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

Fame Formula Update

Mark My Words » Curiosity about what we don¹t understand needs to exceed that which we do!

Posted 38 hours ago

So Scotland has voted. All the hype, the rhetoric, propaganda, and social chatter boiled down to one thing. In the end the majority are still cautious and rather than embrace uncertainty and change (an opportunity some embraced in this case) stick with the status quo. The crowd certainly has the power these days to change opinion and spin a media charge, but arguably only up to a point. The loudest voices aren’t always the pioneers and there is a big question around data, but that’s another blog altogether! Anyway, this is not a radical new thought. But it’s one I keep coming back to. It’s the listeners, the doers, the seekers and the questioners that don’t sit with the status quo that make change happen. Yet in an ever changing media landscape it’s more and more impossible to allow for distraction and time out to reflect on new ideas and thinking. … [Link]


Posted 3 days ago

Simon Cowell signs £150m deal to keep X Factor on air despite sagging ratings ITV breathes sigh of relief as it keeps hold of treasured star, but some pundits say his grip on Saturday nights is weakening [Link]

Mark My Words » The Recipe

Posted 20 days ago

Identify the goal. Capitalise on every channel. Hook celebrity. Keep it simple… And fun! Make it immediate. Consider the power of viral multiplication. Allow participants to feel good. (Ensure its not really worthy.) Indulge the emotional connection. Sit back and watch it grow. ALS. It doesn’t matter if it’s not new. Kudos! [Link]

Mark My Words » Call of Duty propaganda is Goebbels for new age

Posted 4 weeks ago

For a split second I thought I was watching an episode of Homeland. The slaughter of the American journalist was styled with HD cameras using an arid backdrop straight from Breaking Bad. From the very beginning, Islamic State (IS) understood the culture they wanted to undermine and the need to create emotion among the crowd in doing so, and they are masterful at it. The past 24 hours has ushered in a new age for sadistic and sophisticated propaganda. In a Call of Duty era, the video employed the highest level of technical expertise, thought-through location and almost certainly an autocue to ensure the evil message had maximum impact. Then it was posted to YouTube with designs for viral circulation. This is not only a message to America, it’s a message to us all. These propagandists know exactly how to tell a story and leverage it at maximum speed across … [Link]

Mark My Words » So what exactly IS reputation?

Posted 5 weeks ago

We need to get used to the fact that these days there is no fixed mark on reputation. Along with the Buzzfeed generation comes the hint that the old media traditions fail, with short form memes feeding the wires, and less emphasis on the elongated and researched story. Brands and individuals must become comfortable with their imperfections and vulnerabilities because we have a crowd and a ‘can know anything’ psyche, where reputations are savaged in an instant and often with no grounding in reality. The emotion of the crowd gathers momentum and careers along gathering falsehoods before the accused has even woken up to the storm. Last week, as a prime example, Cliff Richard had his reputation blasted across the globe shockingly aided by both the police and the BBC, without giving him any chance to refute the action – a basic human right after all. The police are now … [Link]

Mark My Words » Scottish independence debate: ‘Salmond’s PR advisers should hold their heads in shame’

Posted 7 weeks ago

Two hours that could change Scotland in a big TV debate. It’s big stuff. But as I settled down to watch Tuesday’s referendum TV showdown, I was slightly apprehensive. Would it be the much hyped game changer? Could it really be that good? Did someone mention Don King? This time it’s Alex Salmond versus Alistair Darling – independence versus the Union. Would the wedding limo chauffeur thrash the golf club accountant? A game of PR – cat on cat action. The referendum facts are fixed; the herd understands the nuances of a now familiar script – EU border controls, currency and all that… Salmond is a consistent wily seasoned pugilist, a man who seems well prepared for the opportunity in whatever shape it arrives. Against Darling, the man with all the passion and charisma of an edition of Gardeners’ Question Time on a wet bank holiday weekend. Sadly, the media … [Link]

Mark My Words » “Only the dead have seen the end of war…”

Posted 7 weeks ago

They said it would be over by Christmas. But its horror was prolonged for four years, devouring a generation in suffering and slaughter. Anyway, I decided that today, on such a glorious summer day, I would make time for quiet reflection. Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important. This short blog is my priority, fuelled by a desire to mull and consider as the world re-absorbs the magnitude of the outbreak of World War One. My focus is on two lost souls I am entwined with who perished in the hideous conflict, as the flaming winds of this gruesome war wreaked havoc, presiding over sacrifice loss and pain. The First World War is this year’s crucible for re-examining ourselves. Major events in history can feel like a disconnected typeset, words on a yellowing page of a dusty history … [Link]

Mark My Words » Common sense is NOT always so common.

Posted 7 weeks ago

So was it a case of hope over reality after all? Secret Cinema will go ahead finally with founder Fabian Riggall admitting that it was his determination to go ahead that was responsible for the catastrophic last minute cancellation. It’s a story that says a lot about leadership, decision making and business growth. Then also common sense and communications in a crisis. Let’s face it, things do go wrong. But Secret Cinema got it wrong, underestimating the passions of their audience and what they needed to hear. The question here is how do you deal with the responsibility that growth and ambition demands? First off, this world demands a concession to conversational instinct. The English language with all its fantastic elasticity can transform the humble apology into escapology. Beware of media confessions and how they are received and decoded by the public. Mistakes are attributed to ‘uncharacteristic hiccups’, or ‘rogue … [Link]

Mark My Words » What Lessons Can Brands Learn From The Brazilian World Cup fail?

Posted 9 weeks ago

Truman Capote once said “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.” Spare a thought for the poor Brazilian footballers. A mediocre team capsized on an ocean of hype. Into the darkness they go, licking their wounds after one of the greatest sporting humiliations. Like Icarus who dared to fly too near the sun, on wings of feathers and wax. How can they recover from this? The mighty Brazil, beaten so devastatingly and completely in front of the world. It was painful to watch from a distance but for a nation so invested in the World Cup and their glittering football heritage it was unbearable. This was the most tweeted about sporting event in history – with 35.6 million tweets posted during the agonising 90 minutes. There was quite literally nowhere to hide. The only thing the Brazilians can do now is be stoic. It was one night after … [Link]