Hamilton Not Throwing Away Their Shot …

When writing this blog, I had many ideas in mind.  After sitting thinking about which idea would be interesting for people to read, I decided to write about something that I am huge fan of, and that is the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Anyone that knows me will know that there is nothing that I love more than Broadway musicals. One of the biggest musicals of the last decade has been Hamilton.  This is a Hip-Hop musical about the American Revolution and it has broken records that no one could have even imagined. Since Hamilton opened on Broadway in August 2015, in the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, it has received a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations (The Oscars of musical theatre), winning 11 including one for best musical.

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So how does a Broadway Musical become so successful? How has it been able to attract millions of people to go to see a Hip-Hop musical about the American Revolution?  How has Hamilton been able to attract people through their doors, from members of the British Royal Family to the everyday theatre-goer? Well, it’s simple – they have been able to use public relations and marketing to make Hamilton one of the most sought-after shows on Broadway.

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Hamiltion was created by Lin Manuel Miranda and it is based on the biography of Alexandra Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Lin Manuel Miranda is one of the main factors forHamilton’s success. Having already achieved success with shows like In the Heights, he had a huge fan base amongst musical theatre fans. He was also able to use his social media profile to attract attention for his new show, even before it opened. Once the show opened on Broadway, it soon became a huge success attracting many A – list stars such as Beyoncé and Oprah, to name a few. These stars would then post photos of themselves on social media, thus creating a desire for other people to go see the show.

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With the buzz of the show, and the amount of people trying to secure tickets, the show soon made headlines. People where literally willing to pay someone to stand in line at the theatre to try and secure a set of tickets. Trying to get tickets for Hamilton soon became impossible, with tickets selling for up to $1,150. The high price of tickets caused negative headlines for Hamilton, implying that it was impossible to get tickets unless you could afford the huge prices. To manage this crisis, and wanting to make Hamilton affordable for everyone, the Ham4Ham lottery was started where you could enter to win tickets for the show. In addition, the cast would often perform for crowds of people who were waiting outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre to see if they were lucky enough to win tickets. The #Ham4Ham would often be used by people at the show gaining extra social media attention for Hamilton.

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With Hamilton gaining so much attention, and not everyone being able to make their way to New York to see it or pay the huge ticket price, there was soon a huge demand for Hamilton merchandise. In this small way, you could get a taste of Hamilton even if you could not make it to the show. Marketing Hamilton means it is more than simply a Broadway show. Hamilton’s soundtrack was charting so well in the iTunes charts that they released a mixtape of the soundtrack, with songs being covered by popular artists such as Sia, Chance the Rapper and many more. There was such a huge demand for Hamilton merchandise that there is even a store in New York to keep up with the demand from Hamilton fans.  MH12

Hamilton was soon becoming a cultural phenomenon and was being used to talk about current social issues that were happening in the United States of America.  For example, Hamilton was being used when talking about politics, with the cast even performing for the Obamas at the White House. After Trump was elected President, and with protests breaking out around the country about the policies that he was introducing, many people were seen with posters at the protests that had lyrics from the musical on them such as, “History has its eyes on you” and “Immigrants – We get the job done”. During one of the shows when Vice President Pence was in the audience, the actor who played Aaron Burr, Brandon Dixon, asked Mike Pence after the show finished, and while he was still in the audience, to respect the diversity that the cast represents.  This got widespread media attention as was caught on camera by members of the audience.  Although it received negative reactions from people, including President Trump, many others applauded the cast for speaking out about social issues that were affecting the country and using their platform to educate people about politics.Image result for hamilton musical

I believe that Hamilton has made Broadway more popular than ever and has succeeded in bringing in a whole new generation of theatre fans.  Hamilton created such a buzz about Broadway musicals that there was even a Broadway Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, which not only included Lin Manuel Miranda from Hamiltion, but other big Broadway stars such as Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski. This has led to the success of many new Broadway musicals such as Dear Evan Hansen, which has achieved similar success to Hamilton.  Hamilton has also helped to change the world of Musical Theatre, attracting new fans and showing that it is okay to break down barriers and change the norm.

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Muriosa Houston is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @MuriosaHouston ; Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/muriosa-houston-32b41413b

I’m not a celebrity get me out of here!

Yes. I know what you are thinking. This is just another blog about this year’s I’m a celebrity line-up and all the antics that happened in the jungle, well then your right! For the first time in 16 years, I decided to sit-down every-night for the past three weeks and dedicate an hour and half to watch celebrities trying to survive life down under. Three weeks ago 11 celebrities were individually chosen and asked to take part in this year’s I’m a celeb. Over the three weeks they have taken part in bush tucker trials, dingo dollar challenges, and adventurous tasks that would help them in getting food for the camp. To get the food, they’ve had to eat critters, lie in caves with rats, and even swim with alligators. This would be a very big no from me!

