Let anti-aging be Gin


Rhubarb, Raspberry, Elderflower, Orange, Ginger… These are just a few of the different types of gins available these days. The lists are ENDLESS, and in some bars it’s no longer just a list, it’s a mini book! Gin has really become the latest fad, it is no longer a question of can I have a gin and tonic, it is now all about, what type of gin and what is the best way to serve it? This, may I add, is a real nightmare for someone like myself who has just about managed to decide what type of drink to have, and now I am being asked to pick my specific gin. Each of these gins coming with its ‘best served’ option with a particular mixer and garnish. My current go-to is a Malfy (Italian gin) with a bitter lemonade, served with mint and lemon, but I change it about all the time, trying new ones recommended by the bartender. Before this I was on a Jawbox (Belfast gin) with Ginger ale and served with lime and honeycomb. If you haven’t tried any I would recommend both of these gins (shown below).


Just when I thought the types couldn’t possibly get any stranger I discovered a gin online the other day, which to some extent, I found quite humorous. An anti-aging gin… Yes, you heard it here! I am being 100% serious. This is a gin called ‘Age-agin’ which has a mix of anti-aging botanicals added to it, making it the world’s first anti-ageing gin. So, not only is there basically every flavour you could possibly imagine when it comes to gin, in every colour, from whatever origin you fancy… But we now have a gin targeting wrinkes! It’s branded by its creators as ‘the alcoholic equivalent of a facial.’ Who’s giving it a go?


I wanted to know exactly who came up with this, what made someone think, “Yes, gin and anti-aging.” The answer being another unexpected one, the Warner Leisure Hotel Group. So, now we have the combination of three potentially unrelated industries in devising this product; the skin care industry, the drinks industry and the hotel industry. It was created in response to a strategy to attract a younger clientele to the hotel. They carried out research that highlighted gin was consistently one of the most popular drinks for British adults 55+. Therefore, why not create a gin that has a two-in-one effect for an aging demographic? The head of marketing for the hotel group claim they have updated the classic gin and tonic to a ‘skin and tonic.’ The campaign itself was launched alongside the Queens 90th birthday, a pretty risky move with the competitive news stories about the queen hogging the news that day. For you non-PR people, basically all the news would have been focused on the queen and therefore would have been a challenge to get adequate coverage. But, this was not a problem as the campaign resulted in more than anticipated global coverage.

I personally think this is a brilliant campaign and an extremely clever response to the hotel’s aim. It may have been a risky enough approach to attracting a younger age for the hotel group but I think taking a brave entrepreneurial action such as this to really get yourself heard is important in today’s current business climate. In terms of the whole gin fad, I am guilty of getting caught up in it, paying sometimes as much as nearly fifteen pounds for this “perfect” gin with the three “perfectly” matching raspberries alongside it. But, it is delicious so can I really complain?


Niamh Webb is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @1234niamh, and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/niamh-webb-2b5260107/


Tips to Dealing with Dyslexia at University


Dyslexia isn’t an issue that can be helped in one certain way, and having suffered with it for my whole academic life I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have it. I am constantly trying different and new things to see what works best for me. So, I have decided to list some things which helped me through studying at university in the hopes that it might help you too!


  1. Get in contact with student support as quickly as possibly

In my first year, it wasn’t until after Christmas that I got contacted by student support for help and it can take quite some time for everything to be cleared. My note-taker (scribe) only then started in my second year. So, what I would definitely say is be pro-active about this and contact them and ensure you have an up-to-date physiological report.


  1. Print things out

For me, I have learnt that I need everything printed as well as electronic copies. This is especially the case with journal articles – I find it much easier to actually take in what is being said if it’s in a tangible, paper form. It means that I can make notes all over it and highlight certain parts when needed. It also removes the stress of the lecturer moving on to the next slide while you are still writing.


  1. Get assignments or coursework done ahead of deadlines

I know this sounds crazy but it’s honestly been so crucial to me. Leaving myself adequate time to proof-read and correct my work makes a big difference to the quality. I also do not deal well with working under pressure either so this helps with that too. I usually try and proof-read a few times, leave it for maybe a day and then come back to it and get family or friends to give it a once over as well.


  1. Make lists & stay organised

I know this doesn’t directly relate to being dyslexic and is important for every student but I find with part of my dyslexia making me a slow processor of information, the more organised I am, the more confident I feel and therefore the better I can apply myself in lectures and seminars. I have found that dyslexia does knock my confidence therefore building it up in other ways, i.e being highly organised and aware of what is going on helps to balance this out for me.


