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The JAM Jar


From the hilariously spooky and cleverly sinister to the downright frightening, Halloween is that time when PR and marketing folk don their ‘creative’ witches hats to produce the creepiest campaigns of the year.

Whether promoting a new release, film or popular product, Halloween has seen even the most familiar everyday products take a turn to the dark side, all in the name of a scarily good Halloween campaign. Here are three of our favourites:

Up first, is perhaps one of the most terrifying viral marketing pranks to date, the ‘Devil Baby Attacks New York.’ The hugely popular YouTube video shows a demonic robot baby roaming the streets of New York in a stroller, scaring the wits out of unsuspecting people to promote the release of horror flick ‘Devil’s Due’ in January 2014. A perfect example of fiendish viral marketing at its best…or should we say worst?

US laundry detergent brand, Tide captured some ‘Paranormal Activity’ last year using Vine to spoof a few of the most famous horror films to scare off stains! This seven-second mini-video emulating The Ring is arguably one of their best, with the amusing and effective direction of spooking up the product leaving us ‘Scared Stainless!’

Finally, who can forget when campaign war broke out over Halloween in 2013 between fizzy-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

With Pepsi initially releasing a print advert of a Pepsi can ‘scarily’ clad in a Coca-Cola cape for Halloween, Coca-Cola bit right back, ingeniously replicating the advert with the simple line “Everybody wants to be a hero!” Touché. 

Image credit : Shutterstock

As one of our favourite times of year, Halloween gives us the perfect excuse to dress up. We will be donning our best vampire teeth, fake blood and other ghoulish wear tonight – so watch out for some terrifying photo updates!

Happy Halloween!



The media has been awash with news this week of David Wills, who found himself trapped in a London Waterstones late at night after staff closed up shop while he was still weighing up his next literary purchase.

Initially calling authorities to alert them to his predicament, Wills had to wait an agonising two hours, after being told, “someone was on their way”, until he was rescued. Using social media throughout his ordeal, he took to Twitter to contact the literary giant – but to no avail. Media reports have suggested that the social media team had ‘clocked off’ after leaving the office at 5.30pm.

Now, with social media clients of our own, it’s common practice at JAM that we ‘second screen’ at home, both watching TV while monitoring social media and phone alerts for anything that might pop up, making the idea of ‘switching off’ a pretty alien concept to us.

Given that clients’ fans are, on average, most active during the evenings it’s safe to say that social media monitoring is simply not a nine to five job. In fact, even TV is now gearing towards this behaviour, with ITV marking a 225% rise in second screening among TV viewers – which has prompted the launch of their new interactive channel ITVbe.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing has produced an excellent guide of social media monitoring top tips, which we’ve added our experience to, ensuring that no ‘locked in’ tweeting customers will ever be ignored again!

Tip 1: Ignoring social media doesn’t make it go away
By its very name, social media is socially driven, which means you have to be active along with your fans at the time they choose. We always aim to respond to fans’ comments or tweets within at least two hours (unless we’re asleep, in which case it’s first thing in the morning), as you can never tell how quickly a fan message or complaint can travel through the ranks. Obviously we’re not suggesting you spend your nights glued to the laptop – there are a whole host of management apps for your smartphone that ensure social media monitoring is always at your fingertips!

Tip 2: Set up Google alerts
Nice, simple and a free method of ensuring you have an automated system helping you monitor 24/7 – just remember to check your emails!

Tip 3: Think reach, not volume
It’s not always about the number of people discussing your brand or indeed the amount of times. It’s important to think one step further, considering the potential reach of those that are discussing the brand and how far their communications can be heard across their personal networks.

Tip 4: Don’t fight fire with fire
If by chance, unkind things are mentioned about your brand, don’t rise to the occasion with a similar response, such as Hawke & Co – it can be just as damaging, and is a PR professional’s ultimate nightmare. Seek advice, it’s always better to try and communicate with disgruntled fans away from the glare of your other followers, and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. After all, the customer is always right! 


It’s National Curry Week this week, so at JAMpr, we’ve been celebrating all things hot and spicy, and not just because we’re looking forward to a Saturday night takeaway in front of the X-Factor (rock and roll, we know).

Our client EHL Ingredients has seen a 40 per cent surge in enquiries for some of its spiciest chilli peppers, which coincides with all the news we’ve spotted recently about developing consumer tastes for hotter curries and spicy foods, as well as an increase in awareness of the health benefits of spicy chillies.