 

When they first arrived at the camp they were not sure what to expect. To get into the camp, some celebrities had to skydive, others had to get stars in order to win the other team. These stars were not as easy as you think to get. Each night one celebrity was selected by the public vote to do the bush tucker trial. These bush tucker trials helped the celebrities earn proper meals. Each star that they retrieved during the trial was a meal for camp. But holly and Dec made sure these stars were not going to be found easy. Over the weeks I have seen celebrities eat spiders, a camel’s hoof and even a fish’s eyeball. To say there was times I needed to turn off the T.V. was an understatement. I would definitely be the celebrity to come back to camp with little or no stars. If the camp did not receive any stars they had to live on rice and beans. Ugh, even the thought of it makes me feel hungry!

 

Another way the celebrities were able to earn treats was completing dingo dollar challenges. These challenges were more fun in compared to the trials, and celebrities had more time to complete them. I think this would be more my cup of tea if I was in the jungle. When the celebrities completed the challenge, they then head to kiosk Kevin where they receive tasty treats. Cupcakes, cookies and ice-pops are some of the treats the celebrities got. However, to get the treats the campmates had to answer a question, for example, ‘what percentage of UK parent are full confident was goes on in their kid’s lives. A)80% B)45%.’ However, 75% of the time they got the question wrong, so left with nothing.

 

When in the jungle the celebrities had to live a real jungle life. Cook their own meals, wash their clothes in the river, and use an outside dunny. At the start, adjusting to this life was hard for the celebrities, but as time went on they were adopting to it no problem. At the during each week, someone new was appointed to be the group leader, their job was to assign jobs to the rest of the celebrities, while they got their own bed and all duties completed for them. I would be definitely wishing I would be the group leader as I would be no help in doing any of the other jobs.

 

Towards the end of the season, celebrities received special letters from home. This was very emotional for the celebrities; I know this because it even brought a tear to my eye. When they got near the end they started to receive more luxuries, e.g. they got to go to the jungle bar. I think this would be the highlight of my experience! Over the three weeks I have really enjoyed the show, however, watching it has made me realise how scared I actually am of rats, snakes, spiders, and pretty much everything that moves. I am not a celebrity, but if I was on the show, I would definitely be saying ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here!!’.

 

Chloe Toner is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/chloe-toner-937039153

5 Things I Learned From “thank u, next”

Saturday 3rd November, Ariana Grande surprised us all with the release of her new single “thank u, next”.

A break up anthem with a difference, “thank u, next” focuses on what Ariana has learned from each of her past relationships and how this has helped her to become “so amazing”. Ariana sets and example to all her fans on how to face adversity head on and move on to better things.

Here’s 5 things I learned from “thank u, next”

1. Look back, but don’t stare

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Ariana opens the song by taking a look back at all her past relationships. Mentioning each high profile high profile ex by name, she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging her past and the issues that lead to the break up of these relationships.

The past can provide you with information about yourself and looking back at this can help you reflect. However this should not necessarily inform your future or determine your outlook. Reflecting too much on the past can make it hard to stay optimistic, we often focus on the negatives rather than the positives. Looking too deep into our past makes it hard to envisage a future without these same issues occurring.

As Ariana moves into the final verse of the song, she begins to look into the future and discusses her dreams of marriage. She hasn’t let her past failing of relationships ruin her ideal picture of her future. And neither should you.

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2. Learn from the past and take it into the future

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Throughout the song Ariana shares some painful moments that she’s been through over the past couple of years. From the death of her ex Mac Miller, the end of her engagement, family problems and her own struggles with mental health. But she also hints at how ultimately, she’s going to come out stronger from the lessons she’s taught herself.

You Learn about yourself when things don’t go the way you planned them. We learn from the mistakes we have made. Getting hurt allows us to learn more about ourselves as people and allows for self-growth. Taking these lessons with us into the future helps us to not make the same mistakes and betters us as a person. You too can turn out amazing.

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3. The importance of self-love

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Unlike other break up anthems that focus on getting over the hurt of a past relationship by scoring your exes,  Ariana sings from a place of self-love as opposed to emptiness and hurt. Instead of moving on with another relationship to get over the past, she is now focusing on her relationship with herself.

Taking time to look after yourself without compromising for others is so important. Focusing on our happiness will help us to lead a better life. Going forward into the future with self-love and acceptance will help us in all aspects of life. The Key to success in any area is confidence within yourself, no one has time for self doubt.

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4. The importance of your support system outside of your relationship

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In times of a break up we turn to the people around us for support. Ariana sings about how spending more time with her friends has helped her to stop worrying about the past. She also speaks about her close relationship with her mother, who she wants to walk her down the aisle some day.

After a relationship ends it is these people who we look to for support through the pain. That is why having this support network is so important. Laughter and good times with friends helps us to get over the bad times of the past.

