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The JAM Jar

27.02.15

Well our week has certainly been dominated by celebrities, awards, ceremonies, dresses, selfies and errr trip hazards.

Monday morning’s papers were gushing about gowns, Gaga and gender pay gaps, while the second half of the week was all about the cape.

Patricia Arquette declared a call to arms on equal pay for women in America, while collecting her award for Best Supporting Female Actress in Boyhood, with Meryl and J Lo whooping in approval. But what was meant as a Girl Power statement sparked a heap of controversy with black and LGBT rights groups feeling left out so she had to add a bit more detail to her proclamation to make sure everyone felt loved.

Also on the campaign trail was Reece Witherspoon, looking to discourage questions purely about which gowns were on the red carpet. The #askhermore initiative is designed to get reporters and interviewers to ask women about their careers and creative endeavours rather than just ‘What are you wearing?’. So, on the red carpet she wanted to be asked about her work life, but then seven hours later, tweeted a pic of herself in her Tom Ford gown, Tiffany jewellery and credited her hair and make up stylists. Yes we love your work, Reece, but we also love your outfit.

The hills were alive with the sound of Gaga, as she took us back to our childhoods with a pitch perfect tribute to The Sound of Music. People seemed surprised she could hold a note, while singing in a pretty good British accent, and Shonda Rhimes even declared ‘that was not good’. We thought it was an incredible performance and when Maria (Julie Andrews) herself stepped up and gave her a hug, we were certainly inspired to climb every mountain!

The Brit Awards on Wednesday gave us ‘cape fear’ after watching poor Madonna take a tumble off the stage during her performance. While the internet almost broke again with tweets, memes, jokes and videos, we took a valid lesson from her debacle – just pick yourself up and carry on being fabulous! 

In summary, pay women the same as men, ask women about their work and their outfits, sing songs from musicals, and avoid capes at all times.

19.02.15

This week, Estates Gazette and MIPIM UK named Manchester ‘City of the Year’ for its regeneration projects, highlighting its thriving development scene. It’s a fantastic achievement for the city that us Jammers are proud to call home.

To celebrate Manchester’s newly announced title, we’ve listed our top five favourite things about living and working in the city:

1. It was Pancake Day on Tuesday and we were well and truly spoiled for choice when it came to places to dine. We recommend trying the pancakes at Penelope’s Kitchen in MediaCity, or do you fancy pancakes with blueberry and maple syrup toppings at San Carlo Ciccetti? Black Dog even hosted a Man vs. Food style pancake competition and gave away free delicious pancakes. Yep, we can’t get enough of pancakes!

2. Manchester is truly a creative hub that makes it an ideal location for eager PRs. MediaCity is just around the corner, home to the BBC and ITV, and the wealth of art galleries and museums means there’s plenty of creative inspiration. In fact you don’t even have to go that far to appreciate the creativity of Manchester. Just check out this amazing graffiti in the Northern Quarter:

3. Manchester is a major economy and it is more affordable than London, so it’s the perfect location for foreign companies looking to test the UK market. There’s a lot of business potential here, which is set to grow, especially with the development of Manchester Airport. In 2013, Beijing Construction Engineering Group announced it would invest £800 million into the airport, becoming one of the largest single investments in Britain from China.

4. You WILL bump into Howard from Take That while living here. Just ask Jaime!

5. The nightlife has something for everyone. Head to the Gay Village if you’re looking to dance the night away, the Northern Quarter to listen to the latest local band or go to The Printworks if you’re after some good grub and a bottle of wine. Or, if you’re not too fussed about a night out, you might have heard that there’s a new pay-per-minute café, which is worth a visit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11400846/Pay-per-minute-not-per-drink-at-Manchesters-new-coffee-shop.html

What do you love most about Manchester? Tweet us at @JAM_MCR

13.02.15

Roses are red, violets are blue and we’ve got a Valentine’s message for you!

If you weren’t aware tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and at JAMpr we have definitely been bitten by the love bug.

Roses and chocolates aside, Valentine’s Day is a key date for many brands looking to capture the imagination of lovesick consumers. And with this in mind, we’ve given a run down of our favourite Valentine’s Day campaigns that have captured our hearts and imaginations this week.

Marmite Body Paint

Marmite – Britain’s favourite yeasty spread – is officially taking things to the next level.

Love it or hate it, Marmite has been hitting the pre Valentine’s Day headlines with news that the brand is branching out into intimate body paint (we kid you not). The body paint is being ‘developed’ with London-based sex shops, Harmony, who approached Marmite following demand for bedroom-based Marmite products from their customers.

Now don’t get us wrong, we LOVE Marmite at JAM, but for the sake of Britain’s bed sheets we hope this one stays in ‘development’.

Personalised Nutella

Anyone that regularly reads the JAM blog will already know that we’re pretty easily swayed by cake, chocolate, cake, chocolate, cake and Nutella. So imagine our coos of excitement in learning that Selfridges’ personalised Nutella service was being extended for Valentine’s Day.

And this time, there’s a bit more choice. You can either put your special someone’s name on the jar, or romantic/naughty message (up to nine characters). Plus, you can use emojis *winky face*.

In Case of Love – Trafford Centre

Who doesn’t love being given a single red rose?

