Wednesday, 29 October 2008

News from Premier Inn


As every penny counts whilst the credit crunch bites, research unveiled by Premier Inn today shows that keeping kids busy during this half-term is going to cost UK families an extra £374.39[1].

This is on top of normal living costs like mortgage/ rent, food and clothing for their brood; so parents nationwide will need to tighten their belts to shoulder the load. This means that this half-term UK parents will experience costs which total a whopping £2.7billion[2].

To help families still enjoy half-term fun, Premier Inn, the largest and fastest growing hotel brand, has a ‘Great Days Out’ scheme that offers great value family breaks. Families staying at a Premier Inn can get a ‘2 for 1’ or ‘kids go free’ offer at a selection of over 800 attractions across the UK, with kids staying and eating breakfast free, costing from just £50 per family room.

Typical costs for the coming half-term include:
Unpaid leave per parent per day - £65.11
Additional childcare per average family per week - £91.56
Average attraction entry fee for the family for a day (e.g. zoo/ theme park/ castle) - £57.87
Lunch/ refreshments - £30.00
‘Extras’ (e.g. guide book/ souvenirs) - £77.44

Premier Inn spokesperson Steve Conway, Head of Marketing for Premier Inn, said:
“Holiday time can be really fun for children, but this half-term is going to put a lot of financial pressure on families. Given the current economic climate, and with Christmas looming, parents across the UK are going to feel it even more than usual. Premier Inn offers a great value alternative, to allow families to have a short break, without having to break the bank.”

For further information please contact Carly Hewitt or Katy Stolliday on 0207 693 6999 or e-mail

Notes to editors:
For hotel bookings please visit and for images please visit the Whitbread image library
Premier Inn is the UK's largest and fastest-growing hotel brand with over 556 hotels and 38,000 rooms across the UK.
Premier Inn bedrooms are 22m² and feature en-suite bathroom, TV, and internet access for business guests. Premier Inn offers customers a ‘Good Night Guarantee' of a good quality room, comfortable surroundings and friendly service, which is unique amongst Britain's leading hotel chains.
Premier Inn was the first Britain-wide hotel group to sign up with national tourist boards, VisitBritain, VisitScotland and VisitWales; this means Premier Inn is now part of a new quality assessment scheme, specially created for budget accommodation.
A joint venture with Emirates has seen the Premier Inn brand develop in the Gulf region, with its first budget hotel in Dubai opened in Spring 2008. Premier Inn also has a joint venture in India with Emaar-MGF to roll out 12,000 rooms in 10 years.
Premier Inn is part of Whitbread PLC, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant company. It's restaurant brands, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre and Taybarns are also dedicated to providing great value for families.
[1] £374.39 cost of half-term for the average UK family of 1.64 children calculated by:
· Unpaid leave per parent for one day - £65.11 (average UK wage according to ONS)
· Weekly UK holiday childcare cost is £91.56 for 5-day full-time holiday playscheme according to Daycare Trust.
· Average attraction entry fee per day based on 2 adult, 2 child entry to six leading UK attractions (Drayton Manor Park, Chester Zoo, Camelot Themepark, Howletts Animal Park, Diggerland Devon, Diggerland Durham) = £57.87
· Average family train travel cost - £52.41 (calculated on combined average cost for 2 adults and 2 children travelling by train to Drayton Manor Park from Birmingham, Chester Zoo from Manchester, Camelot Themepark from Liverpool, Howletts Animal Park from London, Diggerland Devon from Bristol, Diggerland Durham from Newcastle)
· Lunch/refreshments - £30 (based on 4 x lunch @ £5, 4 x drinks £1.00, 4 x ice creams @ £1.50)
· ‘Extras’ such as guidebook & souvenirs - £77.44 (based on average examples, such as guidebook @ £3.50, priority parking @ £3, fast-track pass @ £6, souvenirs x 2 @ £19.97, rain coats x4 @ £6.25)

[2] £2.7 billion figure based on 7.4million UK families. Each family spending £374.39 this half term= £2.7 billion spent this half term in total by families.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

News from npower

14th October 2008

Piers Morgan announces the UK’s Top 100 ‘green-agers’

Piers Morgan and TV presenter Konnie Huq today announced the UK’s top 100 ‘green-agers’, who have been hand selected to take part in npower’s Climate Cops programme and receive coaching from an array of green experts. The latest instalment of the £20 million programme kicked off this morning with the npower ‘Green SOS Academy’ a first of its kind workshop, specially created to help motivate 11 to 13 year old eco-aware students to turn their passion for the environment into positive action.

