Thursday, 29 October 2009

And the winner is.......

The most hectic week of second year PR has just been and gone. A competitive pitch, a university presentation, a guest lecture, an enterprise evening and a trip to London all squashed in to one week. The passing of this week means that now I will be dedicating more of my time to work on Student Union projects, as well as putting together the team that will lead the PR unit through the year.

On Monday the PR students at Leeds Met were treated to a lecture from head of communications for Leeds City Council, Andy Carter. On the surface it seemed this would probably not be as exciting as Carl Christopher from Playstation, who intrigued us with talk of Richard Benson and The Face Magazine, however by the end of Andy's talk I was ready to welcome Leeds County Council in to the Zeitgeist.

The whole talk centred around how Andy's team had dragged the council kicking and screaming into the digital age, with its very own virtual newsroom. Andy talked of how some senior councillors were very much stuck in their ways. Most were happy enough to have the tone of their day dictated solely by The Evening News, and that the concept of an online newsroom was alien to say the least. We were shown the falling readership figures of our regional newspapers, which amongst other factors including the rise of the internet, staff cut backs and shifting audiences had taken the council's comms team from press office to digital news room.

All in all a surprisingly entertaining lecture. I went in expecting the content, although very relevant to my PR degree, to be rather dull and it wasn't in the slightest. Andy even threw in a few jokes, and although I find the line between a funny lecture and just sounding like David Brent a tricky one to walk, Andy kept the cringe worthy gags down to an absolute minimum and was genuinely entertaining. He also offered a placement opportunity which I have since applied for.

After a busy middle of the week which included a presentation on persuasion and rhetoric, in which we scored a healthy 2:1, concentration turned to the upcoming competitive pitch. Described by Lucy Laville as "A unique opportunity and a first for the PR course" competition between the level two PR students was sure to be fierce. Nathan Lane from Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger was offering five students the chance to become the very first "student consultancy". Working on real clients and being mentored by the experienced Bell Pottinger team this was a chance that few could afford to pass up.

The brief was to produce a campaign for Nestle who were launching a new character, Bluebell the Milkybar cow, as part of their CSR initiative to reduce the packaging in their Easter egg range. To view our presentation please click here. Obviously you will not get the full effect of being guided through the wonderful world of Bluebell by myself and Steph, but it may be helpful to fellow students.We are still awaiting the result of the Bell Pottinger pitch, it's like the last day of the football season when your team is teetering on the edge of relegation and the other team hasn’t finished playing yet. Ironically I'm a Newcastle fan so this analogy doesn't work, but we live in hope.

Now everything is quiet on the university PR front, I can concentrate my efforts on the PR unit. We have some really exciting projects coming up and by the end of next week will have filled all the managerial positions. We are currently working with the universities counselling department to raise awareness amongst young men of the facilities available to them, if they are suffering from any kind of mental illness. It's the first campaign that I have worked on that in essence could really change people’s lives, this for me makes it a rather exciting one. As well as this we are running the Hall Representative election process, the first of its kind at Leeds Met. Finally we are part of the national attempt to break the world record for planting the most trees in an hour, a world record, a PR's dream!!!

Anyway must dash as I'm meeting my beautiful girlfriend (she still hasn't let the swine flu article go) for some tea at Browns. Yum.


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