a friend, that calls for a Carlsberg’. The video features a few different people, all in the same situation at a very dodgy poker table and the scenario set is that they desperately need bailing out. So the participants call unaware friends in the middle of the night and ask them to come over and bail them out of €300. The sacrificial friends come to the place and it is made to look a little like fight club, boxing going outside, chickens flying about and a scary looking security guard on the door. The moment they get into the poker room, the curtains go down and a crown cheers, the contestant is rewarded with a Carlsberg.  This is a really feel good ad that makes you warm a little bit to Carlsberg intention of building friendship through the drink.

3.Evian ‘Baby and Me’

Following the success of the previous Evian babies on roller skates ad, they have now come back to our screens, a little older and a little cuter. This campaign will work a second time round because the last advert was so well known and focuses on making people laugh. The tag line ‘Evian, live young’ fits the advert and will again stay implanted in our head.

 

4. Renault ‘The first car carried by Likes’

Renault’s PR department came up with a great interactive and creative way of getting people involved in live, real time social media. They put a new Clio on one end of large weighing scales, and a big box on the other. They put up a live stream from Facebook to the car and box, and people could watch and click ‘Like’ and a cardboard Like would be placed in the box until it shifted the weight of the car. The live stream went on for a two week time limit and got around 60k views. One lucky liker was lucky enough to win the car.

5. Durex ‘Durexperiment’

Durex has taken an experiment to a new level. They have created vibrating underwear ‘funderwear’ – bra and pants for girls, boxers for guys. By downloading the Smartphone app, you have the control to the vibrators on your partner. The ad features a couple modelling a long distance relationship and using the new ‘Funderwear’. Because of the nature of the ad and the product, it has attracted a lot of well needed media attention, to show that Durex is still innovating their products and not just a condom brand.  The advert has been banned on television; however it is still being spoken about.

6. Talisker Storm ‘The first interactive storm’

For the launch of Talisker Storm malt whisky, the first ever interactive storm was created to promote the new drink. The 25ft interactive storm was open for people to try out; they were also able to decide on the intensity of the storm. The campaign was focused on younger people as break out of the older age image the brand usually attracts. They used celebrity endorsement using former weatherman Michael Fish to promote the event. It built awareness of the brand by using creativity and making it interactive and free.

7. Air New Zealand ‘Blind Gate’

A good Valentine’s Day stunt this year was made by Air New Zealand and shown on live TV and hosted by Claudia Winkleman. The aim was to attract media attention by hosting a blind date type game show  in Heathrow Airport, whereby singletons were to choose their date and then get on a plane to LA to further carry out the date and basically then have a nice holiday in LA.

8. The Corner Shop PR ‘Chocolate Memory stick’

To promote the New Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical, The Corner Shop PR created a memory stick in the shape of a yummy looking Chocolate Wonka Bar to send out to journalists with a press release on with information on the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre. This was a imaginative and personal way to send content to journalists to persuade them to write a story.

9. Doingsomething ‘Wheel of date’

Another Valentine’s Day event was ‘The Wheel of Date’ by Frank PR. The client Doingsomething is a online creative dating agency, so to raise awareness, they sold a limited number of tickets for ‘fun’ speed dating whilst being on in one of the pods on the London Eye.

10. First Choice ‘The best job in the world’

Following the last “Best job in the world” by Queensland tourism in 2009, a competition to be the caretaker to a dessert island, there is now the new “Best job in the world” by First Choice, a water ride tester. Seb Smith, ex Leeds University student is the lucky candidate who won this year. The campaign did work second time round, but didn’t attract quite as much media attention.

Do you think you have a campaign worth sharing? If you do drop it in the comments and let us know about it?

 

This was a guest post from our friendly intern Holly Guest.

Is the role of the traditional journalist dead? The new Guardian App asks the public “Do you have a story or a tip-off for us?”

From the past two years I have spent studying PR, I have noticed more than ever the increase of organisations using online platforms to do their jobs and speak with their friends.

The development of new technology has meant that we can practically do anything with an iPhone or Android mobile. Mobile network EE has brought us 4G and, if you are not aware, 4G is now five times faster than 3G, which means you can tweet or watch movies from practically anywhere if you want to.

Now, going hand-in-hand with the development of 4G by EE, I have noticed that The Guardian has started the new era in terms of journalism – ‘crowd sourcing’. By downloading the GuardianWitness app on your smartphone, you can now be given the role of a freelance journalist. With your account, you have the chance to contribute to live news stories and browse through other GuardianWitness users uploads. guardian app

Of course, there is a team working behind it, content is moderated before it is uploaded, which makes the platform more exclusive and perhaps a little more credible. The best stories are then selected and submitted onto the Guardian News website.

