Tuesday, 8 December 2009

We have the X Factor

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…but the team at ZPR was still hard at work getting amazing coverage for their clients in festive features aplenty!

Phew, what a week it’s been. Christmas is truly open for business with the papers bursting with silly season stories and Christmas gift guides. Here at ZPR we’re really getting in the swing of things, our tasteful tree is up and we’re gearing up for our Christmas office party on Friday…

But before we head out to Cow Shed for our pampering session we must update everyone on what has been another amazing week. As the Jewel in the crown, B&Q’s presence in Kingfisher’s quarter three results last week were outstanding with so many of our key products and messages included on top of the financial performance. Leopard print wallpaper, lime green kitchens, real Christmas trees, Showroom Academy and the scary Mother-In-Law effect all caught the imaginations of the business editors.

Jackie had a great time at London Television Centre on Saturday where she and the team from B&Q decorated the GMTV studios with eight full size trees and baubles to match. The Deck the Halls range certainly lives up to its name!

The Selfridges team is tuning up this afternoon as they count down the hours before they join X Factor semi finalist Danyl Johnson tonight as he performs live at the Selfridges Christmas sing-along in aid of Mothers4Children

Danyl will be singing a selection of well known Christmas carols to help raise donations for Mothers4Children, Selfridges’ dedicated Christmas charity for 2009. Mothers4Children’s ambassadors including Yasmin Le Bon, Louise Redknapp and Lisa B will also be present.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping on your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by Danyl Johnson and folks dressed up in their best designer gear! Bring on Christmas on Oxford Street!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

From Soho to Shanghai

The calendar turns its page to December 1st and bang, Christmas is upon us. The papers are laden with fabulous festive gifts featuring all our clients, Lucy’s humming Wham’s Last Christmas, and we’ve just about got enough money left over from last week’s death by credit at the hands of Selfridges’ Christmas Comes Early.

Selfridges’ grotto opened last week to record bookings (over 40,000) for kids (and the young at heart) to board Santa’s Express, ride through a magical winter wonderland filled with incredibly cute penguins and polar bears, before arriving at Santa’s station and being granted the opportunity to ask for an updated version of last year’s Super Mario Cart (or in my case, a Givenchy bag).

Over in the adult-only world - we added a touch of spice to the media, spreading the word that corset sales were 70 per cent up at Selfridges and Bordelle’s £900 feather corset completely selling out. News spread like wild fire (helped along by images of a six foot blonde parading the £900 corset) and materialized in blanket coverage in print, broadcast and online

Jenny and Zaria landed home safely from their press trip to Shanghai, which celebrated the opening of Superdrug’s parent company, A S Watson's 500th store opening in China. Journalists were treated to an insight into the differences between beauty retailing in the East and West, in between an entertainment schedule including twelve course Chinese banquets, visits to the fabulous sightseeing spots, boat trips, street markets and lots lots more. Zaria ran up a £500 bill in the hotel’s Vue Bar on the 33rd floor on a cocktail of internet roaming fees, (as she tried to keep abreast of ZPR news from an eight hour time difference).

Now over to this week and the launch of the UK’s first Christmas tree drive through at Selfridges. That’ll be a Christmas tree and a side of fries please – oh go on then, I’ll have a dollop of ketchup since you’re asking.

Friday, 13 November 2009


The Superdrug team gave beauty journalists what every girl wants last week - a two hour shopping spree in the Westfield store where they had the chance to pick up their favourite beauty and fragrance buys, as well as preview new product launches and stop for a manicure at their leisure - we know how to treat them!

Well we can safely say that the Pearl Lowe for Peacocks range has been a massive success with the dresses selling like hotcakes, and the luscious red dress worn by both Daisy Lowe and Natalie Imbruglia sold out within 30 minutes of going online....get in there quick ladies!

The B&Q team have had a celebratory week as they sung Happy Birthday to the legendary oldest worker of B&Q, Sid celebrating his 95th Birthday. It was a great day for Sid as he got chauffered to work in a Rolls Royce, where the CEO met him and presented him with theatre vouchers, a giant cake and best of all THE ONE AND ONLY golden apron especially designed to mark his 95th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SID!

Finally us ladies were kept busy this week as four strapping England Rugby players were down at Selfridges on Wednesday evening launching their 2010 Rugby’s Finest calendar – the semi-clad lads got the girls (and some of the boys!) swooning…with sales of the calendar going through the roof!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A week of Celebrities!