Well at the Trafford Centre this weekend shoppers are being given the option to declare their love at first sight, with free ‘Emergency Roses’.

Simple PR stunts always catch our eye, and if you’re lucky this weekend we might just catch yours – feel free to present us with a red rose or three if we do!

Printworks Empire

We couldn’t get away with name checking our favourite Valentine’s Day campaigns without mentioning our own event for The Printworks!

If you’re a massive fan of Boardwalk Empire or all things 1920s, then Printworks Empire is the perfect alternative way to spend Valentine’s Day. The free prohibition themed event is capturing the excitement of the era thanks to live performances from The Prohibition Swing Club and the sultry Bexi Owen.

Loved up couples can also enjoy free dance lessons and then grab a romantic bite to eat or drink at any of the bars and restaurants on-site.

** final Valentine’s Day mention also has to go to Jaime and Dave for buying the JAM team an early present today – amazing!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

06.02.15

Katy Perry’s dancers were misbehaving. The Budweiser Puppy melted hearts worldwide. Even The Proclaimers were getting in on the action.

More famous for its PR opportunities than the whole thing that started it, the football match. What else could we be talking about but Super Bowl Sunday?

It would be easy to forget that this event is actually about football.
Every year, brands are pulling out all the stops to get exposure at the Super Bowl. So I wanted to find out whether it’s all worth it and how much a short ad might set one back.

OK, so this year had a captive audience of 100 million. That’s a lot of pairs of eyes on your advert (albeit probably fairly unfocused – this is a BIG drinking event).
This means a 30 second slot during the commercial breaks cost upwards of $4.5 million (£2.97 million).

While some brands uploaded content in the run up to the game, a live reveal on television during the football game maximised the suspense. Intensity of the battle of the brands heightened which is all part of the fun.

Away from television screens, Twitter and Facebook were ablaze with ad campaigns as companies fought for the most shares across social media. The two social media giants couldn’t resist boasting, with Twitter reporting 28.4 million game related tweets versus Facebook’s astronomic 60 million.

As we all know, the UK loves a good American bandwagon and we were taking it all in our stride. Wembley held a pre-match American football game on Sunday before Brits stayed up in to the early hours to watch the main event. And, a personal highlight, The Proclaimers put themselves back in the spotlight with their one hit wonder and all time classic, 500 Miles, which is said to have earned them £1 million in royalties for featuring in the prime time Budweiser ad. Not too shabby at all.

02.02.15

From FODMAPs to Freekeh, 2015 is set to bring us some new, and age-old, food trends to look out for.

As specialists in food and drink PR, we like to keep our finger on the pulse of the latest culinary trends and January is a great month for reviewing predictions. Here, we look at ancient grains, FODMAPs, and how our taste buds are changing to demand new flavours, international cuisines and hotter, spicier foods (even for children!).

Modern appeal for ancient grains
Move over quinoa – the new grains on the block are freekeh, farro, khorsan wheat, aramanth, sorghum and teff. These ancient staples were the foods of early civilisations from Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa. They are the exact opposite of modern, processed grains and as well as being filling and tasty, they are naturally gluten-free, full of fibre and packed with protein.

Even Cheerios in the USA has launched an ancient grains variant, so look out for them cropping up on our supermarket shelves.

The FODMAP phenomenon
Our client, EHL Ingredients, predicts that a new buzzword will be FODMAPs. A FODMAP is a dietary sugar that is poorly absorbed by the body and a low FODMAP diet involves restricting foods containing fermentable oligo-saccharides, di-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP). Originally designed for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) sufferers, the diet banishes high FODMAP-rich foods such as garlic, onions, mushrooms, lentils, pasta made from wheat, as well as pears, peaches and honey. Approved foods include potatoes, fresh almonds and hazelnuts, most meats, fish and seafood, certain fruits, vegetables, legumes and cheeses, and you can even have black coffee and clear spirits!

Monash University in Australia devised the concept and is the authority on all things FODMAP so check out their website for a full list of foods to avoid and foods to enjoy – you’ll be surprised!

Been around the world…
We love international cuisine here at JAM and especially hot and spicy foods. There are lots of new and exciting restaurants opening in Manchester including Iberica, La Bandera and El Gato Negro offering Spanish tapas, Mexican food at Wahaca, Italian wines and delicacies at Fumo, Vapiano and Veeno, while a new Grand Pacific is set to open in the former Room building, offering contemporary Pan-Asian cuisine.

South African, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese and Lithuanian are set to be the new cuisines to look out for too, in restaurants, in the supermarkets and on our tables.

Chillies and hot spices are growing in popularity and we’ve even noticed children’s food brands offering toddler-friendly tikkas, tiffins, tagines and thalis – tantalise their taste buds from an early age!

Revival of familiar foods
Cauliflower is set to make a comeback, either whole, mashed or puréed, as well as good old home made soup, and breakfast is to revert back to its status as the most important meal of the day. 

In March, we’ll be attending the Northern Restaurant and Bar show at Manchester Central (17th – 18th) and IFE at London ExCel (22nd – 25th) to see the latest new product launches, to meet up with some of our favourite food and drink suppliers and to look out for the next big trends.

Finally, bugs and insects as food keep cropping up on our newsfeeds….we’re not even going there!