SPPR Retreat: Six Years and Ojai Vibes

The Soda Pop PR retreat is a summer highlight and this year’s festivities might be our favorite yet! To celebrate six years, our team spent a few days soaking in the laidback & creative energy of Ojai. The uber cool airstream hotel Caravan Outpost served as the perfect backdrop to help us unwind and open up.

 

We kicked off an inspiring discussion on connection, growth and getting out of our comfort zones with this fantastic Ted Talk. Our retreats are a great time to think big as a company but also, to bond on a personal level as we delve into the dreams and challenges that shape each of us individually.

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It’s not a Soda Pop PR retreat without some custom Wylie West Creative swag! Our friend Boo put her talents to work on a custom “Troop SPPR” logo for us and gift bag goodies from Shop Summer Camp brought the Ojai vibes home with lavender, sage and rose quartz. We may have been partial to the rose quartz for the pink but its heart-opening abilities paired perfectly with copies of Daring Greatly, a bedside reminder about the strength of vulnerability and importance of staying connected.

If there’s one thing you can say about a Soda Pop PR retreat, we know how to have FUN. We brought in a personal bartender to mix up local orange and lime margaritas for a magic-hour photo shoot. For dinner, our private chef prepared a campfire grilled steak, chicken, salmon fajita bar followed by cast iron peach cobbler.

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As the stars came out at the end of the night, Troop SPPR sat around the fire to connect over music, each of us sharing songs that have shaped us and soundtracked our memories over the years.

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At Soda Pop PR we are grateful to work with such smart, creative and kind people both on our team, and on the teams of our wonderful clients. As we reflect back on our year, we’d like to take a moment to thank all of our clients, partners, friends and family for their continued support. You inspire us and we are happy to know you.

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Cheers to year six and many more,

Team Soda Pop PR

 

* Special thanks to photographer Daybreak and Dusk for all of our beautiful retreat photos.

 

 

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Going Viral: The “Canbassador”

When Union Wine Company shared plans to hire a “canbassador” to drive their wine tasting truck across the United States for pop-up events and music festivals serving the brand’s famous Underwood wine in a can, we recognized all the ingredients for a viral moment. We immediately drafted a pitch with a shareable subject line, crafted a strategic list of writers and editors on the forefront of topical news and assembled assets to fulfill any image or interview requests.

Within 48 hours, we secured 327 million media impressions. Notable coverage included Good Morning America, Time, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Thrillist, Food & Wine, Brit + Co, Mashable, HelloGiggles, Travel + Leisure and more than 50 other digital and broadcast outlets, leading to 1,200 applications for the job. While the position was only open for one week, the viral canbassador coverage created a lasting increase in brand awareness. Union Wine Co. saw a 3,000% increase to their website, 73.4% of which were first time visitors, as well as over 600 new Instagram followers.

Lunch like an Italian with Lucini

After a long two weeks of winter (sarcasm intended), the sunshine has returned in Southern California and there’s no better way to greet spring’s perfect temperatures than dining al fresco. A few weeks ago, Soda Pop PR and Lucini Italia gathered friends together at one of our favorite succulent sources – Rolling Greens Nursery – to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch in the spirit of the Italian concept of “Dolce far Niente”; the pleasure of doing nothing.

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The afternoon featured four courses of Italian-inspired dishes by La Femme Epicure alongside an epic Lady & Larder cheese and charcuterie board.

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Seasonal herb cocktails were shaken up by our friends at The Spirits in Motion who created photo-worthy signature cocktails unique to the event.

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It wouldn’t be an Italian feast without gelato and if you haven’t had Nancy Silverton’s Nancy’s Fancy gelato yet, we recommend the Butterscotch Budino gelato and Chocolate Fondente Sorbetto with a little Lucini olive oil and sea salt on top. Trust us.

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We hope our afternoon of lunching like an Italian inspires you to gather some friends and enjoy a beautiful homemade meal of your own. Buon Appetito!

Team Soda Pop PR

5 Tips to Start Your Spring Cleaning

Inspired by the changing weather and a viewing of the documentary Minimalism, the Soda Pop PR team has been on a mission to declutter. There’s nothing like a serious office deep clean to fill your space with new creative energy and calm. In the spirit of the season, here are a few tips to help you kick off your own spring cleaning efforts.

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1. Pump the Jams: Every decluttering party needs a soundtrack. Upbeat jams and karaoke favorites work best and that happens to be where our music taste intersects in the SPPR office so we took the liberty of making you a little playlist. Crank it up and let the cleaning begin!

2. Eliminate Paper: Stacks of paper or overflowing filing cabinets are pretty much the opposite of the minimalism philosophy, not to mention anxiety provoking! We love using free apps like Genius Scan or Evernote Scannable to turn piles into PDFs and take our files digital (not to mention eliminating the need for a scanner/fax machine.) This is also a good opportunity to round up all of your bills and take them up on their “if you’d like to go paperless” option.

3. Purge: It wouldn’t be a spring cleaning roundup if we didn’t talk about the holy grail of decluttering: purging your closet. This subject is well covered ground and there is plenty of great advice out there (looking at you The EveryGirl) so we’ll leave you with just one piece: don’t be overly sentimental. The memories of your sister’s wedding will live on long after you’ve passed the dress you wore to it on to a new home.

4. Do a 30 Day Challenge: We’ve all been there. You wake up one Sunday morning in project mode but by noon you’re sitting in a sea of your possessions and you’re over it. Rather than dedicating an entire day to spring cleaning, try tackling one task daily for a month. This Refinery29 list of 15 things to throw away is a great place to start if you want to work up to that big closet purge.

