How to lose 7lbs in 10 days

How to lose 7lbs in 10 days

A few weeks ago a personal trainer named Tara Grimes, who is also a brand ambassador for Spar NI, asked would I trial her new “10 day kick-start” program. It was the second week of university, so my final ever ‘Freshers’ week had taken its toll on me. I was also recently back from Thailand (which meant eating out four times a day, and drinking beer from noon to night) and had put on the ‘placement pounds’… as sitting at a desk from 9-5 without eating some sort of chocolate is basically impossible. So I thought, sure why not?!

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I play Gaelic football so train regularly, although my eating isn’t great and has never been. I eat out regularly and can’t go a day without bread! So when I read what the program consisted of, the Sunday night before I started it, I was really doubting myself.

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On Monday 16th October I started the program. It was a calorie deficient program where you were only allowed 1400 calories daily. I know, it sounds terrible! On the first day for breakfast I had scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes and spinach WITHOUT bread and it was surprisingly lovely. Lunch consisted of a tuna salad and dinner was chicken and vegetables. The first day was awful as I found it so hard to not snack (especially when storm Ophelia was battering outside and everyone in my house was drinking hot chocolate).

On the first day I was also required to do a HIIT session, which is a high intensity interval training session where you do certain exercises and repeat them in sets of four, whilst taking a thirty second break in-between. I am not joking when I say, I could not walk for two days after. I hadn’t done proper training like this in months so this was definitely a shock to the system!

Days two-five continued on like this which a very regular routine of breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack when it allowed for it on the plan. It was extremely difficult, especially being a student in Belfast when there is temptation everywhere. In saying that the meals were great with lots of options and choice to cater for everyone’s taste. There were ten different breakfasts, lunches and dinners however I found my favourites and stuck to them. The turkey mince curry was one of my favourites. There was also carbs on the program which was ideal!!

On the kick-start program, no alcohol was permitted. Not to sound like an alcoholic or anything, but I did my first ever sober night out in Belfast on day two, and it was fine – although there are only so many glasses of water you can drink!

Day six rolled around and I thought, I will weigh myself that morning to see if this is working at all. I could not believe it. I had lost four pounds in basically five days!! The HIIT session that morning was surprisingly easier than normal as weighing myself was the best motivation to keep going strong.

Tara wanted someone in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s to trial the program to see if it actually worked before she officially launched it to the public. We had a private Facebook group where we all posted in pictures of our food, any questions we had and really motivated each other throughout the process. Around day 6/7 other women had weighed themselves and also lost in and around 5 pounds too. So clearly, the “kickstart” program definitely works. The private Facebook group now has over 300 people all supporting each other.

By the time day ten had come around, I felt like I wasn’t as hungry in-between meals and that my body had started to get used to the normal routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner without eating any crap. On the tenth day I really couldn’t believe it when I had lost a total of 7 pounds. It is a crazy amount to loose in ten days but I never felt like I was totally starving myself, as the portions Tara planned were huge! It was an amazing feeling and clearly visible as my clothes were fitting better. I had tried a formal dress on two weeks before I started the program, which didn’t zip up. After the ten days it zipped and fitted perfectly!

Two sober nights out, no take-aways and no coffee was extremely hard. In saying that there are no juices, no powders or pills, it is just good food! However, when you realise that 10 days is only a third of a month, a small percentage of your year and a tiny part of your life – it is so worth it!

Tara has now launched her ten day “Kickstart program” on her website and the sales are rocketing! For the launch period she has a brilliant deal were you can buy the program for only £14 instead of £28. Get it here at https://taragrimesfitness.com/product/10-day-kickstart/

I can vouch for it – It is truly AMAZING!

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Helen McAleer is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn on linkedin.com/in/helen-mcaleer-6b1221b4 and on Twitter: @Helen_McAleer30

 

 

My best investments of 2017 : Lock-It Foundation, by Kat Von D

My best investments of 2017 : Lock-It Foundation, by Kat Von D

Since Christmas and the new year are on the way, I wanted to do a reflective series of blogposts. These will be my first ever entries, so to introduce myself, I am going to base them around something that I would claim to exceptional at – spending money.

The first of the three best investments I have made in 2017 (in no particular order), is the Lock-It Foundation, by Kat Von D.

I wanted a high end and high coverage foundation that I could wear on nights out and special occasions. After hours of online research and various applications of different foundation samples (which any makeup counter in Debenhams and House of Fraser are sound about handing out), I finally made my decision, and I am yet to regret it.

