Placement Year Playing

This is a long overdue blog post all about one of the best experiences I have had: my placement year with PlayStation UK. During my second year of university, I decided that I wanted to do a placement year. A year in industry, a year of experience and a year to really get down and dirty in the world of PR! An abundance of applications, endless phone interviews and a long list of assessment days –like many other students my search for the ‘perfect’ placement started off in October 2014.

So I applied. It was not a requirement of my course to undertake a placement year. It was my choice…  Something that many of my peers couldn’t understand. Why would you want to add another year to your degree course? Why would you want to work for not ‘a lot’ of money?

I can tell you now that taking a placement year was the best choice for me.

In March 2015, I was offered a placement position as the PR Assistant for Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation UK). I remember the excitement and fear (have I done the right thing?) when I was told the news over the phone.

My time at Sony PlayStation was spent with the PlayStation UK team, situated in Soho, London, just round the corner from Oxford  Street (shopping, foodie and drinking central!)

Having the chance to work for such a well-known and respected company was amazing and things worked out better than I ever imagined! The office, the PR team, the marketing team, sales, finance, everyone and everything was wonderful, from start to finish. There was such a positive atmosphere across every department and I enjoyed building really strong working relationships with so many of my colleagues. Many of whom have now become good friends, people I really care about and will continue to talk to and meet up with for years to come – I’m sure!

The role of PR assistant came with an array of responsibilities, some of which seemed quite daunting at first but with the help and mentoring of colleagues soon became something I took in my stride. As well as my day to day responsibilities, I had the opportunity to become involved in some really exciting projects, like the launching of the new PlayStation Virtual Reality (aka. PSVR). I was also fortunate enough to have had days away from the office at various agencies and studios, as well as attending prestigious gaming events (like Paris Games Week – IN PARIS!) and not to forget the gaming awards days/evenings!

There I am – FROW at EGX last September

Getting hands on, in-industry experience, has truly helped me to shape the path that I want to take when I graduate. Before placement, I didn’t have a clear idea of whether I wanted to work agency side or in-house, I didn’t really understand the various differing roles found within a multinational organisation either; however, I now know where I want to go, I know which career path I want to follow. A year spent working with some of the best professionals in the industry has taught me so much.  (Shout out to the PlayStation UK team! You know who you are! All of you!)

To sum-it-up, my year out of university has proved invaluable to me. The experience of doing real work and the opportunities that afforded me not only looks good on a CV it also had major input on my final year job search.

I have now been fortunate enough to be offered the role of Events Assistant for the Business School Faculty at my university. A part-time role of 20 hours per week which fits nicely around my studies… And six weeks in, I am loving my new role! Not an international organisation like PlayStation, but working for, and in, my place of education certainly has its benefits. This new position suits me immensely and I am learning so much. But alongside studies, and I won’t lie here, it has been difficult getting back in to the swing of things. The final year of University is and will continue to be a difficult one. I admit it. Hands up. I seem to have forgotten how to Harvard Reference and how to use the University portal and how to get a book out from the University library and even how to start an assignment! Ahhh, the joys of study! It will be over before I know it though, and that is a scary thought…

Love, Slowers

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Spreading Some Love

Ok, ok. Hi, sorry. I am really truly sorry. I have an excuse – I have been busy. And I still am suuuuuper busy, but but but I just had to post about this because;

  1. It made me chuckle and I hope it brings a smile to your face too and
  2. I have been meaning to post for days, weeks, months, feels like years etc.

So, the whole 24 hour drama between Tesco and Unilever earlier this week… Did you hear about that? So basically Tesco pulled a couple of Unilever products from its shelves in a price argument sparked by ‘Brexit…’ One of these products being Marmite… DUN DUN DUN

The news spread pretty fast. In fact it was that shocking that it was spread across the front pages… Because we were all really going to be deprived of Marmite… Anyway, the whole dispute was short-lived and it all blew over pretty quickly, and apparently the big T and the even bigger U are best buds again.

Clever Asda and Iceland, though… They were in there as fast as you can say ‘you even love it or hate it’  issuing a series of cheeky national press campaigns! Tesco’s opportunistic rivals took out ads in the Metro and the Daily Mail offering readers promotions on Marmite!

Asda’s tongue-in-cheek campaign ran in the Metro – a whole page spread! – proudly declaring ‘We Love Marmite…

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Iceland took it one step further and offered readers a bloomin’ free jar of the divisive spread lathered across the front page of the Daily Mail. And they didn’t stop there, a further half-page inside the paper told readers to cut out the voucher and take it into their nearest Iceland to claim the freebie that day.

Very well played guys! Made me smile mid-commute, that’s for sure!

