This piece of Sun coverage is worth £55,502.00


So, one of us was having a bit of a desk tidy the other day (de-crumbing the keyboard, giving the desktop a spot of Mr Muscle etc) when I stumbled upon this thing of beauty, carelessly filed away among a pile of yellowing newspaper cuttings and an old advertorial booklet selling some demonic looking porcelain dolls, compression socks and 3-pack polyester trousers (hmmmm, I wonder whether they need PR).

Anyway THIS is one of the first ever pieces of coverage I secured as a junior publicist 9 years ago for a (now very little known) dating website – which, let’s say, you probably wouldn’t want to visit these days unless you really felt you had run out of options …

The SUN copy

Product aside though, this is what possibly many PR industry bods would describe as a ‘PRgasm’.

Sprawled on one page of technicolour print on Britain’s biggest selling national newspaper, The Sun, resplendent with company logo, URL link plus insightful on-message quote from company spokesperson (the dating website’s ‘relationship expert’), this piece of coverage is worth a whopping £55.5K in advertising terms today.

Pure tabloid fodder, we commissioned a survey looking into people’s cheating hearts and discovered that people of Britain (OK, sample size: 1K) really couldn’t resist hogging their metaphorical cakes AND eating it. Quite naughty I suppose. And tabloids, of course, like naughty.  The campaign cost all of £0 to implement, thanks to the dating website’s lively and opinionated userbase who loved doing the multiple choice questionnaires, and thanks to a wonderful media relationship I had with the then features editor (we had some great phone conversations brainstorming questions that would elicit the cheekiest, funniest and most enlightening answers – getting people to dish the dirt and ‘fess up, but in a truly anonymous way obviously).

Following publication of this piece, the website (according to the developer’s data) received 35% more web traffic that day (pretty good considering this was not an online piece with a  click-through link – readers had actively seen the URL and sought out more information about the company when they were at their computers) and an additional 10% subscriptions of the free service.

Looking back though with a sober and analytical eye at what this piece of publicity would’ve contributed to the dating website’s general image, any discerning person looking for a bonafide Mr or Miss Right, a wedding, or a long-term romantic partnership would probably poo-poo this service (despite the great name-check) because anyone would think that it was harbouring a commune of love rats; dare I say it – it had become a waiting pool for potential Jeremy Kyle candidates (and we all know the show’s ‘stars’ somehow seem to be having a hell of A LOT of sex. How do they fit it in? Don’t they work?!).

Still. I had always, always, secretly hoped that, from this particular line of work, someone somewhere out there would have found true and resounding lasting love as a result of spotting my piece of coverage in a national newspaper, hopped onto the website, trawled and spotted a rare and precious gem of a person, met them, fell in love with them and then … well, I have a bit of an Auntie Cilla moment and will buy a hat for the website’s first ever wedding.  As is stands, I will never ever know.

But, hell, I’m a true romantic so maybe it did happen, but the happy couple are publicity shy. Or maybe they don’t want to advertise the fact that they found each other on a dating website.  At best, I can only fantasise what a joyous occasion it would be to put ‘1 marriage’ down as a result of PR exposure I secured on an evaluation document. What joy. Imagine the ROI on that? Immeasurable and priceless. After all, you can’t put a price on love.

 


MEET THE DESIGNER – Shanna Melville Bridal Couture featured in Whimsical Wonderland Weddings



Bridal couture – in fact haute couture of any kind – is just one of those things you can never really truly appreciate until you understand just how much artistry, skill, creativity and fiddly man hours it takes to craft a tangible, wearable creation. It’s frankly awe inspiring.

Our incredibly talented client, the designer Shanna Melville of Shanna Melville Bridal Couture – a Wimbledon Village boutique – exposes in this exclusive interview with influential wedding blog Whimsical Wonderland Weddings – the exact painstaking processes involved in creating a dress from her new bridal collection, which – by the way – is inspired by the warm balmy days of an Indian summer (ah, remember those?).

Lashings of tulle, silk organza and mind-bogglingly intricate Indian hand bead work are the aesthetic identifiers of this collection, which is devastatingly feminine and flattering to any figure. Indeed, the pictures of her creations can show you just how you can be transformed into the best version of  your lovely self, on your Big Day.

