The 3rd Beer Town Film Festival goes online!

Beer Town Film Festival 2020 goes online!

This weekend saw the conclusion of another successful event for Beer Town Film Festival.

This year’s festival, now in its 3rd year, which was conceived by the team here back in 2017 brought a new challenge to the table. When the COVID-19 restrictions on live events were announced we had no choice but to take the festival online!

Aside from the usual activities, including; overall event management of 750+ submissions, PR, literature, website, social media and awards we organised and ran 3 days of online events including the screening of over 40 selected films, a live Q&A with actor Steven Hartley and the main awards presentation. With all this being streamed from our offices due to technical limitations at its usual home of Marston’s Brewery, the team stepped up and got the job done both in front of and behind the technology!

For more information visit the Beer Town Film Festival website, also created here at Vital.

Hot Rod enthusiast and Vital team member, Leigh Dunks, makes Edelbrock debut

Hot Rod enthusiast and Vital team member, Leigh Dunks, makes Edelbrock debut

Our Creative Director, Leigh Dunks, has a keen interest in 30s/40s and 50s Americana and as part of that interest has a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Hot Rod which he has spent the last five years improving and restoring.

As a member of the Vintage Hot Rod Association (VHRA), Leigh takes part in race events at various locations and tracks around the country, from the drag strip of Santa Pod in Northants; to the hill climb at Prescott, home to the Bugatti Owners club; to the World’s Fastest Beach Race at Pendine Sands in South Wales, where Malcolm Campbell first broke the Land speed record in 1925.

The objective of the VHRA’s Hot Rod races is to encourage early 20th century automotive engineering to go as fast as it can along a beach, with a run up of ½ mile to two ‘speed traps’ at the top of the beach spaced 1/16 of a mile apart to record the average highest speed. Further glory can be had with induction into the ‘100mph Club’ which comes with a much sought after t -shirt!

Leigh earned the coveted 100mph Club t-shirt with the help of Buckland Automotive Engineering, who managed to squeeze a five litre Ford V8 into the confines of the engine bay. After this, the roadster was not only light, but also put out more than 300hp. “It literally flew!” said Leigh.

For the petrolheads amongst you, the V8 engine was stock (non-modified), but achieved extra performance with the addition of performance parts, such as intake manifold, carburettor and air filter made by one of the best known names in speed equipment: Edelbrock.

Edelbrock is a manufacturer and distributor of automotive aftermarket parts, including carburetors, superchargers, intake manifolds and cylinder heads. 

Their founder, Vic Edelbrock senior, was a pioneer of Hot Rod racing in the 30’s and 40’s before he decided to design and build performance parts for the market.

Edelbrock contacted Leigh after he had tagged them in a couple of posts on his Instagram feed, and expressed an interest in featuring his roadster in one of their stories in the blog section of their website.

An ‘interview’ with Leigh was conducted via direct messaging of various questions which formed the basis of their story.

Leigh went on to explain: “I’ve been inspired by pre-war American Hot Rods and all of the racing that took place during the golden age of hot rodding, so being contacted by a company that had such a massive influence in the history of my passion, just blew me away. I’m super stoked and proud.”

Check out the blog post featuring Leigh and his roadster: https://www.edelblog.com/general/leigh-dunks-joins-the-uk-100-mph-club-at-pendine-sands-in-his-edelbrock-equipped-29-ford-model-a-hot-rod

To learn more about Edelbrock and its history, please visit: https://www.edelbrock.com/company-history

For further details on VHRA, take a look at their website: http://vhra.co.uk/VHRA/Home.html

Smart devices, not so smart after all?

Smart devices, not so smart after all?

I love technology, I always have. From a very young age I was interested in tech and gadgets, a keen gamer throughout life and always excited when ‘the next big thing’ came out, from the lights and sound Star Wars toys I had as a young boy to my first ‘Pong’ games console in a lovely walnut finish.

Smart devices, in particular, now fascinate me and voice control has captured me to the point where my home is filled with it. From my first experience with Xbox through Kinect, on phones with Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant to Alexa enabled plugs, lights, security cameras, we are surrounded by ways to make life easier without having to move out of our seats. I am purposely not going to go into the link with obesity on this occasion as that is another debate.

