Posted by: ptarmiganacademy | April 23, 2010

Behind the Spin covers the ‘Schmoovement’

Leeds Graduates and Students ask people to Join the Schmoovement

The Schmoo team

Two recent graduates from Leeds University are launching a new yoghurt lassi drink called Schmoo.  Not only are both the managing directors recent graduates, but the Public Relations team behind the consumer launch are five PR students from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Schmoo, which is based on a traditional Indian recipe will come in three flavours, strawberry, mango and vanilla.  It will be launched across 60 Tesco stores in Yorkshire, Greather Manchester and Lancashire.

The collaboration of recent graduates and current students came about when Laurence Nair-Price, the MD of Schmoo, read about the recent appointment of the Ptarmigan Academy, which is made up of five Leeds Met PR students who are mentored by professionals from Leeds based PR consultancy Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger.  The Ptarmigan Academy includes Adam Burns, Clare Callery, Lois Ackerely, Katherine Hasselby and Steph Hoy.

The PR students have launched a social media campaign as part of their consumer launch.  The “Join the Schmoovement” campaign involves ten Schmoo ambassadors from around the north of England, all running their own campaigns to try to encourage people to join the Schmoovement and buy a Schmoo from their designated stall.  The winner, who will receive an around the world ticket for one,  will be decided by who sells the most Schmoo and who produces the most creative campaign.

Adam Burns from the Ptarmigan Academy said:  “Being part of the academy we get the chance to work on live projects for real clients, which is fantastic experience for us.  The Schmoo team have allowed us to be creative and we hope that our campaign will make Schmoo a success.”

The drink is made using 100 per cent pure ingredients, including fresh yoghurt and fruit.  Schmoo does not contain any preservatives and is one of the freshest label drinks on the market.   A lassi drink is traditionally served after a curry to sooth the heat, but the Schmoo is a healthy twist on the usually sugar filled lassi and contains 30% of a person’s recommended intake of calcium.

The Mango Schmoo

Laurence met his business partner, Hayley Hadfield, whilst studying at Leeds Uni.  It was during this time that the pair spotted a gap in the market.

Miss Hadfield, 25, said: “I always enjoyed a lassi in Indian restaurants and realised it hadn’t reached its potential as a product.  We set about making a brand that could bring lassi to the mainstream and we are confident Schmoo will be loved by many” .

“There are a lot of exotic berries and new flavours out there at the moment but we are returning to the basics, which I think is a good thing.”

Schmoo comes in three exciting flavours, mango, strawberry and vanilla and will be on offer for just £1 in Tesco stores from the 27th of April.

If you are interested in becoming a Schmoo ambassador then please email.

You can also “Join the Schmoovement” by following @schmoolassi on Twitter or by becoming a fan of the Facebook page Love Schmoo.

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article borrowed from :

Posted by: ptarmiganacademy | April 9, 2010

Photo Call and Schmoo

Today we have had a lovely time, the sun was shining down on the Rose Bowl.   Summer garments were pulled out, Miss  Clare Callery winning the award of most summery.  The Ptarmigan team met up with the Schmoo team and we had ourselves a photo shoot for the launch of the Schmoo lassi.

Previously Steph mentioned her taste test of the new drink thats being launched on the 27th April, well she loved it and we are going to help them with the launch. We have taken them on as a new client and all systems are go. We started with press releases and now we are quickly moving on to photos, hopefully this will make the day of some journalists stuck at their desk reading emails. Everything is surely a bit more exciting with us  popping up on your screen.  Ultizing the sun’s absolute potential and hoping it pops out from under those rain clouds for at least another hour, we get chatting and wait for our photographer to arrive. Where is Mr McDougall?

Ever the popular and busy gent we dont have him around for long so, okay, we’re off. Suddenly the prospect of photos become very terrifying to me, the only time i allow them usually are from are either from very high angle or ones where  i dont tend to smile, instead choosing to look moody yet mysterious (I try to anyway) oh, two of the team decided to wear red today (thanks Steph) we cannot be next to each other in any of the photos.

We spent most of the day laughing and giggling, in a professional way of course, acting like trees, reaching out for those schmoo bottles, creating a human fan alternating between ptarmigan and schmoo members. Then the worst part, the video who ever decided this, i dislike very much. As the camera pans round to me i freeze, i don’t know what to say the temptation to just hide from the phone runs through me but then no inspiration “i love schmoo!” brilliant Katherine, good save.

