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Student Events
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L'Eau de Chris #dontbottleitup - one campaign we won't forget in a hurry

This week, a spoof story that sounded too ludicrous to be true - and it turned out that it wasn't it was in fact a carefully planned and ingeniously considered PR stunt that couldn't have been more targeted at the right people, with the right message, all perfectly executed. Jack Walton, a second year PR student at the School of Media, Birmingham City University, tells us why he won't be forgetting this campaign for a long time...

Source: The Sun

Today I want to talk about a PR campaign that has only happened this week; it was short and sweet and took place within a 24-hour period. However, the effect it had and the impact it has left is an example of a truly well planned PR campaign. The well thought out strategy came from men’s clothing brand Topman, working with Chris Hughes from this year’s series of Love Island and supported by the charity CALM, which is dedicated to preventing male suicide and mental health issues.

The story started on Monday morning (9th October) and the truth full revealed the following day; however, the plans for the campaign will undoubtedly run much longer, as will sales and fundraising. You’d think only giving the story 24 hours to happen would be too short - a more prolonged build up needed perhaps? Not in this case. 

It all started with multiple media articles saying that Chris Hughes was releasing a range of bottled water infused with his very own tears; the name of the product being 'L’eau De Chris'. When you say the name out loud it sounds very similar to the word ludicrous… more on that later!

I, along with many others, was confused when I first saw this, as a Topman customer myself. The story said that the water would be available to buy from Topman for £2. An accompanying video was released on Twitter and Instagram by Chris, showing him in underwear and posing with the water bottle, along with captions to say how happy he was to release the product and that more information would be available through Facebook Live on the Topman page at 08:15am the following morning. 

This quickly became a huge talking point on social media and many slated Chris, or poked fun at him, with the consensus being that it must be some sort of joke. 

Little did we know what was in store... 

Farewell Bears of Brum

Post by Rachel Hickey, second year PR student at Birmingham City University School of Media

The Big Sleuth is a project that most people in Birmingham will probably be quite familiar with by now. But for those who don’t know, ‘The Big Sleuth’ is a project run by Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and Wild in Art which kicked off on Monday 10th July when 100 bears were scattered across Birmingham to be tracked down by eager explorers.

The bears created a free, public-art trail as each was specially designed to tell a different story. All kinds of groups within the Birmingham community came together to express their individual stories by creating these magnificent works of art that have been on display around Birmingham.

In a bid to raise over £500,000 as the former project ‘The Big Hoot’ did, all of the wonderful bears that have been dotted around Birmingham will be auctioned off on Thursday 12th October. The money raised will be put towards vital funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, where it will be life changing for patients and their families.

To allow everyone to admire the bears one last time and say a sad goodbye a Farewell Weekend event is happening this weekend, over Friday 6th, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th of October in Eastside City Park. Having been one of the lucky few to attend the opening of the event, I can safely say you will be blown away by the sight of all these marvellous, inspiring and even some quite literally dazzling bears!

Generation Z and PR

Guest post from Jack Walton, second year PR student at BCU School of Media

I’m part of generation Z. For those of you who don’t know what this is it’s the term given to those of us who were born from the mid 1990’s to 2000, however even the dates are conflicted depending on who you ask. I was born in 1997 and definitely fit into this bracket. Your probably used to hearing the term Millennials and how they will have more jobs in their lifetime than ever before… amongst other things.

Well, step aside because a new generation now seems to be the talk of the town - hello Generation Z!


Generation Z is the most technological advanced group that there ever was, we grew up with computers, video games and now, social media and smart phones. It means our expectations are set much higher than ever before - and this increasingly puts demands on every company, from clothing retailers to hotels. 

As a generation, we aim to turn our hobbies into actual careers; we won’t settle for second best like generations before us, it’s a huge change for many to accept and automatically affects PR too. Quality over quantity is something that is important to us; clothing brands - and particularly high street ones - have had to step up their game by offering us more “out there” items of clothing which really are head turners. 

With everything, public relations has had to take notice of this. We react differently to advertising; we enjoy hard hitting campaigns which tackle important social issues. We enjoy making a difference and make sure our voices are heard a lot more, through the media and our own channels of engagement.

Interview with a first year broad course student - meet Jemma Lowman

In our latest 'ask a student' instalment, #BCUWeArePR talks to Jemma, a student who has just completed her first year at BCU and who has been bitten by the media relations bug... 