Its been a busy few weeks as usual at ZPR, not only have we been gearing up to Christmas and all the gift guides but we have been rubbing shoulders with celebs and politicians including Elizabeth Hurley, Pearl Lowe, and George Osborne!

Peacocks had its Pearl Lowe press launch this week at Sketch which was THE event to be seen at, with paparazzi outside and guests attending the Durex anniversary party claiming to be on our list, it was very much a coveted party. The models looked fabulous in the Pearl Lowe for Peacocks dresses, and Daisy Lowe, Rhys Ifans and Danny Goffey were there supporting Pearl, ensuring there was never a dull moment...

Next on the celebrity list was Liz Hurley making a personal appearance in Selfridges for the Estee Laudee breast cancer appeal. She looked stunning and was really open and friendly to the huge crowds who had gathered to see her. She talked about how important the appeal was to her and then posed for the ever increasingly rowdy photographers!

Katie made us all laugh when she sent round images from the photo-call she had organized at Superdrug. Going with the strap line 'men on the lash' a rather good looking male model arrived wearing eyelashes and goth make-up strutted his stuff on High Street Kensington, proving men in make-up is something us ladies must come to terms with!

Last Friday George Osbourne, Shadow Chancellor, visited our B&Q Bradford store, much to the curiosity of the local customers! He was there not only to meet staff but to chat about B&Q's fantastic training and education programmes plus hear about its plans to help customers green up their homes and the campaign to get VAT cut on green goods.

Stepping away from the bright lights of celebrity life and into the wholesome land of DIY, B&Q is also busy educating kids of Britain with their 'Job Done' scheme. They are taking DIY back to schools to help educate kids who have very little DIY skills with their especially designed curriculum.

And finally........ we would like to say a huge good luck and farewell to Hayley who is about to go into labour any minute!! And welcome Amanda who is stepping into Hayleys lovely footsteps!

Monday, 5 October 2009

What with the return of Avocado bathroom suites and mens' tights you might feel that as we get into the final quarter of the year we've lost the plot but no these are serious new trends to embrace!

Along with 'Watch with Granny' - the news that skills from wiring a plug to changing a tyre and fixing a leaking tap have skipped a generation according to B&Q's survey on how we're turning to our Grandparents to learn skills - very poignant given today is Grandparents Day.

We're feeling all Christmasy now that we're in to October and the Telegraph news desk have agreed with a heavy heart that we can finally start talking Christmas highlighting half Xmas trees as a new trend and Selfridges Christmas Grotto has started taking bookings - but hurry there are hardly any slots left.

Meanwhile - sales of Champagne at Selfridges and jam jars at Lakeland are on the increase - are the two linked - champagne and strawberrry jam or are we just all getting pickled!?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

What's at the bottom of your garden?

Is it a pig arc or a washing line? We've been driving the sustainability agenda this month with the news that more and more people are searching for the Good Life and thinking about taking the GYO agenda a step further by keeping pigs in their back gardens. There's also news that the single biggest one thing that you could do to green up your life is to use your washing line and ditch your tumble drier.

Elsewhere the 21st century pressure cooker means that thanks to Lakeland we can now all follow in the footsteps of our mothers without being terrified of exploding pressure cookers.

And we'll also be following in our mother's footsteps as we step up the eighties glamour stakes as the new FAME film is set to hit our screens next month and we're all going a bit DYNASTY with big hair and shoulder pads.

What's a girl to do to keep up - Crystal Carrington style hair and shoulder pads whilst mucking out the chicken and pigs - now that's 21st Century pressure!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

All things bright and beautyful

The beauty team did not disappoint last week with two Christmas press shows that smashed previous targets and an A list appearance at Selfridges.

Firstly Superdrug heralded a beautiful festive season with a beauty and gift focused Christmas press show at Soho Hotel. Over 160 journalists came along to see the ranges, have their nails painted by the nail art team, their make-up done by one of the experts on hand, speak to a nurse about winter health, or have their fortune told… or them all! We also launched Superdrug’s new Bag 4 Life which is in store in October so watch out for beauty media around town toting their preview pink and black bags.

