An insider’s eye on the murky, surprising, funny and sometimes shocking history of the fame industry

Fame Formula Update

Mark My Words » Arts sponsorship

Posted 41 minutes ago

The sponsorship files: who funds our biggest arts institutions? [Link]

Mark My Words » The world now spins a story

Posted 101 minutes ago

Yesterday we got the news that Starbucks is to back a social storytelling start up. Of course. Today storytelling is colonising every aspect of business, taking precedence in the order of things. It’s not hard to see why stories are so powerful. Borkowski was built on the premise of stories and we have been telling them for thirty years. Advocacy messages, whether for a cause or a brand, automatically invite scrutiny (think politics) They prompt us to put our defenses up. Stories are different. Not only do stories encourage people to identify with the brand or individual they represent, but by inducing the willing suspension of disbelief they leave the audience predisposed to accept their premise, at least temporarily. Stories should alter our perception and experience. Authenticity is equally crucial. If the story world does not reflect the genuine values of the company, it will become very obvious. When the … [Link]

Mark My Words » And it wasn’t even raining!

Posted 3 weeks ago

Remember last year at the Oscars? “No, it wasn’t a marketing stunt”, said Samsung, who may have paid a reported £12m for its advertising “integration” but the company, it insisted, was every bit as astonished as everyone else when host Ellen De Generes’s star-studded selfie, taken during the broadcast on a Samsung smartphone, became the most retweeted message of all time. It was forwarded on Twitter more than 2 million times by the time the ceremony was over, causing the social media site briefly to collapse and ensuring that coverage of the awards focused almost less on the winners than on the selfie. Worth every penny for Samsung then – stunt or no stunt! Someone put it beautifully to me; “the BAFTAs are rather peripheral Oscar wannabes anyway” and this year underlined that, with the lacklustre ceremony (despite the attendance of some A-listers) and Stephen Fry’s rather tired Oscar Wilde … [Link]

Mark My Words » We Must Not Help to Advance the ISIS Agenda

Posted 4 weeks ago

ISIS craves prominent news coverage, and they crave momentum behind their desire to spread terror. This week their heinous images spread quickly online – propaganda meant to both shock the West and recruit new devotees. It raised a sensitive issue for news outlets again. Should they show the images, after all just one click away for anyone online or refrain? There is a wider question surrounding the impact on blocking them when those willing or curious enough can find the images in seconds. But wouldn’t it be better to block the barbaric films? Surely it would be more effective to remain silent? Because in addition to being one of the most brutal militant groups ISIS might just also have the most elaborate public relations strategy. I would argue the West has not been smart enough to match this horrific genius. ISIS is winning the propaganda war with strikingly high production … [Link]

Mark My Words » The Sun’s PR strategy for Page 3

Posted 4 weeks ago

Download the BBC Radio 4 Media Show Podcast from Wednesday 28th January to hear Mark discussing The Sun’s PR strategy for Page 3 [Link]

Mark My Words » Leadership doesn’t come with a promise…

Posted 4 weeks ago

“Problems cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were.” - John Keats One thing is for sure, those with a true purpose don’t follow the rules! Nobody who had the honour of listening to Ben Saunders talk last week can have failed to be both humbled and inspired by his breathtaking passion and will to fulfill his dreams. For twenty years Ben Saunders has dreamed the impossible. A round-trip from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again that retraced Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition for the first time. The journey was a mammoth undertaking that tested the bounds of their bodies and minds each and every day, not least in the planning which suffered disappointments, setbacks and reserves of determination seldom reached for by the majority … [Link]

Mark My Words » Benedict Cumberbatch

Posted 5 weeks ago

Mark comments on Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘coloured’ remark in the run up to the Oscars. Has this scuppered his chances for an Oscar? [Link]

Mark My Words » Prince Andrew and the cold hard facts

Posted 5 weeks ago

As stories go, it’s a good one! Prince Andrew, underage sex, plus a reputation and questionable judgement already in question now under further scrutiny. This is the age of perceptions. Reputation is driven by what we feel and not by the cold, hard facts. Without a rock-solid purpose for yourself, being a spare is a very considerable challenge and Andrew seems dazzled by money and power. In this latest debacle, Prince Andrew is sucked into the narrative surrounding Jane Doe and all the lurid stories that are circulating wildly. It is almost impossible for him to untangle himself. Last week he was forced into an uncomfortable zone and spoke refuting the allegations. Without any real relationship with the media, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. He probably shouldn’t have. There may be no justice to the allegations made about Prince Andrew. They may well be … [Link]

Mark My Words » Andy Murray

Posted 6 weeks ago

Mark’s take on Andy Murray’s new logo in The Scottish Sun. Click to enlarge [Link]