The season has been in full swing for Four Colman Getty this July. A real highlight for us was this year’s Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Final. As a Scot I was of course delighted that Andy Murray won the day - and as a PR I was impressed by the speed with which our former dour Scot was transformed into a British super-hero.
More importantly, our latest charity, Smile Train, had been selected as the charity coin-toss partner for the final. Eleven year old Pinki Sonkar - who had had life-changing surgery thanks to Smile Train –travelled from India to act as the global cleft charity’s ambassador and toss the crucial coin. If you were anywhere in the Wimbledon area around that time, you might perhaps have seen the billboards at the station or the beer mats in the pubs, asking people to be generous in their support of the charity.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is another cornerstone of the English season, and it attracted even more attention than usual this year in the wake of its centenary. Our work for the RHS in 2013 was focussed around the RHS Hampton Court and Tatton Park Flower Shows. Coverage for these ever popular shows builds year on year and we were delighted to have a particular focus on the work of young gardeners who are learning the skills of previous generations.
It’s now over a decade since the longlist for the Man Booker Prize was made public and the announcement generates more and more excitement every time. I’m pleased to say that, despite the simultaneous arrival of Prince George of Cambridge, 2013 was no exception.
Five judges, 151 books, 12 months of reading and 6 hours of debate culminated in the announcement of the 13 books on the highly anticipated ‘Man Booker Dozen’ list. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with a nod towards the international reach and diversity of the list. In chair Robert Macfarlane’s words, this was ‘surely the most diverse longlist in Man Booker history: wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject.’ David Sexton praised the list in the Evening Standard saying, ‘the comparative unfamiliarity of this list… proves just one thing: these judges are doing the job right, reading afresh.’
The coverage was global from New Zealand to New York and the fact that three debut authors were listed added to the freshness of the list. It was also good to see the small independent publisher, Sandstone Press, who have been longlisted for the second time in two years.
Following Hilary Mantel’s success last year with her phenomenal novel Bring Up The Bodies, which made her the first woman ever to win the prize twice, this year’s longlist is the first on which female authors outnumber males. In accordance, bookie William Hill are offering odds for the first time ever on whether the 2013 winner will be male or female – place your bets now! And look out for the shortlist announcement on Tuesday 10 September.
It’s only a matter of weeks now until the opening of the new £189 million Library of Birmingham and the pace is definitely hotting up. We’re working with a range of media partners to reach the widest possible audience so July saw a terrific build-up show on local Free Radio, which broadcast its breakfast show live from the library terrace. Special guests were hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, who played a secret gig for a group of mothers and their starstruck kids who had won a rapping competition. Later, a perhaps more predictable but no less important visit was paid by Radio 4 Front Row's John Wilson and novelist Jonathan Coe.
The Edinburgh Festival is about to kick off and, for the first time, we have a Four Colman Getty presence up there with Amy Barder, one of our account directors, looking after a number of fringe theatre events. We’ve also got a few writers at the Edinburgh Book Festival including Charles Moore, Val McDermid and we hope a few of our longlisted Man Booker writers. Talking of Val McDermid, I hope you heard her very special Desert Island Discs. I loved it partly because she and I seem to have the same taste in music – Bruce Springsteen, Rab Noakes, Elvis Costello- and also because she admitted to be a passionate gamer and chose a solar powered laptop filled with video games as her luxury!
Look out for Val’s new book, Cross and Burn, out on 10 October and look out too for the cover reveal for the new William Boyd James Bond continuation novel this week.
Things have been every bit as lively on the campaigning front. Working with our client, Professor Kevin Dutton the author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths, we mounted a news story on which ‘Great Britons’ were most likely to have been psychopaths. Henry VIII emerged triumphant and Kevin spent an action-packed day discussing his research on television and radio programmes across the country.
A significant moment for us all this month was Carl Gilleard stepping down as the Chief Executive of the Association for Graduate Recruiters. I have personally worked with Carl for the last 15 years and more and know just what an amazing difference he has made during his years at the helm of the organisation which is now recognised as the voice of graduate recruitment in the UK. His retirement party during the summer conference was marked with a glass or two of bubbly and a wet eye or two, not least from Carl himself. He’s far too energetic to retire fully of course but I know that he’ll be much missed at AGR.
A final pat on the back for our sister company Four Communications, who were this month announced as the fifth biggest digital agency in the PR industry. This is a huge achievement for the team and an important offer that we can bring to all of our clients. Our congratulations go to them.
That’s all for now. More next month