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

Fame Formula Update

Mark My Words » The Marmite Pret-a-meter

Posted 4 days ago

It was only meant to be a retail report at the backend of the Tuesday Standard. But when Pret A Manger CEO Clive Schlee let slip that he has given his baristas the power to hand out free drinks or food to customers the interview became one of the paper’s most read stories. Over the next few days all the national papers were sending their reporters to flex their flirting muscles and imbibe some of the Pret Buzz. The story was picked up by a handful of regional papers and a few international titles (Washington Post, Wall Street Journal). On twitter happy customers are posting their freebies and google searches for Pret A Manger increased to its highest number since January 2012 when its first French outlet opened (google trends – see graphs). Over last 90 days Over last 7 days That the freebie scheme has been in operation for … [Link]

Mark My Words » Being Human

Posted 5 days ago

There is sure to be an intern at CCHQ whose Camfandom idea didn’t get much of a hearing at the Monday morning hangout. When the #Cameronettes did begin to trend on the coattails of the milifans it had as much organic credibility as a cheese string. It doesn’t matter whether the origin of this blue swooning is a genuine teenage Camfan- the whole thing reeked of a cheap knock-off to an already shallow original, a Here’say to milifandom’s S-Club. The brilliance behind milifandom is that it hooked humorous content into a narrative of defiance: a politically excluded group –young women- using social media to challenge the smears and fears of mainstream reporting on Ed. Whoever @twcuddleston is -17 year old hailing from true blue stock? A Blue Slate consultant? Grant Shapps?- once the moniker spread it was seized on by Labour HQ, who as of yesterday were managing media requests … [Link]

Mark My Words » Red Ed, Dull Dave and substance of personality

Posted 19 days ago

Ed Miliband doesn’t do “photo-op politics”; he stands for ideas and substance against the soundbites and style of the Tory brand. That combatting style in politics is its own kind of political style is nothing new. Remember Saatchi & Saatchi’s attempt to turn the former PM’s dour persona into an ironic vote winner, “Not flash, just Gordon”? Many commentators lament the focus on the party leader’s personality (or lack thereof) in British politics. We are not the US, they argue and proceed to imagine a golden age of voters sitting down in their studies with manifestos and a dog-eared Hansard. Brown and his successor both understand that personality matters in politics; it’s one of the few things that the electorate can judge for themselves without having to access reams of policy analysis. If we just considered policy the British public are being offered a real choice on May 7th. From … [Link]

Mark My Words » Selfie Politics

Posted 4 weeks ago

5 years ago he was, according to The Sunday Times, “more popular than Churchill” and the other was cleaning fish guts off the floor of Billingsgate Market. The Nick Clegg-Joey Essex selfie shows us how far these posers have come and how far our politics hasn’t. 2010’s Cleggomania came on the back of those ‘historic’ leaders debates, a political Weakest Link where the right answer seemed to be “I agree with Nick”. Yet the power of the liberal demigod fell short of actually winning votes and his party saw its share of seats decrease. Ahead of tonight’s 7-way clash many, including the BBC’s Nick Robinson, have questioned whether televised debates amount to anything more than light entertainment. I don’t agree with Nick R. Why? Let’s return to that Clegg-Essex selfie. Hunched around a phone with a Gordon smile and one eye on his post-election transition to deputy-list celebrity, Clegg is … [Link]

Mark My Words » The Grand National 2015: Don’t airbrush Ladies Day

Posted 4 weeks ago

The boss of Aintree has called for “negative” photographs of Ladies Day at the Grand National to be banned. But isn’t getting dressed up, drinking too much and having fun part of the appeal? I spoke to Harry Wallop at the Daily Telegraph about this topic. [Link]

Mark My Words » Lufthansa’s crisis communications approach to Germanwings disaster

Posted 4 weeks ago

I would expect Lufthansa one of the largest airlines in Europe, both in terms of overall passengers carried and fleet size, to have invested in a substantial crisis provision. Sadly, for all corporations, things will go wrong in any given situation, we know this as Murphy’s Law. A multimillion pound crisis business has been built on this premise. So when Germanwings crashed into the Alps on Tuesday, Carsten Spohr – the head of Lufthansa, the German carrier that owns Germanwings flipped into crisis mode. He was well aware, because of training, all eyes were on his leadership. The systematic by the numbers response, triggered a series of effective actions, mobilising the networks invested in, to manage the deepening crisis. It was a well-built framework that allowed the spokesman to provide a message structure sealed with simple consistent clarity against a noisy backdrop of news-driven rumour and social opinion. Despite pressures … [Link]

Mark My Words » Is anyone the winner?

Posted 5 weeks ago

So there are two questions in light of Clarkson being ‘sacked’. 1. Can the BBC win back the fans whilst reinventing a format for Top Gear without the key constituencies at the heart of the show. Is there a creative genius still throbbing inside the BBC to triumph with a new show and gather a new Global audience? 2. Can Clarkson take his own particular genius to a different channel and start again with the same success? Only time will tell now. Still, the handling of this affair, given the strength of the social media support for Clarkson, proves the Corporation has shown robust leadership, taking control by not reacting to the media agenda or influences all over Twitter. Whether or not the format can survive in the long run without Clarkson is another question, such is his undoubted charisma. He may well be a Marmite brand, but many people … [Link]

Mark My Words » Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC

Posted 7 weeks ago

The corporation’s latest comms crisis [Link]

Mark My Words » Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC: the corporation’s latest comms crisis

Posted 7 weeks ago

Remember this new word: ‘voyeurgasm’ – translated as the joy of watching a media storm meltdown on all channels. Crisis and Clarkson fit hand in glove. He is a man resolutely himself, much loved and widely loathed. So, let’s mutter the unsayable – it will be a sad day when Clarkson packs away his webbed driving gloves. This time the Marmite brand has crossed the BBC’s proverbial line once and for all, breaching another BBC guideline after a ‘fracas’ with a producer. Crisis comms demands a low profile, but Clarkson is unable to pull on his Second World War helmet and duck beneath the parapet. Like Farage and Katie Hopkins, his authenticity is his own enemy. He can’t button up – he says it as he sees it. To the liberal media he is vile and brutish; to his fans he is a mischievous rogue and the last politically incorrect … [Link]