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5. There’s strength in vulnerability

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“thank u, next” is undoubtedly Ariana’s most vulnerable song yet. Explicitly talking about all her past exes by name and her dreams for the future, she opens up to fans.

“thank u, next” has also been Ariana’s most successful single. It broke Spotify’s record for single day streams from a female artist 2 days in a row and became the fastest single to surpass 100 million streams in Spotify history. It is Ariana’s first number one in the singles charts in both the UK and USA.

This success was followed by and iconic video which  broke the record for the biggest music video debut in YouTube history, earning over 50 million views in the first 24 hours.

While this commercial success is amazing the real success of the song lies in Ariana’s openness with her fans which has allowed so many people to connect with the song. There is a reason so many people are listening to the song and that is because we can all relate to it in some capacity.

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Allowing ourselves to open up and be vulnerable to the people around us will help you to make deeper connections. We all go through the same struggles in life and we can all relate to each other. A problem shared is a problem halved and vulnerability can be the first step forward in moving on.

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Cathal McCaughey is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University and a Study USA alumni of College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University MN. He can be contacted on: Instagram – @Cathal_10 / Twitter – @Cathal__10 / Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathalmccaughey

Conor Mc Gregor- PRoper Twelve

Conor McGregor – the man, the myth, the legend.  The loud mouth, Crumlin born showman has became famous for his illusive striking, crazy fight predictions and his ability to roast his opponents in press conferences to the point of freezing up when faced with him in the cage. Love him or hate him- his PR campaign works.

Recently McGregor has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, for example hurling a dolly at an opponent’s bus window, injuring numerous fighters, invading the cage at another fight promotion and consequently making the general public fear he was losing his mind. It could be argued that this thoughtless and irrational behaviour may have been detrimental to his reputation and public image however perhaps there is a method to his madness, after all does bad publicity really exist? I think that it is high time for the public to appreciate Conor McGregor for the shrewd, calculating businessman and PR genius that he is. Ultimately he is the one with the staggering net worth of $110 million USD meanwhile I struggle to gather up the price of his pay per view fights.

Was this a calculated stunt to promote the biggest UFC fight of all time ???? You decide.

McGregor has utilised his popularity with the millennial generation and used it to his advantage in undertaking a recent business venture whereby he has attempted to get his foot in the door of the Whiskey business. He was a huge talking point in the media recently and he has used this momentum to promote his new product  “Proper Twelve” to the next level in his UFC press conference.  With the fans behind him coming into his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov,  McGregor took every opportunity to have a bottle of his infamous Proper Twelve glued to his hand in order to make it a household name around the globe.  He then proceeded to taunt Jameson whiskey as he claimed it was “done” and “we only drink Proper Twelve, proper Irish whiskey from a proper Irish man.” This was a huge claim as Jameson is so well established in Ireland yet he had his fans cheering “F*** the Jameson brothers” at the open workouts.  Quite a bold move but he isn’t notorious for being respectable in his approach to marketing.

Continue reading “Conor Mc Gregor- PRoper Twelve”

Ge ne uis or l’eau de chris?

Weirdest title ever? I know! Bear with me though there is a method to the….madness?

As this is my first blog post I should probably start by saying a few things about myself, I am a final year Communication Management and Public Relations student, I am on my 5th year of university after doing a year in Leeds studying Event Management. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out for me, so here I am 5 years on from leaving school, in Jordanstown approaching my last 9 months of university, oh also I am obsessed with my dog and love, love, love, Love Island!

Now I don’t exactly love, love, love Love Island, I could definitely still live without it but it leads me onto what this blog post is actually about.

It’s the 9th October 2017 and Chris Hughes, a contestant from summer ’17 series of Love Island has just released he will be partnering up with Topman, one of the UKs biggest high street retailers for men (and women, great for an oversized hoodie ladies!) to sell bottled water named L‘Eau de Chris, infused with his own tears. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook any social media platform you can think of went into melt down.

Now, if you haven’t heard or have no interest in the Love Island frenzy, Chris was known on the show for shedding a tear here and there, and rightly so, everyone has there moments, right? Everybody hopped on the band wagon “oh this is just another way for them to make money” “absolutely ridiculous, selling your own tears, you should be ashamed of yourself” to state but a few of the harsh tweets- I have inserted a few below to have a chuckle at when this was released, allowing a good 16 hours to pass of mixed reviews of his new business partnership, receiving praise from some and not so much praise from others. Over these 16 hours Chris allowed his followers to drop and rise, twitter to go crazy and Instagram to be bombarded with horrible comments, all whilst knowing the real reason behind his new “business venture”.

  

  

The plot thickens, Topman was not Chris Hughes newest venture, CALM- Campaign Against Living Miserably, a leading UK based charity to help against male suicide was.

This new campaign was in fact in aid of increasing awareness of male suicide, smart, eh?