By creating “Assignments” listed on the app, it lets the user choose the subject they may be interested in and upload a picture or video, and a suitable caption. All of the assignments are focused on varied subjects; the most controversial and hard hitting at the moment has got to be “The cuts get personal” which features one or the users change jar, with the caption “Once offered to charity, now to make ends meet, the change jar is emptied to pay for groceries.”

Finally, we are on to the “Send us a story section”, which asks “Do you have a story or a tip-off for us?” The publication’s intention for this app has now become questionable. Is this just an easy option to getting to the story first? Or is it just an online community for budding journalists to share their experiences and hopefully see their name on its website? In my opinion, it is a bit of both and personally I can’t wait to upload a picture which suits to a subject I find interesting.

Since the launch in mid-April, GuardianWitness accounts are growing rapidly. Overall, it is a great new way to interact with news and growing media sources to find out what’s happening fast in a visual way.

This was a guest post from Holly Guest.

Football Flick – Video Seeding Campaign

Over the last couple of years we have been working closely with a number of the best marketing agencies in the country to help them seed their viral campaigns on the web whether that is news, video, apps or even music. It’s the best part of the job and we get to play with some amazing content and stunning videos from all kinds of different sectors and as long as the content is good we are happy to help.

The video we are working on this week comes from our good friends at The Lift Agency and is for a new product called Football Flick Urban. The Football Flick Urban is a three Dimensional multi user football skills trainer, which consists of a front curved ramp, a back ramp and a net in the middle. Each of the three elements of the Football Flick can be used to help train and develop skills used in football.

The video has been created by Lift to generate some real excitement around this useful new soccer training aid. It showcases just what can be done with the unit by players of any ability and what’s more that it can be used anywhere, reinforcing the brand’s strapline… Play Anywhere. It also features the talents of John Farnworth. John is 26 and from Longridge in Lancaster and he holds four Guinness World Records including the most around the worlds in under a minute. In the video, John shows off his skills as a football freestyler and all that the Football Flick Urban has to offer.

Having only been in circulation around 24 hours, the video is already proving to be a big hit. You can see it yourself below:

Prohibition PR Helps Set Up Online Student Magazine – Student Wire

Over the last few months the Prohibition PR team have been working hard to help launch a new online student magazine – Student Wire. The idea was to create a website specifically for students, written by students about being a student!

Our client The Student Store wanted specialist help to create a thriving online community. So we scoped the project out and looked at how we could create something which would help other students out, give advice and provide some great content that was relevant to the audience.

Prior to the launch of the project the team put together a number of focus groups from local universities to bring together thoughts and ideas of what they would like to read.

Emilie Sillett, a second year public relations undergraduate and current intern here at Prohibition HQ was made editor of the magazine due to her rather bubbly personality and passion for creative writing. She was then also asked to help recruit a team of budding journalists and creative writers to help her create a magazine with a difference.

To help increase awareness and garner interest, the magazine was seeded online throughStudent Wire social media and student forums, getting as many people as possible to check it out and create a buzz around the launch of the site. After just four weeks Student Wire is already a huge success and a hit with under graduates from universities all over the UK.

So far it has writers from Leeds Metropolitan University, Liverpool John Moore’s, University of Salford and London Metropolitan providing advice, news and ideas on anything from how to choose your student accommodation through to how to cure a hangover.

Emilie is always looking for interesting features and creative writers so drop her an email if you think you are cut out for the job contact@studentwire.co.uk.

For an idea of some of the topics the team write about at Student Wire, check out some of the favourite posts so far:

1. The Student Halls Lottery by Sarah Raynard

2. Clubbing.. Why bother? by editor, Emilie Sillett

3. Celebrities And Their Surprising, Unrelated Degrees by Amanda Champion

4. And have a look at my own article, Technology That Will Make Life Easier.

And finally, the sponsors of Student Wire – the Student Store – has recently launched a photo competition of ‘the work space from hell’.  Be it your messy student house, your dirty desk or your rotten bedroom we want to see. The winner will be determined by public vote via the Student Wire Facebook page – so be creative as possible and you could be in with a chance £100 shopping voucher and the Adobe Creative Cloud software up for grabs! Apply here.

This was a guest article from Laura Crossley.