Chosen from hundreds of school entries, the 100 stand-out finalists are crusading to make changes in their local communities, including transforming recycling programmes, introducing outdoor classrooms and enforcing car-sharing schemes for drop-off parents.

The npower ‘Green SOS Academy’ is a bespoke workshop designed to give practical tips and tricks on how to turn these ideas into reality. As part of the day the students participated in interactive sessions led by:

- Piers Morgan: With over twenty years of media experience under his belt, Piers tutored the students on how to harness the media to publicise their cause
- Konnie Huq: As a favourite tween media presenter and aspiring ‘green queen’, Konnie hosted the day and inspired the students to take their green message to their peers
- Eugenie Harvey, We Are What We Do Founder: one of the minds behind Anya Hindmarch’s ‘I’m not a plastic bag’, the book ‘Change The World For A Fiver’ and the latest offering ‘Teach Your Granny to Text and Other Ways to Change the World’, Eugenie mentored the students on creative ways to make a difference and engage communities

Danielle Whittaker, from Hillcrest specialist Maths and Computing College and sixth form centre, Birmingham said, "It was amazing meeting Piers Morgan today and the other guest speakers. After today I'm even more excited about getting our project to create a garden and greenhouse up and running!"

Piers Morgan commented: “Today a lot of brands run CSR programmes to help the environment, but it is refreshing to see activity like the npower Climate Cops programme that fosters green talent from a young age and allows students to make their own decisions on what they can do to help. As a father inspired by my children’s green aspirations, I think it is important to nurture this passion as it will drive real change and safeguard the future.”

Konnie Huq said: “Having spent the majority of my career working with young people, I know that the environment is a real concern for them and they are passionate about making a difference. The npower Climate Cops programme, which follows the Government’s Sustainable Schools curriculum will help raise a new generation of eco-aware young adults that will go on to inspire others.”

Eugenie Harvey, Founder of We Are What We Do, commented: “Today’s young people are going to inherit some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced. Initiatives like the npower Climate Cops programme are such an important part of equipping the next generation with the skills and confidence to start making a difference to these problems and to continue doing so throughout their lives. We’re delighted to be involved.”

Endorsed by HRH, The Duke of York – Chairman of The Outward Bound Trust, the leading outdoor education charity - the next step in the Climate Cops programme will see students from the ten schools participate in the first ever green Outward Bound® course in the Lake District, offering them the chance to learn about sustainable living, climate change and leadership through challenging practical outdoor experiences.

To check out the top tips that the ambassadors shared with the students, please visit the Climate Cops website:

High resolution images and video clips will be sent to your picture desks by 11am and will also be available to view and download free of charge from

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

News from Honey Monster Foods

Honey Monster Foods Team Up With Top Trend Setters To
Design Limited Edition Packs For Charity

Honey Monster Foods has teamed up with internationally renowned model Daisy Lowe, top designer Pearl Lowe and SuperSuper Magazine to create three limited edition packs of Sugar Puffs to be sold exclusively at Harrods.

Each pack has a unique style influenced by the passions and personalities of our three designers, and will retail at £4.95 when they are launched on the 15th October.
Only 150 of each pack will be sold at exclusive Knightsbridge store Harrods, with all proceeds from the sales of the packs going directly to the Variety Club Children’s Charity, helping sick and disadvantaged children all over the UK. With such limited numbers the packs are sure to sell out fast and quickly become collectors’ items.

Sugar Puffs has been one of the nation’s favourite breakfast cereals for over 50 years and this is the first time that the packs have been customised in this individual and distinctive way.

Jane James from Honey Monster Foods said: “We are really excited to have Daisy, Pearl and SuperSuper designing packs for us; each pack looks so unique and really displays the personality of its creator. It’s great that their amazing designs will be raising money for the Variety Club, which does so much good work for kids.”

Daisy’s pack combines a mêlée of 80s shapes and colours fused with a twist of modernity to convey today’s trend for retro styling, and her position as one of the most sought-after young models in the world.

The gold and silver of Pearl’s packaging quite literally reflects her love for pattern design, and combined with the delicate artwork gives the design a vintage boudoir feel, indicative of her status as an original member of the Primrose Hill set.

The pack designed by SuperSuper directly conveys the unique style of the magazine. The artwork has a young and fun feel to it together with an uber cool appeal, which inevitably translates from SuperSuper’s position as the stylistic vanguard for today’s youth.