5. Start Meditating: Now that you’ve cleaned out your physical space, it’s time to let go of everything you’ve been holding on to mentally. If you’ve always been interested in the benefits of meditation, spring is the perfect time to start a 21-day challenge with Oprah’s BFF Deepak or check out one of the many helpful meditation and mindful apps like Headspace.

Food for Thought with Krista Simmons

This week we sat down with talented travel writer and video producer Krista Simmons to talk about three of our favorite things: food, travel and the pursuit of creativity. She travels the world creating content for publications including Travel + Leisure, Departures, New York Magazine and the LA Times and just started a new venture as her own boss at Fork in the Road Media. Read on for an inside look at how video content and social media impact food and travel writing and the dream meals of an international foodie.

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  1. How has traveling the world changed you the most? 

    I’ve always said that traveling is the one thing that you can spend money on that actually makes you richer. It’s changed my life in so many ways, but what I’m most grateful for is that it’s given me a deeper sense of empathy. Experiencing other cultures has given me a sense of compassion towards how others grow up and the issues they face (especially as women). It’s taught me a deeper appreciation for the privilege I was born into. Simply having a US Passport is a real blessing in this day and age, and I always try to remember that in the way I view the world both at home and on the road.

  1. How have you seen food and travel writing evolve in recent years? 

    I loved watching the evolution of 360 degree storytelling. Food and travel are such visual subjects, and it’s really inspiring to see how stories can be told in a way that gets viewers excited to hit the road and try new things. A few years back, it was a total uphill battle to convince editors that video and social were important. Fast forward and now it’s the most lucrative part of my business, so much so that I’ve started my own media company called Fork in the Road to tell these digital stories in a meaningful way.

  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a travel writer or content creator? 

    I always say the only way to do something is to do it. It’s so important to carve out time to nurture your creative side. It’s not an easy road, but it’s absolutely one worth taking.

  1. What’s the most underrated place you’ve ever traveled to? 

    I honestly am all about traveling to the under-the-radar spots with bubbling culinary scenes that no one knows about. I’d so much rather be sitting on a little plastic stool slurping up curry in Yangon, Myanmar than a patisserie with a line out the door in Paris. I am always after what’s new and next. It’s exciting to know that you can help bring light to those places and stories, and hopefully bring business to deserving people who haven’t yet been discovered by my audience.

  1. What would be your ideal food day if distance was no limit (breakfast, lunch and dinner)? 

    If I had one of those fancy PJ’s, I’d zip around the world for a three part tour. Breakfast I’d be back in Shanghai for soup dumplings with my younger brother Danny. We had such a blast shooting there together. For lunch, I’d be somewhere in the Sri Lankan tea fields stuffing my face with string hoppers and coconut-laden sambol alongside the locals. For dinner, I’d end up at Etxebarri in Basque Country with my girlfriends, looking out at the bucolic landscape while enjoying one of their perfectly prepared wood-fired steaks and a great glass of rioja.

Five Things We Learned at the First Potluck Conference

At Soda Pop PR we think it’s important to mix it up and get out of the office to attend industry workshops and conferences. Last week we headed to DTLA for the first Potluck Hospitality Conference, to learn more about the business of social occasions and mingle with some inspiring local and visiting creatives. In the spirit of the conference’s “Bring Something to the Table” mentality, we’d like to share a few learnings.

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1. You Get Back What you Put in: Our day kicked off with a pep talk from the infectious entrepreneur Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett who got everyone on their feet with an early morning dance party before sharing her story. Ellen is the poster child for making things happen and “climbing through a window when you can’t find a door” and we always love hearing her talk about having fun in the process of working hard.

2. Do Your Homework: In a session on “Creating Brands That Connect” Lila Theodoros of Oh Babushka discussed the importance of coming to play. For example if you’re meeting with a graphic designer, come prepared with a mood board, key words, color palate, etc. to help them get to know you and your brand before starting a project.

3. Create Connections: We are such big fans of The Modern Proper, a blog dedicated to restoring the lost art of hospitality and loved having the opportunity to meet founders Natalie Mortimer and Holly Erickson. Hospitality doesn’t just describe our clients at SPPR, it describes the way we do business and like Natalie and Holly we believe in the power of creating a community. It was great to hear them talk about how vitally important it is to take time to build and maintain relationships both personally and professional. In a day when the human attention span has decreased to 8 seconds, hosting a successful event and seeing return on investment for experiential marketing is all about creating personal connections.

4. Encourage Engagement: For many brands, experiential marketing now works harder than traditional advertising strategies. We loved hearing what Lauren Sims had to say about her agency’s experience creating “photo moment” heavy activations and what really works when it comes to engagement. She has three main strategies for securing social posts from attendees: offering tools to further their own personal brand through aspirational content, product giveaways in exchange for shares and highly personalized products featuring the attendees name or photo.

5. Do Something New: Martha Stewart Weddings editor Shira Savada is tired of mason jars and bird cages and we don’t blame her! Whether you’re talking about weddings, social media or client events we can all agree that once you’ve noticed a lot of people are doing something, it’s time to move on. Trends happen because someone tapped into their own creativity to offer something personal and we can all use a little more of that!

We’re Hiring: Spring Intern (Paid)

The SPPR team is growing and we’re looking for a rock star intern to join the team this Spring. Candidates must be hard-working, creative and quick-learning college students/recent grads with a passion for the food & beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with general daily office and administrative duties
  • Creating media lists and event/campaign recaps
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Working as part of an account team to implement media plans
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Preparing client bios, fact sheets, press clips and images
  • Drafting social media content and managing a content calendar

What we are looking for…

  • Organized, self-starter, takes initiative, is resourceful and likes a challenge
  • Strong interest in public relations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Internet research and social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2-3 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

This is a full-time (35-40 hours per week) paid internship. Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.