Posted by: ptarmiganacademy | March 20, 2010

A new drink ‘Schmoo’ should try!

As a girl that would consider herself quite a foodie (and no I’m not referring to the local fast food selection!) I was excited as the rest of the group when we received the brief for a new Lassi named ‘Schmoo’ from a local company in Leeds.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking ‘what is a Lassi?!’ let me tell you what Google said ‘Lassi is a traditional chilled beverage from India which is made with yogurt or buttermilk and an assortment of flavourings.’ I was incredibly intrigued to taste it, would it be yoghurt, or a milkshake or a hybrid ‘friendly bacteria’ drink? The description left me none the wiser, and I awaited our meeting with great anticipation.

As we sat down with Laurence Nair from ‘Schmoo’ I could hardly wait for him to hand over the samples, and it was certainly worth the wait!

The drink came to us in handy sized 250ml bottles that were just the right size for popping in my handbag, yet still big enough to quench my thirst. The first thing I noticed about the drink was the crushed vanilla pods that were an instant giveaway that this product was not cheaply made.

As I unscrewed the cap, the smell of vanilla gently wafted from the bottle, not too overpowering, but just aromatic enough to draw me in instantly. I looked round the table, and saw the rest of the academy were equally as enchanted with this rather unique beverage.

The first taste was one that was incredibly organic, the vanilla pods I had spied earlier had done justice in tasting just as good as they smelt! The texture was one that is hard to describe, it was completely smooth like a fine yoghurt, but with the power to instantly satiate you and quench your thirst. The experience of drinking a ‘Schmoo’ had thrown me into a frame of mind where I felt summer was just around the corner and left me with a feeling of optimism.

Not only did it taste fantastic, but I was impressed by how healthy the ingredients were. Bio yoghurt was listed as the main ingredient, and in the Mango Lassi, there was 28.5% of Alphonso Mango puree. There were no additives, colours or nasty things I couldn’t pronounce lurking in the drink, and it was something that made me feel I’d pick a ‘Schmoo’ over a rival drink. Also, it was good to note that the drink was suitable for people with lactose intolerances.

Thankfully, Laurence was kind enough to send us away with multiple samples, and I have been enjoying ‘Schmoo’ ever since! It is a wonderful alternative to a cereal bar for breakfast on the go, and as somebody that doesn’t enjoy milk; it is a great way to get calcium into my diet without any effort.

I sadly have now run dry, but next month will see the drink being sold in the Leeds branches of Tesco, and I would advise you to pick up a bottle and try it, as I think you will find it just as yummy as we did!


Posted by: ptarmiganacademy | March 5, 2010

Ptarmigan Academy secures first client

Ptarmigan Academy has been appointed to provide PR support for Leeds-based design company Tag pac. The student agency, part of PR consultants Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger is made-up of Leeds Metropolitan University BA (Hons) PR students, Adam Burns, Steph Holloway, Lois Ackerley, Katherine Hesselby and Clare Callery

The academy will build awareness of Tag pac. through international trade and business media communications under the guidance of Ptarmigan’s experienced PR consultants.  The students will identify news stories, draft press materials and handle media relations.

Jonathan Milner, director at Tag pac. said: “We’re keen to support local talent, so when the opportunity arose to work with the Ptarmigan Academy we jumped at the chance. We’re really looking forward to working with the team to raise Tag pac’s profile.”

Nathan Lane, director at Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger said: “The quality of the Ptarmigan Academy team shines through in their creativity and drive on the campaign they are working on. We are grateful for Tag Pac’s support in recognising the opportunity of working with the team and giving them real life work experience.”

Bell Pottinger parent company, Chime Communications plc is one of a number of companies that is supporting an initiative by Business in the Community (BITC) to improve the work experience their companies offer to more than half a million young people.

Brands who would like further information or are interested in working with the student team should contact Marie O’Connor on 0113 237 2821

Posted by: ptarmiganacademy | February 10, 2010

Our story so far……..

In late October second year Public Relations students at Leeds Metropolitan University were offered a chance to become the very first Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger “Student Agency”.  It was clear from the outset that this was unlike any other guest lecture we had been given before and  ears soon pricked up when Nathan Lane from Ptarmigan mentioned that not only would the placement involve working on “real” clients, but the winning team would also be paid for their efforts.

