Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A cherry-picked press trip to Herefordshire

It’s not every day you get the chance to spend time with Heston Blumenthal’s team, a group of amazing distillers and the expert spirits team at Waitrose, so when the opportunity to take a journalist to visit the Chase Vodka Distillery came up, it wasn’t one we wanted to miss! On a cold crisp day at the end of November, we travelled with a journalist from the Daily Telegraph to rural Herefordshire to give them a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new Heston from Waitrose Cherry Bakewell Vodka. We were taken round the farm and distillery by head distiller Jamie Baggott, who showed us how the humble potato is transformed through a variety of processes (one including basically making the potatoes into mash!) into the delicious Cherry Bakewell vodka. Inspired by the great British classic dessert, the vodka is made with local cherries and amaretto extract and really does taste rather nostalgic, not to mention very moreish! Throughout the day, we were accompanied by the fascinating Otto Romer, from Heston’s team at the Fat Duck, who told us all about how the relationship between Waitrose, Heston and Chase work and how Heston’s ideas become an actual product on shelf.

After our tour, we then went back to The Verzon Hotel, a gorgeous boutique hotel also owned by the Chase family. The hotel’s expert head chef created a selection of delicious Heston canapés for us to eat alongside cocktails made from the Cherry Bakewell Vodka. Expertly mixed by David Ashton-Hyde from The Crown at Bray, we were lucky enough to sample Cherry Espresso Martinis and Cherry Sours, alongside a Mulled Cider Fruit Cup and a Herbal Tea, made from Heston’s other drinks from Waitrose – his Earl Grey Gin and Mulled Cider – which are also made at Chase.

So now, when we have a go at some of the cocktail recipes this New Year’s Eve, we’ll be taking a moment to think about all the hard work, creativity and expertise that went into the making of the vodka and if that’s not a cause for celebration, I don’t know what is – cheers to that!  

Thursday, 27 November 2014

#Unlockaw14 – Christmas Blogger Evening at Superdrug

As Christmas creeps ever closer, finding that perfect gift is on everyone’s to do list. Last Tuesday we invited a few of our favourite beauty bloggers to Superdrug’s Marble Arch store for an exclusive shopping eveningoffering a taster of what Superdrug has to offer this year.

In keeping with all things Christmassy, guests were greeted by the ZPR team wearing their best festive headgear for the occasion.

With help from beauty specialists they had the opportunity to discover Superdrug’s exclusive brands, gifts sets and stocking fillers.

The bloggers were set a challenge: use the pre-loaded £20 gift card provided and tick off as many gifts from their shopping lists as possible. With personalised pink Christmas stockings in which to collect their gifts, our guests embraced the challenge with gusto, finding presents for teens to grandparents and everything in between.

Having hit their target of £20 our guests were asked to share their haul on their social channels, with the blogger who managed to tick off most on their shopping list winning the designer fragrance kit of their choice.

After hitting the high street, we gave our guests a bag of Superdug’s finest bath time goodies to take home and chill out with.

The event was a great success, and we’re looking forward to replicating the event with bloggers in other cities around the UK in the run up to Christmas.

Friday, 14 November 2014

All aboard the St Asthore!

It’s not every day you get to travel to Cornwall for work but a couple of weeks ago, I made the five hour journey to Newlyn, near Penzance, to join a team of Cornish fishermen who have been supplying Waitrose with sardines for 10 years. The reason? After decades in the doldrums, the popularity of Cornish sardines is on the rise, with sales rising by a fifth at Waitrose, so I was travelling with a journalist from the Independent on Sunday to give them a behind-the-scenes look at how these delicious fish are caught. 

We met Jeremy, the Waitrose fisheries and aquaculture manager, at the harbour, just as the sun was setting and were given a briefing by fisherman, Peter Bullock and then – it was time to set sail! 

Sardine fishing can take between two and seven hours so there was a certain amount of excitement met with trepidation as we set off! Peter explained that the reason we had to fish at night was because that’s when the slippery, six-inch fish congregate off the coast in vast shoals. After about an hour of being on the water, it was suddenly all actions go as Peter frantically abandoned the cockpit and, alongside his two colleagues, brought in a catch of around four tonnes, after 45 minutes of intense hauling of the net. The beautifully luminescent sardines were then taken back to shore and packed with ice. Within two days, they’d then be in Waitrose branches around the country – ethically sourced, high-quality fish that can be traced exactly to a single fishery. 