My rant here is more fundamental, and it is the one thing about voice control that really annoys me. As a Generation X child, born to a Traditionalist and Baby Boomer I was brought up well, In a society where if you did something wrong you got a clip round the ear, I was taught respect, to be polite and courteous, something I am very proud of. And this is my bug bear with voice activation.

It has become all too easy to demand and get; Alexa, play my music, Siri, call John, Hey Google, turn on the lights, Xbox, record that… with manners being classed as a cultural social intelligence, where is this demonstrated in these so called ‘smart’ devices?

As a parent I have brought my children up the way I was taught, to always say please and thank you and to have respect when talking to others, but this is now being challenged by the ability for them to simply ask a machine to do something and get it. You can argue it’s just a machine, but the traits follow through to everyday life. It has become far too commonplace to hear conversations with little or no manners, amongst friends, work colleagues, in shops, on public transport. The ‘demand and get’ culture has gotten out of hand. Maybe what has frustrated me most is how my generation, who are at the forefront of many of these innovations, have allowed this to happen. In old school words ‘we should have known better.’

It’s time for market leaders to address this. Let’s start with Amazon, creator of Alexa, famous for its exceptional customer experience, impeccably polite when you deal with them, how has this not been translated? Companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft need to take some accountability and address this issue, simply making it so you cannot have your ‘music on demand’ without saying please would go a long way to changing the way people think and speak.

If we have to be polite to the machines then these behaviours will subconsciously follow through to everyday life and interactions. A simple and worthwhile fix, surely?

-Malc-

Social intelligence source: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/16-signs-of-a-socially-intelligent-person

Valentine’s Day… love it or loathe it?

Valentine’s Day… love it or loathe it?

So, what is Valentine’s Day? Well it’s an excuse to get sentimental with a loved one, but do we need all the stuff that goes with it? The teddy bears, chocolate and over the top cards?

Putting aside the sustainable aspect on that, what brands are trying to market is essentially all unessential stuff. But, how do brands reach and most importantly engage with us on a competitive, marketing fuelled sales day?

Well, we have put together a list of our top three Valentine’s Day campaigns and why we think they got us falling in love with them:

  1. Wilkinson Sword: Smooth Valentine’s Day – an oldie but a goodie. It definitely has the shareable factor and make us all go “aww!”


 

  1. Greggs: Candlelit Dinner- offering a comedic aspect to customers. A bake way to anyone’s heart!
    Greggs offers sit-down candle-lit dinners for Valentine’s Day
     
  2. EasyJet: #LoveSickSonnets – making a usual trip somewhat special, making you feel a part of something new and different. A very social media friendly way to share the news and publicise your company.

By looking at the different campaigns, it’s clear to see there isn’t a ‘one-way fits all’, with each campaign exercising a different approach, from advertisement to an interruption to a social norm.

It’s not a hidden secret or major surprise that Valentine’s Day is primarily targeted towards the younger age groups, and lo and behold in 2020 millennials are predicted to be the highest spending generation this Valentine’s Day. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean expensive one-off gifts will be bought. The behaviour of consumers is constantly changing and in 2018, according to a Mintel report, 32% of Valentine’s Day spend went on experiences, up from 18% the year before.

A generation who has grown up with social media and who are constantly exposed to online brand activity, means it will take a lot more than a styled Instagram post to encourage or influence behaviour; more consideration is taken when choosing to interact with a brand.

Likewise, trends such as ‘Galentine’s Day’ on 13th February is only growing in popularity, showcasing how the traditional form of Valentine’s Day is expanding to celebrate love for all and not just your partner.

Therefore, the way in which brands try and work their Valentine’s Day magic and promote their product or event comes off the back of knowing your customer and their behaviour; knowing what they like, what they find important and how they communicate. You can then identify strategies that what will encourage a reaction and provide engagement. 

An example most recently showcasing how marketing shouldn’t be done, is from a luxury car brand suggesting we should buy a car because it’s Valentine’s Day… I’m sorry brands, but a quick text alert with a sales promotion just isn’t the way to people’s hearts anymore.