Nice to meet you!

Hi, I'm Jemma Lowman, a BCU School of Media Media and Communications broad course student from South Wales. I start my second year in September.

How is university life treating you? 
I love being at BCU! Not only is it extremely accessible, from the societies and sports teams right down to the tutors, but BCU also allows me to grow as an individual. I love being independent and also the nightlife isn't too shabby!

Tell us about your studies to date 
When I first got given my options sheet, I didn't have a clue what to choose as there were just so many options within the media that I could explore. However, as I was interested in TV already, I focused my modules around that and hadn't even thought of PR until I saw it listed as an option. I thought about it but wasn't sure what would be involved; wouldn't PR be tonnes of public speaking? I decided to give it a go and here I am, one module down. It was probably my best decision at uni to date as it was completely opposite to what I initially expected and I'm keen to do more PR related modules.

BCU's PR MA course receives national endorsement by CIPR

As Birmingham City University launches a new suite of postgraduate media courses, its Public Relations programme has received national endorsement by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
Along with new courses in Data Journalism and Media Production, the University’s School of Media are hoping its refreshed postgraduate offer will help plug the skills gap in the Midlands region.

Public Relations
Birmingham City University’s Public Relations MA course focuses on the skills needed to communicate on behalf of organisations – such as charities, NGOs and activist groups – dedicated to social change, including health, education, environment, and the public sector.
Philip Young, Senior Lecturer, Public Relations MA, Birmingham City University, said:
“Whether it is persuading people to give blood, eat more vegetables, wear a seatbelt, stop smoking or protect an endangered species, social change is driven by persuasion, relationships and trust. That is what public relations is all about.
“Our course concentrates on developing the skills needed to get causes noticed, to change opinions and then bring practical benefits, all using the latest media techniques. This is PR for people who want to change the world.”

A month of PR interning - reflections of a second year PR student

"My day-to-day tasks were never the same and was positively challenging." says Claudia, a Birmingham City University School of Media student due to start her third year in September, specialising in PR. Earlier this year, she was chosen as runner up in the regional B-Hive creative industries competition, scooping six weeks' worth of paid placements at her choice of top PR agencies in the Midlands. (In fact, the winner and all shortlisted entrants were BCU Media students).

Having completed a month working in PR at two of these - Rewired and McCann - Claudia has shared her thoughts on what she has learnt from this invaluable experience... and how she can apply this to her final year of studies, and beyond.

I've just finished a jam-packed month of interning at two award winning Midlands PR agencies; Rewired and McCann Birmingham.

Both placements were real eye openers into the world of PR and put a lot of what I have learnt in this past year (both in theory and practical modules) into practice. I had the pleasure of working alongside talented individuals who allowed me to work on live campaigns and have a real taster of what PR really is all about.

Fashion + Celebrities = the perfect PR fit

* Guest post from Jack Walton, first year PR specialist student

PR is that one thing that can apply to anything. Every industry will need some form of public relations, be that the media industry, hospitality industry, sport, healthcare, leisure... and of course, fashion, the list is endless. 

Fashion and public relations go hand in hand. Celebrity culture is more closely linked than ever in this. When I completed my media relations module, I had to analyse a section of a newspaper; I choose the style section of the Daily Mail. It was interesting to me how closely linked fashion and celebrities were - and just how prominent PR was in this industry. Prior to never studying PR before I was just a consumer of fashion, I was looking from the outside in. Participating in this module made me realise how much actually went into the clothing I buy and how PR has a big role to play in how it’s advertised, marketed and consumed.


When superstar BeyoncĂ© was recently seen on Instagram sporting Gucci’s latest collection, her fans and the public went mad and obviously wanted to wear and get their hands on what she was wearing. BeyoncĂ© and Gucci undoubtedly had some form of arrangement for her to pose wearing their latest collection, because they have a strong team of PR working at Gucci who all know the power of social media, particularly within the fashion industry, and how influential Queen Bey is. 

One of the photos shared received in excess of 1.8 million likes. A short Google search later and I quickly found several articles which had re-posted the images and included how much some of the items were - another example of the press picking up on a PR opportunity. Many of us know that if someone in the limelight is seen wearing something many will then buy it, even if it is for a crazy price, so the potential impact is huge.
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