It was then back to solid ground for a meal in a local restaurant (with a main of local fish, of course) and then, back to my hotel – safe to say after all that sea air, I slept well!

Friday, 12 September 2014

#UnlockAW14 at Superdrug

Months of planning of planning and preparation came to fruition on Wednesday 10th September, as we hosted Superdrug’s autumn and winter media showcase at The Music Rooms in Mayfair, London. 

Invitations to the event included real keys, as guests were invited to head down and ‘unlock’ the new season at Superdrug. Attendees on the day stepped through an actual keyhole – very game show-esque – and explore everything new and exciting that Superdrug has to offer across its own brand and exclusive product ranges.

An own brand discovery zone allowed guests to get up close and personal with the new product in skincare, hair, personal wash, beauty accessories and oralcare. Attendees were asked to let us know their current beauty favourites in the Superdrug Swap Shop. Next week we’ll be sending alternatives to highlight the breadth and quality of Superdrug own brand lines, and hoping we can secure a few converts to the brand.

Exclusive brands including I Heart Makeup, Paul’s Boutique, Make Up Revolution plus Superdrug own brands B. and Studio were given areas in which to showcase their new collections. Some zones were manned by experts, including B. ambassador and celebrity makeup artist Cassie Lomas, on hand to talk media through the ranges. These experts also presented masterclasses, demonstrating new products and sharing ways to create some of the season’s hottest beauty trends. Guest presenters included TOWIE’s Lauren Pope, talking through her Hair Rehab range.

Christmas is edging ever nearer so also offered a focus for the day, with a selection of top ten edits to cover all gifting needs – Secret Santa, stocking fillers, children and fashionistas to name a few.

The event was a great success, with guests really getting into the spirit of the Swap Shop, exploring the product ranges and engaging with the masterclasses. Roll on next year!

Monday, 4 August 2014

GOSH AW14 Launch- The Sanderson Hotel

Last Tuesday over 60 gorgeous beauty bloggers took to the Sanderson hotel for the GOSH AW14 launch. The venue looked amazing with vibrant colours everywhere to match the new Las Vegas eyeshadow palette and products showcased on podiums so that guests could work their way around the room to admire each product individually. Prosecco and lychee lemonade were offered as thirst quenching beverages alongside yummy miniature sweet canapes which went down a treat! Sidsel Marie Bog, GOSH international makeup artist, joined us for the evening offering makeovers which gave the guests a chance to try the new products for a new AW look. Manicurists were also on hand giving mini-manicures using new ‘5 shades of grey’ nail polishes. Guests were transported from Oxford Street to Vegas with the click of a flash in our ‘Selfie Zone’ using fun props and backdrops. There was a great energy amongst the blogger community and the twittersphere was set alight with guests tweeting even on the night. Overall a top night, can’t wait for the next one!

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Sound of Superdrug

This week Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts visited Superdrug’s Westfield White City store. Looking fabulous in DKNY, the glamorous singer was there in her role as ambassador for Lil Lets, launching a competition exclusive to Superdrug. Budding singers can win afternoon tea with the star, plus practice their spotlight stealing vocals with a recording studio session for themselves and three friends.
Fans waited patiently outside the store for Nicola’s arrival, who after meeting the store team spent time chatting with her aficionados, signing autographs and posing with them for selfies. Before they left fans were given goody bags packed with Superdrug own brand and Lil Lets goodies before they left the store, a small reminder of their day meeting their idol.

Nicola’s visit was the latest in a series of starry store events, as Superdrug continues to champion celebrity brands and partnerships. Next week sees blogging sensations PixiWoo visiting stores in London and Cardiff, look out for more exciting celebrity tie-ins in the coming months.

Want the chance to win tea with Nicola yourself? Head to www.superdrug.com/competitions

Thursday, 31 July 2014

ZPR helps JD Williams to set new heights for the mature fashion market with its first fashion launch at The Shard

“Mature women....ignore us at your peril. We are a force to be reckoned with.” This is the message from Lorraine Kelly who was speaking at last week’s media launch at The Shard to celebrate the launch of her partnership with JD Williams. This was our first press event for JD Williams since ZPR first came on board in April, held at the fabulously swanky Shangri-La which is balanced on The Shard’s 35th floor, and marked the start of a journey in which JD Williams and Lorraine hope to change the way the fashion industry caters for the mature consumer. Providing clothes that fit, flatter and feel comfortable for women regardless of shape, size and age might seem pretty fundamental in the year 2014, however the reality is far from this.  