I’ll be back soon, I have so much to write about, PlayStation placement year, summer fun, Australia travels, more travels after my Australian Adventure, a few more travels, starting my final year (eeeeek) and many PR posts pending, too! Oh my… I need more hours in the day… Can that be done?

Love, Slowers

Summer Coca-Cola Cravings

I don’t know what it is about summer… But as soon as we, yes we in England, get a little ray of summer sunshine heat I just crave/fancy/need a can of coca-colaaaa. OR a glass of prosecco/wine/Aperol Spritz etc etc…

 But anyway, back to that little can of red… So, as I opened my can today (yes, it was sunny, and it had hit 23 degrees so I felt obliged) I had a flash back of that oneeee time when José Salvdor Alvarenga was found washed up in a small fibreglass boat on the shores of Marshall Island.

 Anyone remember this? It happened about two years ago now… The castaway who claimed to have been drifting across the ocean since September 2012 after setting out from Mexico?

 

Well, even if you don’t recall, it was a pretty amazing story! Like, some sort of miracle! Like, The Life of Pi but in real life!

 

When pictures emerged of the man, I was a little surprised to say the least… He didn’t look overly under-groomed and definitely didn’t look under weight… He didn’t look blistered from the sun or dizzy from the waves. I won’t lie, I was expecting him to look a little bit more “Pirates of the Caribbean-ey.” I was hoping for a non-fictional Jack Sparrow, but only saw a Hagrid.
 The first pictures of the survivor showed him being helped off of a police patrol boat. The bearded man smiling and waving, clutching a can of coke. 
 
 
Invaluable PR for Coca-Cola! Even though Alvarenga’s hand is covering the instantly recognisable logo,  and Coca-Cola font, the red can is easily identifiable.

 

 A castaway, after a said 16 months at sea, drinking just “turtle blood” and his “own urine”, takes his first steps on mainland grasping a can of legendary Coca-Cola. Maybe I’m looking into this a little too much, but I can’t help thinking this may have been posed? Was this a planned publicity stunt by Coca-Cola? Or did the man just fulfill a year and a half craving for a can of full-fat-fizzy-sugar-in-a-metal-container?

 

Either way, these pictures demonstrate how branding can enter the public consciousness. Now Alvarenga has survived his ordeal, providing Coca-Cola with indispensable publicity, he must surely have been given a life’s supply of free Cokes?!

 

Love, Slowers

Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/world/jose-salvador-alvarenga

Guiding The Fashion Way

From one fashion disaster to a fashion fix up! Well, thank you Miss Guided! These “technical difficulties”you speak of didn’t affect me… I actually didn’t even realise you had any little issues until you sent me this email… But offering me “FREE UK SATURDAY DELIVERY” is the way to my heart!

PR at its finest! Congrats Miss Guided, excellent reputation management! Maybe you should give Urban Outfitters some guidance? Guidance from Guided… see what I did there…

Now… Do I spend money that I don’t actually have because of this splendid little offer? It would be rude not to, surely?

Love, Slowers

Call The Fashion Police – Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters – trendy, young, hipster, fashionable, big-time retailer?… Maybe… But this company have managed to offend  offend blacks, Jews, Native Americans, liberals, conservatives, and eating-disorder awareness groups, among others. Oh, I could sit here all day and list and list! (Have I ever mentioned, I LOVE a list?!

 

The most recent bit of bad PR came in April – Urban Outfitters’ attempt at humour fell as flat as my hair on a bad hair day (when I havent had time to use my hotbrush or my rollers!)… They released a shampoo with the tagline ‘For Suicidal Hair.’

 

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The description on the back of the shampoo bottle was a bit much:
“I never knew my once beautiful hair would actually commit suicide by tossing itself off dramatic white cliffs to the rocks below. Now look at me, completely bald. Before it’s too late, bring your locks back from a state of complete depression with this conditioning shampoo.”

 

Wow. That’s deep. Is there any need? Really? Well, many people thought not, and outraged customers called out to the retailer to remove the shampoo from stores – which they did a few days after the release!

 

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aaaaaand it’s hardly the first time that UO have come under fire… Who remembers this little blunder: Urban Outfitters fashion faux pas back in 2014 . The retailer released clothing that seemed to promote mental illness?! Two tops: one which is emblazoned repeatedly with the word “depression.”The other with the phrase “eat less” scrawled across the front.

 

 

More important than the tops being completely fugly and pretty bland (if you do ask me. Oh, and quick note – I am sorry if anyone has actually bought one of these tops… Oh wait, no actually no no, I’m not sorry. What were you thinking?!), Urban Outfitters were seen to be promoting mental health issues?! As you can imagine, this caused a right uproar on social media – a few examples below:

 

Either way, I have never bought anything from Urban Outterz’ and do not intend to do so. Word. I’m no expert (yet) but, heres a bit of PR advice, UO… Instead of constantly having to pull offensive products, how about, ummm, just not sell those items in the first place? Think people, think!