Next at L’Occitane we launched Christmas in true Provencal style with macaroons and Mediterranean scents. With the air filled with delicious almond fragrance over 120 journalists entered the Christmas haven and cooed at the gourmand beauty offer as mouth watering scents of Cherry, Almond, Rose and Vanilla took centre stage. Our fragrance questionnaire to find your perfume personality was a big hit with beauty editors who were keen to choose ‘Audrey Tautou’ to play them in a film about their life.

Oxford Street came to a stand still as Scarlett Johansson made an appearance at Selfridges for Dolce Gabbana The Make Up. ‘’Im slightly overwhelmed, I have never seen so many personal cameras” she said as Selfridges’s Beauty Director David Walker Smith welcomed her to the stage. With her famous pout brushed to perfection by beauty legend Pat McGrath, Scarlett waved to fans who had flown in from as far as Israel just to catch a glimpse of the beauty.

All in a weeks work for the ZPR beauty team

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Christmas in July

It's been Crackers at ZPR this month - we kicked the month off 'At Home With Lakeland' at their first press event for 15 years and the home of creative kitchenware proved that no home is complete without the Lakeland touch - with jam making, pickling and preserving on the menu this year - we'll be bringing in the Harvest this Autumn Winter.

On to one of the World's most iconic department stores and we launched a 'Cracking Christmas' at Selfridges with its panto themed product and great gift pulling off a full page Christmas exclusive in the Evening Standard.

Last week we tipped the media that it's going to be a DIY Designer Christmas at B&Q with the launch of its biggest ever Christmas range and designer decorative ranges from Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and Kelly Hoppen.

This week we're feeling beautiful as Superdrug and L'Occitane launch their AW beauty and Xmas ranges and Dolce & Gabanna's Cosmetic diva, Scarlett Johansson makes an appearance at Selfridges.

Phew after all this ...we'll all be in need of some serious beauty make overs!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Its raining men...

ZPR's theme over the past seven days has been 'semi-clad men', which has posed somewhat less of a challenge for the ladies amongst us, as I suspect it might have done for our male colleague Daniel.

Fashion legend, Tom Ford kicked off the proceedings with the launch of his latest Private Blend fragrance, Bois Marocain at Selfridges on Wednesday evening. The following morning, Katie, Hayley and myself travelled (ok, we ran) down Oxford Street to feast our eyes on our idol and sudo God, David Beckham, who unveiled a building sized image of his magnificent body (and Emporio Armani undies) to a sea of screaming fans and the world's media. Monday morning arrived, along with an almost naked Piers Morgan who was launching the UK's first flame grilled bur - sorry I mean to say scent - aptly titled 'Flame', to a 'pond' of screaming fans (and Hayley) in Selfridges' atrium.

We're pleased to welcome our new recruit to the B&Q team, Carrie, who first walked through ZPR's doors just over a week ago and has wasted no time in diving into the multi-seasonal world of barbeques, outdoor furniture and Christmas in July...

Monday, 8 June 2009

So long, farewell...

Well what an eventful week so far...

Last night (Weds) we went to Gilgamesh to welcome (relatively) new arrival, Dan and (very) new arrival, Leanne and say Au Revoir to myself! In true ZPR style (after 5.30pm) we managed to get through a jug of Pimms and a couple of bottles of champagne which just about lined the stomach for the feast of Thai cuisine which similarly to the alcohol went down very well.

So ZPR bloggers this will be the second and final time that I write to you as a fellow ZPR-ian. As the phrase suggests " Time flies when your having fun" I cannot believe how quickly this placement year has gone! I have had an invaluable experience for my first year in the working world and I know all the opportunities I have been given and situations I have been thrown into (sometimes at the deep end) will stand me in great stead on the beginning of my career ladder!

Finally, all that's left to say is -There's no I in team and I will miss you all!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Tales from the veg patch…

After working on B&Q for only a few months, and with a good bout of sunshine recently, it was only a matter of time before one of the team ventured outside and got busy with a spade. Not that we encourage taking your work home with you at ZPR, but I’ve been busy ‘giving it a grow’ down the garden and started a little veg patch of my very own. If I’ve followed the advice from our team, I’m hoping to be able to bring home-made potato salad into the Monday meeting in the not too distant future – watch this space!

We had a very big birthday for Selfridges, which is celebrating its 100th year this month, so we kicked off in style with a celebrity party attended by the likes of Lilly Allen, Henry Holland, and Joan Collins! If you’re staying in to save the pennies, Peacocks has just the thing to add a touch of spice to everyday life with the launch of its new ‘Bed-It Crunch’ lingerie collection and Santa’s little helpers at Lakeland have been busy already packing products up for the Christmas shoot and getting ready for their first festive press event in July.