Sources:
https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/02/14/why-humour-spells-romance-brands-valentine-s-day

https://www.finder.com/uk/valentines-day-statistics

https://adespresso.com/blog/create-facebook-and-instagram-ads-for-valentines-day/

This thing called work

This thing called work

What can I say about my first year in a marketing agency? Well, it hasn’t been boring!

Well I say a year, a few things worth reminding myself of:
1. It may be slightly more than a year as I underwent work experience here at Vital nearly two years ago and then carried on working part time until I finished my master’s degree.
2. Time flies, time flies fast!
3. From being a work experience student to now full-time employee, the biggest thing I can say I have learnt straight away is to seize every opportunity that comes your way.

Now, onto the blog…

I would like to think I’m a good worker, eager to learn, but after graduating from university, the five-day week, 9-5 routine (well, technically 24/7 with social media), was a shock to the system and I did miss catching up with Phil and Holly on the occasional morning.

However, the transition from student to employee was a mixture of nerves and excitement to get started and see what every assignment and dissertation was all on about.

After learning the importance of much shorter deadlines and tea breaks (whilst remembering how each tea is different for each colleague and wow, that one really counts), I feel I have learnt to adapt to the fast pace and reactive press office side to consumer facing PR. There are many plates which spin and you have to make sure they don’t fall… sometimes they may wobble but, it’s how you manage them and avoid the smash.

I would definitely say the first year in full time, ‘adult’ life is all about learning…still.

You are very much in the motion of learn/swim/learn/swim…thrown into the deep end to learn how you ‘fit’ into office culture and find out how things work and how they don’t.

But for me, the biggest achievement is starting to have a voice and confidently integrate my knowledge (and opinions) into practice, from social media content creation to digital marketing analytics. And, I have to admit, I do like showing that us millennials are not all snowflakes, but we can work and work hard.  

Being surrounded by colleagues with a wealth of knowledge and experience, it can feel daunting to disagree or provide an alternative action, but creating and building those relationships is an integral part as any new employee. It’s important to remember that we are equal and when our opinion is asked for it’s because it matters, not just because someone is trying to be nice.

The next big thing for me at Vital starts in just a matter of weeks, where I’ll be managing our new marketing intern- another plate, another opportunity!

Whether you are finding a job or work placement, a new place and a new start is always daunting but take it like a cup of tea, you don’t know how strong you are until you add hot water.

-Charlotte-

‘God Bless Birmingham’ – That age-old question, is it the artist or the subject that wins here?

‘God Bless Birmingham’ – That age-old question, is it the artist or the subject that wins here?

Banksy makes Birmingham the backdrop for message about Homelessness.

As with every piece of Banksy artwork, as soon as the paint was barely dry, Perspex protection and 24 hour security were put in place to protect it. This one however, just happened to be in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham and making a pretty important statement about homelessness – the reality of this national crisis is hard hitting and a sad look at the state of the nation – just to shine some light on the crisis, according to Shelter, there are 23,000 more homeless people now than in 2016. The coverage that the mural received within minutes was overwhelming, but to whose benefit – I think the bigger question we need to be asking is if the piece is really highlighting the issue of homelessness or will it just end up being another Banksy piece on a very fortunate art collectors shelf?

Birmingham – arguably the ‘second city’ with its current rate of economic boom, also soon to be home to HS2 and the up and coming Commonwealth Games 2022, has one of the highest homeless rates in the UK (reported one in 73 people based in Birmingham are classed as homeless and on average 18 people die of homelessness every year in the city) as brought to life through ‘God Bless Birmingham’.

‘God Bless Birmingham’ focusses on a homeless man named Ryan, the art showing him being ‘pulled away’ by Santa’s reindeers with his bench that he is asleep on, acting as the sleigh. The video of the piece went viral within minutes with Banksy even messaging the video, praising the generosity of the Birmingham people who approached Ryan with offers of food, drinks and lighters throughout the work being done, with Ryan not even having to ask for anything. I think what is key here is the simple generosity of being kind in a climate that doesn’t really allow the opportunity for a lot of people to be so.

