Tricks to catch the landlord’s eye

Smoking in public, binge drinking and later licensing hours have put the pub trade at the forefront of the news agenda. Sarah Robertson examines how PROs can best approach the industry’s trade publications

The drinks trade's two weeklies, The Morning Advertiser and The Publican, have had a lively time of late. Both titles have campaigned against the Government's proposed ban on smoking and have sought to promote responsible drinking.

But while their core audience is pub landlords, they are also read by others in the supply chain, such as brewers and those in the gaming and catering industries, making them highly influential.

The existing competitiveness between the weeklies is a good thing for PROs, says B2B Communications joint MD Shirley Braithwaite, who represents InBev UK (formerly Interbrew) and WKD. 'The rivalry between The Morning Advertiser and The Publican means they cannot be complacent,' she says. 'For this reason, to make the news pages, PROs need to put forward strongly held opinions, and look to stir up debate.'

A lighter touch
The industry's most prominent other publication, the recently relaunched quarterly FHO (previously Free House Owner), is less issues-based and more interested in unconventional stories. 'Quirky tactics work well, including guidelines for pub games such as snail racing,' says R&R Teamwork director Rupert Ponsonby, who represents Coors Brewers. 'For Coors, we are running an "adopt a mayor" competition, asking brewers to send a picture of their local mayor with their beer to the magazines.'

Despite their recent preoccupation with big public policy issues, the weeklies also provide readers with a diet of lighter material.

Product wise, Spirit Solutions account manager Peter Medlicott says unusual products, such as on-trade wines like Kumala's Lounge Lizard, tend to appeal. A further tactic is to focus on pub food, offering ways for landlords to revamp their menus, says Brahm account director Leanda Heaton: 'All you need to do is add a twist to traditional fare.'

While these titles appeal to a specific audience, the subjects that lend themselves well to their pages vary enormously.

The Publican
Editor Caroline Nodder
ABC 31,518
Publisher CMP Information
Contact 020 7955 3710
Frequency Weekly

How would you describe your relationship with PROs?
It is good with in-house PROs. There are many events in this trade so we see them in person frequently.

How do you differ from the other trade magazines in this sector?
We try to steer clear of 'new pub opening' stories. We cover national issues such as licensing reform, smoking and responsible drinking.

There is a lot of negative publicity about pubs, so we do a lot of campaigning. We are running a 'Proud of pubs' campaign to highlight positive stories about people in the industry, acting as the PR organ for the sector. There is huge concern that forcing publicans to choose between food and smoking will damage trade.

What is your advice to PROs who want coverage?
Pick up the phone and talk to us. Our deadline is Monday at 5pm.

Morning Advertiser
Editor Andrew Pring
ABC 30,081
Publisher William Reed
Contact 01293 613400
Frequency Weekly

What contact do you have with PROs?
Plenty – we talk to PROs from the drink, food, gaming machine, property, leisure and design industries, and we deal with lobby groups.

What would you change about the way PROs work if you could?
We would prefer to get better warning of events and new products. People only tend to invite us to events a week in advance. Once we would have been able to attend everything, but now everyone is more stretched.

What makes a story?
A new product, new chief executive, mergers and acquisitions and developments in the industry. Smoking, 24-hour licensing and binge drinking are also major subjects for us at the moment. 

How do you want people to contact you?
By email preferably, but for large documents, post. Our deadline is Tuesday at 2pm.

Editor Melissa Cole
ABC 19,026
Publisher Aceville Publications
Contact 07798 568400
Frequency Quarterly

How would you describe your coverage?
We cover everything from working men's clubs to high-end cocktail bars. Our readers all have one thing in common: real buying power. Our main objective is to provide an invaluable guide to resources.

What do you want from PROs?
Knowledge, enthusiasm and honesty. Common failings are simple things such as not sending in pictures that are high resolution.

What sort of information do you want?
Stories aimed at people who run their own businesses that happen
to be pubs. We don't do any campaigning at the moment as we relaunched two editions ago and are still finding our way, but we plan to in the future.

When are your deadlines?
The first day of February, May, August and November.

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