Monday, 20 April 2009

ZPR girls and BOY!

Yes I am male and I’ve been catapulted into the female-dominated world of ZPR. But fear not readers, the life-size David Beckham poster is still in place (soon to be joined by a life-size Jennifer Anniston poster?) and topics of conversation still include all things beauty, fashion and eligible men.

I may have been thrown in at the deep end, but the good news is I’m learning fast. Sunin was a hair dye from the 1980s and it’s back at Superdrug, nudes are in (it’s a clothing colour!) and House of Holland is not in Amsterdam, it’s a design house which has just lent its touch to a new range of tights from Pretty Polly.

On the client front, it’s also been in at the deep end. Easter for new client B&Q is like Christmas was for my old employer (very busy!!) and in the three weeks I’ve been here we’ve issued, on behalf of B&Q, three national news stories, there’s been two store openings, a product release every day and I’ve become an expert on peat, apprentices and green energy.

And we’re not expecting any let-up in pace. Two busy DIY bank holiday weekends are on the way and the onset of summer means Britain gets busy in its garden – not surprisingly a key time for the UK’s biggest garden retailer.

So business as usual at Z PR, there’s just a man about the place.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Every young girls dream...

Us ZPR girls do like to work in style and recently we were involved in what you could call "every young girls dream". Our client Superdrug was involved in the TV show, Coleen's Real Women - as the Liverpool lass trawled the streets to find a new face for Superdrug, finally picking the gorgeous looking Liz. Zaria, Jenny and Lucy made their claim to fame with helping Coleen to pick the new face! Once again this week we were mixing it up with the celebs- as the Superdrug team met with the lovely Girls Aloud in the Westfield store as they brought out a range of luscious lashes and did a signing in store which was very successful and mobbed full of Girls Aloud worshippers!

Also on the beauty front Selfridges had lifestyle editor of The Metro Bel Jacobs experience working behind the counters of Illamasqua, Creed, Trish McEvoy and Kiehls and said she was inspired by the girls who worked there!

On Monday, we launched the 'Investment Easter Egg' at Selfridges - a luxurious chocolate egg complete with a one ounce gold bullion coin. The delicious handmade chocolate egg by chocolate makers Melt, priced £1000, actually makes for a wise investment with the value of gold set to rise during 2009, despite the current economic climate. The egg really is worth its weight in gold!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A celebration of celebrations...

Last week ended on a high (with the exception of price) as Peacocks' £8 chain bag moved into half a page in Friday's edition of the Daily Mail after being heralded this season's IT accessory, with over 10,000 sold since the start of the year.

We wished a joyeaux anniversaire to Selfridges who turned 100 on Sunday, with not a wrinkle or grey hair in sight. Congratulations arrived in the form of fabulous coverage generated in key media including ITV, Evening Standard, Independent, Daily Express and Londonpaper. Celebrations kick off in May with Selfridges' Oxford Street hosting a 'yellow festival' and a series of exclusive product collaborations with the world's leading designers.

This week our hearts turn to the great outdoors. As the sun came out to play, Brits decided to treat their back gardens to a makeover as sales of greenhouses and Grow Your Own seeds rocketed by 150 per cent and 27 per cent respectively at B&Q . ZPR's all set for a home spun summer, either that or a great excuse for a diet as Lucy lays her fifth tomato plant of the season to rest.

Yoga fanatics Zaria and Niravta floated their way through Friday following their pre-work yoga work out. Never been one to do things by halves, Zaria then spent most of Saturday locked in a head stand in pursuit of the yoga higher ground (either that or Warrior 5)


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Spanking Success

Men's six packs were at the forefront of the consumer news agenda last week following the launch of male control wear at Selfridges - promising to do for men's torsos what Spanx have done for flabby female thighs. We generated fantastic coverage in most of the dailies, broadcast and even Chris Evans couldn't resist the urge to trial the six pack enhancing body suit on his radio show.

The beauty team had a great success last week following Superdrug's in-store shopping day for beauty journalists at their Westfield store. Thirty nine key journalists were dazzled over Superdrug's latest summer beauty essentials - every girl's dream.