News from Bennetts

Bikers say no to Volvo - British motorcyclists vote Swedish car most hated in survey

Volvos have been voted the most hated car on the road in a survey of British motorcyclists. The Swedish car manufacturer, whose XC90 model was once voted one of the top ten safest cars, topped the Bennetts poll with almost a third (28%) of UK bikers dreading an encounter with a Volvo.

The survey released today by Bennetts, the UK’s number one for bike insurance*, reveals the perception of the slow and considerate Volvo driver (like Mr & Mrs Bucket from Keeping up Appearances) has vanished. With newer models such as the large V70 and the popular S80, it seems Volvo drivers are becoming increasingly unaware of bikers on Britain’s roads.

The research, compiled from bikers up and down the country, put Volvo on the top spot, but BMW wasn’t far behind with 27% of bikers considering them the most dangerous cars on the road. Over the past year, motorcycle accidents have risen to over 6,000**, with a large proportion of those involving car drivers who look but fail to see bikers on the road. With numerous blind spots and huge doors, it’s not hard to see why BMW models such as the X5 and the classic 5-Series would cause concern for bikers.

Unsurprisingly, next on the hit list of most hated cars on the road was Porsche with 16% of the overall vote. Although normally the same height as a bike, the Cayenne 4x4 monster may explain why the German car giant is third in the poll. Land Rover (13%) and Mercedes (6%) make up the rest of the top five, proving that if you have a large vehicle, it pays to look out for bikers on the roads.

Top 10 most hated car’s on Britain’s roads
Volvo - 28%
BMW - 27%
Porsche - 16%
Land Rover - 13%
Mercedes - 6%
Ford - 3%
Jaguar - 2%
Volkswagen - 2%
Nissan - 2%
Mini - 1%

*Based on brand tracking research in April 2008
**Based on stats from Think! Road Safety
- Ends -

News from Virgin Media

You are what you watch: the UK's first TV diet: Virgin Media proves reality TV may be good for you

Ditch the Atkins, scrap the South Beach and abandon Weight Watchers - today sees the nation’s first ever TV Diet unveiled by Virgin Media. The research reveals different TV programmes elicit different emotional and physical responses in viewers and so our TV consumption should be balanced in a similar way to a standard diet. With no programmes off limits, the Virgin Media TV Diet is high in comedy and reality to boost energy levels and low in factual programmes to steady heart rates and anxiety.

The TV Diet was created following the admission that 71 per cent of the nation regularly tune into whatever is on the box, without actually thinking about what they are taking in. Programmes were split into six genres and in a series of experiments, Virgin Media psychologist Honey Langcaster-James put a number of telly fans through their paces to record responses to a range of TV shows.

Just like the nutritional five a day, the Virgin Media TV Diet is a six a week plan that balances programmes to ensure we’re consuming all the necessary physical and psychological benefits. Using services such as Virgin Media TV on demand, which includes highlights from the last seven days of programmes as well as a back catalogue of complete TV series, viewers can create their own TV schedules based on the weekly portions prescribed in the TV Diet.

The Virgin Media TV Diet

Reality TV may finally shed its ‘trash TV’ tag, as the research reveals real-life shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Family are actually good for us. With benefits such as helping to reduce stress levels and improving social interaction, reality TV is the second most important TV genre for Brits to watch, and has been allocated one fifth (20 per cent) of our recommended weekly viewing in the Virgin Media TV Diet.

Laughter is often deemed the best medicine and the Virgin Media TV Diet prescribes a large dose. Making up the biggest proportion of the TV diet at over one third (35 per cent) of our weekly viewing, comedy programmes such as Ugly Betty and re-runs of Friends were found to release happy endorphins, as well as being one of the most absorbing TV genres, offering escapism and relaxation.

Whilst news and documentaries rank as the most informative and thought-provoking programmes, the TV Diet recommends this genre is watched in moderation and factual shows should be kept to only five per cent of our weekly viewing. Shows such as the Question Time and Dispatches were found to provide educational benefits, but may also increase stress levels.

Fans of soaps such as EastEnders and sports shows including Match of the Day can still indulge as each genre is allocated 15 per cent of our weekly viewing time, whilst dramas such as Tess of the D’Urbervilles should ideally represent only 10 per cent of the TV we watch.

Whilst the TV Diet doesn’t prescribe how much time viewers should spend watching each genre, earlier research found one third of Brits watch up to 20 hours of TV a week, which means the TV Diet would include a whopping 4 hours of reality TV (20 per cent), 7 hours of comedy (35 per cent), 3 hours of both soaps and sports (15 per cent), 2 hours of drama (10 per cent) and just 1 hour of factual (5 per cent) content per week, as a guideline.

