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The PHA Group PR Student Awards – we have our winners!

The PHA Group PR Student Awards – we have our winners!

The The PHA Group 2017 PR Student Awards have received a number of amazing entries and we would like to say a very big thank you to all of you who entered, we really enjoyed reading your entries and were impressed by your enthusiasm for PR.

After much deliberation, the team couldn’t narrow it down to one winner, and therefore have decided on the following three winners:

Josh Dunne – Addict Aide’s Louis Delage Instagram Campaign

Kate Eldridge – Smirnoff’s “Love Wins” Campaign

Jasper Stanley – The Royals’ Heads Together Campaign

As a leading UK PR Agency, The PHA Group are advocates of recognising talent and we are committed to reaching out to students to help inform them on what a career in PR can offer them. We run a very successful PR Internship programme, regularly attend University Careers Fairs and host PR Open Days at our offices for aspiring PR professionals to gain a unique insight into what it’s like to work in Public Relations.

Over the years we have been hugely impressed by the creativity and ideas of the great interns we have had at our agency and so we wanted to create an initiative designed to give students a chance to discuss PR campaigns that they felt particularly engaged with.

We asked students to tell us about their favourite and most inspiring PR campaign from the past 5 years in 300 words or less. The campaign could be from any size company but had to be a PR campaign specifically.

We hoped to hear from students who are interested in a career in PR and who are excited about the prospect of joining The PHA Group team for a day of interactive and bespoke activities at our London Offices – and we weren’t disappointed!

We received so many engaging entries which had hard-hitting topics at their core such as mental health, equality and addiction. It was a tough process choosing a winner, and so we decided on three of our favourites.

Josh Dunne impressed us with his understanding of the impact that PR can have and how campaigns can be effective on a low-budget for his entry on Addict Aide’s fictional Instagram account for socialite Louise Delage to highlight how easy it can be to miss the addiction of someone close to you.

Like my addiction

A post shared by Louise Delage (@louise.delage) on

Kate Eldridge wowed us with her description of the “Love Wins” PR campaign for big brand Smirnoff and the real world impact that they achieved with their bespoke ‘equality collection’ vodka bottles which created awareness and supported gender, sexuality, race and nationality equality.

New bottles!! #love #loveislove #lovewins #❤️ #

And finally, Jasper Stanley stood out for his awareness that a successful PR campaign doesn’t have to have a monetary impact, but can simply create a conversation where previously there has been stigma – this was achieved by the mental health campaign Heads Together in partnership Prince William and Harry.

The winners will spend a day at The PHA Group learning from industry experts and gaining a unique insight into one of the UKs leading PR agencies. There will be Q&As with our senior team, including ex-national newspaper journalists and the founders of the PHA brand. As a multi-sector PR agency we have expertise across consumer, sport, business, fashion, corporate and political PR and our friendly team are excited to welcome Josh, Kate and Jasper to the agency on Wednesday 19th July.

 

 

A less than safe Ascot bet by Coral

Ascot couldn’t have come round quick enough this year. The sun is shining, the grass is green and the hat stands are empty. However for this years’ race-goers, the rules of the Ascot dress code are stricter than ever and as the doors swung open on Tuesday, the masses of fashionistas and trendsetters flooded in, as did this year’s fashion faux pas’.

With the ban on the fascinator introduced this year, more attendees than ever were looking to get themselves hat-papped and once again there has been some paparazzi-worthy headgear!

Image Courtesy of Charles Roffey, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Charles Roffey, flickr. com

Milliners up and down the country have taken full advantage of this prestigious occasion and the array of wildlife that has been fashioned into hats so far is more impressive than ever. From birds to flowers and oversized hats to small ones (although definitely no smaller than 10cm!), as always the most important part of any ladies outfit in the royal enclosure has remained perched on top of their heads.

However, for one guest, heads weren’t turning to look at her hat but to gasp at her outrageous dress and very obvious PR stunt!

All eyes were on Strictly Come Dancing star, Kristina Rhianoff, as she arrived at today’s races including that of the Royal Ascot fashion police and security. Ignoring the well documented Ascot guidelines, Kristina was dressed in a short 1920’s style flapper dress made out of Coral betting slips. The Ben de-Lisi designed dress broke Ascot’s strict guidelines in more ways than one. Spaghetti straps and above the knee skirts have always been a strict no-no when it comes to Ascot etiquette, let alone the dress being emblazoned with the name of a famous betting shop.