Chris Hughes is now in fact one of the newest ambassadors for CALM and face of their campaign #dontbottleitup, this all came from his courage and openness whilst being featured on the show, as I said *or typed* before, everybody has their down moments so why keep it in, male or female? Chris Hughes has openly spoke about his problems with anxiety and how talking about problems and speaking openly has really helped him.

Chris stated in his interview with CALM “it’s like halving the problem straight away when you talk with someone about it” and that I completely agree with and commend him for how open he is, obviously I am a girl but by being around my brother, dad and boyfriend I know how hard it can be for men to show emotion or open up. There is that stigma now that men need to be ‘masculine’ and women are the ‘emotional’ ones but I completely dis agree and this is exactly why I think this PR campaign is one of the best social media has seen. Any suicide, male or female is absolutely horrendous and soul destroying, so campaigns like these are what is needed in this generation to get people talking, talking about their problems and opening up.

Okay, to the title, ‘Genius or Ludacris’ get it now?

The name behind the bottled water in the first place means Ludacris i.e. its Ludacris to feel like you should bottle it up, this was all very fitting as it was also World Mental Health Day, the day the initial campaign/prank was released.  After it the cat was out of the bag, opinions completely changed and so did the general public’s view on Chris Hughes, very quickly.

This whole campaign and PR stunt helped to spread the hashtag around not just the UK but around the world and really, I think that is the perfect venture for someone with his following and platform to go towards. Don’t get me wrong I can’t help but have ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out), when I miss just one episode, I can’t be the only one to admit to that? But usually end up hating them all once they come out and take over my Instagram and twitter with their horrendous teeth whitening discount codes or new merch, but this changed my perception on Chris completely….and hopefully will change yours too!

Sarah Heath is a final year BSc in Communications Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @sarahmeganheath,  Instagram @sarahmeganjane, LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-heath-375053a6/

 

STRICTLY PROHIBITED: Curse or Coincidence?

When deciding on a topic for my first blog post, I thought to myself; What am I interested in? What would my readers be interested in? What’s been going in in the media this week? So, I thought I’d keep this light-hearted and discuss the recent Strictly Come Dancing scandal. If you don’t like Strictly don’t leave just yet, I for one am not a major fan but I have somehow become captivated by the so called ‘Strictly curse.’

Popular entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing has a troubled history of sparking relationship woes among its celebrity contestants but is it really a ‘curse’ or just a coincidence? Well, let’s take a look…

It’s been the latest media frenzy this week taking the world of showbiz by storm and anyone who has any contact with the outside world will undoubtedly heard of the recent goings on between strictly duo, Seann Walsh and Katya Jones.

If you for some reason have been living as a hermit, Seann and his professional dance partner Katya were spotted sharing a kiss and joking around outside a London bar last week much to the dismay of their respective other halves.

Exhibit A: #Awkward

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Seann was in a long-term relationship whilst Katya is married to fellow strictly dancer Neil Jones, who made his feelings towards Seann pretty clear on Saturday nights show.

If looks could kill, literally…

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Curse or Coincidence?

A total of 9 couples have already fallen for the strictly ‘curse’ since the show’s debut back in 2004 so it does make me think, perhaps this is a curse? or maybe we are just dealing with a bunch of celebrities who simply can’t handle themselves around a few sweaty dancers, either way the debate seems to captivate the minds of the public every year.

Having never been a fan of Strictly Come Dancing with this year being no exception, I found myself unable to escape the drama on social media, and let’s not kid ourselves, we all love a bit of drama! I tuned in to Strictly ‘It Takes Two’ to see how the couple would deal with the utter shame of the situation and it was possibly the most uncomfortable thing I have ever witnessed, and I certainly wasn’t alone there.

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One thing I can say about the so called ‘curse’ is that it has worked wonders for the BBC. When news broke of Seann and Katya’s infidelity, BBC bosses were rather silent on the issue, understandably perhaps. However, there was no escaping the scandal, with some celebrities jumping to Seann’s defence whilst others began to publicly bash him and his partner Katya calling for the pair to be kicked off the show. Strictly judges, current and previous contestants appeared on various TV shows over the course of the week sharing their opinion on the scandal, so Strictly well and truly gained mass publicity, whether it be positive or negative.

So, have the BBC played up to the ‘Curse?’

From keeping up with all the drama in the world of Strictly, I can’t help but think this whole ‘curse’ debate has worked in the BBC’s favour, with viewing figures hitting a whopping 11.9 million this week with many eager fans tuning in to see the couple perform, I think we can agree that the BBC has well and truly won the Saturday night TV ratings war, but maybe unfairly this time around! The BBC meticulously planned each and every minute in Saturday night’s show to keep viewers on their toes, even leaving Seann and Katya as one of the last couples to dance, so is it really any wonder why they kept them in the show? It was total genius!