Highlighting the hypocrisy of the piece vs the expensive security put in place to protect it was done by artist ‘HER’ who ‘vandalised’ the piece by spraying two red noses on the Perspex covering the reindeers. Claimed at being in response to the focus being on the amount of money spent ‘saving’ the mural rather than looking into the message of the pieces and tackling the issue it is meant to be highlighting. Whilst the mural certainly has got national attention, is it really helping to make changes to the lives of those it effects – probably not.

Realistically I think that the fact the piece was by Banksy has overshadowed anything that possibly would have helped to make a difference to the 68,000 households classed as homeless in the UK. But I think what is important to keep in mind, is the pure simple kindness in offering that little bit of help even if it is a hot drink not only over the Christmas period but whenever you can spare that generosity. As like those Birmingham people in the video with Ryan, even asking an ‘Alright bab?’ as you hand them a hot chocolate would just maybe that world of difference to them.  

We love a chat and are really keen to hear your thoughts so let us know what you think…

For more information on how you can help or even just to find out some more information, you can visit pages such as www.shelter.org.uk, www.crisis.org.uk or www.homelessone.org.

24 Hours in Paris

24 Hours in Paris

Vital team days out… but with a bit of a difference. On the opportunities that we have as a team to take a day (or two!) to ourselves, we try and get ourselves to somewhere we can find some fresh inspiration and see what we can do and see in 24 hours. We have already taken on Amsterdam and last year we decided to take on Paris.

Whilst we know 24 hours to see both cities is never going to be enough, we have outlined the highlights of our trip below for a whistle stop tour, we think we smashed it. Feel free to take ideas, write down restaurant names and districts or just take on the whole tour… the world is your oyster as they say.

Sunday

14.01pm

Eurostar to Paris from St. Pancras.

17.20pm

Head to our hotel in Montparnasse (for anyone interested, we stayed at Hôtel Apollinaire, 39 rue Delambre, 75014 Paris) via the metro from Gare du Nord.

19.00pm

Dinner at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, 101, Bld du Montparnasse – 75006. Traditional Parisian restaurant, think plates of cheese, loads of red wine and Steak Frites.

21.00pm

Visit the Montparnasse Tower and view the whole city from the rooftop bars (56th floor).

23.00pm

Drinks on Boulevard Edgar Quinet.

Monday

8.00am

Breakfast at Coffee Odessa – traditional Brasserie Montparnasse.

9.00am

Make our way to Atelier des Lumières, 38 rue Saint Maur 75011 Paris – an immersive art exhibition devoted to the main figures in the Viennese art scene Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

12.00pm

Lunch at The Paname Brewing Company, 41 bis Quai de la Loire 75019. Located in an old warehouse on the banks of the Bassin de la Villette – the largest artificial body of water in Paris – PBC is a place for beer connoisseurs, amateurs, and anyone simply looking to have a good time.

2.00pm

Head to Sacre-Couer for a flying visit.

15.30pm

Travel back to Gare du Nord for the Eurostar home.

Marston’s Beer Town Film Festival 2019

Marston’s Beer Town Film Festival 2019

To celebrate the return of Burton’s original, and now award winning, film festival this year we have compiled a short film with the help of some great footage taken at the event by the students from Burton and South Derbyshire College along with a short montage of the winning films. Enjoy!

You can read more about the festival on our previous post ‘Marston’s Beer Town Film Festival Returns!‘ or for more information go to beertownfilmfestival.co.uk.

 

Boningale Homes ‘new-look’ website and brochure

Boningale Homes ‘new-look’ website and brochure

We’ve been working with Wolverhampton based, housing developer, Boningale Homes for a few years now. After initially creating their identity, we recently had the enviable brief to refresh their website and create a brochure/folder for their new Millfields development in Albrighton.

We are pleased to say that both projects are now complete and we have another happy client. The 12pp brochure, which has an inside folder to hold the site plans and several of the sales sheets from the development, features a soft touch cover with a spot UV panel to make the logo really pop. Photography was organised here at Vital for use in the brochure, website and social media.

The website, which was completely rebuilt, took on a dramatic update and features a 3D walkthrough of the Millfields development, why not take a look for yourself.

We are continuing to work with Boningale on their PR and social media and will be looking into creating and organising press advertising for them soon.