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

Fame Formula Update

Mark My Words » Don’t shoot the messenger!

Posted 3 days ago

Right now, Uber’s PR team should be celebrating having secured feature pieces in both the FT and Vanity Fair, the latter of which could have successfully repositioned the brand from its helter-skelter course. Rather than enjoying a few strong pats on the back however, that team is probably going to have to put on its firefighting gear, whilst wondering where the next blaze is going to start. The fact is, it doesn’t matter how strong your PR team is if the company culture is wrong. As such, Uber works as the perfect case study for anyone evaluating how not to operate during a global crisis. It’s hubristic leadership appears to lack the maturity or the composure to properly deal with the level of attack being levied against the brand. However, as one Bloomberg writer points out, it is ultimately the investors who are accountable, and will decide the company’s … [Link]

Mark My Words » Dapper (Not-A-Barrel-Of) Laughs

Posted 13 days ago

Already this week (and it’s only Monday evening!) I have witnessed the rise and fall of a feckless nobody heralded as the next big TV icon. Injected into mainstream media by TV producers in search of profit, only to be dragged violently out again when the heat (allegedly) became too hot for the sponsors to handle, the Dapper Laughs story is one we’ve heard many times before. It is astonishing how we lap up a publicity trick if it hooks us with a shock tactic. So basic and prurient is the individual in question, that I am loath to dedicate any more inches to his name than he has already been granted – but I am keen to explore the press phenomena that has catapulted him to fame, only to have the spotlight taken from him again. From the miasma of a series of six second Vine videos, to the … [Link]

Mark My Words » We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together!

Posted 19 days ago

It seems that pop’s darling of the decade has turned diva this week as it was announced that Taylor Swift had pulled her entire back catalogue of music from Spotify. Through all the initial hubub, it seems that everybody’s missed the point: this is a publicity scam, and it’s one that she’s already rehearsed. The move was practically in the DNA of 1989’s release. Don’t be misled by her bubblegum lyrics, Taylor Swift is one of the most powerful women in the music industry at the moment. And this is in no small part due to her masterful ability to craft her public image and her intuitive grasp of PR. With solid branding, a strong, direct connection with her fanbase, and a business-savvy mind to boot, Swift is one of a very select few artists who could pull off this kind of move without direct recoil from the public. She … [Link]

Mark My Words » SEARCHLOVE

Posted 20 days ago

18 Speakers, Two Days…One SearchLove Now that the excitement of SearchLove London is behind us, we thought we’d console ourselves with a few of our favourite stories and snippets from the action-packed two days. [Link]


Posted 3 weeks ago

Twitter decides to hire a ‘campaign strategist’ to woo Britain’s biggest advertisers ahead of its flotation on the stock market. [Link]

Mark My Words » A careless toss of a coin!

Posted 3 weeks ago

Whether you believe it or not isn’t the point. The announcement on Twitter that Cadbury’s had lost the festive spirit and cancelled supplies of chocolate coins fuelled an outcry of emotion from the crowd. That’s the point. Was this a stunt? That remains to be seen, but Cadbury’s failed to respect the emotions of their audience, either by commercial pressure or by exposing people to the playing up of the brand. Loudly announcing (with some tactical timing) a well loved brand is to be discontinued is nothing new. We all remember the Heinz Salad Cream stunt after all. “People preferred mayonnaise”, Heinz claimed as they pulled it from the shelves and the five remaining people who actually still bought it, before whipping the crowd into a frenzy of nostalgia and launching a campaign to save it. So is this the modern game in the face of commercial pressure? And if … [Link]


Posted 4 weeks ago

The geek may inherit the earth, but PR practitioners will still be masters of the message. [Link]

Mark My Words » Apple’s Tim Cook

Posted 5 weeks ago

Apple’s Tim Cook: Martyr Or Visionary? Steve Jobs’ suited successor, Tim Cook, may not excite the same quasi-religious fervour, but those who lament that Apple’s heyday is behind it may yet be proved wrong. [Link]

Mark My Words » We’re not that Isis

Posted 5 weeks ago

‘No, we’re not that Isis’: when news taints your brand A Sunderland pub, a Malvern clothes shop and even Downton’s dog are learning that not all publicity is good [Link]