It has been strongly speculated that Kristina’s fashion faux pas was instead an impressive PR stunt for the betting company, and after being escorted off the premises by security sporting a rather large smile, no one would believe any differently. Needless to say, the famous dancer would not be banished that easily and returned to the races moments later, in a new dress that conformed to the dress guidelines. A spokesperson for Kristina said “It was always her intention to change her dress and she is still at Ascot enjoying the hospitality at the races.”

If this was a PR stunt, it was nothing but a success as within just a matter of hours photos of Kristina in THAT dress have already featured across numerous newspaper websites and I am sure there will be plenty more to come when tomorrows papers hit the newsstands.

The Mighty Fashion Week FROW

Last week, all eyes were on London as another hugely successful fashion week and celebration of British fashion was carried out with expert precision.

Over the past few years London has firmly cemented itself as one of THE great fashion capitals, alongside the likes of Paris and New York; with an array of leading designers including Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford and Matthew Williamson all choosing to unveil their new collections on the UK stage.

However, whilst we still all wait with baited breath to see what trends will saunter off the catwalk, dictating our wardrobes for the season ahead, there is now another side to fashion week which is increasingly grabbing our attention – the highly contested FROW (Front Row)

The regulars:

Without a doubt, the queen of the FROW is US Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, whose impeccable style and icy demeanour has become ‘part of the furniture’ at all major fashion weeks across the globe.

 

Image Courtesy of Alex Geana, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Alex Geana, Flickr. com

What is most interesting to note, however, is the way that Anna’s front row companions have evolved in recent seasons,  with key industry insiders slowly being replaced by a mix of Hollywood A-listers, it girls and reality stars.

Fashion houses have become increasingly savvy to the power of celebrity as well as the increased public interest in their shows – thanks to the advent of online fashion news and social media. Designers have recognised the importance of filling their FROW’s with the hottest and brightest stars with the aim of cementing their position amongst key influencers within the ‘fash pack’ whilst at the same time broadening their appeal amongst potential consumers.

Burberry is a great example of a fashion house who has managed to transform their LFW catwalk show into a who’s who of the British entertainment industry – capitalising on PR opportunities and guaranteeing themselves front page coverage. At their recent London show, the front row included the likes of: Naomie Harris, Harry Styles, Tinie Tempah, Alison Mosshart, Cat Deeley, Poppy Delevigne, Laura Mvula, Bradley Cooper, Olivia Palermo, Jamie Campbell-Bower, and of course…. the great Anna Wintour!

Image Courtesy of rai araujo, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of rai araujo, flickr. com

Looking ahead

With the baton currently being passed from Milan to Paris, it will be interesting to see to what extent European powerhouses such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior play to these current trends? We shall have to watch this space!

 

Street Style And Its Impact On Fashion PR

 

The popularity of fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire has always come down to their exciting showcase of the latest designers, with catwalks from the likes of Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Chanel and extensive coverage of Fashion Weeks around the world. This type of style, regularly fashioned by the most popular celebrities, has come to be seen as somewhat ‘desirable’ to us mere mortals who may enjoy lusting over the fashion pages and dreaming of purchasing the latest designer label yet may never be able to do so.

The growing following of ‘street style’ is a new and exciting way in making fashion desirable, but also attainable– ‘if these girls on the street can look this good then so can I’.

The ever-popular interest in ‘street style’ – where you, the reader, are taught how to ‘get the look’ of real people on the street wearing the latest designer and high street labels, has been largely helped by the ever-growing interest and following of social media. People (and celebrities) are now able to show off what they are wearing in day to day life through channels such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram with the hashtag #streetstyle becoming one of the most recognised and used terms.

Image Courtesy of Blythe Balkwill, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Blythe Balkwill, flickr. com

Celebrities showcasing their day to day looks give us an insight into their lives, making their lifestyles seem more attainable to us – and also a great way for fashion PRs, especially for high street brands, to showcase the latest ranges. A great example of this is Millie Mackintosh and her Style Diary blog, which features both designer and high street brands in daily pictures of her outfits.

‘Street Style’ also gives fashion PRs the opportunity to promote their brands by collaborating with fashion magazines. New Look, for example, had a fantastic ongoing advertorial campaign in LOOK magazine, in which real girls on the street were photographed wearing New Look’s clothes. The girls in the piece would talk about their style and what they were wearing. This gives the brand immediate accessibility and desirability.