It remains unseen as to whether or not the ‘curse’ is real so the real question is, will it all be forgotten about by next week? Probably not, but lets all sit back and watch the drama unfold.

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The Strictly Saga continues…

Sorcha Conway is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be contacted through; Facebook: Sorcha Conway /  Twitter: @SorchaConway / LinkedIn: sorcha-c / Instagram: sorchaconway515

 

Strictly Curse or PR Blessing?

Strictly Curse or PR Blessing?

It started with a kiss. Last weekend, Seann Walsh and his Strictly Come Dancing dance partner Katya Jones were photographed kissing after, what they later described as, ‘a few too many’.

A standard work-place faux pas, that a lot of the nation can unfortunately relate to, made all that more severe by the fact that Katya is married to Neil, another professional dancer on the same show and comedian Seann has (or be that now had*) a girlfriend, Rebecca, of 6 years.

The photographs, taken on 8th October made the front page of The Sun on Sunday which was subsequently followed by various other front-page appearances throughout the week in The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Mirror.

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Both guilty parties immediately posted short and standard apologies on each of their Twitter accounts in an obvious attempt at some damage control. However, it was the statement from Seann’s scorned lover, Rebecca Humphries, that really got people talking.

In a statement co-written by Public Eye, a PR agency who boasts big names such as Jamie Dornan and Suki Waterhouse as their clients, Humphries addressed the incident (which took place on her birthday- I mean, come on Seann?!) and reinforced that she ‘wasn’t a victim’ despite revealing that Walsh had been controlling, verbally abusive and called her a psycho for voicing her concerns over his fidelity.

Rebecca’s brilliantly written statement was retweeted over 12,800 times and saw her Twitter followers increase by over 16,500. Her statement also prompted support from celebrities including Myleene Class, Stacey Solomon, Carol Vorderman and Marian Keyes, many of whom gushed about an all too familiar situation and how she handled herself with such dignity and grace. The Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, Katie Ghose, even praised Rebecca for speaking out publicly about her experience and helping other women in similar situations.

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This perfect example of crisis communications catapulted Rebecca into the spotlight, not as a woman scorned but instead as a voice for a new generation of strong, resilient and capable women.

However, a source from Strictly Come Dancing has said that, “It was written to bring him down, plain and simple, to chime in with the whole #MeToo moment and make it seem far, far worse than it was.” They then went on to say that “He’s a total a***hole but that doesn’t make him a monster.” – A view that surprisingly was shared by a lot of viewers.

Unfortunately for Seann and Katya, their joint appearance on midweek show “It Takes Two” didn’t do them any favours though. Through watching their appearance on the aptly named show, I can only imagine that the severity of what Seann had sacrificed (other than his relationship) was only starting to sink in. His uncomfortable, uptight presence throughout the interview portrayed a mind that was now counting his potential post-show opportunities slipping away alongside his inevitable sell-out comedy tour.

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Whilst addressing his version of events, he made no reference to his (ex) girlfriend and came across as arrogant and overly defensive. Katya showed even less remorse than Seann by selfishly stating that her relationship was ‘absolutely fine and that’s what matters the most’.

But I couldn’t help but wonder, why hadn’t Neil weighed in on these terrible attempts to handle the situation? Was he indeed absolutely fine with his wife’s indiscretions? Was he going to drag Seann across the dancefloor by the throat whilst the band plays Copacabana? Neil’s response was something I’d never read before in any crisis communications text book- he completely ignored his wife’s indiscretions and instead posted this photo below on his Instagram page.

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Whilst Rebecca addressed her public humiliation head on and inspired a nation of women, Neil simply taught us that if all goes wrong, you can always post a poorly photoshopped photo of your butt on Instagram that will be sure to distract from anything else going on in your life…

But Neil’s Kardashian strategy wasn’t enough to distract me.

Having never watched Strictly before in my life, I settled down on Saturday evening waiting to watch the shamed partners take to the floor to perform the Charleston (which I have to believe was picked deliberately by the Strictly producers as it is perhaps the most un-sexy dance they could have been assigned).

After sitting through the first 10 acts (another obvious ploy by the BBC to keep viewers watching the whole way through) they were on. Much to my disappointment, the ghost of Bruce Forsythe didn’t appear to cast shame on them both, but clearly I wasn’t alone in my anticipation to see these two face the music and dance. Twitter was on fire with both of their names trending the entire way through the show and viewing ratings even increased by 1.4 million compared to the previous week.

So were there any real losers at the end of this scandal?

Rebecca, although going through obvious personal trauma has had her profile heightened and gained the respect of a nation of women – all beneficial factors for an actress who, let’s face it, wasn’t a household name before. As for the pair in question, despite their horrendous handling of the situation, they have come out of this pretty well. According to Katya, her relationship is ‘absolutely fine’ and this is seconded by the silent support (and seaside selfies) of her husband. Seann even managed survived the first week of evictions post-scandal and the show is, as a result, boasting huge ratings figures.