So, here are the reasons why the Lock-It Foundation, by Kat Von D is the most worthy beauty investment I have made this year, and quite possibly my life.

• It only takes ONE PUMP. That’s right, ONE pump to achieve a full-face application with full coverage. I was cynical when I read this claim on the packaging, but I can safely say now that it proved to be true.

• The coverage is FLAWLESS, and it has never failed to hide any blemishes for the entire night. Kat Von D states that it is “so long-wear, you can go a full 24 hours without re-applying“. Now, I can’t speak for this claim, but I can say that it never fails to last me a full night out – from the pre, to the club, and even to the post-club McDonald’s visit. I never have to even so much as check if it is still in place.

“Technology must replace animal testing, and animal testing must be banned by governments worldwide” – Kat Von D

• Another huge advantage of the Lock-It Foundation (and all Kat Von D products), is that it is certified by PETA as being “cruelty free”.

• The Lock-It Foundation is OIL FREE, but also hydrates the skin – need I say more?

• There is no flashback in photographs. For once, I don’t have the face of a ghost beside my mates in nightclub photos anymore.

• The packaging is beautiful. If you are big on your aesthetics like I am, you will love the box that the bottle comes in – almost as much as the product itself.

• It is available in 32 shades, from “41 light – neutral undertone”, to “81 deep – cool undertone”.

• The bottle itself has been designed to prevent contamination and to preserve its rich consistency, with its “innovative, airless chamber”.

As you can, tell my experience with the Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation has been a great one. It genuinely is the best high-end foundation I have tried, and I have tried a LOT (e.g. Giorgio Armani – Luminous Silk Foundation and MAC – Studio Fix). I ordered mine from the Debenhams’ website, at £27. If you have been considering this foundation, I hope this post will act as that little push you might need to make the investment – which I promise, you will not regret.

Kat Von D website: https://www.katvondbeauty.com/face/foundation
Kat Von D @ Debenhams: http://www.debenhams.com/beauty/kat-von-d
To sign PETA’s “Pledge to be Cruelty-Free”, follow the link: https://support.peta.org/page/1405/petition/1?locale=en-US
Rachel Reilly is a 2nd year student on BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelreilly98

PR Under The Influence

How many posts have you read in the past week featuring the latest product which your favourite blogger just ‘cannot live without’? Or the number Instagram posts with someone promoting their newfound favourite brand of sunglasses that are a ‘must’ yet which you hadn’t even heard of until now?

The advertising industry is in the middle of a major shift.

Social media is radically reinventing the aging business of PR and nowadays, we only have to scroll before coming across an advertisement on social media and whether you realize it or not, you are being influenced.

With a focus on putting the public back in Public Relations, the advertising industry is championing the new, growing business of ‘influencer marketing’. Capitalizing on social media’s reach, influencer marketing focuses on the strategy of paying an ‘internet celebrity’ to promote products in their accounts to their followers.

So, you’re maybe asking what exactly is an influencer? To put it simply: an influencer is someone who has accumulated a substantial number of followers on social media. Therefore, an influencer’s established and reputable personal brand is the perfect platform for brands to promote their message in exchange for financial reward or exposure.

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Think of it like this, how often have you ever visited a restaurant, booked a holiday or bought that latest lippy because somewhere on your feed someone has filtered a picture nicely and added a discount link beneath? Well, if that’s the case then you have indeed been influenced.

With 49% of consumers seeking purchase guidance from social media influencers and a further 40% media users making a purchase as a direct result of a promotional post, digital PR presents a conspicuous opportunity for brands to utilise the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire. Why is this? Because as followers we trust recommendations from and identify with who we choose to follow.

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Adrien Koskas, general manager for the U.K. for L’Oréal Paris, stated influencers are a hugely important part of their creative process. Using a team to track them and annual contracts, L’Oréal Paris has 23 influencers for its’ True Match product.

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There are four key reasons this shift in PR is shaking up the industry – it is cost effective with marketers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earning an average of six times what they spent on paid media; high ROI – 81% of marketers’ state that influencer marketing is extremely effective; gaining customers trust – 92% of consumers trust recommendations from personal connections; has mass popularity – 74% of all marketers’ plan to use digital PR this year.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising”.

– Mark Zuckerberg –

 

Amy Greer is a second year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: @amyagreer & LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/amygreerrr

Kylie Jenner – PR Nightmare or Publicity Princess?

