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Fame Formula Update

Mark My Words » It was true at the time: does it matter that yesterday Chris Evans was lying and today he is telling the truth?

Posted 18 days ago

Last Autumn it was ‘100% not true’. This Spring it was ‘absolute nonsense’. On Tuesday the BBC announced that Chris Evans had signed up for a three year stint as Top Gear presenter. Like conkers and daffodils in Summertime, the veracity of past statements becomes irrelevant in the time-space continuum of our mediascape. Evans, the Beeb’s resident man for all seasons, has always been the obvious choice to replace Clarkson. 3.7 million watched his one-off TFI Friday special — a reboot that in retrospect was a test drive for Top Gear. But surely he did himself no favours by not mincing his denials in the previous months? His first acknowledgment of his new gig conspicuously avoided any reference to past protestations and, in light of the U-turn, his pledge that ‘NO I’m not leaving Radio 2’ must be of little comfort to the successful breakfast show’s producers. We now know … [Link]

Mark My Words » Merlin, PR wizard

Posted 18 days ago

“You’ll forgive me if I’m not really focussing on the share price at the moment” said Nick Varney, shooting down Kay Burley’s ambulance chasing questioning. It is the Sky News interviewer, not the Merlin Entertainment CEO, who is now feeling the heat. More interrogation than interview, Burley’s aggressive approach has generated more than 1,000 complaints to Ofcom and calls –from tweeters to online campaign sites- for the presenter to be sacked. None of this is overlooking the fact that Merlin has questions to answer following the tragic collision of carriages on the Smiler roller-coaster. 16 were injured, 4 badly. A 17 year old girl lost a leg. The emergency services weren’t contacted immediately and the protocols for dealing with the accident were initially less than seamless. It could have been worse but given Alton Towers’ glowing safety record the incident was undoubtedly the biggest test the group’s CEO had ever … [Link]

Mark My Words » Battered

Posted 4 weeks ago

Twin US and Swiss investigations. A fall out with UEFA‘s chief. Excoriating editorials. Calls to resign from Prince William to Rod Stewart. Major brands threatening to withdraw their sponsorship. But what really convinced Blatter to call time on his FIFA presidency? Last week it seemed like he’d managed to pull one over on America’s long-armed law and Britain’s foul-mouthed press, and cling onto power like a true Mugabe of the sporting world. Tuesday’s resignation –dubbed blatter late than never- represented the thickening of a plot already as dense as a platinum-plated Chuck Blazer. Whether or not the FBI has something on Blatter – purely hypothetical, too early to tell, etc etc- we shouldn’t forget that it remains the same organisation that voted for Blatter… five times. The complexity of FIFA has not been simplified by Blexit. The accusation by Blatter’s defenders of a Euro-American coup against the rest of the … [Link]

Mark My Words » Breaking the Internet

Posted 5 weeks ago

My thoughts in today’s Independent on how the brand of Vanity Fair and the Khardashians have the power to break the Internet [Link]

Mark My Words » How does it look?

Posted 7 weeks ago

For Thomas Cook accepting responsibility was a last resort– but it will survive If tackling the greatest ecological catastrophe of recent times with golf balls failed to reassure the US public the pronouncement by BP’s aloof chief exec Tony Hayward that he wanted his life back is the definition of insult to injury. This moment encapsulates the less than slick handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a PR blowout that has become one of the canonical texts of crisis mismanagement. Accidents happen. But as Deepwater showed the fact that they are unforeseeable does not excuse the need for the damage to be accounted for in a genuine manner. The heartfelt apology by the GermanWings executives to the families of those who died at the hands of a deranged pilot demonstrates the importance of being seen to be taking responsibility. What happened on-board flight 9525 could have happened to … [Link]

Mark My Words » The Tory in Shoreditch Clothing

Posted 7 weeks ago

Pondering the 1980s Stewart Lee observed that culture itself seemed to hate Thatcher. Musicians hated Thatcher. Comedians hated Thatcher. Writers hated Thatcher. There were even aliens from the future in 2000AD comic strips who hated Thatcher. And yet she still managed to get elected. Three times. On May 8th the left were again confronted by the gap between the professed beliefs of the cultural mood and ballot box choices. For the future-junkies of the PR world there are a number of lessons to be gleaned from the political class’s failure to read the crowd. While Cameron’s critics may not be the vituperative Maggie bashers of yesteryear Lionel Shriver writes of the persistence of scorn towards the blue voter. Picking up on a certain strand of Guardianista contempt for those who vote according to their tax band, Shriver is perhaps writing with a North London type in mind. But it’s a … [Link]

Mark My Words » What just happened?

Posted 8 weeks ago

If tweets were votes, Miliband would be installing his 8 ft monolith into the Rose Garden this afternoon. Even as they were haemorrhaging seats in Scotland, Labour were adding followers on twitter and making friends on facebook. In the last two weeks Miliband was averaging almost 2,000 new fans per day. His (over-)hyped interview with Russell Brand was watched more than a million times and #milifandom had definitively vanquished the #cameronette upstarts. When the commentators hailed #GE2015 as an election to be fought and won on social media they were at best only half right. Where in 2010 34% of the UK was on social media now the figure is over 50%. That this should translate into a significant force multiplier during the election doesn’t come as a surprise. This new front possibly broke through the traditional apathy of young voters – 71% of 18-24 year olds say social media … [Link]

Mark My Words » Don’t throw the burger out with the gherkin

Posted 8 weeks ago

As seen on The Guardian Who said juggernaut brands can’t self-reflex their muscles? On Wednesday McDonald’s supersized on nostalgia with the re-launch of the Hamburglar. It went viral. Twitter exploded with shares comparing the new fast food bandit to celebrities ranging from wrestlers to politicians. A far cry from the cheeky childish earlier incarnation –last seen in 2002- the new Hamburglar is somewhere between Hipster and Christian Gray. For a company that has been struggling to cope with fundamental shifts in the restaurant market this is an unexpected coup. Yet the response of the media press has been sniffy, accusing the campaign as being, like the menu, stuck in the past and rather creepy. Let’s not throw the burger out with the gherkin. Of course the revival reeks of self-cannibalism; but like all the great brands, McDonald’s can afford to play with its cult status. McDonald’s sales have fallen most … [Link]

Mark My Words » The writings on the wall

Posted 9 weeks ago

The more metaphors that are pinned to Labour’s 8ft pledge slab the more the original meaning of the limestone monolith has sunk into the bog of Baldrick ideas. The only positive that can be spun out of Ed’s stone is that it marks a rare moment of consensus across the political divide: on the right it’s the tombstone of Labour’s hope to be taken seriously and on the left it brings back memories of Kinnock’s election stunting triumphalism. If anything Ed’s stone is a monument to PR hubris. Like Ozymandias the campaign guru stands high and mighty; in an election ‘set in stone’ engagement has been tightly managed and spontaneity sucked dry. Standing in for trust -building we’ve had the gimmick – the budget responsibility locks and policy pledge mugs- and in the place of personality we’ve had stunts. The colossal wreck, to borrow Shelley’s phrase, of Edymandias points to … [Link]