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Thanks to the ‘Strictly Curse’, which has claimed victims including Rachel Riley, Natasha Kaplinsky and Kristina Rihanoff, the nation is watching, talking  and tweeting about Strictly Come Dancing 2018. A blessing in disguise.

 

*I personally think the most traumatic thing about this whole scenario has to have been the over-use of the word ‘snog’ in the press.

 

Lucy Sempey is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @LucySempey ; LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucy-sempey-482ab9130/

 

The Kardashians and their PR stunts

We all noticed last year that the Kardashians were appearing all over our social media, snapchats and online news sources about the whole pregnancy rumours. Kim was (maybe) pregnant, Khloé was pregnant and Kylie was too? But what the three sisters all have in common is not just the fact that they were ‘pregnant’ but the fact that they drove the media mad by pulling strategic PR stunts in public and on Snapchat to stir up more news stories around their pregnancies.

After Kim went public on her pregnancy, we saw Khloé and Kylie hiding their stomachs in public for the paparazzi with baggy clothes or with their handbags; to posting images on Instagram and Snapchat, carefully leaving out their stomachs. The whole rumour of ‘if’ the Kardashian’s were pregnant and their refusal to answer or respond to this huge media uproar was the core source driving all their publicity at the time.

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Ever since a source told TMZ about the pregnancies in the family, every tabloid magazine and paper in the world went on a frenzy to report on it. From simple snaps that Khloé and Kylie puts up on Snapchat, to the family ignoring comments and questions about even confirming the pregnancy. The fact is that dominated our news feed, and what’s worse is that we became so intrigued by it.

So, why is it so effective?

The Kardashians use the press to send out one way communication to the public; For example ‘sources’ said Khloé is pregnant and Kylie is 3 months pregnant, but are these sources just a press agency  devised to promote the Kardashians and get them in the public eye?

For the Kardashians there is no such thing as bad publicity. Every story out there, they make work in their favour:

“Hiding that baby bump?”: ‘Pregnant’ Kylie Jenner causes a stir on the Kardashians’ Christmas photoshoot (The Mirror)

Pregnant Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian Snap Selfies Together (USMAGAZINE)

When Is Kourtney Kardashian Due? Star Reportedly Pregnant With Younes Bendjima’s Baby (ELITE DAILY)

Kylie Jenner reveals ‘baby bump’ for the FIRST time along with giant cleavage – amid reports she’s ‘pregnant’ with her first child (OK Magazine)

A Legit Clue On Kim Kardashian’s Instagram Ties Together The Pregnancy Rumours (www.refinery29.uk)

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We see with all these tabloid titles taking the media that none of them actually confirmed the pregnancies, they were all rumours. Theories were created based on their social activity and reading into captions ‘ The 3 of us…’ many tabloids and fans looked on the Instagram pic above as a coded message from Kim suggesting that the three of the sisters are pregnant, even before the official news broke.

These sort of headlines are so effective because they manage to attract those that do not even like the family. So in due course, by creating a lifestyle that many people aspire and relate to, the family not only taps in to their target audience engagement, but also reaches out to other market segments that are intrigued by their way of life.

How is this PR?

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK) defines public relations: “Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you. Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”

The Kardashians use the media today for free coverage to influence the public to engage with the Kardashian/Jenner brand. They ignored the pregnancy rumours for months; they post images of themselves on social media as normal, like they are not in the media spotlight? All this attention and failure to respond to the media has journalists and fans fascinating over every post or public outing they make. As a result, the public’s desire to know more is working in their best interests, helping them further their presence in the public eye and achieve their main aim to engage more people in their personal lives,

Also, considering this year is the 10th anniversary of the Keeping up with the Kardashian’s show, could this just be a PR stunt to increase viewing? Or maybe to get more people to sign up to the new ‘Hayu’ App which the Kardashians are current brand ambassadors for? All I can say is I hadn’t a clue what ’Hayu’

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was until I seen the Kardashians plastered all over it and thought hey they must have made their own app.  Just to confirm Hayu is new streaming video service that’s all about reality TV on demand which only launched last year.

To sum up, the Kardashian-Jenner clan use life events to gain publicity and ultimately engage with their brand, not just the ‘Keeping up with the Kardashian’s’ TV Show but also each of the ladies (Kim, Kylie, Kendal, Khloé and Kourtney’s) individual brands. Their strategy of creating rumours in the media and pulling PR stunts across all social media platforms gains them more credibility and interest by their refusal to address the current dramas in their life.  An excellent example of effective public relations in today’s competitive media environment.