  1. Don’t be scared to ask for help & communicate with lecturers

It took me until around second year to do this but what I find best is just dropping your lecturer an email at the beginning of the semester to let them know about your dyslexia. I always felt that they would judge my spelling and grammar if they didn’t know (not true at all, just how I felt) and it just makes you feel more comfortable. I would also advise emailing them and reminding them for anything like a class test or assignment or anything which is credited towards your module. Even anything you are having trouble understanding ask the lecturer for help, maybe point you in the direction of other sources you could read or answer any specific questions you have. In every encounter I have had with a lecturer they have been more than willing to help when I have asked.


6.Read, re-read and then maybe read again

Honestly this is exactly what I do. I read something once, usually being pretty confused and I’ll try and make notes. Then I’ll re-read it which will help slightly but I’ll still be pretty confused, usually having to use Google dictionary to see what words mean and how to correctly pronounce them. If I am still at this stage and don’t understand it, I will try and find another source on the same topic and give it a read or maybe try and find a short video about the topic. Then I will go back and re-read again the piece, if I’m still struggling I will turn to friends and family and get them to read and then try and have a conversation about it. I simply just try and utilise all the resources we have available to us to help me engage.


Don’t be put off by dyslexia, you are just as capable as anyone else but simply need to learn to work in a slightly different way and test what works best for you. It will not limit you, look at the image (source: BBC iWonder) on the left as proof. A quote I always refer to is by the actress Whoopi Goldberg who said: “The advantage of dyslexia is that my brain puts information in my head in a different way.”

Niamh Webb is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @1234niamh, and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/niamh-webb-2b5260107/

Guinness adverts sell more than a ‘pint of black’

Guinness adverts sell more than a ‘pint of black’

Have you ever been to the Guinness Factory? I can now successfully say I have after convincing the girls into taking a trip down last weekend. (above- the must do Dublin Guinness Factory picture). It was a great day out and of course, we did not pass up the opportunity to go into the city and treat ourselves to dinner and drinks. BUT, the factory itself was, in fact, really interesting and definitely something I would encourage everyone to do. As part of the tour we went into a room with huge screens showing the Guinness adverts playing on repeat. This sparked an interest with me into the Guinness adverts themselves and I soon realised that, despite there being hundreds of diverse adverts, they all have one thing in common… A storytelling technique, which creates an effective emotional appeal.

Take the ‘surfer’ commercial (I’m sure you will immediately visualise this, but if not I have inserted it below) which tells the story of the surfers waiting with anticipation to catch the perfect wave. The surfer waiting symbolises the slow pour of the Guinness pint and how we should feel when we are waiting on the pint. This advert was released in 1998, and really was the first of its kind to UK TV. I remember watching the advert as a kid, completely unaware of the symbolism it carried. I simply just watched the surf and the galloping white horses, no concept of the legacy this PR technique has left, allowing many to become hooked on a ‘pint of black’.



Another commercial shown, entitled “Empty Chair” caught my attention. This showed a group of young men playing basketball in wheelchairs. This advert adopted an unusual, unique technique as it deliberately withheld information from the audience. The abstract setting of the advertisement initially led me to question: “what has a game of wheelchair basketball got to do with my choice of drink in the pub on a Friday night?” The hidden gem of information in this advertisement was that all but one of the men were actually able-bodied and capable of walking thus capable of playing a game of basketball without the aid of a wheelchair. This was intelligently revealed only at the end when the game drew to a close. The message to this particular story was about friendship and loyalty with the theme of inclusivity also featuring prominently. This further relayed the brand’s key message that Guinness is a drink to be enjoyed by all, regardless of who you are. No matter how many times I watch this advert, I am still filled with a sense of happiness and content as I can appreciate the message being portrayed.



A final commercial I want to mention is the ‘Sapeurs’ one (again linked below). What I loved most about this advert was the positive message it portrayed about Africa, something which is rarely shown. With most adverts about Africa being those of charities, focussing on pity and promoting a call to action to donate, it was nice to see this was different. The message, however in this advert was this ability to defy your set circumstances and live beyond boundaries. Another dimension to this advert I observed was the focus on globalisation of the Guinness Brand. When someone mentions Guinness, a lot of people immediately and jokingly make reference to leprechauns and pots of gold. However, this advert shows the famous stout being enjoyed in a very contrast setting than to that typically associated with the brand. Again, this highlights the fact that the Guinness brand is recognised and enjoyed by those of various races from many different countries and cultures.