Read  the full article here

Credits:

Styling | Bergorf and Green

Cakes |  Cakes by Robin

Hair | Gwen Brits-Beenz

Make up | Tiffany Cartwright

Photography | Rohan Clinnick

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 16.07.59

Ornate beadwork around the torso and a low v-neck to flatter the décolletage in this vintage art-deco inspired design


A sculptress of felt: from penguins & purses to ostentatious chandeliers, meet designer and ‘Queen of Felting’ Gillian Harris, founder of the colourful Gilliangladrag brand in this month’s Prima Makes



Picture 60

Before we started working with the quirky and madly colourful Gilliangladrag brand (www.gilliangladrag.co.uk), the art of ‘felting’ was a bit of a mystery to us.

To the unacquainted, feltmaking is a process of binding raw wool tops (that’s the unspun fluffy stuff plucked fresh off the backs of lovely British sheep) and binding the fibres together – either by way of ‘stabbing’ it multiple times with a barbed needle (HUGELY cathartic and very much like voodoo – but without the black magic and probably way more productive) or by rubbing and rolling it in a bamboo matt (the same used for sushi) with a sprinkle of warm soapy water.

It’s compulsive, addictive stuff. The possibilities of felt, we discovered, were endless. Hell, you could quite viably sculpt the Statue of Liberty from the stuff, if you had enough sheep, time and arm power.

Felting is still a long way off from before becoming a mainstream craft like knitting, sewing and crocheting  – but with pioneering designers at the helm of this ‘movement’ – we’re going to be seeing a lot more felted madness and colourful creations bloom before our very eyes in the not too distant future.

Gillian Harris, author, self-styled ‘Queen of Felt’ and proprietor of the Gilliangladrag brand is arguably one of the felting movement’s most prominent ‘sculptors’, carving out everything from penguins and purses to ostentatiously eccentric chandeliers – and all, essentially, from fluff. Even her Surrey based wool emporium where she holds her popular craft workshops and produces her own felt making kits is rather appropriately called ‘The Fluff-a-torium’.

Walking into this rainbow-coloured-alternative-world is akin to a chocoholic stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It is sheer, tantalising eye-candy for the creative with bursts of pinks, mints, fuschia and canary yellow blossoming from every corner or the room. It’s a fascinating sight to behold and I challenge even the craft-shy sausage-fingered among us to not be inspired to give something ‘creative’ a go.

This month (November) Prima Makes magazine features Gillian in a Meet The Designer feature – with nuggets of information from the Queen of Felt herself on what inspires her and why she set up shop in the first place. Read it here for a quick dose of design and inspiration.

Within our humble little team, we’re always finding new ways in which to grow creatively, through reading plenty and doing lots of cultural things. Museum visits, yoga, watching film noir, zorbing, standing on our heads and being mindful and – yes – even felting – has all contributed to the PR creative process. Try it and you will see that felting is SERIOUSLY meditative stuff (and in this meditative state can some of our most colourful creative ideas derive) – just don’t zone out too much; you might find yourself stabbing your fingers with the rather evil looking barbed needle … OOOF!

 

Gillian Harris’ felted chandelier, as seen in her book ‘Carnival of Felting’ (published by Colins & Brown)

 

www.gilliangladrag.co.uk


Sunnies that put the ‘oo’ in bamboo and help an eye clinic in rural India – as seen on Grand Designs (Dec 14)


We’re excited because the lovely E-Side (our luxury eco & sustainable design retailer client) has had one of it’s dead cool products featured in the December issue of Grand Designs.

US label Proof’s stylish sustainable wooden sunglasses have been cited as a great Christmas gift for the “Eco Warrior”. Know of a stylish and earth-conscientious soul who’d love one of these bad boys?

Individually handcrafted and rendered in a variety of beautiful, eco-friendly woods such as ebony and bamboo, Proof’s unisex shades look classically cool and also contribute to a good cause. For every pair you buy, a portion of the sale price goes to supporting charitable causes and projects worldwide, including an eye clinic in a rural, underserved area of India.

Pick up a pair here: http://www.e-side.co.uk/product/Bud_Ebony_Gold

Picture 26