The story so far

I don’t like to start a blog by saying this but here I go again. I’m very sorry.

My apology stems from a good two months of solid university work. To break that down into more detail the work has consisted of Dissertation, Competitive Pitch, a 15 item portfolio of work and last but not least Corporate Relations. These few modules alone have led to a serious neglecting of my own blog, but more to the point the one and only Ptarmigan Academy blog. So let me fill you in with what’s been going on with the Ptarmigan Academy.

To do this properly let me take you back a month to the middle of February. Our work on Challenge66 continued and to ensure the campaign was a success our efforts to find celebrity endorsement had to be stepped up dramatically. Academy team captain Adam Burns – who takes on the role with the effort and determination only seen by Manchester United’s Nani trying to convince a referee he’s been fouled by faking an injury – had all the academy tweeting celebrities to hopefully raise the Challenge66 profile.

After a few days of solid tweeting celebs the girls efforts were rewarded by retweets from Coleen Rooney, Lorraine Kelley, Dame Kelley Holmes and a number of Sky Sports New presenters. The celeb tweeting also managed to bag one academy member Claire Thomas a twitter following subscription from Boy George. Lucky girl!

So a month down the line and the start date was in sight. On Wednesday 9 March Andy, Claire, Aimee and I (Andrew) attended a GNS radio day, in which Andy did a number of live and pre-recorded interviews with around 20 local BBC radio stations and also interviews with the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS). Whilst Andy tried to mention all of the sponsors of Challenge66 along with his all time favourite joke ‘not Yeti’ (this is a reference to Skoda donating two cars and Andy excited to reply ‘Not Yeti’ to anyone who asked him if they were near their next location) we all got a chance to listen in a record the number of mentions for each of the sponsors. This was a great day which revealed good sight into how these days run. I believe it was the first GNS day that any of the academy had ever attended.

Today the Challenge66 campaign finally got under way with an incredible launch day in Leeds. A number of students from the Leeds Metropolitan Events Management course played a huge part in arranging the event which saw ABF The Soliders’ Charity out in force and the Challenge66 tour bus parked on Leeds’ busiest shopping street Briggate. The event launch was also attended by Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, who lost both his legs and suffered other horrific injuries during an explosion in Helmand Province in 2006.

It really was amazing to see the campaign come to life after all the hard work put in by the guys at Ptarmigan, ABF and Andy McMenemy and the whole Challenge66 team. All the local press were at the event including Yorkshire Evening Post, BBC Look North and ITV Calendar News as Andy started the first of 66 ultra marathons. Please click on the links below to catch some of the coverage achieved.

Link one

Link two

Link three

Now the campaign has got underway the work for the academy really starts. A media list for each of the 65 remaining cities has been drawn up and the tireless task of ring rounds begins.

I’d love to continue and fill you in with even more Challenge66 news but unfortunately I cannot see into the future. I do ask you all to keep up-to-date with this truly amazing campaign by visiting and also searching Twitter and Facebook for Challenge66.


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Challenge 66

Work on one of our first projects – –  is now well under way and we need your help to make this campaign a huge success.

Andy McMenemy is attempting to break a Guinness World Record by running 66 marathons, in 66 days, across 66 cities in the UK. His attempt will smash the current Guinness World Record held by a Japanese runner which currently stands at 52 marathons.

Challenge66 will see Andy run 66 marathons back-to-back all in the name of raising as much money as possible for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

The Soldiers’ Charity give lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers and their families by providing financial assistance when they are in real need. The Soldiers’ Charity have been in operation for 66 years.

We are currently working with Challenge66 and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity to raise the profile of the charity and to help them raise as much money as possible.

You can keep up to date with all the latest news from Challenge66 through a number of social media sites. Updates will include blog entries from Andy as he continues to train for this epic challenge, and also any news regarding any of the treadmill marathons Andy will run to help raise money for this amazing cause.

Please click on the links below to follow Challenge66 and pledge your support.



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Ptarmigan Academy

Hello and welcome to the Ptarmigan Academy 2010/2011 blog.

You may already be aware of the Ptarmigan Academy but for those of you who are not, please let me introduce you to the project.

Starting in February 2010, Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger – a Leeds based PR firm – offered public relations students from Leeds Metropolitan University a chance to become the first ever Ptarmigan Academy. Students were given the opportunity to form groups and pitch campaign ideas to the Ptarmigan staff. The winning team was then invited to work alongside Ptarmigan for that academic year, working on real PR campaigns and with real life clients. The winning team would also get the chance to work closely with Nathan Lane, Managing Director of Ptarmigan, to develop their skills and get a real taste of life working within an agency.

After a very successful year for the winning team, Ptarmigan decided to run the same project for a second year.

The brief was to plan and develop a three month PR campaign for the Leeds Corn Exchange starting in November. A fictional budget of £10,000 was allocated to ensure that each team developed their ideas within reason. The budget allowed teams to show they have conducted research into their ideas and carefully develop a well-structured and well thought out campaign.

A group of course mates and I were keen to get involved, realising it would be an amazing opportunity to gain agency experience, working with a well established company. The opportunity to work alongside the Ptarmigan team and gain experience from their years of experience in the profession was just too good to turn down.

After conducting research with shoppers and shop owners, we realised that the objective of the campaign should be to create sustained, long-term interest in the Corn Exchange, and not focused on obtaining the maximum amount of coverage in the shortest period of time. Our campaign, ‘Your Corn Exchange’, involved increasing, improving and synchronizing social media tactics to help build mutual relationships, involving two-way communication with our target audience. We wanted to give something back to those who took advantage of the Corn Exchange so we decided to give them vouchers, offers and free entry to prize draws. We also wanted our target audience to be part of moulding the shopping complex back to its former glory through clothing design competitions where winning garments would be stocked in a Corn Exchange store. We had many more ideas, (perhaps too many), as we are a very creative lot!

The pitch went really well and after checking my email several times for feedback, we decided that the verdict wasn’t coming and we should call it a day. Just as I’d drove the girls home, I received an email. It was an email from Ptarmigan, we’d won!

We were delighted with the result and the feedback provided. The team worked really hard on the pitch, amongst other final year responsibilities, and it was great to see our work had paid off.

We can’t wait to get started working on our first campaign at Ptarmigan, Challenge 66. Please visit for more details.

The unique opportunity that Ptarmigan is providing students is helping them to experience an area of PR they may not have encountered– the pitch process.

On behalf of the team I must say a massive thank you to Ptarmigan for the opportunity to work as their 2010/2011 academy. Another huge thank you to Nathan Lane and Adam Burns of Ptarmigan and Louise Smith from Leeds Corn Exchange, for inviting us to pitch and taking the time to engage with students to help them to develop their careers.

Please check back soon for further blog entries.


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