Ginny Paton – MD

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Ginny Paton began her PR career in Manchester in the early nineties at consumer agency Communique.

Ginny Paton then joined Jackie Cooper PR in London, running campaigns for well-known food and beverage brands including Mars, Coca Cola and Diageo and took on a pan-agency role as Client Services Director.

After seven years Ginny Paton moved to Henry’s House, as Deputy Managing Director, running the brands division and working on consumer brands like Absolut Vodka, FHM, Channel 4, the Honda Formula 1 Racing Team and Virgin. In 2009, Ginny took over ownership of the agency with business partner, Sam Oxley.

Ginny Paton’s personal career highlights including launching Virgin Media with Richard Branson in a giant perspex box in Covent Garden; watching Jenson Button win his first Grand Prix for the Honda F1 Racing team and handling all the ensuing ferocious interest in him; and launching the Huffington Post in the UK with a stellar panel debating the “democratisation of content”.

Getting To Know Ginny Paton:

What has been your House PR career highlight to date?
Ginny Paton: So many. I truly love all the campaigns we’re involved with. The diversity of the campaigns we’ve been involved with keep life very interesting but I would highlight:

  • Getting 2 million people to sign up for Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children, following a PR and social campaign  for which we were commended at the PRCA Awards
  • Boosting traffic to the THORPE PARK website by 400% following coverage on the Jonathan Ross Show when we dared him to be the first to ride the Swarm
  • Launching Virgin Media with Richard Branson in a big Perspex box in Covent Garden.
  • Watching Jenson Button win his first Grand Prix while driving for the Honda F1 Racing team and handling all the ensuing ferocious interest in him.
  • Launching the Huffington Post in the UK with a stellar panel debating the “democratisation of content”.
  • Most importantly Arianna Huffington said she liked my dress.
  • Revealing Kate Moss as the face and body of St Tropez for PZ Cussons Beauty – with the world’s media calling us for updates.
  • Launching the World’s Largest Rugby Ball for Tourism New Zealand which involved three photocalls in one day: one with the All Blacks, the next with Boris Johnson and the final one with the Queen!
  • Visiting 10 Downing Street to start the “Mile in High Heels” walk with Sam Cam on behalf of Save the Children and getting to have a nosey around the Cabinet Room.
  • Backstage at T4 on the Beach every year for seven years.
  • Watching Peter Andre fall off the stage and then – once we’d established he was OK – being delighted at how much coverage it would get for the event.

Which campaigns that you worked on at House PR / that House PR worked on generally are you most proud of?
Ginny Paton: Some of the above plus proving that 34 is the age at which women feel most comfortable naked. A great example of extremely cost effective media relations that caught the attention of the media and resulted in dps coverage in the Sun, The Star and Mail.

What’s the best thing about running your own agency?
Ginny Paton: The joy of spotting and nurturing talent. Giving people opportunities and support and watching them fly. That and not having to ask anyone if you can have the day off.

What’s the best thing about being in PR generally?
Ginny Paton: Always varied. No two days are ever the same.

What’s your PR industry bugbear?
Ginny Paton: People who are late for meetings that turn up with a coffee.

What single piece of advice would you give to anyone starting out in PR?
Ginny Paton: Say yes. Unless there’s a very good reason for saying no, then try and take every opportunity that you’re offered. Meet as many people as possible as you never know where those relationships will take you. Work hard – put your hand up for the early mornings and late nights – it shows commitment and will get you noticed.

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Seasons of TV Series – House PR London

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Article by Rob Leary – House PR, London

What a time to be alive for TV addicts and serial-series watchers. There just isn’t enough time in the day, the week or even the year to watch all the brilliant series that are churned out across UK terrestrial stations, internet based streamers such as Netflix, Sky based channels and various US channels such as HBO. It seems that just as one good series finishes, another begins and it’s taking over the lives of many of us in the UK.

Go back 2 or 3 years and I barely turned on the TV or watched anything on my laptop other than football or space documentaries to relax to (good old Brian Cox, Discovery Channel and the likes!), but like the masses I am now truly addicted to dedicating hours of my week to series after series. This year alone has seen some amazing productions that really push the boundaries of TV’s preceding years – be it Humans, in my opinion Channel 4’s best TV drama series since the excellent Utopia, which unfortunately was not recommissioned past a second series – or the dark storylines of Bloodline,Hannibal (season 3) and Breaking Bad spin off Better Call Saul. Not to mention the ever-brilliant, controversial and brutal Game of Thrones (season 6) and Sky Atlantic’s addictive series Fortitude, whose story-line made the week long waits in between episodes tormenting. I could go on listing… and this proves the point that there is just too much good TV!