Shannon Doyle is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @shannond_761 / Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-doyle-28b827109 

Women Empowering Women: Why Women Like Tamara Ecclestone Should Be No Exception

No, it’s not every day that you’re born into a multi-billion dollar family empire. However, we can’t choose our upbringings, and for Tamara Ecclestone, she was integrated into the billionaire lifestyle from birth. Now a pop culture icon and television star today, Ecclestone is happy to give viewers a peak into her life and what it’s like raising Sophia – something every mom around the world can relate to.

Called Tamara’s World, the show runs on ITVBe, showcasing the life of former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter, accompanied by her husband, Jay Rutland, and daughter Sophia, whom she lovingly refers to as Fifi. Her mansion, staffed by 50 people, brings the camera crew through the household team each episode, including a chef and a dog-walker, all managed by Ecclestone’s personal assistants: Megan and Dani.

Viewers have been hitting back at Ecclestone, claiming that nothing about her life is normal if a staff of 50 people is waiting on her hand-and-foot. However, others are coming to her aid, claiming that no matter how much money you have, raising a daughter properly today is challenging for everyone. Ecclestone proclaimed that she feels very fulfilled, trying not to spoil Fifi despite her wealth. As she has put it, “We are completely l bonkers, but normal at the same time.”

The debate has certainly unfolded on social media platforms, with women pitted against women, arguing about Ecclestone’s lifestyle and if it’s right or not right for her daughter. It leaves many wondering what happened to the female empowerment movement that’s been sweeping the world lately?

The Feminist Debate

Ecclestone recently sat for an interview with television personality, Lorraine Kelly, where they discussed her life as a mother and the challenges she faces raising Fifi. As the interview took an awkward turn, Ecclestone had to defend herself against accusations put forth by Kelly, implying that Fifi’s separation anxiety was completely Ecclestone’s fault. Touching on parenting style and when it’s appropriate to “let go” of one’s child, putting trust in another caretaker, Ecclestone stated that it’s been challenging for her as she doesn’t want to let her daughter go. Kelly quickly interjected regarding Ecclestone’s attachment, saying, “You don’t want to project that onto her. That’s the trouble isn’t it. You’ve got to learn to let them go haven’t you. I’m sorry you absolutely do.”

Fans quickly descended on social media, lashing out at Kelly for being so obnoxious and rude to Ecclestone. Simply stating at the beginning of the interview that, “In the beginning, Fifi really struggled and I was still heartbroken.  But now she’s into it and really bonded with her teachers and her friends. I’ve actually found it much easier to let go,” viewers felt that Kelly’s attacks her unwarranted and distasteful all around.

As retaliation, Ecclestone took to her social media account after to post a cryptic picture that said, “Women should empower each other instead of being so hateful and envious of one another.”

It sparked the discussion of the classic feminist debate that we see so commonly in the media today. Instead of praising one another and appearing strong, locked in unity for the world to see, women, like Kelly, feel the need to use their public platform to bring down another successful women. It’s a venomous act of defiance that is all-too-common, particularly when it’s woman versus woman. Ecclestone has had to deal with her fair share of criticism today, most of it coming from other women. As a rich, beautiful, and faithful mother, the inferiority complex sets in with other women, who decide to tear her down in their comments and posts. It undermines the female empowerment movement at every corner.

Ecclestone’s Post

There’s something everyone could learn from reading Ecclestone’s post that encouraged more women to empower one another instead of being publicly hateful. If more women took a step to bring other women up, especially on public platforms, more women would be kinder to one another, and more men would respect the feminist movement because it would actually be working. In order to see real, tangible change in this world for women, it needs to start with women themselves. Kelly’s act of jealously perpetuated the “catty” female stereotype, and forced an empowered woman to defend herself on social media.

There’s something everyone can learn from Ecclestone’s social media quote. Female empowerment starts with feminine support today.

Nicole Devlin is a final year Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-devlin-29342364/

Look What ‘PR’ Makes Taylor Do – she’s not ‘really’ dead…

I’ll admit, I’m a self-confessed Taylor Swift fan – I’m a ‘Swiftie’ – and yes, I’m proud of it.

However, if you’re not a fan and have absolutely zero interest in her (or her cats or ‘squad’) then first of all: we can’t be friends. Second: don’t worry, this won’t be some typical fan-girl blog… but when one of the most influential, successful and talked about music-moguls in the WORLD, just released her new album titled ‘REPUTATION’ and we have been set the task to write PR Blogs?

Well, this was a no-brainer (and I’m joking about my first point, promise!)

Thumbs up Taylor Swift

Yes, it can be said that I’ve been through every ‘Swift era’; from the ‘old’ guitar-playing, curly-haired, country teen singing about Romeo and Juliet, to the sassy pop-star singing about the magical feelings of turning 22, to the 2014 Taylor who asked us all to ‘shake off’ the ‘haters and the players’ to the rebranded, shady ‘new’ “I don’t give af” DIVA that she is today.