Violation of Google’s Guidelines Will Result in Damaged PageRank

Google’s latest announcement has made it official that selling page links and including paid-for placements on your blog can and will damage your PageRank. In the announcement Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Web Spam stated that ‘selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations.’ Such action has been taken out recently on the florist giant Interflora for breaking Search Engine Optimisation guidelines by manipulating links to improve its PageRank. Penalisation of Interflora is the latest proof that even the largest brands are not immune to Google’s rules and regulations. Currently as punishment Interflora doesn’t show up on Google for the majority of it’s search terms, a huge disaster for the brand with Mother’s Day fast approaching. The highest Interflora appeared was on page 2 of a Google search, but mainly Interflora was non-existent. The damages to the brand could value at millions worth of pounds. Matt Cutts has also posted on his own personal blog about PageRank penalties and selling links. Replying to the frequently asked question of ‘Why has my PageRank gone down?’ Matt answered ‘the drop in Toolbar PageRank is an indicator of the decrease in our trust of the site.’ Google isn’t against paid advertisements, it actually supports the practise but they are asking for such links to be disclosed to search engines.  Sites should be judged on their content and influence for SEO not their bank account. What does this mean for PR? Whilst it will upset many people, Google’s announcement will help to ensure that online public relations prioritises quality content over simple and easy paid-for placements and links. Therefore Google is helping to ensure that public relations online is practised ethically. Blogging is a way of using your online freedom to express your opinion and interests, add value and engage in discussions. Blogging on your personal blog, on behalf of a company, just because they are paying you an attractive sum, I believe, totally defeats the object of blogging in the first place. Don’t get me wrong advertorials (which have been around for decades in PR) and articles that clearly show they are being sponsored to review a product are still effective ways to position a brand. It’s the articles that have been paid for that include brand names and links to a website that don’t make it totally clear that are misleading. What do you think? This is a guest post from Lara Busch you can follow her on Twitter.

The 10 Best April Fools Stunts

Google
Regular pranksters Google certainly did not disappoint this year! Now I could probably write a whole post purely on Google’s April Fools stunts from yesterday, but I’ll cut to the chase:

Google Nose: First up is Google Nose, as its name implies, the service lets you search to find out what your queries smell like. You make think that only an idiot would believe it, but after reading some long technical words, many of us must have pulled our screens a little closer and had a sniff!

Google Maps Treasure Mode: Google created a treasure map mode on Google Maps along with a video announcement telling us that the ‘Google Maps Street View team’ have found a treasure map belonging to an infamous pirate. They said the map contains a variety of encrypted symbols which you are tasked with decoding.

Gmail Blue: This one is said to be a dig at Microsoft’s future Windows 8 revamp, also to be named Blue. Google created an almost two minute long video explaining the new technology that is going into their new Gmail design, only to find out at the end, that they just coloured everything blue!

Google seemed to have a bottom-less budget in their marketing and PR department this year. They also made up pranks with Google+, Australian Google Street View, Google Enterprise and…

…YouTube
YouTube took to their blog and posted a video to tell us that their site was set up merely as a way to find the best online video in the world. The video claimed that they had enough footage to end the competition and close down the page.

Bing
If you happened to be on Bing.com yesterday (which I’m sure you didn’t), you would have got a shock. The site completely changed how it looked if you typed “google” in the rival search engine. It was still regular Bing under the surface but the layout was a copy of Google’s. And just for an extra dig, you could either press the “Search” or the hilarious “I’m Feeling Confused” button instead.

Twitter
Yesterday morning Twitter announced it will no longer allow the use of vowels in tweets. The social networking site said that by eliminating vowels, they are helping tweeters to a “more efficient, and ‘dense’ form of communication.” And if you really can’t live in a world without vowels, Twttr (as it renamed itself) will allow you to tweet A, E, I, O and U for the small fee of $5 a month.

Sony Animalia
Sony had us all laughing with a video telling us they are releasing a new “Animalia” line of products for your tech product-starved pets. Because apparently your hamsters needs a good beat whilst on their exercise wheels and your cat would love some headphones to block humans out!

Virgin Atlantic Glass Bottom Plane
The folks at Virgin Atlantic Airways can never pass up an April Fools. This year they took to Richard Branson’s blog to reveal a glass-bottom airplane supposedly made so we can “appreciate the beauty of the British landscape” whilst flying!

BMW Pram
BMW unveiled a new product yesterday, a pram! Or should I say ‘the limited edition BMW P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile).’  Available in Princess Pink or Royal Blue, the soft-top convertible has been designed especially for the arrival of the new Royal baby.

The Metro
I won’t deny it, this April fool even got me! The Metro published a roundup of stunts from yesterday such as The Sun joking that the Angel of the North will be renamed ‘Cheryl Cole’ and the Guardian trying to fool us that scientist have bred rabbits with human ears. Only when you get to the end do you realise they were all completely made up!

Sacla Italia
Italian food brand Sacla added a touch of tech to its April Fool’s joke with the announcement of its latest product, ‘Twitteroni pasta – Eat what you tweet’. Rather like tinned alphabet spaghetti, Twitteroni pasta is shaped into letters, but also includes hash tags and the @ symbol.