Lorraine Kelly speaking to the fashion media at JD Williams’ media launch at The Shard


The numbers speak for themselves. Women over the age of 50 currently spend over £2.5 billion per season on fashion. They’re the fastest growing fashion sector, with 90% of British retailers seeing most growth from the 50 plus consumer. They contribute £300 billion to the annual UK economy, and account for half of UK income and expenditure. Yet despite all growth in fashion coming from this sector, it’s the only demographic that’s being neglected by the high street, in that the majority of fashion retailers target them with clothing designed for a younger audience. Just as an adult wouldn’t expect fashion designed for a child to fit them, the same applies to mature women fitting into clothing designed for ladies half their age.


Lorraine Kelly shows her JD Williams AW14 edit to fashion journalist Hilary Alexander


Whether you choose to call this sector Flat Agers, FAB’s or simply mature the fact is they are emerging as the most powerful consumer group. They’re embracing age with a new approach, a new energy and a new outlook, and can no longer be ignored. Just as the fashion media currently caters for different priced fashion within its audience, part of ZPR’s mission will be to ask that the fashion editors also cater for this sector by featuring clothes that have been designed to fit mature women.   


Guests enjoy the view, a glass of bubbly and a browse of JD Williams’ AW14 edit (styled on Shard inspired rails no less!)

 In addition to Lorraine, Angela Spindler, N Brown’s CEO, said an inspiring piece as to why retail needs to start listening to this sector. Whoever you are, or wherever you come from, the fact is that all women’s bodies will naturally change as they age. Unless retailers targeting mature women factor these changes into their designs, they will be unable to compete against those that do.


Angela Spindler, CEO N Brown Group speaking to guests on JD Williams’ journey


A huge thank you to everyone who supported the event. The coverage we received was fantastic and guests of all ages were enthralled with the evening’s discussions. With Lorraine set to lunch her first ever fashion collection for SS15, one thing we promise is the best is definitely yet to come.


A room with a view #WhereFashionFits


If you would like to know more about JD Williams’ journey, you can browse our digital AW14 look book at www.AW14JDWilliams.co.uk

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Beauty Studio by Superdrug comes to Cardiff

Friday 4th July saw Superdrug open its very first Beauty Studio by Superdrug concept store in Cardiff.  The store offers a seamless combination of beauty services and products and ZPR was tasked with creating a buzz around the opening, and give the store PR support for its opening period.  The PR team decamped to Cardiff to plan and host a VIP preview day offering Welsh media the chance to experience the new concept and try out a treatment with manicures, blow dries, threading and even piercing all on offer.  London media were also invited to attend the store, and attend a dinner with the Superdrug team and TOWIE star and DJ Lauren Pope who officially opened the store the next morning.

Lauren opened the store by cutting not a ribbon but an extra-long blonde hair extension, entirely appropriate as she was at the store to launch her Hair Rehab collection of fabulous hair extensions.  Coverage landed on the day of the opening in local media, on Retail Week online, Daily Mail online, and #BeautyStudio was trending on social media.  With lots more coverage in the pipeline the PR team will continue to host press trips to the store to spread the word about this exciting new development in Superdrug’s brand evolution.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Christmas kicked off in style

The sun might be shining, but it’s that time of year again….Yes, Christmas has officially arrived here at ZPR HQ, as we kicked off the first of our Christmas press shows with Waitrose.

Held at Prince Philip House in Mayfair, the team welcomed over 300 journalists and bloggers to view what Christmas treats and gifts will be available this season from Waitrose. From the ultimate chocolate bar dessert from Heston, to a 3D bauble cake by Fiona Cairns, there was a sweet treat for everyone to try.

And for the Christmas centre piece, Waitrose unveiled a real cracker, in fact a Turkey Cracker which is set to grace dining tables this season. Arriving in the shape of a cracker, it’s inspired by Christmases past with a traditional fruit stuffing and wrapped in muslin to keep it from drying out.

