Friday, 27 November 2009

Zebra Management Wants Naive Young Women for Faux Fame and Fortune

Have you been wondering down Oxford Street or that area and been approached by a young woman/man with a camera who asks to take your picture? Have they then told you that you are great looking and have the idea look for some of the modelling/acting/music videos they are involved in...before taking your details and giving you the Zebra Management agency business card.

During the following week you receive a phone call from a lovely sounding Zebra Management rep who tells you that you take a great picture and would like to organise a photo shoot with you and put you on their books all at no cost to you! NO COST I hear you say... they then tell you that to get a portfolio up on Zebra website that you need to have a professional photoshoot. This then causes you to ask where is the hidden cost, won't you have to pay for the shoot. The 'lovely' rep puts you on hold before coming back and telling you that because you are so likely to get work their boss has said that they will pay for part of the shoot. You can't believe it, this is the kind of thing that you have always dreamed of happening..

You go along to the shoot, a mardy italian girl does your make up and straightens your hair a bit. You are then asked to get into your three outfits that you were instructed to bring with you and spend a couple of hours prancing around a rather professional looking studio called The L*ght R**ms.

Excited, enthusiatic and feeling more like Kate Moss than Chris Moyles, you head back to the reception where you are greeted by the studios manager who's smile can only suggest a massive payout is coming her way, greets you and takes you into a side room to show you your amazing pictures. Once again you are told how incredibly photogentic you are and that you really are truely natural in front of the camera, honestly all of this flattery is working wonders!
Having looked through all of the photos (all 100 of them) and been told you look fantastic in 99.9% of them, the woman turns to you and says "So if you by this package you get all of these for just £300"...

Hold on a minute.


I thought this was being paid mainly by Zebra Management? "Oh no they paid for your hair and make up, so which package do you want, you want to make sure you can show future castings that you are versitile so the more the better"

Whats the cheapest package? "Well if you want to show all of your outfits and I really recommend you do £250, you can pay in installments of £75 a month if its easier"

Feeling bullied, forced and at risk of jepodising any future fame opportunities you begrudingly pay the first installment.

Your pictures are given to you on a copied DVD in a plastic case, you ask if they give you any print copies to which you are told "you can print them out at home"...So what does my money by me? "The rights to your pictures and some fantastic shots that are bound to get you loads of work!"

Upon returning home you panic about spending such a large amount of money and forward your pictures to the agency who in turn load them up to your own personal profile, and when I say them I mean three...

You begin applying to the jobs that appear on the Zebra website full of excitement about the prospects that lie ahead, as well as the determination to earn back that ridiculous amount of money you have just spent.

Weeks go by and still no one has replied to your applications, contact with the agency trails off as they no longer seem very interested in helping you achieve your dreams of stardom, and slowly but surely you begin to realise, you've been had.

How are companies like this allowed to get away with it, their argument would be that you don't have to pay the money, but when in the situation you suddenly feel very under pressure and at the age of 20 or so you are still very impressionable.

Recently one of my house mates was got with this scam and although I warned her of the financial costs she felt that if she found herself in the above situation she would be able to say no. She didn't, and as a result she has found herself in quite an uncomfortable financial position without any 'modelling' work to cover the bill.

I wonder if there are any agencies out there that come up against prejudices due to cowboy agencies such as the one mentioned?

Either way if you get approached by a representative from Zebra Management...Run, run like the wind!

This is all my person opinion and financially ruining experience by the way, so if you value your bank balance take note.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Network network's all about networking

The title of this blog says it all: PR is all about networking.
If you want to make it in PR, get yourself known/out there/meeting and greeting, whether it's online or face to face.
You ask most graduates 'What are you thinking of heading into when you graduate' and I am willing to put my music collection on it that 5/10 undergrads will say 'ah well I have been thinking about PR'. Its statements like these that should encourage PR undergrads to get out there and get their names known in the industry.

It is difficult though, speaking from a PR undergrads perspective, sometimes the most difficult thing to PR is yourself.

But one thing that I am learning is that it is the most important aspect of PR, that pays off in the long run.

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Wonders of Placement

Five months into my placement and I am feeling more than happy with my achievements to date. Last week saw the publishing of my article in The Sun, which was printed almost completely unaltered and mentioned said organisation 14x! A round of appluse proceeded me during media briefings and the mention that further great things are to be expected...No pressure!!