The Huffington Post
The latest addition to the London skyline became the world’s best thrill-ride according to The Huffington Post yesterday when they unveiled ‘The Shlide’ – the helter-skelter style slide around Europe’s tallest skyscraper, The Shard.

 

What was your favourite April fool’s stunt from yesterday? Is there anything I’ve missed?

Why branding yourself properly is key to getting a job in PR

With the boundaries between private and public becoming ever more unclear these days, it is essential that you represent yourself properly on all the different social media channels. It is quite shocking to see that, even in the present day, with social media having been around for a number of years people are still unaware of the damage that their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare or Pinterest accounts can do to their aspirations for getting that dream job in PR.

I realise it is quite obvious that uploading drunken pictures, writing rude posts and posting provocative material on your page is a sure fire way to ensure you will be going nowhere in the industry because, after all, if you cannot show yourself in a good light, then why would PR companies trust you to represent them?

clip_image002Valerie Forrestal from slideshare has discussed in a slideshow how the wrong material can jeopardise your chances of scooping a job. Using examples, such as the woman who was denied acceptance onto a degree course due to drunken images on her Facebook page, she has highlighted the pitfalls of not branding yourself properly.

Companies in all industries want respectable employees that they can trust. In the US, businesses have even taken the drastic step of asking applicants for their Facebook login details, so they can run the rule over them to ensure that potential employees are suitable.

Whilst this may be seen as over the top to some, really it is a logical step. If companies cannot access your private account, then is there something for you to hide?

The LA Times previously talked about how important it is to represent yourself properly in today’s social media-driven society, highlighting the need to “be sure your profile is cleaned up so it won’t put off any potential employers.”

Obviously, the more personal sites such as Facebook do not have to be covered in boring material. But to talk about how stoned or drunk you got last Saturday is certainly not going to endear yourself to your future employer.

Everyone is aware how powerful social media is in today’s society but, unbelievably, many are still not taking the necessary steps to represent themselves properly, which is harming their chances of progressing into professional employment.

It is only simple steps that have to be taken to ensure your social media channels are not your downfall.

Have you seen any interesting examples of people not representing themselves properly on their social media? If you have share them with us in the comments.

TWEET FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE WITH LivesOn TWITTER APP:

Communicating with your loved ones from beyond the grave has always been a task left to the mediums and Derek Accoras of our day, but now the creepy séances, flickering candles and moving objects are a thing of the past. As long as the dead had Twitter, they can stay alive via a new Twitter app, LivesOn by favouriting tweets and posting links to topics they once liked. Your loved and lost can truly stay alive through the power of social media, but is this revolutionary or just down right creepy?

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It’s evident that this app will most definitely divide peoples’ opinion on whether it is morally acceptable to keep the dead alive via twitter. However, for some it might be a new and incredible way to keep their lost ones a little closer to them after they have gone. LivesOn acts in a different way to how Dead Social, another post death tweeting service works, by not having you schedule your tweets before you pass away. During your time using Twitter when you are still amongst the living, LivesOn analyses your online Twitter behaviour to then select tweets once you’ve passed and share links with your followers online.

Developed by London based ad agency, Lean Mean Fighting Machine, one of the creative partners, Dave Bedwood spoke out to the Guardian saying, It offends some, and delights others. Imagine if people started to see it as a legitimate but small way to live on. Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I’d bet it will work better than a frozen head.”

As a big Twitter user myself it almost seems palpable that I live on in a world I seem to spend so much time in. Although if I’m truly honest, I’m not really too sure if anyone would even notice my ghost tweets haunting the online social world, with all the social traffic, I’m pretty sure I would go un-noticed. But is this really a way for us to enhance our memories and extend our relationships even when we’re gone, and do we need to keep the relationships going when we’re not around? I personally don’t believe apps like these are adding value to our lives, the memories of who we were, left with the people we love, outside a networking bubble is what truly keeps us alive after we’ve gone.

To me, it does seem quite creepy and a little insensitive to the ones we leave behind, however is this just the evolution of social media? If so, what is to come next, can it get much more invasive, unique or crazy? I am intrigued to find out what lies ahead in the future of social media, it will inevitably get even more extreme in some way shape or form.

With life becoming more digital than ever before, apps such as LivesOn and DeadSocial seem to be the same as leaving letters behind for your loved ones, but just more interactive. As long as you believe your family and friends can deal with the impact of ghost tweeting then I would say go right ahead and truly discover the power of social media.

One question I do have is when does it actually know you have died and could it then re-tweet messages from my funeral as that is very strange and just plain wrong? I think I will leave it for now because it all just feels a bit too insensitive to me and I don’t want to go jinxing myself.