The Waitrose Executive Chef Jonathan Moore and Karen Thomas, Head of Product Design for the home also gave guests an insight into the trends around Christmas and how the new product range has been developed, with highlights including the ‘imperfectly perfect’ square mince pies and lace inspired dinnerware.

And finally, guests ended the day enjoying a Harry Brompton’s alcoholic ice tea on the terrace in the sunshine.

Next up, it’s the Lakeland Christmas press show on the 9th July and we’ll be helping them celebrate their 50th anniversary too!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Gear up – the Summer of Cycling is here!

ZPR ensured that the Summer of Cycling went off with a bang by hosting the first ever Halfords lifestyle press event for cycling, lifestyle, women’s and men’s press.

A retro themed event was held at the Galleria in the Royal Opera Arcade on Pall Mall.  The look and feel mirrored one of those trendy bike cafes you often see Shoreditch-way. Quirky touches were added with a retro ice-cream trike and coffee cart providing endless, tasty refreshments for journos whilst they perused new season bike, accessory and wearable fitness launches. 


58 journalists turned up to the event – many with their bikes, keen to benefit from the all-day bike clinic run by the Halfords We Repair team, offering them a free bike service and maintenance on-site.  Whilst journos tucked into caramel icecream, pear sorbet, lattes and cappuccinos, as they lapped up the new collections, their much-loved bikes were being given lots of TLC!

The highlight for many was seeing the queen of the velodrome and nation’s sweetheart, Victoria Pendleton, and the talented and much-admired Chris Boardman.  They chatted to a number of journalists in the retro café area and we even had a surprise visit from Good Morning Britain who were keen to get Victoria’s tips for children on cycling safely.

Halfords even launched an in-depth report on cycling safely at the event, highlighting the nation’s views on the much debated topic as well as revealing parents’ and Londoners’ opinions on cycle safety.

So you can see, there’s been lots going for the team this month. It’s been such a whirlwind of activity, with only a few weeks to pull off a huge event, that I’m sure we’ll all be dreaming of bikes, pedals, helmets, chains and saddles for many weeks to come!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Heston Summer Cup, cricket and Lord's - the summer season's officially here

While the chinking of ice with Pimms, the aroma of British fresh strawberries and the welcome turning back of the clocks are all undeniable signs that summer is in sight, here at ZPR the only way to know the summer season is officially  underway is the arrival of the Waitrose Summer Party.

This year it was held at the quintessentially British venue of Lord's Cricket Ground, to celebrate Waitrose's three-year term as official Team Sponsor of England Cricket and to say thank you to partners, suppliers and friends of the supermarket alike. While we confess to not being the most clued up on cricket (how can one game last so many days?!), we couldn't fail to be impressed by unrivalled access to the Long Room, player dressing rooms and of course views onto the pitch itself.

Upon arrival, guests were treated to a selection of gorgeous canapés, devised by Waitrose executive chef Jonathan Moore and his team, including coronation chicken scotch eggs, treacle cured salmon, white chocolate cricket bats with strawberries and cream cricket ball truffles all expertly matched with the delicious Foxhole Vineyard English Rosé.

We were privileged to be joined by the likes of Steve Jones, Alan Titchmarsh, Mary Berry and Ben Fogle. And who could forget Pippa Middleton who, along with Lisa Snowdon, wore a dress in a gorgeous shade of green, in addition to revealing a new shorter haircut.

A fab night to celebrate the best of summer - here's to a great cricket season and next stop, Christmas in July! 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Happy 50th Birthday Superdrug!

Phew! What a busy month April was for our Superdrug team. Why? Well, it’s not every day you turn 50. Not the spring chickens on the team of course – Superdrug (which may be 50, but is still looking fabulous).
Obviously, Superdrug wanted to make lots of noise about its golden anniversary. Iconic brands created limited edition products to celebrate, including St Tropez, Revlon, Max Factor, Rimmel, Carmex and Astral, so it was all hands on deck making sure media were briefed and samples were shared. As we expected the products went down a storm and we’ve seen some brilliant coverage.

We built a series of news stories focusing on the heritage of the brand. Seeing the development of the beauty industry over the last half century proved fascinating to media, with survey and news coverage appearing in much of the national press. We also created a Beauty Through The Ages stop motion video, recreating iconic looks from the 60s to today, which was seeded out to online media and bloggers as well being hosted on Superdrug’s own social channels – have a look and choose your favourite!