Kylie Jenner – PR Nightmare or Publicity Princess?

Whether you love her or love to hate her, it’s impossible to ignore Kylie Jenner’s success. At just twenty years old, she became the youngest celebrity to feature on the Forbes 100 list earlier this year, with a staggering net worth of $41 million (£31 million.)  To put that in context, I’m a year and 8 months older than Kylie and would probably place my own net worth at around minus £20,000, thanks to the Student Loans Company.  That’s a little bit of a bitter pill to swallow!

But how did Kylie manage to go from being the baby of the Kardashian-Jenner Klan, to perhaps the most successful of all the sisters – including Kim?  It would be easy to dismiss Kylie’s rise to the top as being the result of a perfect PR storm.  We often imagine famous celebrities and their multi million pound endorsements being carefully manufactured behind closed doors by scheming PR managers with dollar signs in their eyes.

But when you really think about it, Kylie’s career would send any sane PR practitioner running screaming in terror.  Forget the modern definitions of public relations that talk about ‘managing reputation’ and ‘creating mutually beneficial relationships’ – Kylie’s empire is built on publicity rather than PR, and her success is definitive proof that it’s still a relevant method today.

As the first of Grunig and Hunt’s Four Models of PR, publicity or ‘Press Agentry’ involves purely one-way communication from Press Agents to the public. The aim is to create publicity by any means, including by telling half truths or downright lies.  One of the classic quotes which just about sums up press agentry is, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” which is probably the Kardashian family motto.

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“That’s why her lips are so big – they’re full of bad publicity”

Let’s go back to the rumours that started it all.  In 2014, when a few Insta selfies of Kylie’s lips looking plumper than usual began to make tabloid headlines, the question on everyone’s (normal sized) lips was: has she had fillers?  Kylie denied any surgical enhancement, instead attributing her newly plump pout to using particular shades of MAC lipliners and lipsticks. Many of these shades sold out internationally almost immediately.  I would know, because I was one of the many trying to buy them.

Even after Kylie eventually came to admit to having lip injections, it didn’t stop fans rushing out to buy whatever lip colour she recommended. It also led to lip augmentation topping the list of most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatments in the UK in 2016.  Any product that Kylie Jenner’s lips touched seemed to turn to gold, and perhaps this is where she had her lightbulb moment – what if you could package up Kylie Jenner’s lips and sell them?

And so Kylie Cosmetics was born.  The first batches of Kylie lip kits sold out in minutes, despite conspiracies surfacing online that her $29 lip kits contained a virtually identical formula to US makeup brand Colourpop’s $6 liquid lipsticks.  Videos and pictures comparing eerily similar shades began sprouting up across the internet in a Kylie vs Colourpop showdown.  You may think a PR nightmare like this would be enough to destroy the Kylie Cosmetics brand before it had even begun. But you would be wrong – in the 18 months since, it’s raked in roughly $420 million.

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Just as before with her lip fillers, Kylie eventually addressed the accusations, promising her fans that while they shared the same manufacturers, her products used an “exclusive” formula that she “created herself”.  Yeah, sure, I buy that completely…just like I bought her Holiday Collection and Vacation Collection Lipkits later that year.  (Another classic quote of the press agentry era is, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  I am that sucker.)

So we’ve established that Kylie is clearly gifted at working bad publicity to her own advantage, but earlier this year when possibly the biggest rumour of her career hit the headlines, she showcased just how gifted.  In case you’ve been living underneath a soundproof rock without Wi-Fi for the last few months, in September 2017 TMZ reported that Kylie Jenner is allegedly pregnant with rapper Travis Scott’s baby.  When I first read this news on my Facebook timeline, I gasped so loudly that my sister ran into my room to check if I was okay.

At the time of writing this, almost two months on, Kylie has neither confirmed nor denied that she is with child – but she continues to benefit from daily tabloid coverage as journalists analyse her every prenatal (or not) move.  Meanwhile, posts to her social media accounts appear as normal, promoting her Kylie Cosmetics Autumn collection and new Velvet Lipkit Shades.  Despite hiding possibly one of the biggest events of her life from even her most loyal of fans, her products continue to be snapped up by her followers without hesitation.