Company magazine is a great example of a publication that has really embraced the concept of ‘street style’. Company’s magazine and social media channels are saturated with ‘street style’ ideas and ‘street’ fashion – focussing more on ‘real life’ girls and bloggers than celebrities. Even their editorial pages are shot in a ‘street style’ way. The magazine’s ‘as worn by Company girl’ section, for example, showcases 3 “real life” young women wearing the latest high street trends. A short blurb about the girls is also included in the piece making readers identify with them and make their looks even more attainable and easy to put together. Fashion PRs can work together with journalists to put together these looks, perhaps even using their own social media channels to show themselves wearing the brands.

The future of ‘street style’ and its growing prominence in fashion magazines is evidently huge. Fashion and beauty PRs for brands such as Topshop, New Look and Nicky Clarke are now also embracing this as much as possible putting together campaigns that appeal to the everyday customer, allowing their brands to grow with the trend.

Nicky Clarke Collaborates with Coast Oxford Street Store Opening

Nicky-Clarke-Coast-Event-4
Last night, PHA Fashion & Lifestyle attended the opening of the Coast Oxford Street store on behalf of our lovely client Nicky Clarke Electrical Products.

From a fashion PR perspective, the event was a smash! Taking place in the beautiful new two-storey store the event was attended by a list of celebs including Louise Roe, Denise Van Outen, Melanie Sykes, Little Boots and even David Seaman. Alesha Dixon was also in attendance and put on a mini performance in the store.

The event also had a great press turn out, with the likes of Cosmopolitan, RED, Glamour, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun, Fabulous all making an appearance as well as a number of bloggers and fashion stylists. It’s not surprising though, considering the invitations that were sent out. In the first instance journalists received a ‘Save the Date’ ornate invitation, in the second instance journalists received a cocktail ring to wear to the event and as a reminder they finally received a clutch bag!

Nicky Clarke styled all of the models for the catwalk show. The gorgeous cascading curls complemented the ethereal Coast dresses perfectly. We also had two very swanky stations set up, providing guests with fabulous hair make-overs courtesy of International Creative Director Warren Holmes and Nicky Clarke electrical products and wet goods. A great example of a fashion and beauty brand collaboration!

LUSH PR Stunt

Images Courtesy of Pip, flickr.com

Images Courtesy of Pip, flickr.com

Lush has taken action to fight against animal testing in the cosmetic industry.  Though made illegal across the EU three years ago, many companies still run tests on animals for cosmetic products.  Lush took to their flagship shop on Regent Street to raise awareness about animal cruelty by bringing these brutalities to the public’s attention.  They exposed testing methods normally done on animals and tested them on an actual human on one of the busiest streets in London.

Performance artist, Jacqueline Traide, 24, was hauled on a leash to the shop’s window. Over the course of the next 10 hours, she endured numerous poking and prodding, was force-fed, and went through two saline injections. Not to fret, she didn’t suffer any ‘actual’ pain. But the experiment stopped shoppers and those passing by dead in their tracks as they witnessed the all too real reality of animal testing.

As a Fashion & Lifestyle PR  team, we keep abreast of PR stunts and are also big Lush consumers. As such two thoughts came to mind, the first being shock and dismay, followed by a desire to help Lush fight against those malicious test centres and cosmetic companies who use, abuse, and then kill innocent animals.

PR stunts take place every week, with some gaining more coverage than others. Lush took a step outside the conventional box by combining the harsh reality of the cosmetic industry with emotions of shock and horror to appeal to an empathetic public, and as a result, it was a huge success.  The stunt challenges men and women to consider the darker aspects of an industry which exclusively exists to make us feel good.

The response to the stunt was predominantly positive, with hundreds stopping to sign the ‘fight against animal testing’ petition. Yet, a large number of individuals simply stopped, watched, and moved on without taking the time to make a difference. Criticism has come from the public, stating that while it is still legal in the UK to sell cosmetics that have been animal tested in other parts of the world, including North America and China, the stunt would have perhaps been better suited in a country that legally allows the cruelty to happen. Others spoke out saying Lush took the image of violence too far.

Lush received positive press coverage around the world for their stunt.  Yes, the images were startling and uncomfortable to view, but they made people aware of the dark secrets in the cosmetic industry.  It encourages men and women to consider how their product was created the next time they make a cosmetic purchase. As far as PR stunts go, the shock factor paid off with 200,000 signatures for their petition and chances are an increase in their sales. A startling, but successful campaign that’s got us thinking twice about my next cosmetic purchase!

Print vs. Digital, what’s really in vogue?

