March has been a time of high-octane activity for Four Colman Getty and our clients. Last week saw the launch of our first-ever Off the Page event, a new presenting and networking initiative that brings together the publishing, arts and creative technology sectors to look at ways that they can learn and benefit from each other.
At Four Colman Getty we love connecting people – and we also like to be ahead of the curve. Off the Page, which was dreamt up by one of our bright Senior Account Managers, Matt Railton, hits the jackpot on both counts.
The event was held in Soho’s (in)famous Groucho Club, and kicked off with Charlie Higson– avid gamer, bestselling author and friend of Four Colman Getty – giving a hilarious and very perceptive introduction to our theme of ‘gaming’. We then heard four fast-moving presentations from some of the UK’s most exciting companies working on products at the intersection of art and technology, followed by the opportunity for our guests to mingle. Which they did in spades!
I’m delighted to say that the room was packed with publishers, agents, journalists, developers and potential investors, all of whom seemed to have learned something new. And it was terrific to have the opportunity to demonstrate that we at Four Colman Getty are not only responding to, but also helping to lead, the debate around the future of publishing and how the UK’s cultural industries can adapt and thrive in the digital economy. Underlining that point, we this month launched an online game, Gone Online, based on Michael Grant’s popular Gone series.
We’ll be focussing on a different theme for each session and our next Off the Page evening will be on 3 June, looking at Mobile Culture – how the technology we all carry in our pockets can change the way we discover, encounter, and experience art, culture and literature. If you are interested in knowing more please visit offthepage.net
Another winner this month is Jeffrey Archer who has again stormed to the top of the bestseller lists, this time for the third in The Clifton Chronicles Series, Best Kept Secret. At the time of writing he’s at number one for the second week running with the novel selling extremely well in both hardback, audio and e-book formats. Continuing the story of the Barringtons and Cliftons, two families at each end of the social spectrum, Best Kept Secret bears all the hallmarks of a classic Archer thriller, keeping the reader guessing throughout with his fast-paced narrative and nail-biting cliffhangers.
Jeffrey has been hard at it for the last month, promoting the book here in the UK, giving early morning and late night phone and Skype interviews to the media in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. He has also been on a whistle stop four-city tour of India, preceded by two sell-out events at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai.
Another writer in the headlines this month has been Eve Branson who launched her memoir, Mum’s The Word. Edited down from over 900 pages of personal diary entries, the book has been more than ten years in the making. The launch was marked by a party of friends, family and press who braved the snow to join Eve and her co-editor Holly Peppe for champagne and canapés at Grace Belgravia in Mayfair. With three generations of the Branson family in attendance, all fresh from the (Virgin) plane from a family wedding South Africa it was quite a party!
Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, the founders of Leon restaurants have had a terrific idea to get young people all over the UK cooking. Cook 5 hopes to inspire those who don’t cook already to do so, and encourage families to cook together. We launched the campaign this month with a high profile Times story, some fantastic media coverage and a dedicated website. The response has been tremendous with over 5,000 hits and over 1,200 dishes uploaded in the first few weeks.
I mentioned Beanstalk, the children’s literacy charity in the last newsletter and this month saw the launch of the charity’s Charter for Children’s Literacy. Currently, one in eight children in the UK leaves primary school unable to read to the required standards – but Beanstalk reading helpers are changing the prospects of around 7,500 children by visiting them in school for one-to-one reading sessions.
The Charter – which was designed and produced by the in house Four team – contains comments from a range of experts including Sir Jim Rose; Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson; Charlie Higson; and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Chair of the EU High Level Group of Experts on Children’s Literacy. It calls for a raft of interventions to improve reading standards among young people, including funding for a trained reading helper in every primary school in the country.
Our campaigning team was also hard at work this month on the launch of the Institute of Leadership & Management’s new research report into flexible working. The report revealed that the vast majority of UK organisations offer flexible working and - in the midst of the furore surrounding Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s ban on working from home - 8 out of 10 managers surveyed thought it brought benefits to their business.
Demonstrating that flexible working is alive and well in the Four Colman Getty Campaigning team, Scarlett and Sarah were in the office for a Sunday sell-in, having already secured a feature in The Sunday Times. The research was widely covered in the media with some strong radio coverage running throughout the launch day and news coverage in a range of publications.
So it’s been a busy month all round and April looks set to be the same!
More next month