Series are the talk of the village, town and city. They are the go-to conversation for a variety of different aged Brits, and provide perfect date-night conversation-fodder to get you through to date 2. So why are they so popular and why do we spend hours tuning in? There are many reasons…

Arguably over the last 5 to 10 years the shift from watching TV on just a TV to a laptop/tablet/iPad has made a huge difference – you can watch anything, wherever (wifi dependent) and whenever you want, and without having to have a DVD player, the ability to pause your TV or a chunky video (old school). This shift has allowed writers and producers to push the boundaries of TV further, the 9pm watershed is broken, and scenes have arguably got much more brutal and raunchier at the same time – which attracts a whole new crowd of its own to start watching.

Secondly I would argue the standards of acting & scripts are getting better and better, the budgets are growing (you only have to see Game of Thrones’ movie-like production cost), and the filming equipment used & the graphics are improving by the minute, all resulting in series being aesthetically beautiful regardless of content.

Furthermore, you only have to look at True Detective (season 1 & 2) to see the level of actors that are ‘stepping down’ from the big screen to work on series – Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn to name but a few of the stellar cast. This means the public don’t have to purchase a cinema ticket to see their favourite actors anymore.

Lastly, there has been a change in accessibility to viewing series in one go, which has revolutionised how series are presented. For example Orange Is The New Black have recognised the growth in people mass-watching in one go and now put full series out all at once –  allowing their watchers to view it all in one long ‘Sunday-session’ and not endure the week breaks – and why not? This will undoubtedly be a much more common way of streaming series in the near future and I expect to see further titles released in this way.

Although I must add the downside of a series being hurried out is that as a watcher you lose the anticipation. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike having to wait a week or longer to find out what happens next, who killed who or ‘is he/she actually dead?’, but the wait is also what keeps it even more exciting. In modern times Breaking Bad is the best example of this, taking a 6 month plus break in the middle of season 5 whilst it’s watchers we’re left to ponder what would happen. I’d suspect direct TV releases will follow the usual format in terms of weekly releases for a good while to come, but with the growth of Netflix and Amazon Prime, who have the ability to pump out series in one go, it’ll be interesting to see if this’ll change on a wider scale rapidly.

All in all, there are many more reasons as to why we are living in the age of the TV series. It seems a shame that many great series probably go unwatched due to the amount of them being churned out, but it’s a great time to be alive for people like me who enjoy a good story line to get stuck into! …and with new series of Homeland, Fortitude, American Horror Story, Bloodline, Humans (and many, many more) all announced, it’s looking like more hours of my life are going to be sat watching TV rather than getting outdoors…

Ginny Paton – MD at House PR

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What’s The Big Idea by Ginny Paton?

“When it comes to PR agencies, there’s nothing that gets our blood flowing as much as the thought of creating The Big Idea” says Ginny Paton (ginnypaton.co.uk).

There have been many such ideas that have grabbed the public consciousness. Just look to the campaign by Dove featuring real women, named the Campaign for Real Beauty. And then there was the campaign by Coca Cola which featured personalised cans and bottles.

It’s not just about eye-catching display ads, it’s got to have that extra element: ‘talkability’, something which really fires the imagination of the media and the public too. Consumer brands like the ones my agency works with strive for that talkability, and it’s that which we compete with the ad and marketing firms on their roster to supply.

So should brands continue to focus on The Big Idea, now that today’s media is fragmented into so many different platforms? Yes, because that’s what it needs – a single strong theme to tie all these strands together and unify the message.

But there’s one element to The Big Idea which I’d say is essential. It has to grab the media’s attention, and produce stacks of media coverage. Sure, the PR industry has changed a lot and we all recognise that there’s a lot more to life than getting the front page of The FT. Certainly, at House PR, we pride ourselves on being digital natives.

But press coverage is still very important as part of the mix. Firstly, it’s important to clients who pay the bills. And secondly traditional media continues to be of huge value to the public, because online or in print, it’s still the most trusted source of information.

And yet the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity hasn’t quite got this yet. The festival provides a fantastic recognition of the creative force in marketing. But for some reason, the subject of press coverage is rarely discussed.

It is odd how the PR category puts so little value in press coverage – perhaps if it did, PR agencies would stand a better chance of winning against the ad companies.

The buzzwork of the festival this year was “storytelling”. And that made me think – we’ve been telling stories since the day we began as an industry. It’s what we strive for at my agency every day – compelling, fascinating stories that will get people talking.

One thing that the advertising world could learn from us: we don’t need a massive budget to grab the attention of the world. We just need a great idea to cut through.