With this last week, a great case study in The Mail on Sunday the week before and a rather timely ES appears that I am beginning to earn my weight in salt. Makes a nice change from earlier months I must say!

My November development meeting takes place tomorrow, which feels slightly odd as this to me feels the least productive of previous months and so has left me feeling slightly worried at the prospect of presenting my 'developments' as they were. Never mind!

Friday, 6 November 2009

When reading the guardian online at lunch I came across a piece written by an internationally reknowned blogger by the name of Penelope Trunks. A very interesting and intelligent woman who has caused quite a stir after tweeting that she was in a meeting having a miscarriage. Her piece, defending herself and her right to free speech led me to look at her blog.

Penelope's blog was really quite inspiring, and got me really thinking about the power of a good blooger, is it a born quality? Does it come with practice?
How can I raise my status as a blogger and what is it the world is looking to read about?

Also as blogging has become a massive open forum of debates over the last few years, with the bloggers achieving a 'celebrity' status, do they sometimes take on more than they can chew? As perhaps could be suggested with people such as Penelope, who although appears to have handled everything as efficiently as if she had a personal PR, still have noticed the invasion her blogging/tweeting has in her everyday life..

Do you fellow bloggers feel the pressures of your blogging weighing you down?! haha (other than being aware that sometimes you're not blogging as often as you should!)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

No rest for a PR student

So I am three and a bit months into my year placement at the top provider for health and care.

It has been a turbulant couple of months that have effectively seen me thrown into the deep end of corporate PR. Having been a student for 4 years and having never been in a corporate environment it was most definitely a massive shock to the system. But I have taken it all in my stride and although there have been ups and downs I appear to be picking up pace and getting the hang of this press officer milarky.
When entering into a massive company I was not prepared for the amount of information I was going to have to take in, remember and reuse. I was also not prepared for the strictness on grammer, phrasing and generally writing all over, this is something I am most definitely going to bring up upon my return to university. The PR world is one that relies on writing and although I can write a perfectly good essay it is very apparent that there is more to writing than this.

I am beginning to start thinking on my own two feet and have been considering project opportunities that I could pose for myself, which may I add is quite exciting as there are only so many press releases one can write about open days.

The chance to do a placement year is already clearly invaluable to my future career, as one of my managers put it 'if you can work here, you can work anywhere'. It not only provides experience in the sector but also an insight into the 'real world' which seems so very very far away during your university years. I warn thee it is rather daunting, but really rather worth it.

Monday, 26 January 2009

2009 PR Industry Nightmare?

Recession - a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.

It's 2009 and second year PR students at Leeds Metropolitan are currently looking for a placement to take them through a year in industry.
But it looks like it's going to be a bit more difficult than normal, with companies cutting costs, making redundancies and the Media having a field day over the phrase 'Credit Crunch', there are very few employers who looking to take on more staff, let alone students.

By now I had expected the placement board to be overflowing with placement after placement each offering a PR adventure in wide variety of areas. Alas this is not so.

The words 'limited in scope or duration' could not sum up my current placement hunting better.

Today I was offered a year placement in a highly respected Music and Entertainments PR company, but due to cut backs they could only afford to offer me expenses of £50 a week, which when living in London is impossible.

Panasonic have retracted three placement offers and many more companies I have contacted myself are unable to offer placements for any longer than a month or so, epescially on a wage basis.

Even the Public sector are beginning to feel the pinch of the 'R' word, I am currently carrying out a placement within the communications department of my local council and I've even begun to notice through relevant media the slow but steady decline in jobs.

At times like this would it be better to get experience within the public as opposed to the private, although it is not secure it still stands relatively firm. I had never considered working within the Public sector until my placement here at the council, although it lacks the glitz and the glamour or consumer/commercial PR it is still very varied and interesting.
Since being here I've seen campaigns that had a budget of £50, and resulted in a energy saving push that could power 3292 homes for a year, all from £50.

You don't get budgets like that in consumer PR, working on a shoe string increases initiative and causes one to be far more productive.

Private or Public...or whatever we can get!

About Me

My photo
Music, pictures, faces, fashion and everything in between