So, how did Taylor manage to do this?

The answer is simple: she has a helluva-mighty PR team.

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Let’s take it back to the beginning… and THAT Kanye West infamous interruption at the 2009 VMAs when Taylor won Best Female Video. Kanye rolled up (sunglasses firmly on his head) and took her microphone “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! All time!” (#ClassicKanye).

I’ll never forget Beyoncé’s shocked reaction, “Oh Kanye. Oh God.”

Oh God indeed. He was then booed off by the audience.

Kanye West Taylor Swift VMAs

Fast forward through the years and things had improved between the pair.

That is, until good ol’ Kanye strikes again. *cue eye-roll emoji here*

This time, in a reference about Tay in his 2016 song ‘Famous’ he claimed – “I made that b**** famous.” Swifty clearly wasn’t happy and called Kanye out at the GRAMMY’S (as you do). However, everybody knows Kim Kardashian, right?

Kanye’s wife who has a gazillion social media followers.

Kim claimed Taylor had approved the line and posted Snapchat videos of Kanye discussing one part of the song with Taylor… although this ‘evidence’ only showed Tay hearing one particular lyric.

“I swear I don’t love the drama – it loves me!” a lyric that sums up the Taylor Swift of Reputation, according to Rolling Stones.

Taylor’s nice girl ‘reputation’ in the public eye hit a low when Kanye and Kim ‘outed’ her and she was denounced the worst thing you could call someone in our modern-digital-era: a SNAKE *cue snake emoji*

This snake emoji followed Taylor on social media – no matter what she posted, she would be in-undated with thousands of snakes… so much so, Taylor was the first Instagram user in the world to disable comments from all posts.

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Then the most dramatic day of Taylor Swift history happened.

“They never see me coming – what I do next…” another lyric from Reputation (there’s a pattern forming…)

Described by the media as a “digital tsunami”, Swifty removed not just comments, but EVERYTHING on social media. Zero posts, tweets and unfollowed everybody in the process, leaving her 95.4 million Twitter followers, 102 million Instagram followers and 838,458 Facebook fans left in a limbo.

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 THEN THE SECOND MOST DRAMATIC DAY IN THE HISTORY OF TAYLOR SWIFT HAPPENED.

Her social media all at once posted a cryptic video of, well you’ve guessed it, a SNAKE.

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 Taylor repeats in her new album “my Reputation’s never been worse so…” but let’s not forget she “never goes out of style” and she’s not wrong. No matter what ‘bad rep’ Taylor Swift gets – there is definitely “no such thing as bad publicity” to the PR geniuses at Brand T-Swizzle who can spin just about anything.

Just like the omnipresent snakes on Taylor’s social platforms – Swifty’s team recognised she needed to ‘shed her skin’ crafting and re-inventing her with a new image (and attitude) in order to sell a multi-million number of her new albums.

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The album title ‘Reputation’ was a hint that she planned to address some of the controversies she’s dealt with in the past, and her album cover literally GLORIFIES the media with its newspaper style and use of classic font. This, as an iota (or two fingers), to the Media who have portrayed her in the light they have, since 2009.

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The ‘Taylor Swift’ we know isn’t just a person – she’s a BRAND, a case-study, a re-invention of character.

Look What You Made Me Do – the most-anticipated song of the year was released – and people were SHOOK by her lyrics directly addressing both Kanye West, and the Mass Media in general:

“The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now….

WHY?

Oh, ‘cause she’s DEAD”

Out with the old Taylor and in with the new, alongside an epic music video even mocking her previous personnas and literally OWNING what people were saying negatively about it her through the form of…. ‘the snake.’

Taylor Swift SNAKE

“I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time. I mean, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time” – indeed she does, or her PR team do anyways.

This comeback single is still being talked about, and hit Number 1 on worldwide iTunes for a straight consecutive 3 weeks, breaking all kinds of streaming service records in the process.

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Vanity Fair stated recently how social media has replaced the ‘traditional celebrity publicist,’ when a musician can announce a world tour through the form of a single tweet.

What did Taylor Swift do? Oh… she just announced her biggest world tour to date over the social media she deleted herself off previously. (You’re probs asking how I’ve kept up with all this…)

In total, Ticketmaster stated 2.5 million to 3 million tickets for the 44-date tour (including stops in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) sold out within minutes.

THIS is why Taylor Swift WINS at life basically.

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“Make no mistake, this girl’s love affair with DRAMA is alive and well,” according to Rolling Stones… but it also conveniently helps her sell just about anything she puts her name to.

Her life has evolved into a PR minefield, but to sum up this ‘drama’ of Taylor Swift to date…

I refer back to my title of this blog post:

Look what ‘PR’ makes Taylor do – she certainly is NOT dead.

 

Chloe Campbell is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/chloe-campbell-337b26152 / Facebook: Chloe Campbell.