 

 

How does that little saying go? ‘There’s no such thing as bad PR?’
?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

 

Love, Slowers

The Hearst Editor’s Talk

The Hearst Editors Talk; an event where editors of various magazines come together to offer advice, tips and dish out the inside goss of life in the magazine industry. And what a wonderful evening it was! As a budding PR princess, I felt that this event was extremely relevant to my course, a chance to interact with such influential people who deal and work within the “zine” industry.

The event took place on a Monday eve in November last year… Yeah, yeah, I know, it was a while ago… More than a while ago… But let me continue… Held in the Millennium Mayfair Hotel, a beautiful and elegant building jussssst around the corner from Oxford Street – check it out if you’re around those ends! Saying this, these kind words are most likely fuelled by the warming welcome I received from Millennium Mayfair Hotel – the champagne flowing and canapés circling throughout the night was a touch!

Once everyone had had their fair share of champz and nibbles, we were invited into the main room of which we were greeted by a bag full of lovely freebies for everyone to take away! I love a freeeeeb!

The room was quickly filled by hundreds of aspiring women – and men – ready to listen and interact with the editors (Louise Court from Cosmopolitan, Victoria White from Company Magazine, Sarah Bailey from Red, Mandie Gower from Zest and David Moynihan from Digital Spy.)

Throughout the Talk various questions were raised and answered. Flowing from topic to topic: the use of social media, branding, new technologies, brand consistency, blogging etc.  All topics of conversation were extremely interesting but, for me, the impact of new technologies and social media on the magazine industry were intriguing. I didn’t realise how on-the-go-moving and evolving the industry was!  The constant flow of communication that magazines have to deal with is a continuous “24/7 job.” It got me thinking… Could I handle working in this way? Could I handle working in this industry? Do these professionals have any time to themselves?  The amount of platforms that a magazine communicates through has grown over the years, from Twitter to Facebook to blogging and now to Snapchat! It is all extremely fast paced!

Carrying on though – a question was raised regarding the Public Relations sector: “How should we pitch to a magazine company?” Here are a few things that the experts replied:

– Make sure you direct your pitch to the right member of the team; don’t email the editor and expect a reply. 

– Do your research. There is no point in pitching to a magazine something that does not correspond to its style, tone or appeal to its audience.

– Sarah Bailey commented on how you have to “make yourself irresistible.” 

-“The best features come out of relationships…” Pretty self-explanatory. Build and maintain good relationships, gain their trust.

All the words of wisdom were inspirational. I can only dream of working alongside these individuals one day… A girl can and will dream! I could go on writing and writing about the evening. I have a notebook full of notes and quotes that I scribbled down throughout the talk. So, I will leave you with a few of my favourite quotes. See below, angels!

Love, Slowers

“A magazine has to be visually beautiful, as well as being appropriate in content…”

“Women have a desire for a publication that relates to them… The ‘me too!’ factor…”

“The best features come out of the best relationships…”

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve already got…”

“PRs need to think outside the box, everything inside it has already been touched upon…”

“Always be irresistible and open minded…”

“Be nice on Twitter, be nice on Facebook, Be nice behind a screen… But always be nice in person…”

“Be smart, be extreme, beat the deadlines and bring cupcakes!…”

SLOWERS

“Do your PR with passion. There is no point in pointless PR!”

Hi angels!

A quick introduction with a few blog posts to follow-follow!

The name is Sarah Lucia – Sarah Lucia Lowers. Or just Sarah Lowers (because people say Lusia instead of Lu-chia and it drives me craaaayzay).

I’m also known as Slowers.

I am a Public Relations and Communications undergraduate at the University of Greenwich (enterting my final year after a year in industry. eeeeek!) – and it is beautiful, both the course and Greenwich itself.

I have made the move from Blogger to WordPress because WordPress looks… prettier? I have no other reasoning! My next few posts are taken from my original blog, so they may seem a little out dated, butttt I cannot and will not let that content go to waste! I enjoyed writing them (at the time) so will just re-post them up!

I love a bit of writing, me… And where else to write and write other than a blog?

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Oh, and I am a self confessed Instagram addict – love a bit of Instagramming – I insta my life away!
https://www.instagram.com/sarahlowers/

 Slowers – a 21 year old PR student with PR passion from London (well… kinda sorta maybe a little bit from Essex because I live on the boarder, ok?!)

My love for PR stemmed from my love of talking to people. Talking to anyone and everyone. I have had the most amazing PR experiences, from studying the profession to working alongside top dawg PR professionals at Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation UK)… But more on that chapter of my life soon – blog post pending!

 Kisses from this misses,

Love, Slowers