Commenting on the findings, Honey Langcaster-James said, “Different TV programmes provoke different emotional and physical responses, and therefore cater to the different emotional needs we have as a viewer. Just like our food intake, watching a balanced selection of TV programmes is essential, which is why we developed the Virgin Media TV Diet – whilst some things are better for us than others, nothing is ruled out and everything should be watched in moderation.”

Ashley Stockwell, managing director of brand and marketing at Virgin Media said, “Whilst many people are already consuming a balanced TV Diet, there are some people who seem to be stuck in a rut of TV viewing. We believe that everyone has the right to break free from the TV schedule and dip in and out of live TV and TV on demand. As we launch the Virgin Media TV Diet, we aim to make Brits more aware of their TV viewing habits and hope to encourage them to experiment and take advantage of the content available on our TV on demand service. There is no reason for telly fans not to start their TV Diets today!”

To download a pdf summary of the TV Diet report, check out


Media contacts
Sophie Raine, Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or
Laura Bryce, Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or

Notes to Editors

Research based on monitoring a sample group to assess the biological and emotional effects of watching TV. A series of short clips of television shows applicable to each genre where shown to each participant respectively. After every clip heart rate and perspirations levels were recorded. Participants were also required to complete a short questionnaire in relation to their feelings about the clip and their current emotional state. Fieldwork undertaken on 30th September 2008 in Central London.

All findings collated and a summary of the report can be found at:

Virgin Media

Virgin Media is an innovative and pioneering UK entertainment and communications business. For the first time consumers can get everything they need from one company - the UK's only quad-play of TV, broadband, phone and mobile, plus the most advanced TV on demand service, all delivered through its unique fibre-optic cable network. Virgin Media launched the UK’s first high definition TV service, is the only TV platform to carry BBC iPlayer, and offers a high-specification, HD-ready V+ personal video recorder. Virgin Media is the UK’s largest residential broadband provider, the largest virtual mobile network operator and the second-largest provider of pay TV and home phone.
Virgin Media owns two content businesses - Virgin Media Television (VMTV) and sit-up. VMTV owns seven entertainment channels – Virgin1, Living, Living 2, Bravo, Bravo 2, Challenge and Trouble - and is a 50% partner in UKTV which consists of nine channels including Dave, UKTV Gold and UKTV History. sit-up runs retail TV channels bid tv, price-drop tv and speed auction tv.
Virgin Media has been voted the sixth Most Loved Brand in Britain in a Marketing magazine poll, as well as having been voted the Most Trusted ISP Brand 2008 by Reader’s Digest magazine. The Sunday Times also awarded Virgin Media its 2008 Best Buy awards for broadband and movies on demand.
Virgin Media is the largest Virgin company in the world and has almost 10 million customers. To find out more visit

News from Budweiser


LONDON (Oct. 7, 2008) – Budweiser and Manchester United announced a renewal of their partnership, extending the beer brand’s proud sponsorship of the world-famous football team through the 2009/2010 season. Budweiser has supported the club since 2002. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Manchester United boasts 333 million followers worldwide1 and more than 80 million people in 200 countries view broadcasts of each match,2 making the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League double winners the most-watched sports franchise in the world.

Budweiser’s presence at Old Trafford – the Theatre of Dreams – includes exclusive pouring rights at concessions and digital on-field signage displayed in both English and Mandarin, which is seen by Manchester United’s massive Chinese fan base.

“Manchester United represents the pinnacle of football and the club’s popularity, like Budweiser, spans the globe,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Manchester United and Budweiser are a perfect match, both having strong, storied heritages and a commitment to being the best. As Budweiser continues to expand internationally, our connection with Manchester United helps create awareness and excitement for the brand around the world.”

Local activation of the partnership helps reach adult consumers far beyond the 76,000 people who pack Old Trafford for every match. The sponsorship grants Budweiser rights to use the Manchester United marks and player images in advertising, point-of-sale materials and packaging in key markets in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, North America and South America.
“Budweiser is dedicated to football and has been a valuable partner to Manchester United,” said David Gill, chief executive of the Manchester United Football Club. “Budweiser’s use of Manchester United for marketing activities has brought loyal followers closer than ever to the Club and helped create many new Red Devils fans along the way. The Club and, most importantly, our fans are pleased to have Budweiser’s support.”

