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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.

More success for Prohibition!

Will Ockenden (L) and Chris Norton (R)Blog Will Ockenden (L) and Chris Norton (R)Blog Rebecca Wharmby (L), Will Ockenden, Vicki Murphy, Blog Adam Worrall, Chris Norton, Emily Moult (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After celebrating a record year that has seen us double in size and move to larger office we’re now happy to announce the appointment of our new board director.

Following a number of new high profile business wins, including the UK’s largest wholesaler of floristry supplies and artificial flowers, Country Baskets, and national market leader in sustainable housing, Keepmoat Homes, our team has doubled in size to eight.

This includes the appointment of Will Ockenden as board director. Will previously ran the Sydney office of Leeds-based PR and social media agency, Lucre, and prior to that worked at a senior agency level in Leeds. He will be responsible for developing our professional services and B2B offering.

Will is also set to work on commercialising our self-published online student magazine, Student Wire, which is currently the third-largest magazine of its kind in the UK, with more than 60,000 readers. The magazine forms the core of our growing student and youth marketing division.

Other key hires to our team include Rebecca Wharmby, former PR executive at Disney who joins as account executive and Adam Worrall, a professional journalist, as content manager. This month has also seen us relocate to our new, larger office, based in Chapel Allerton.

Our managing director Chris Norton, said of the growth: “The last 12-months have been extremely eventful; we have achieved real success when it comes to delivering non-traditional PR services such as content marketing, online influencer engagement and social media eCommerce services. As such we have experienced strong growth, and have invested heavily in people and technology to ensure we continue to deliver outstanding work. We won the Best Use of Digital Award in November and we plan to enter several of our campaigns this year too. Working jointly with Will, I’m confident we will continue to grow, and offer something genuinely different in a busy market.”

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?

Prohibition PR client launches search for the UK’s best amateur football writer

Our client Bets of Mates, the world’s first Social Betwork has launched the ‘BoM Armchair Analyst’ – a competition to find the best amateur football writer in the UK asking football fans:

Do you ever find yourself sitting down to watch the match, and then spending the next hour getting annoyed at the pointless remarks made throughout by some obscure ex-player? Reckon you could do better? Well then we want to hear from you.

To enter, simply email your own match report to the team info@betsofmates.com, or click here to submit your 400-600 word article online, making sure you tell them which club you support. The competition runs from today until the 10th May and will be perfect for any budding Match of the Day critics.

For full more details and all the more boring bits we’ve missed out, click here.

With thanks for the image from mgjosefsen.

PR Interviews: 7 types of question a journalist might ask and how to deal with them

That old saying ‘forewarned is forearmed’ can be applied to many fields – and most especially to when you’re being interviewed by a journalist.

Journalists are generally pretty skilled at asking questions in such as way that will get their subjects talking – whether they want to or not!

But if you’re forearmed – not just by preparing in advance what you want to say, but also with what the journalist might ask – you’re much more likely to go into the interview feeling more confident, be able to take the control and make the points which are important to you and your organization.

Most questions fall into seven broad categories, and once you can recognize them, you then can work out how to answer them well, in a way that delivers your key messages effectively.

1. Open questions

Any question starting with who, what, where, when, how and why (and not forgetting ‘tell me about’). There’s normally no way you can answer these questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

“What does your company do?”

They are often asked at the beginning of an interview, so they give you a great opportunity to take control of an agenda, talk at length and really get your message across.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve asked a question starting ‘tell me about’ working on TV programmes such as Remembrance Sunday, to encourage people to talk about their experiences.

Do beware, though, as they can be used to trap you.

“When will the chief executive resign?”

“Why didn’t you call in expert help when you knew there was a problem?”

2. Closed questions

A closed question is one that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example:

‘Do you think that your company provides good media training courses?’

Or

Does your company also offer video production as one of its services?’

(the answer to both these is ‘yes’ by the way)

The way to spot these is that they generally invert the pronoun and verb in a sentence, so they might start with ‘Is it …?’, ‘Do you …’, ‘Will you …?’, ‘Have you …?’ or ‘Has your …?’.

When you answer them, it’s generally advisable to expand on what you’re saying and don’t just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, particularly in a print interview where your answer might be turned into a quote by the journalist anyway.

Sometimes, however, you will disarm the interviewer by simply saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, which can be very powerful.

3. Leading questions

These invite you to make judgments about your activities, and are highly likely to be asked if you’re under fire for some reason.

“Your track record running this hospital is hardly one to be proud of is it?”

In these circumstances, it’s probably best to ignore the premise of the question and deal with the issues factually, clearly refuting the points made. So you might list your achievements and describe the measures you have taken to overcome the current difficulties.

4. Incomprehensible questions

Interviewers do sometimes get in a muddle, especially if they know little about the subject of the interview. Don’t judge a journalist too harshly in these circumstances – they may have had only a moment’s notice of the interview and had no time to research. Rather than pointing it out the journalist’s ignorance, take the chance to answer the question you hoped they would ask, and deliver one of your key messages.

5. Multi-element questions

This is sometimes the sign of an inexperienced or over keen interviewer:

“With me now is Barack Obama, the President of the United States. So Mr President, can you tell me how you defeated the Republicans, but it’s all going a bit wrong now isn’t it, are you concerned about how the Democrats will do in this week’s elections, and what does it feel like to be the first black president of the United States?

Just pick the nicest question – ie, the one which will allow you to get your messages out best – and answer that.

6. Hypothetical Questions

The type of thing you may face from an aggressive current affairs journalist.

“Will you resign if the investigation proves that your department approved that shipment of illegal arms?”

To deflect this type of question, simply refuse to be drawn and turn the conversation to a positive point, repeating the statement you have made to other reporters.

7. The Cul-de-sac Question

This is designed to catch you out, no matter what you say.

“Mr Mullins, your organisation is responsible for leaking sensitive medical records. As managing director, you must surely be considering resignation?”

The only thing to do is refute both parts of this question – and stick to your own agenda.

Whatever kind of question you are asked, the most important thing in any media interview is to remember the reason you agreed to it – to promote yourself and your business or organisation. Good preparation – both in anticipating questions and in deciding on and polishing your key messages – will make that task far far easier.

 

We would like to thank to Ann Wright for providing us with this brilliant guest blog, Ann is the co-founder of Rough House which specialise in media training.