And that’s the real genius of storytelling.

Ginny Paton 10/07/2015

Music Industry – Rob Leary – House PR, London

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The music industry is continuing to change at a rapid speed. The options of places to listen to music are ever-growing with streaming companies launching through major brands such as Apple, Google and artists, as in the case of Jay Z. Whilst this makes it very simple to access music both new and old from all over the world, it feels almost all too easy and has made buying an album almost a thing of the past.

The days of purchasing an album based on hearing one single are long-gone, and whilst my bank balance is better off for it, my inner music-loving self feels slightly disappointed to be one of the masses that doesn’t give new bands the album sales they desperately need to stand a chance, simply because I can access the music online without buying it. Worse still is how easy it is to write off a new band without giving their full album a proper listen – arguably one of the worst effects of streaming is how quickly we can decide we don’t like a band based on one track and move onto the next artist.

Having been in various bands since my early teens, I am trying to place myself back in the shoes of the band when listening to and buying new music. I am trying more and more to get back into the habit of giving full albums a listen, rather than the top hits on Spotify. Subsequently, I would like to see ‘the album’ become more of an important thing again – it’s not just about the singles when you view music outside of the standard regurgitation of top 40 artists. It seems that in 2015, even concept albums, which are made to listen to as a whole, get dissected by fans and listened to in order of favourite tracks. The album has lost its meaning and the order of tracks is now chosen by the listener, unlike the days of listening on tape or even vinyl.

For me (and for most), equally as important as the album is the live show, and to be fair as much as I detest the same old songs that popular radio stations rotate, this is where the pop acts with big budgets do excel. I try my hardest to access live music on a regular basis, to see both new and old bands. Having just been to Primavera, I’ve found a new love for types of music that I wasn’t even aware I liked – be it the dancy-vibes of Caribou with their excellent live set-up, the passion and intensity of solo acoustic performers such as Tobias Jesso Jr, and even the utterly weird ‘drone’ sounds and visuals of Sunn0 (something that I most definitely would not listen to on record)! Despite ticket prices ever growing, the live show has continued to become arguably the most important tool for musicians.

Many bands these days pride themselves on being ‘live bands’ due to the masses seeing their performance as so much more than what a producer can conjure up in a studio. From British Summertime Festival in London, my favourite band from the event, Public Service Broadcasting, definitely fit into this mould – and that was even without their normal spacey visuals. That’s not to say the latest album isn’t brilliant either, but they were just a pleasure to watch and the live environment brings so much more to the sound. Even bands with number 1 records such as Muse arguably fit under this umbrella and rule the ‘live show’ experience in the music industry. Fans purchase tickets just to see their live event, not even necessarily to support the new record they’d be promoting.

To conclude, it’s exciting that music is changing in that it’s the best time ever to have easy accessibility to music all over the world. It’s just a shame that this comes at the expense of album sales for bands who really need it to continue, and the demise of ‘the album’ being listened to in full and how the artist wants the listener to hear it. As for the live show, it’s great to see live music still flourishing and that this side of the industry hasn’t been completely turned on its head by live streaming… yet!

Written by Rob Leary, House PR

Glamour Awards – House PR Case Study

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PURPOSE: MANAGE ALL PRODUCTION AND PR TO ELEVATE COINTREAU’S SPONSORSHIP OF THE GLAMOUR WOMEN OF THE YEAR AWARDS

As part of Cointreau’s global mission to champion women who embrace self-expression and creativity, House PR brokered a deal with Conde Nast for the sponsorship of the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, with Cointreau as the official spirit and sponsor of the British Solo Artist award.

See the 2015 Glamour Women of the Year Awards winners list

London based PR agency House PR, who have worked with Cointreau for the past six years, were tasked with elevating the sponsorship through traditional PR and also managing the production and build of the Cointreau bars at the official after party in Berkeley Square, and the production of a separate event at Quaglino’s in Mayfair for guests who only had after party tickets.

House PR’s in-house production team worked to develop designs for two bars that reflected the feminine and chic positioning of the event and Cointreau as a brand. The back bars were constructed using over 6,500 fresh roses and hydrangeas that were delivered to the event on the day from Holland. The Cointreau logo was laser cut and placed on rods that stood in front of the flower wall to ensure branding was visible in press shots taken at the event.

House PR were on site on the morning of the event to manage the build of the bars and brief  the bar team to make certain that the cocktails we served at the highest standard throughout the evening.

We also oversaw the delivery and packing of 800 branded Cointreau goody bags which were presented to celebrities and media as they left the awards (a great photo opportunity for the brand and the snappers who were there at the end of the event).