As specialists in Food and Drink PR, we made sure the media knew EHL had spotted this growing trend, and secured some great coverage on the back of its findings.

Apparently, consumer tastes around the world are changing to prefer spicy foods, as almost 70 per cent of people worldwide would list ‘spicy’ as one of their top tastes out of a list including ‘salty’, ‘sweet’ and ‘bitter’.  In addition, 32 per cent of British consumers who eat ethnic food now say they enjoy spicier foods more than they have done in previous years (according to a 2014 report by Mintel).

So, it looks like we’ll be opting for spicy options more often at JAM, although judging by my reaction to a particularly spicy lunch, perhaps we’d be better off sticking to Korma. We can but try.


The BBC is still one of the pinnacles for a PR when tasked with securing broadcast coverage for a client.

Since moving just around the corner to Salford, figures for BBC Breakfast, aired on weekday mornings between 6:00 and 9:15, have increased to include seven million viewers nationwide on average – a fantastic achievement for the show.

As public relations professionals, we leapt at the chance to attend the Gorkana Briefing with BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live this week at Havas PR headquarters.

With a glass of wine in hand and notepads and pens at the ready, we took to our seats to hear from Sean Farrington and Rebecca Wearn (broadcast journalists) about a typical day on the BBC Breakfast team, what stories are currently interesting them and how they like to work with PRs.

PR professionals from around the country were in attendance and the discussion was also opened up to an interactive Q and A with the speakers.

The session was incredibly insightful and engaging. We’ve pulled together a few gems of advice from Rebecca and Sean

“Approach direct, approach well and know the programme”

“Nothing bugs me more than corporate speech – be natural!”

“We’re driven by personal finance and the economy in general”

“Now BBC Breakfast is in Salford, it’s become less City-focused”

“We’d rather hear from a business than an economist about the state of the country…businesses help to tell a story”

“We don’t put people on air to intimidate them. We’re not in the business of making people look stupid on TV”

We will be putting our new knowledge into action over the next few months as we have some exciting campaigns coming up for our clients, which include TV as well as radio, print, online and blogger outreach targets as part of the PR brief.

Thanks for inviting us Gorkana!

Words by Anna Pickard

Image credit: Peppermint Soda


During the past few weeks, UK cities have experienced an influx of sprightly young things, hopping from pub, to nightclub, to lecture room, which can only mean one thing…Freshers’ Week.

You may have also noticed the flood of marketing and public relations activity from brands, keen to get their names out there to this new and ever so receptive market. So here at JAM we have been investigating this very subject.

These days, university is big business and institutions face increasing competition to stand out, especially with greater interest in US study and the top universities continually increasing in size . One of the ways they are creating appeal is by using social media. Not only does it give the university the chance to let students know what’s happening around campus, it allows them to establish a voice and personality, letting students know exactly what that university stands for and the benefits of studying there.

Oxford University, for example, was ranked as number one in the Unipod social media rankings of 2013, with a vast 4,109,669 Facebook fans. The Facebook site posts videos of academics talking about their research, photos of famous sites around the university, and clips of the teen prodigies that are soon to join the ranks. This is exactly the kind of content you would expect and adds to the desirability of attending such a world-renowned institution.

It’s not just universities that have realised the value of PR and social media to communicate with the student market, but consumer brands too. And who can blame them? Students are self-proclaimed social media addicts.

A brilliant example of how a brand focused its social media activity towards students is Coca-Cola . This year the drinks brand began a campaign to ‘help students break the ice’. The famous Coca-Cola vending fridge was placed on campuses around the UK, but alas, was filled with unopenable bottles of Coke. The only way to open your bottle was to twist your cap against someone else’s, and lo and behold you’ve made a friend. It was also accompanied by a catchy hashtag of course… #friendlytwist.

PR targeting the student market is one of our areas of expertise. For our client, The Printworks, holding a Freshers’ Fair, complete with stalls full of freebies and a live DJ, was the perfect opportunity to capture the hearts, and data, of the new students arriving in the city.

Read all about it here

We have also been offering advice to new students as part of the #GetFreshCLV social media campaign for our client, Campus Living Villages, sharing ideas on what to pack, where to go, how to settle in, as well as running competitions and giveaways on Twitter and Facebook.

As Freshers’ Week now draws to a close, hopefully this blog has made you want to a) re-live it all again and b) start engaging with this exciting market. If not, then follow all the fun on Twitter and Facebook!

A big warm welcome to all the new students in Manchester!


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