The sponsorship also provides Budweiser with hospitality packages and match tickets for promotional activities, which the brand uses to offer customers and consumers once-in-a-lifetime experiences at the Theatre of Dreams. Throughout the 2008-2009 season, Budweiser will launch promotions in the U.K., Mexico, Argentina and Vietnam for consumers to win trips to Manchester United matches.

In 2008, Old Trafford once again played host to the international finals of the Budweiser Cup, a 6-on-6 football tournament comprised of recreational teams from 16 countries. Players qualified through local tournaments throughout Europe and as far away as India, Paraguay, South Korea and South Africa. In addition to competing on the pitch, Manchester United welcomed Budweiser’s international guests at a dinner with the Club’s legends, a tour of Old Trafford, access to training facilities and tickets to a first team match.

Budweiser has been a proud sponsor of the Premier League since 2002. The brand has been the “Official Beer” sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ since 1986 and will continue its support in 2010 and 2014.

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser‑Busch is the leading American brewer, holding a 48.5 percent share of U.S. beer sales. The company brews the world’s largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Anheuser‑Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in China brewer Tsingtao, whose namesake beer brand is the country’s best-selling premium beer. Anheuser-Busch ranked No. 1 among beverage companies in FORTUNE Magazine’s Most Admired U.S. and Global Companies lists in 2008.

Anheuser‑Busch is one of the largest theme park operators in the United States, is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and one of the world’s largest recyclers of aluminum cans. For more information, visit

# # #

1. TNS Fanbase Survey 2007.
2. Premier League; 2006-2007 Season Data.

News from WWE

WWE makes Forbes 2008 list of "200 Best Small Companies"

World Wrestling Entertainment has made Forbes 2008 list of "200 Best Small Companies." WWE is listed at #122. We were among 37 newcomers to the list.

Forbes annual list of Best Small Companies identifies the strongest small public outfits. To qualify, companies must have sales between $5 million and $750 million and a stock price of $5 as of Sept. 29. The ranking is based on return on equity, sales growth and profit growth over the past 12 months and also over five years. Forbes also compares company stock performance with industry peers.

It's a family affair at WWE (No. 122). Vincent McMahon is a regular character in the company's live televised matches. (He got his head shaved last year by Donald Trump, after the Battle of the Billionaires). His wife, Linda, is chief executive. Together the family owns 66% of the Stamford, Conn., company. Its popular WrestleMania in March featured 147-pound boxing champion Floyd Mayweather going up against 441-pound wrestler Paul (Big Show) Wight. Mayweather won by a knockout, with the help of a metal folding chair and a pair of brass knuckles.

To see an interview with Linda McMahon on, go to:

For the general article, go to:

For the brief on WWE, go to:

WWE Stats Page:

News from Ski & Snowboard Show

Catch Europe’s best riders at the Metro Ski and Snowboard Show

22nd – 26th October 2008 Olympia, London

This October the elite of Europe’s Freeskiers and Snowboarders will be descending on London Olympia to battle it out on a monster 40ft kicker at the Metro Ski and Snowboard Show. The stage is set for an immense showdown between the crème de la crème on the snowsport scene, as they take part in the British Snow Tour Invitational Championship and the London Ride competition.

On Friday 24th October the British Snow Tour presents the British Invitational Big Air Championships, featuring 12 of the UK’s top Snowboarders and Freeskiers. Olympic Snowboarder Dan Wakeham and 2008 British Freeski Slopestyle Champion James Webb be throwing down some huge air and crowd-pleasing tricks. Also scheduled to appear are young guns Sam Cullum, Sparrow Knox, James Wakefield and Jamie Nichols.

On Saturday 25th October, style and amplitude will be the order of the day as The London Ride hits town. Expect to see big rotations and massive tweaked out grabs from the elite of Europe’s freeskiing stars, including Germany’s number one freestyle skier, Roy Kittler and Swedish sensation Henrik Harlaut.

Roll up and find out if 2006 and 2007 London Ride winner Mikey Wakefield can defend his crown and bag the coveted £1000 1st prize. In a London Ride first, an additional six up and coming, home grown riders will be selected from the Urban Ride 08 event series to take part in the competition. They’ll be looking to put themselves on the map so watch out for some big tricks from these talented youngsters.

Amongst the hype of these un-missable contests, you shouldn’t forget there’s plenty more happening at this year’s show that will help kick off the Winter season.

Return of the Gigloo!
The XFM-hosted ‘gig in an igloo’ is back and boasts an awesome line up of live bands every night of the show, with DJ’s and Breakdance workshops during the day.

For press enquiries – please contact the Ski show team at Frank PR on 0207 693 6999 or email