Superdrug Beauty Through The Ages video

We invited 60s icon Lulu – also celebrating 50 years in the spotlight this year, can you believe it?! – to Superdrug’s Putney store, just a few doors down from where the first ever store was opened. Looking chic as ever, Lulu posed up a storm outside the store, which was redesigned for the day to echo the original shop front. Giving interviews to the Daily Mail and DARE, Superdrug’s instore magazine, the Shout singer spoke about her own love of hair and beauty. A Superdrug girl through and through!

We saw Superdrug MD Joey Wat joined at the Putney store by Howard and Ronald Goldstein, two of Superdrug’s founding brothers. Together they unveiled a plaque heralding the brand’s 50th year, before presenting the store team with a 50th birthday cake. Last week also saw Superdrug hosting a celebration event to thank suppliers, media, and colleagues for their support. A few famous friends of the brands were also in attendance, helping secure coverage across key showbiz websites and with consumer party pages covering the event in the coming weeks.

So as you can see, there’s been plenty to keep the team busy this spring. It’s been such an exciting couple of months, and we’re sure you’ll join us in wishing Superdrug a very happy birthday – here’s to the next 50 years! 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Oh what a beautiful morning

The St Martins Lane Hotel was the super stylish setting for our B. press masterclass. It was a bustling morning packed full of beauty journalists and bloggers, who were all there to find out what’s new from the brand as well as meet and learn from new B. makeup ambassador, celebrity makeup artist Cassie Lomas.

Early bird guests arrived promptly at 8am en route to the office and enjoyed breakfast canapés while having a morning mani in a new seasonal shade – not a bad way to start the day. The room was soon packed by 9am for Cassie’s first masterclass, where she demonstrated to our eager guests how they could re-create some of the key runway looks at home. They had all the makeup and tools they needed to try out the look themselves as Cassie showed them on her gorgeous model Chloe.

It was fantastic to see so many guests joining in and mastering tricky trends from futuristic eyeliner to a big bold Cara brow.

@joinbsocial #summerb and check out what British Beauty Blogger thinks of the new Limited Edition Summer makeup http://www.britishbeautyblogger.com/?s=b.+complete

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Heston's made our Easter!

Take a look at what's arrived in Waitrose stores today - the Easter Egg of all Easter Eggs. Here's what the Mailonline said about it http://dailym.ai/NqpOCO

Sticking with chocolate (sorry for those of you who have given it up for Lent), Lakeland and Paul Young's How To Make Chocolates book has landed so if Heston's egg is a bit extravagant for you and you fancy the personal touch, making your own handmade truffles and filled chocolates at home you can now do that with their help, advice and chocolate making kit.

Yesterday's Beauty Bible reader event at Fenwick of Bond Street with YOU Magazine's Sarah Stacey and Josephine Fairley was a great success and the two Lucy's in our team will be off on tour from next week as the events hit York, Newcastle, Brent Cross, Bentalls in Kingston and Tunbridge Wells stores.

It's that time of year for beautiful events as last week's GOSH blogger event at the Hospital members club attracted a fantastic beauty buzz and we're hoping for the same at our event next week with Cassie Lomas, the make up artist for B. @ Superdrug. Cassie will be showcasing new season B. products and giving great master classes in bold brows and blue eyes to get the latest catwalk beauty looks at the St Martin's Lane Hotel.  A beautiful way to start the day!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

No smoking jacket required

This week we've taken up smoking.  Smoked cocktails, smoked salmon, smoked cheese - that's the kind of smoking we're looking at with the launch of Lakeland's latest kitchen must-have the smoking gun bringing this on trend food technique in to your very own kitchen. Smokin!

We told you the bumbag was the latest must have bag and today the Times agrees with us although we didn't spot any bumbags at the Oscars.  How amazing and glamorous did they all look?  Our favourites were Jennifer Lawrence, Lapita, Amy Adams and Angelina.  The white tux featured on the red carpet this year inspired by YSL and Planet has it covered @planet_fashion#smokinhot pic.twitter.com/W1no2BQ0x

View image on Twitter

Meanwhile the Waitrose team at ZPR have been busying visiting suppliers and enjoying a spot of curry - check out the alternative white jacket look!
View image on Twitter