Thursday, 18 May 2017

Halfords Electric Bike Press Trip

On Wednesday 12th- Thursday 13th April, the Halfords team hosted Olympian Victoria Pendleton, Victoria’s mother Pauline and ten high profile journalists at Dormy House Hotel and Spa in the Cotswolds. The trip’s purpose was to showcase and demonstrate the range of electric bikes that Halfords offers, giving attendees an opportunity to try them out. With the popularity of e-bikes growing rapidly, the journalists were keen to learn all about how they work, despite some of them not having ridden a bike for many years!

Victoria Pendleton and her mum Pauline trying out e-bikes

We rode a wide range of electric bikes across the Dormy estate. With lots of hills and bends, the route proved perfect for trying out all the capabilities of an e-bike, as the motor has different modes which give different levels of power, or push to the rider. It was fantastic to see people of all different levels of athletic ability enjoying the bikes. 

Happy afternoon riding e-bikes with Victoria Pendleton

The most popular e-bike of the day was Victoria Pendleton’s electric Somerby bike, an electric version of her incredibly popular Somerby model. Everyone loved how smart and sophisticated the bike was, yet it was really functional when tackling the big hills. Halfway through the ride, we stopped for a picnic by a beautiful lake on the estate.

Following the ride, attendees were treated to spa treatments, drinks and dinner. It was a fantastic trip, enjoyed by all and we definitely converted some of the Halfords team and journalists to take up riding e-bikes. 

Ladbrokes Grand National 2017

For the Grand National 2017, we wanted to place Nation’s Favourite bookmaker Ladbrokes in the hearts and minds of those who have a flutter once a year.

We conducted a survey, asking Brits about their favourite things: from divine dinners (fish & chips) to best beverages (a cuppa tea), most beloved Bond actors (Sean Connery) to favourite members of the Royal Family (Prince Harry), top telly picks (Bake Off) to soap heroes (Dot Cotton), we got to the heart of what makes us tick as a nation. And the Grand National came up trumps as the nation’ favourite race. The survey was covered by The Sun.

And to give us a bit of a boost, and really help those who pop to the bookies to bet on the National, we worked with maths whizz, TV personality and national sweetheart Carol Vorderman to create a formula to pick a winner.

Carol wanted to create something simple, memorable and easy to use – and something using letters and numbers, keeping it firmly in the former Countdown-presenter’s comfort zone.

How it works:
Step 1: Take the first letter of your surname, and its place in the alphabet
a = 1   
b = 2   
C = 3
X = 24
Y = 25
Z = 26
Step 2: Add your favourite number between 0 and 14

Result: The resulting number between 1 and 40 is the number of the horse you should back

Example: Carol Vorderman’s number is 7

22 + 7 = Horse number 29

We photographed Carol with a good old fashioned bookies board, demonstrating the formula and how it works for her – and helping a nation of part-time punters choose the horse they’d back for the biggest race in the world.

And we captured her on film talking it through – Countdown-style – for Ladbrokes social media.

With a six-week turnaround, we engaged our celebrity, commissioned a survey, coordinated a photo shoot and sold in on the second day of the National.

Carol’s cheeky winning formula was covered in The Daily Record and online on and Mirror online.

In her interview with Daily Mail online, Carol spoke of her love of racing, attending the Grand National for the first time with her buddies from the I’m A Celebrity jungle and her tips for using her Ladbrokes formula.

An interview Carol did with Press Association, in which she ran through the formula and her reasons for creating it – was picked up by 224 regional and online titles, including Yahoo! UK and, Oxford Mail, Glasgow Evening Times, Express and Star, Dorset Echo and the Northern Echo.

And on Ladbrokes’ Facebook, the video was viewed by more than 19,000 people.

A huge thanks to Carol Vorderman, whose fun formula proved a big hit with the media – and with which one of our ZPR team picked their own winner!

Coral's Grand Splashional

The Grand National is one of the nation’s most iconic and historic sporting events and takes place every April at Aintree.   To capture the excitement of this year’s race, Coral let us loose in Liverpool to stage our own aquatic version of the Grand National, featuring a team of highly skilled flyboarders, dressed as jockeys with model horses…what could go wrong?

This was a project of two halves.  Firstly, we needed to produce all of the components to hold the race and then we needed a PR plan to ensure that we maximized all opportunities to publicise our client Coral.

We had approximately three months to produce the race so that we could film it for the press and social media.  We needed to source the flyboarders, find a Liverpool location, costume designer, model makers for the horses’ heads, photographer, film crew and drone operator.    
We also needed to pray for good weather; fog, wind or rain would have delayed proceedings considerably.

The race deadline was April 3rd, the day we were set to stage Coral’s Grand Splashional at the Liverpool Water Sports Centre.  The weather was on our side, a crisp morning with stunning sunshine and a breathtaking backdrop of some of Liverpool’s most recognisable landmarks. 

 The setting was perfect for us to re-enact the Grand National in our own epic style.  We filmed the tension of the build up to the event, the jostling for position at the start, the excitement of the 300m race and the euphoria of flying over the finish line.

With the filming in the can, the job was only half done - we had great content, it was now time to share it with the press.  Our efforts were not in vain, on the morning of April 5th we woke up to three half-page spreads in The Sun, The Express and The Daily Star as well as widespread coverage in the regionals and online in several of the nationals and the video received nearly 80,000 views on social media.  The project came in on time, on budget and delivered great press and social coverage.

Hats off to Aquatic Jetpacks who provided the team of flyboarders and to the film crew who were out on the water too – the sun may have been shining but apparently that water was cold and they were in there ALL day!