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Preggerz? Kylie and BFF Jordyn Woods test out the new Kylie Cosmetics Autumn Collection in a recent Youtube video

Kylie’s career breaks every rule in the PR handbook, with reputation and Two Way Symmetric Models of the communication going out the window long ago.  So how does she continue to be such a success?  As an unashamed Kylie fan, I think that keeping somewhat of a smokescreen between her and her fans is what keeps the Kylie brand thriving.  While many brands and celebrities become increasingly tangible and relatable as they open up every aspect of their lives to us through social media, Kylie Jenner remains an untouchable force in an A List celebrity world far, far away from our own, and by buying a little piece of her exclusive, sold out cosmetic line that she “created the formula for herself”, maybe we feel like we can buy into just a little bit of her untouchable world. Either way, I think Kylie will continue to build her booming career on half truths, downright lies and bad publicity.

And when she releases a Limited Edition Kylie Cosmetics Baby Shower Collection, I’ll still be snapping up all the shades.

 

Una McHugh is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/una-mchugh-a11956106/ and Twitter @unamickq

Shine bright like a Trophy Wife

I am a massive makeup collector.  New collections are my cocaine, new products get my heart pumping and when a new brand drops, you’ll be sure I am there on the launch date.

My latest obsession is Rihanna’s new brand Fenty Beauty. Named after her family’s name, our RiRi has teamed up with the massive makeup creators Kendo to produce a makeup line “so that women everywhere would feel included” according to the website. Kendo’s portfolio of brands today consists of Kat Von D Beauty, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Fenty Beauty and Bite Beauty.  Hence why they call themselves “an innovative brand incubator”. Continue reading “Shine bright like a Trophy Wife”

Dior Catastrophe With Cara Delevingne

WHAT DID DIOR DO WRONG IN THIS CAMPAIGN?

 Dior has successfully gotten international media coverage about their new Capture Youth product with the face of the product being Cara Delevingne. The response to Dior’s selection of a 25 year old model/actress, Delevingne, was definitely not the coverage or reaction that they expected. The target audience of this product is not having it, and quite an uproar has commenced with all different generations expressing feelings of confusion, anger, and hurt. Women of all ages say that Dior missed the target audience by selecting Delevingne to head the campaign because she’s too young, she doesn’t have any wrinkles, and they have nothing in common with her.

In fairness I can certainly see why Dior might have thought it was a good idea to have a beautiful 25 year old woman as the face of their campaign, but their obvious message, if you use our product, this is the results that you’ll get – the flawless look of Cara Delevingne, is so far out of the realm of reality as to be absurd. Now that being said, can we just talk about all the different ways Dior’s PR with this campaign was a huge flop? Dior’s intended audience is women who have wrinkles, so clearly women pushing mid-thirties and beyond. That makes sense; this is the correct target audience. These are the women who are going to be buying this product with the hopes of seeing less wrinkles and a younger face. Dior needed to be a little more realistic… no matter how much of this cream women in their target audience use, they are never going to look like Delevingne, someone who hasn’t lived long enough to have any wrinkles, so why piss off and offend your target audience? Delevingne would be perfect if you were targeting audiences who consisted of teenagers and twenty year olds. At least then Delevingne would give an accurate and more realistic product testimony on what the product did for her and could do for them. Dior’s target audience is not going to take this product seriously because they’re not seeing someone their age “using” it and showing the “amazing” results. The lack of common ground they have with Delevingne when it comes to products like this is decades’ worth. There is just absolutely no way that she can give a product testimony that will actually persuade the target audience to take this product seriously and to actually try it. Rightfully so.

You wouldn’t see Clinique release some product aimed at twenty year olds with Jennifer Aniston as the face of their campaign because the product doesn’t relate to Aniston and Aniston doesn’t relate to the target audience. (Still a huge fan of Jennifer, goals.) I honestly don’t understand how Dior thought this was a good idea. How did they not see the problems that would come from this? It was a good try, Dior, but better luck next time. Next time go with Jennifer Aniston or someone equally as beautiful and equally as mature. At almost 50 years old, Aniston is the beautiful woman whom your target audience would’ve related to the most and would’ve sold the product better.

INSPIRATION THAT DIOR CLEARLY NEEDED

 I guess it was wishful thinking that Dior paid attention and took notes from past campaigns that were successful. Let’s take a look at Aveeno’s 2014 Positively Radiant Face Moisturizer with Jennifer Aniston as the face of the campaign.

Younger and older generations look at Jennifer Aniston as a beautiful, successful, glowing woman. In the commercials you see Aniston’s face literally radiating with a healthy, young, and wrinkle free look. Yes, we know Photoshop has a lot to do with lack of wrinkles and the exuberant radiant look on her face, but when people see that commercial, that is not the first thing that comes to mind. The first thing that comes to mind is, “Wow, she looks absolutely stunning. I need to use whatever she’s using.” Next they see and hear Aniston’s product testimony on how that specific product is what made her face look so flawless on top of radiant. I mean, why would the target audience not buy and use a product that looks like it has successful results with a ‘credible’ product testimony?