Last week Stephen Quinn, publisher of fashion Bible Vogue, revealed the results of study that asked 2,500 Vogue readers whether they preferred their traditional magazine format, or digital content via Vogue.com or the Vogue iPad app.

An overwhelming 87 percent of readers said that they preferred the traditional format, and I can see why. There’s something unbelievably indulgent about the tangible quality of a print magazine, and flicking through the beautifully crafted pages of Vogue is a monthly highlight. Whether you rip out your favourite looks for fashion inspiration or pile up your entire year’s subscription because they’re just too beautiful to recycle, the aspirational nature of a high-end glossy magazine can’t be denied.

Vogue online print magazine digital

Image courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/5605031889

That being said, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the media is undergoing a digital revolution. Every magazine worth its salt has a well-run website, full of both exclusive content and online versions of print articles, and with tablet devices and smartphones becoming the norm it’s now possible to read your daily paper or favourite magazine in a purely digital format.

And of course it doesn’t stop there; as this article demonstrates, with the ever-increasing number of blogs, everyone can become a writer and upload their own editorial content directly onto the web.

Quinn comments, “You go into media buying companies now and they say ‘Print’s Dead, you’re a dinosaur Stephen’”.

So are they right? Is print already dead, or is it dying? With Vogue making £25m a year in advertising revenues they certainly don’t think so. Yet, in a world where news breaks via Twitter before it’s even reached the newsdesks, where fast fashion is available in abundance and where technology and the internet rule our daily lives, traditional print media is certainly facing a struggle to keep up.

The key is not to pretend that this revolution isn’t happening, but to embrace it and accept that we live in a world where Kindles could replace books, iPad apps could replace magazines and the internet could replace the daily newspaper.

This doesn’t mean however that we won’t have access to the latest best-selling novel, reports on the latest trends or the daily news. The media will always be around, just perhaps not in the traditional way we are currently accustomed to. Publications, therefore, need to roll with the times and keep up with what their readers want, as Vogue demonstrates, or risk falling by the wayside. After all, there’s something nostalgic about an old record player, but would you really swap it for your iPod?!
Cover image courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/5605031889

Marni for H&M

IANAC-MARNI-HM-1aThis morning Marni launched its highly-anticipated H&M collection in store and online. The Italian label’s founder Consuelo Castiglioni has designed a spring collection for the high street brand, which has landed in 260 stores worldwide as well as online.

Castiglioni said of the new collection:

“I wanted to create a true Marni wardrobe by revisiting all our favourite pieces in signature fabrics and prints. As always, I love juxtaposing prints and colours, mixing modern tribal with Bauhaus graphic and adding sporty utilitarian elements.”

 

Marni_HM_butterboom MARNI-HM-13 marni-hm-lookbook3-1539654The collection will showcase all the elements that have become synonymous with the designer brand, from vivid colours to all-over prints. Our favourites from the collection include: Silk Dress £79.99; Silk Blouse £59.99; Silk Trousers £59.99

H&M started collaborating with designers for its collections in 2004, with Karl Lagerfeld. Since then the high street retailer has collaborated with various high-end designers including Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Roberto Cavalli, Matthew Williamson, Jimmy Choo, Sonia Rykiel, Lanvin and Versace. In terms of fashion PR, a high-street designer collaboration is a dream project, and publicity instantly increases. (Note – Mary Katrantzou for TopShop continues to feature in mags, despite the fact that most of the pieces are sold out!)

The question is, ‘who wins’? Who benefits from this increased publicity? Is it the high street retailer or the designer? For the retailers, designer collaborations are a way of tapping into a ‘masstige’ market by delivering a sense of exclusivity and luxury. For designers, the campaigns establish wider global publicity, Stella McCartney, for example, was able to spread her ethical views to a wide consumer audience.

Sounds like the perfect PR platform for both sides! However, it is also important to consider the backlash on the day of the launch. With hundreds of people after a limited number of items, customers are bound to experience disappointment and it is H&M (not Marni) that will incur the blame. At 9am precisely I headed straight to the H&M website, and was not at all surprised to find that I had been ‘placed in a queue’ and have been in it ever since (much like the many many on Oxford Street at this very moment).  And where will our disappointment be directed – not at the designer, but at H&M via their social media pages. One angry shopper has commented ‘Marni collection for H&M DISASTERRR’. It’s important that H&M adopt a successful social media campaign surrounding the designer launches in order to maintain customer satisfaction.

Ultimately the increased publicity and hype around designer collaborations far outweighs the few complaints – and designer collaborations will continue to boost H&M’s credibility and mass popularity. Long may it continue!