Red’s Hot Women internship: THE FOODIE EXPERIENCE

09-03-10 – PR girl about town

Posted in Uncategorized by Katie Bryson on March 9, 2010

Today I got back to my media roots and spent the day with ZPR in Soho. They look after Waitrose and work to get them as much positive press coverage as possible.

Having worked as a journalist for 11 years I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone to PR people, so I was really looking forward to sampling life on the other side of the fence!

I thought it was all parties, champagne and frivolity – but no such luck! The girls in the office were nose to the grindstone all day and the only champagne I saw was sat unopened on a desk gathering dust.

The morning kicked off with a conference call with the in-house PR team at Waitrose. They ran through all the stories in the pipeline with journalists from various media outlets and all the progress that had been made by ZPR.

It was fascinating getting an inside look at how the brand is being managed and the type of stories that are set to be published in the following weeks.

Waitrose has real column inch appeal – whether it be the hot new product that has the upmarket foodie mags gasping, a new loo roll made with cashmere that gets the broadsheets chattering or maybe the story of a local producer whose fantastic new range is the buzz of the business pages. It’s all there to work with!

I got to hang out with cool New Yorker Nora and sample her day. She spends a lot of her time obtaining Waitrose products for journalists to try out.

So with a shopping list in hand we hot footed it through Soho, via an ultra cool deli for a quick salad, to the food hall at John Lewis Oxford Street. What an emporium!

It was wonderful having a good old browse around all the amazing products. It’s Waitrose stuff, but there are lots of lines that you can only find in the food hall – really niche. Foodie heaven basically.

The booze section is particularly impressive. One of the specialists on the shop floor gave me loads of insight into which wines and champagnes were worth a look – nice one! I spotted a wine on sale for £725! Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2005 if you’re interested. Apparently it’s not a bad price for what it is and 2005 is one of very few vintage years. Listen to me, I sound like a total wine toff! Brilliant!

So it was back to the office and time to prepare for goodie bag assembly. The mission was to prepare 35 bags of Waitrose loveliness to distribute to a handpicked list of consumer journos in the morning.

What a monster task! We’re not talking little delicate gift bags, we’re talking hessian bag for life size bags and a gazillion full size products to neatly pack inside.

A few hours later we got them sorted – but boy did we work for it! I have a whole new respect for PR folks – it’s graft alright! Let’s hope we’re rewarded by some good mentions in the papers this week. I’ll be watching avidly!

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