DIOR’S NEXT STEP

Dior is one of the most well-known and respected brands in the world, so no matter how horrible this campaign went, they have the chance to really fix this. They could partner Delevingne up with an actress or model who is older and produce a short film. In the short film they could have a woman reminiscing about her younger days with her young, radiant, and smooth looking skin. Her younger self could be portrayed by Delevingne and have the more accurate representative talk about how well the cream has worked to getting back to her old skin.

No matter what Dior chooses to do next in response to this campaign, they better go at it with a more conscious and sensitive approach. Audiences don’t like to be lied to or insulted, and with this campaign Dior tried to do the former and succeeded brilliantly with the latter. It remains to be seen whether their reputation is injured beyond repair. After several decades of selling fine cosmetics, I tend to think they can rehabilitate their reputation, but this kind of campaign can’t be ignored. The modern consumer is a lot more intolerant of such antics and companies, like Dior, can quickly find themselves in quite a fix. A repeat performance may have women permanently abandoning the brand altogether in favour of a more respectful vendor.

 

Emily Williard is an exchange student, currently studying public relations at Ulster University, as part of her degree in Public Relations at Appalachian State University in the US. She can be contacted on Instagram at emilee_5 or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-williard-0196a4151.

If we’re not obsessing over Zara’s new season, we’re talking about its ongoing controversies!

A message, or you could say, a cry for help has been secretly spread about seeking support for a campaign for better labour standards from third-party factory workers for the high street fashion brand Zara. They work for Bravo Tekstil in Istanbul, who work for one of the largest fashion retailers, Inditex who is Zara’s parent company along with Next and Mango.

Bravo Tekstil reportedly shut down overnight, leaving employees with no work and three months owed wages. According to the workers, the idea is to pressure Zara to pay them the wages they are owed.

How on earth have they been able to reach so many customers in Istanbul and now globally without anyone knowing!?

Believe it or not… through notes that have been slipped into the pockets of garments and that have even been stitched onto the clothes themselves as a label!

One of the messages said:  “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.”  

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Now, can you think of a note that makes you feel any guiltier?

The way in which the employees have grabbed attention, I think, is extremely clever, (although ‘clever’ may not have been on their agenda and it was done out of pure desperation) to beg consumers directly, pulling on their heart strings rather than fight with the company itself was an ingenious way to get their voices heard.

What is really disgraceful is that Zara has previously been accused of using slave labour to make their clothes. Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, recently overtook Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world! The least he could do is pay his workers the fair amount or as some employees have protested ‘give us our basic rights!’

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Being a lover of fashion, I follow various social media fashion accounts. This recent fast fashion disaster has been all over my newsfeed in the last few days, the likes of Harper’s Bazaar fashion magazine Facebook page has shared the article and wrote ‘This is shocking!’ Individuals have shed light on the situation with comments ‘this is exactly why I detest fast fashion, these unethical practices continue to plague Inditex, the leader in fast fashion.’

Labour Rights Forum also hopped on the bandwagon and pleaded their twitter followers to sign the petition that currently has 20,336 signatures.

A spokesperson for Inditex stated that a hardship fund for the workers affected by the unexpected disappearance of the Bravo factory’s owner.

“This hardship fund would cover unpaid wages, notice indemnity, unused vacation and severance payments of workers that were employed at the time of the sudden shutdown of their factory in July 2016. 

“We are committed to finding a swift solution for all of those impacted. “

I have tried to put myself into the shoes of those customers who found a note, my heart would have sunk, I would have genuinely put the item down and walked out of the store. If the item was already bought I would have returned it without a doubt.

However, considering 50% of my wardrobe comes from Zara, I feel awful that these items could have possibly been made from unpaid and ill-treated employees.

A public relations and ethical disaster, Zara have a huge mess to clean up.

Yet, they are not the only ones guilty of this, public relations and business code of conduct is a global matter for major businesses now and disasters like this could potentially lead to the exposure of other companies exploiting workers.

I have signed the petition, why don’t you?

https://www.change.org/p/justiceforbravoworkers

 

Laura Duffy is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University, Jordanstown. You can find her on Instagram @laura_duffyy and LinkedIn @lauraduffy