There is also a subtle reference to the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Two lines are quoted from the poem: “I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul”. The title of this poem translated from Latin to English means “unconquerable” or “undefeated”; portraying the lasting legacy of the famous Guinness brand worldwide.



These three adverts have no direct link. If you removed the Guinness branding and played these adverts you would have no idea that they are from the same company promoting the same product. But, what they all do is tell a story and engage us in feeling something whether it be anticipation, happiness, inspiration or positivity or even all of these things. What they all do is make us emotional and make us feel something. It is these feelings that they want us to associate with Guinness. They want us to believe that waiting the 120 seconds (fact learnt at the factory) to enjoy the perfect pint is worth the wait. Personally, I am yet to become hooked on the Guinness product itself but I do appreciate their creative advertising.


Niamh Webb is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @1234niamh, and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/niamh-webb-2b5260107/

5 things you need to know before starting Study USA


It’s strange to think that this time two years ago I was deciding between the Study USA experience or the year in work placement. I mean, do you choose to have a year of fun or a year that directly helps you get closer to your dream career? I chose the study USA path – fun or work… It was a no brainer really! To give you more of an idea of what it is truly like I’ve comprised a list of 5 things everyone needs to know before starting Study USA.

1.The workload is continuous

You are warned about the workload before you begin but it was still a shock having piles of homework every night after being in class most of the day. It almost feels like you’re back in school but you will soon realise that everyone there is on the same page and everyone has this homework so you find ways to make it more social. Group studying was really popular and often, after class, we would go to Starbucks or Newark’s and do our homework together, which was a much less serious atmosphere. Frappuccino’s make most things better… Right?

2.Don’t pre-judge your college

Another big one! If your successful in the application process, try your best to be really open-minded about your college. I am guilty of pre-judging. After finding out what college I was going to I immediately decided Study USA was no longer for me. Iwas placed at an all-women’s college in South Carolina – who knew these even existed? However, looking back, I couldn’t be happier and I wish I hadn’t spent so much time stressing about Columbia college. It is all part of the experience and the team at study USA matched me up brilliantly. I quickly realised that my new-found friends were the ones who were going to make this experience for me.


3.The ‘freshman fifteen’ is real

This is one of the American terms that I picked up and it refers to freshman (what we call first year students) putting on 15lbs after starting college life and it couldn’t be more real. Between the constant streams of beer and the huge portion sizes if you don’t keep up some form of exercise you will be lucky if it’s only 15lbs you put on. Also with Study USA you get a meal plan which entitles you to three meals a day (all paid for), so surely you shouldn’t waste this… Right? Well, that’s the approach I took anyway.

4.Fraternities and sororities really do exist.

Well, obviously fraternities didn’t exist in my college, and they were only introducing sororities the year I left. But most of my friends went to University of South Carolina (USC), which is a massive college right beside mine which had every type of frat and sorority you could possibly imagine. Our friends were in TKE and I was lucky enough to get to a few of their events. One of which was a mountain weekend, this is where all the members of TKE bring a date and the fraternity rents log cabins up in the Georgia mountains for a weekend. With this invitation, there was the obligation to paint your date an ice cooler to store your drinks in for the weekend (Something I was not aware at the time). Photos of my cooler are featured below, most stressful experience of my life, it took two months to complete!





5.Just go with it

My final and most important point is simply just go with it all. Yes, you will feel uncomfortable to begin with and things might seem a bit odd but I promise it’s all very fun if you just embrace it. I remember my first weekend I was out in the car with the girls heading to my first frat event – a ‘darty’ which is a day party where all drink and food is provided by the frat. The playlist for the car journey involved every rap song under the sun, I had never heard any before in my life, but they knew every word. Shazam (the app which listens to the song and then tells you the name of it) was my answer to this problem, discretely using this on my phone to store the songs being played so I could listen to them in my dorm later. I laugh so much just thinking about doing this, so ridiculous now! But, it’s just how I adjusted. It really was an incredible year and for me it was completely worth every moment. In my eyes, I took the stance that you will be working for the rest of your life so why not take an opportunity to do something different? Below is a short video of my year – see for yourself all the fun and opportunities I had.

Niamh Webb is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @1234niamh, and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/niamh-webb-2b5260107/