Staying on the subject of every girl's dream, this week we shifted from beauty to chocolate, celebrating delicious coverage for Selfridges' Easter story. Sales of Easter chocolate have increased by a massive 80 per cent compared to last year, and to celebrate this, Artisian du Chocolat launched a lifesize Easter bunny girl in Selfridges' Oxford Street store complete with edible chocolate bathing suit, collar and cuffs! Hugh Heffner definitely missed out on this one...

Spanking Success

Men's six packs were at the forefront of the consumer news agenda last week following the launch of male control wear at Selfridges - promising to do for men's torsos what Spanx have done for flabby female thighs. We generated fantastic coverage in most of the dailies, broadcast and even Chris Evans couldn't resist the urge to trial the six pack enhancing body suit on his radio show.

The beauty team had a great success last week following Superdrug's in-store shopping day for beauty journalists at their Westfield store. Thirty nine key journalists were dazzled over Superdrug's latest summer beauty essentials - every girl's dream.

Staying on the subject of every girl's dream, this week we shifted from beauty to chocolate, celebrating delicious coverage for Selfridges' Easter story. Sales of Easter chocolate have increased by a massive 80 per cent compared to last year, and to celebrate this, Artisian du Chocolat launched a lifesize Easter bunny girl in Selfridges' Oxford Street store complete with edible chocolate bathing suit, collar and cuffs! Hugh Heffner definitely missed out on this one...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

18th February

We didn’t let a little (or rather a lot) of snow scupper Peacocks’ spring/summer 2009 launch at The Haymarket Hotel. The fashion set were wined, dined and treated to a star studded fashion show headed by London’s latest darling Amber Le Bon who wowed the audience with this season's must-have's including Peacocks’ £16 jump suit, rose print fluted shift £14 and itsy bitsy leopard print bikini for a skimpy £8 – placing ‘value’ as this season’s most sought after trend, regardless of whether you’re a recessionista or simply looking for the latest fashion at great value.

From IT girl to IT colour – which ZPR is declaring to be green this season following the launch of B&Q’s greenest ever store in New Malden last week. The store was unveiled to key business journalists on Wednesday, the release of a survey on Thursday revealing that six out of ten women would prefer to date a handyman over a banker and the week ended on a romantic high with a pre-Valentine's eco-singles night on Friday.

This week is ending on le note de rouge as the ZPR girls paint the town red in celebration of another successful week at the forefront of retail PR.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Well what a hectic start to the year ... Xmas trading statements galore and fantastic news for ZPR clients with Superdrug, Peacocks and Selfridges all posting great Christmas performances and a solid start to the year with their January sales.

We're feeling in the mood to celebrate ... why wouldn't we? Selfridges is celebrating its Centenary year this year ...Open to the World since 1909! So expect some really cool products, events and activity - watch this space because this year the future's not orange it's yellow.

Well actually it's orange and yellow (also two of ZPR's logo colours) as this week we're celebrating winning a project to work with B & Q on the launch of its newest and greenest store in New Malden, Surrey. So it’s about to become even easier to make your home more beautiful and ease your conscience when the store opens early in February this year with 50 per cent less carbon emissions than the average store.

So you see from yellow to orange to green - we're all set for a truly colourful year.

Friday, 9 January 2009

January 9th 2009

2008 proved to be an amazing year for the Peacocks girls who ended the year by smashing the £40 million AVE target by over 1 million to a grand total of £41,105,502!!

To bring us down a few pegs we had to say a very sad goodbye to Helen Croft who has jetted off to sun, sea and camels in Dubai. Of course, us girls at ZPR find any excuse to socialize over some alcoholic refreshments and fine cuisine…in reality, we forewent alcohol for copious amounts of Coca Cola, Green Tea and Indian tapas on Wardour street (it is the month of the detox after all).

We’re now into the first week of January, with Lucy Gillis being appointed as Peacocks’ new account director. An incredible first week with TWO broadcast hits on This Morning and GMTV.

The Superdrug team has also managed to smash its target of £50 million AVE for 2008. This was helped by the immense success of the Superdrug January sale which hit just about every paper, radio station and website in the country.

For those of you who drank far too much over the festive season and are looking to cut down on the booze in the New Year, Selfridges has exclusively introduced a new way to help save on the units without sacrificing the taste of a pint with its new range of beer crisps – a cheaper alternative also at just 99p! We can safely say that no packets have been opened in our office as of yet, but never say never.