It’s safe to say that looking back, 2020 seems like a bit of a whirlwind, it’s the year that none of us saw coming, and yet once it happened we realised it would never be forgotten.
It was one of those life-altering moments that essentially turned industries upside down and left us all in the dark, unable to live life as we once had.
For us here at Down At The Social, overnight we saw our beloved hospitality clients forced to close their doors, projects in the pipeline placed on pause and the PR industry as a whole feeling nervous about what was to come. It was a real case of fear or flight for us, and overnight we had shifted our priorities and stepped into the realm of the unknown, equipped with what we knew best, how to communicate and harness the power of the news agenda.
You could compare the change to that of Taylor Swift, an established pop princess who’s multitude of hits would sell out stadiums with crowds dancing enthusiastically and screaming ‘Shake It Off’ at the top of their lungs. Yet once the curtains closed and lockdown loomed, Swift found herself in essentially the same position, what would come next?
In her isolation came the conception of Folklore, now widely proclaimed a masterpiece - the soundtrack of our 2020. She described it as “starting with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity. Hushed tones of "let's run away" and never doing it. The sun drenched month of August, sipped away like a bottle of wine.”
Ultimately what Swift did was redefine her genre, and in doing so, created a masterpiece and her best work yet.
Just like her, we looked to redefine the very essence of what we did. Working with Masterchef champion, Simon Wood, we helped keep his profile up though a series of recipe videos tapping into the nation’s upset over the closing of Mcdonalds and KFC etc. His Big Mac sauce has been in the Daily Mail, Daily Star and Daily Express, OK mag and many more, achieving a staggering reach.
Stunts were not dead, and with our client Chopstix we did perhaps the craziest thing we’ve ever done, taking a real life WW2 tank to students trapped in university halls and bringing them Noodle Aid.
Exploring the idea of thought leadership, we positioned Simon Wood, Angus Pride, Managing Director of Peru Perdu and Jennifer Hughes, Brand and Marketing Partner at Peru Perdu as industry leaders who could provide comment on a number of issues facing the hospitality industry as a whole. This generated a steady stream of broadcast coverage, including Granada Reports, BBC North West Tonight, ITV News, Channel 5 News and Sky News, as well as comment in The Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Metro and Daily Mail.
Taking the Manchester Pride Festival virtual, we were all able to celebrate Manchester Pride safely and saw us travelling around Greater Manchester in a rainbow Bentley.
Most excitingly, we started our journey with the wizards at Zymurgorium, Manchester's first gin distillery and creators of never-seen before gins, gin liqueurs, rums and absinthe. From the production of ethically priced hand sanitiser to a collaboration with queen diva, Gemma Collins, it’s been one hell of a whirlwind.
Just like Taylor Swift, we were not done and as she announced her second secret lockdown album, Evermore, we too looked ahead to 2021 and building on the success of 2020.
Our client base has grown and we have some exciting new sectors to explore, including Kays Traffic Management, a family run business in Lancashire that works across the North West, Dr Maya, an ENT Surgical Registrar with an incredible story, Moneypenny Art, a kooky artist from Lancashire redefining the boundaries of art and Art B&B, a fully operational boutique hotel and venue in Blackpool and a community business which reinvests profits in arts and community projects..
At DATS we like to talk about values and purpose. We avoid ‘PR for PR’s sake’. In other words are we committed to generating coverage that drives real change and this is something we continue to do for our product placement clients including Shoryu Ramen, Zymurgorium, Diablesse Rum and Rudy’s Pizza, with a regular flurry of national hits!
We also have been working with Simon Wood on a really incredible initiative close to our hearts, #FeedingFamiliesFor30, helping to bring recipes made from cupboard essentials to everyone. We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the response so far and still have some exciting things in store.
Just like Taylor Swift, we still have plenty of stories to tell and campaigns to be generated and we look forward to doing so with a renewed passion and purpose for PR, something we all learnt during our Folklore year - we promise, the best is yet to come!