The private dining room at Quaglino’s was transformed by installing a DIY Cointreau bar where guests could learn how to make a Cointreau Fizz cocktail, and a bespoke branded photo booth to drive social media engagement. The entire venue was dressed with fresh orange flowers and vintage advertising posters, which reflect the brands heritage, were vinyled onto the bar tables.

On the night House PR hosted over 30 journalists at Quaglino’s and the official after party which resulted in coverage including a DPS in OK!, full page in Reveal, 2 x pieces in Daily Mirror, The Sun, Metro, ES magazine, Huffington Post, 3 x separate stories on Mail Online and Yahoo.

Over 2,400 Cointreau Fizz cocktails were served on the night to influencers and celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn, Alan Carr and Gizzi Erskine. It was also an opportunity to engage trade customers and bar trade for the brand, and bespoke filmed content from the night was created for the sales team to use post-event.

And finally, Cointreau’s social media channels achieved over 5,000 engagements (likes, mentions or retweets) on the night of the event.

House PR – About Us

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House PR is an independently owned PR agency in London. We produce innovative & creative campaigns that achieve great results.

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With House PR your ideas and needs are closely listened to. A place where you’re not treated like just a customer, we will work collaboratively with you and you will be welcomed as part of our PR family. For us, this close working relationship helps creativity for us and our clients.

We have extensive experience: from health and beauty, consumer drinks, automotive and technology businesses to charities, media brands, celebrities and events and many more.

We have a diverse and interesting client list. You can view both our past and current clients on our site – www.housepr.com

House PR – Shark Week on Discovery Channel

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Last year for Shark Week, House PR created one of the most successful promotional stunts in Discovery Channel’s history: we set an artificial shark on unwary (and soon screaming) punters at Finsbury Park Lake In London.

The objective of the campaign was to drive excitement, intrigue and ultimately awareness and ratings for Shark Week on two channels – Discovery Channel and Animal Planet – and in particular, the season opener featuring Megalodon on Discovery Channel. The campaign needed to attract a mainstream audience to both channels, and with no paid-for marketing support the role of earned media became critical.

FINSBURY SHARK: 7th August 2014 Ð To launch Shark Week on Discovery Channel from Sunday, visitors to Finsbury Park boating lake, north London, were treated to a ÒJaws-droppingÓ surprise. 7.8.14 PIX.TIM ANDERSON  FREE PHOTO USAGE

FINSBURY SHARK: 7th August 2014 To launch Shark Week on Discovery Channel

With no recognisable talent to support the campaign, our plan was to create media assets by taking advantage of the public and media appetites for exciting and engaging content, we capitalised on Discovery Channel and Animal Planet’s notoriety for sharks, so as to consolidate brand fame with a stand-out stunt.

Our humorous video captured the reactions of unsuspecting boaters as they stumbled into a “Jaws-dropping encounter”, with our shark surprising their rowing boat. Finsbury Park was also chosen as a play on the shark fin – giving media an easy headline – The Fins-bury Shark.

The stunt had been carefully prepared; guests were unsuspectingly invited to a special event at the lake which our team privately hired.

The stunt involved:

  • A BAFTA winning prop designer from Sea Monsters and Walking with Dinosaurs, to build a polystyrene fin mounted onto a tubular frame
  • A pulley system, to allow the shark to charge through the water
  • A rowing boat with a huge bite taken out of it; placed on the boating lake island
  • A precautionary diver and medic on standby

The stunt lasted from 7am till 9.30am. Immediately after the stunt images were wired out to picture desks, along with teaser “shaky” camera-phone footage, later that day the stunt was “claimed” by Discovery, using a #SharkWeekUK hashtag on Twitter. A branded sticker was also placed on the shark’s fin to signpost the launch of Shark Week.

All participants emerged safely from their experience and saw the funny side of the stunt.

The stunt delivered on its key objectives:

  • Shark Week was the most highly rated week of programming on Animal Planet in 2014
  • The launch show – Megalodon – was the most successful Shark Week show on Discovery Channel for 12 years
  • Megalodon performed 163% better than  the average of the previous three weeks

This success was thanks to the extensive use of assets across earned media. The video was featured on over 100 sites. It was covered by the likes of the Mail Online, Sun Online, MSN, AOL, LBC, Radio Times, and ITV in addition to picture-led pieces in the Mirror and Telegraph. The stunt travelled across the globe, featuring on the likes of Trend Hunter and industry titles like PR Week, Dig Content, and the UK Marketing Network while reaching over 1m on Twitter.

Already a phenomenon in the US, this was the UK’s first major stunt support for Shark Week and it was a resounding success.