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

Fame Formula Update

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

Posted 8 days 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]

Mark My Words » So you hate us? Who cares?

Posted 8 days ago

The age of the toxic brand has dawned. This has ushered in an array of “Marmite” brands and love them or hate them it doesn’t matter – they’re winning either way! The toxic companies are flourishing and no matter how many people despise them they keep on growing, fuelled by the horror stories we hear in the news. Take RYANAIR: People really do hate Ryanair: this February, for example, a mutiny was reported on one of their flights. Despite being grounded for several hours, passengers were refused food and drinks by staff. In the end, the customer service was so bad the passengers took matters in hand and called the police: http://news.sky.com/story/1215664/r~ Ryanair’s image problem is neatly summarised by Google auto-complete: Although its not just mutinies and Google Michael O’Leary has to worry about. Last year the airline was voted the number one worst brand by Which? magazine. According to … [Link]

Mark My Words » The truth about the Jeremy Clarkson row

Posted 8 days ago

Not to state the obvious but behaviour is vital. Yet it would appear that very few organisations or individuals understand how their behaviour is seen and felt – and that is all a ‘brand’ is. A feeling. Still the walls have finally fallen. Gone are the days when brands could spin their own story and behave as they pleased. This is a world defined by the crowd and they mind. If you want to succeed in this climate you have to do embrace two things. 1. You must understand what you look like to others. How you ‘package’ is vital. 2. You have to learn to love those haters! Take Jeremy Clarkson. A man resolutely himself, much loved and widely loathed – a child at heart with an independent streak who connects with all sorts of people, of all sorts of creeds across the globe and makes them laugh. But … [Link]

Mark My Words » Twitter: A Mythological Giant?

Posted 8 days ago

Twitter is now daily global phenomenon, fuelling everything from celebrity profiles to national revolutions. The media is obsessed with it, and everyone seems to be on it. But what is the real story behind the phenomenon? Since its launch in 2006, the number of Twitter users has soared. There are now 255m users of the site worldwide. Click Here for interactive enlargement As well as soaring it has also floated, opening on the US stock market last November at a staggering £11bn (which has since doubled). Twitter’s rise has even brought a previously mythological creature to life. Once thought to live under bridges, trolls now have a new home, and only ever spit their bile in 140 characters or less. But it’s not just old myths Twitter has brought to life. It has also managed to create one or two of its own. Like the dotcom bubble before it, the … [Link]

Mark My Words » Fame and the media game: What is fame now? And can you enjoy it without press intrusion

Posted 13 days ago

As you may have seen on The Drum here are my thoughts on Cheryl. Cheers have greeted the news that our 21st century Vera Lynn has wed! So? Well, what’s unusual about Cheryl Cole’s holy union announcement is the manner of its outing. The impressive tactics deployed to stay below the radar before breaking official news proves a high-net-worth celebrity brand can have their cake and eat it. Is it a post-Leveson new celebrity indicator or a steadfast willingness to prove a point? This style of announcement benchmarks the Cole brand against other organisations inside and outside of her sector. Thankfully, we were spared a tsunami of speculation on the possible marriage. There were no titbits on potential venue, flower arranger, dress designer, wedding singer and magazine buyout deal. Sadly this will follow. The absence of the usual slew of headlines, innuendo and rumour pertaining to the complex his and … [Link]

Mark My Words » Isis and the propaganda war: How the social-savvy extremists are dominating the headlines

Posted 5 weeks ago

As you may have seen on The Drum I shared my thoughts on Isis. They exist on the edge of our world in a very different one. They know how to inhabit our imaginations and are the antithesis of our 21st century west and instant celebrity, excess, mass information, Justin Bieber and a rapidly moving culture. Out of the desert and the mountains rode the whirlwind of Isis, the fury of leaders and a scandalous belief and brass nerve. They’ve made a culture of hard-faced absolutism and brought to us an evil, dark movement. But I also reluctantly concede, business in the west has a lot to learn in the propaganda war and unlikely as it may seem, Isis, the new kids on the jihadist block, understand how to use social media in a (excuse the pun) fundamental way to cause attraction, disrupting the well oiled US propaganda machine and … [Link]

Mark My Words » Let’s not try to piss off the will of the people

Posted 7 weeks ago

As you may have seen on The Drum I shared my thoughts on Betfair’s stunt, or misfortune, or whatever it was, it was misguided. It may have attracted a few columns and conversations on Twitter but it was of the wrong kind. The old cliched ‘any publicity is better than none’ meme. Well not any more. We now know the breakdown was a stunt. We have seen the subsequent launch of its new ad which makes Betfair’s “we are sorry for any inconvenience caused” at the time of the breakdown even more hollow. It was a mere adpology. The same words that we hear everyday on British Rail, TFL, from airlines, banks and just about every other public service and government – the standard format for corporate apologies. Sorry is a subjective word, used with different nuance every day and so far from expressing genuine contrition, governments, businesses, public figures … [Link]

Mark My Words » The One (and only) Direction. Change.

Posted 9 weeks ago

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” Wise words from John Gooden and not ones followed closely by many. Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears – over the last 10 years we’ve heard the sad cry of the poor celebrity seeking help after divorce, hard-partying, rehab trips, sex tape scandals, drink and drug meltdowns and more. We can’t prepare for natural disasters of the the earth-shattering, world-ending kind. But smaller celebrity disasters, cataclysmic on a local scale, strike all the time. And yet each time they do, they never fail to take us by surprise. Showbusiness chaos is usually followed by a huge outpouring of debate on whether the brand can survive. But whisper it – they always do. Neil Hamilton, the self-proclaimed writer, actor, broadcaster and entertainer, is now the sensible UKIP side kick to Nigel Farage. Every … [Link]

Mark My Words » Hashtags & Hate Campaigns: Did Social Media Contribute to David Moyes’ Sacking?

Posted 3 months ago

Ever since it was announced that David Moyes would be stepping into the Manchester United hot seat last summer, the vultures have been circling around Old Trafford – and finally, it’s feeding time. Following a miserable ten months at the helm, the ex-Everton boss has this week been hung out to dry by his employers, who bowed to building pressure in the aftermath of a 2-0 loss to Moyes’ old club over Easter weekend. In truth, the new man was always going to find it difficult to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson – but even the most cynical Red could not quite have predicted such a nightmare tenure for the successor to the throne. As they look towards new horizons, the United board will undoubtedly try to put a brave face on things – but what can they learn from the story, and the way that it … [Link]