The brief was to deliver a competitive pitch based on a campaign for Nestle.  Nathan advised that we work in groups of five and that he was looking for us to create a deliverable campaign which pushed the key messages across national and regional broadcast, print, lifestyle and online media raising awareness of the Easter range amongst the target audience.

Here is the background information we were given

  • Nestlé is reducing the packaging on their Easter egg range by removing the plastic packaging from 80% of their chocolate eggs.
  • The plastic inserts will be replaced with 100% recyclable card baskets to secure the egg.
  • Every egg in the range will have its packaging reduced meaning a 30% (700 tonnes) overall reduction in Nestlé Confectionery’s Easter packaging.
  • A fun and informative recycling guide is included on the back of all Easter egg packs.
  • Despite reducing the packaging Nestle has maintained the size of their chocolate eggs.
  • Nestlé is launching the new Milky Bar Cow.

After forming a group of five and naming ourselves Paws Communications with the rather cheesy strap line of “Putting our print on your campaign” we had a very intense ideas meeting. With creativity flowing we came up with some initial ideas which we planned to market test on the good people of Leeds. We headed on to the streets of Leeds full of enthusiasm and armed with a questionnaire that we hoped would prove our ideas were simply genius. Between the five of us we surveyed 140 people, providing us with qualitative and quantitative research that helped us understand our target publics and refine our campaign ideas.

Our campaign consisted of three main tactics.

The first was called “Sing a song for Bluebell” in which we encouraged children to come up with a jingle about Bluebell the cow with the winning jingle featured in Nestle’s Easter advert. To communicate our message we planned to create Bluebell a powerful online presence, harnessing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as creating our own website we aimed to create a social media campaign that would be both far reaching and cheap.

Our second tactic was called “Where’s Bluebell?” (see picture) a play on the successful children’s book “Where’s Wally?” We planned for Bluebell to appear in prominent tourist areas, in fields with other cows, at sporting events and at environmental events. We would then encourage people to take a photo of Bluebell or to simply tell us where they saw her and they would win a Nestle Egg. We hoped that this would create a strong word of mouth campaign amongst all age groups.

Our final tactic was a recycling road show featuring Bluebell in an open top bus. This would form the centrepiece to our corporate social responsibility campaign, as Bluebell would visit schools, community groups and shopping centres providing fun ways for children to recycle.

The whole process form initial idea to finally pitching the campaign took us around two weeks. We were all juggling university and other work commitments but managed to meet three times a week. As a group we were most proud of our depth of research and think this formed the basis for a believable campaign.

We had been told by Nathan before the pitch exactly what he was looking for, this included:

  • Did you answer the brief?
  • Creativity
  • Professionalism in the presentation
  • Rigour in response
  • Is you plan on budget?
  • How will you evaluate success?
  • Can we work with you?

The pitch itself was at the Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger offices on Calls Wharf. Dressed in our Sunday best and walking like they do on the opening credits of The Apprentice, we made our way down to the office intent on becoming the very first Ptarmigan Academy. The pitch lasted for about fifty minutes, although it seemed like five.  We did not need to put on a performance as we had genuinely enjoyed the whole process and genuinely believed in our ideas. We pitched to Nathan and his colleague Marie O’Connor. The feedback we received was glowing and after a quick photograph for our blogs and a firm handshake, we headed up back to university, this time skipping, full of joy and a little relief.

We received the news that we had won the pitch the following week. We had fought off competition from five other groups. The story gained some nice coverage for us on the Leeds Met website, The Drum and Behind the Spin.

Nathan Lane said: “This is a really talented and motivated group of young people. They shone during the competition and we are confident that they will prove a valuable addition to any PR campaign. They bring great insight into the youth market and bags of enthusiasm. We believe this provides a great opportunity for large organisations to work with students and get involved with the employability and skills agenda.”

As the Ptarmigan Academy we are all busy working on our online presence, which we hope to launch before Christmas. We have been given another brief from our new employees, but this time for a real client and a real campaign.

Nathan added: “It demonstrates our continued support for the Leeds Metropolitan University PR course and commitment to developing regional PR talent. The five students will benefit by working closely with experienced PR consultants.”

As a team we would like to say a huge thank you to Nathan and Marie for choosing us and hope that with their guidance we can become a success.

Ptarmigan Academy consists of Adam Burns, Steph Hoy, Lois Ackerley, Katherine Hasselby and Clare Callery

View the presentation below: