You are here

It All Started In Birmingham…

It’s hard to know what to talk about first when I look back over Four Colman Getty’s achievements this month.  So let’s start at the very beginning, with the opening of the £189million Library of Birmingham. Those of you who have regular readers of this newsletter will know that we have been involved with the project for the last two and a half years. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for campaigning for education rights for women and girls, officially opened the library in front of a large crowd and a packed press pen to deliver a moving and inspirational speech on the power of books, knowledge and education. The night before, guests had gathered in the dramatic book rotunda for a launch party, organised by our Lisa Perkins. Following emotional speeches, the guests spilled out to enjoy a sunset, jazz and canapés on one of the library’s two garden terraces,  with many remarking that it felt more like being at a five star hotel than a public library in the UK’s second city. Malala’s opening speech marked the culmination of a two-and-a-half year major and multi-faceted PR campaign for us. The campaign has generated an incredible groundswell of civic pride and national and international media attention for what is now Europe’s largest public library. In the first three weeks of being open, the Library had nearly a quarter of a million visitors, signing up 2,325 new members and continues to attract a large and diverse crowd. We will continue working with the library until the end of the year, promoting the exciting Discovery Season which highlights the library’s collections and treasures through art, events and music. Elsewhere another of our culture teams was breaking the news that bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah is to write the first ever Agatha Christie continuation novel. Working with publisher HarperCollins and our existing client, Agatha Christie Ltd, we’d had to keep the news secret for some while so it was a huge relief to be able to announce the news at last. Watch out for next September when Hercule Poirot will make his return. September is synonymous with the Man Booker Shortlist announcement and this year was no exception with the shortlist being widely heralded as the best in the prize’s history. This year we worked with Twitter for a new digital announcement using six-second Vine videos. The new strategy was a great success, reaching nearly 7 million Twitter accounts with over 1,200 people joining the conversation to tweet their views.  The Facebook page had nearly 500 new likes in one day, the biggest increase in a single day since the account was set up. There were also nearly 27,000 unique visitors to the website, 15% more than last year. The press coverage was also phenomenal with blanket coverage in the UK and internationally, thanks in part to the global nature of the six writers on the list. No sooner had the shortlist been announced than the Man Booker prize team swung into action again to announce plans to extend the submissions criteria for the annual prize to include writers of any nationality writing originally in English and published in the UK. It was a good example of crisis management in reaction to a partially correct leak and the last minute press conference some way towards setting the record straight. Meantime the judges are re-reading all six books on the 2013 shortlist – their final winner will be announced on 15 October at London’s Guildhall. The writers will be between now and then be taking part in various public events in Birmingham and at the Southbank. Talking of winners our congratulations go to Jeffrey Archer on his 18th number one – the paperback of Best Kept Secret, the third novel in the Clifton Chronicles series, went straight to number one this month. We’ve had a book focussed month during September. Another major title we have been working on is Mini & Me, a heart rending autobiography by Michael, known as Mini, Cooper. At the age of eleven, Michael was the subject of a television documentary made by filmmaker Franc Roddam, which chronicled his difficulties as a child in care. The film caused public outrage on its release and in fact is to be re shown on the BBC shortly.  Since the film was made, Mini has spent 38 years in and out of jails, secure mental health units and halfway houses. Throughout Franc and Mini have remained friends, and a few years ago, Franc gave Mini a computer to document his story on the understanding that, if he were to finish the book, Franc would publish it. Mini &Me is the result- read it and watch this extract from the film. The final feather in our cultural cap came last week in the form of the much anticipated launch of William Boyd’s continuation James Bond novel, Solo. It was launched with all the luxury, glamour and 1960’s flair that one would expect with vintage Jensens and a champagne breakfast at The Dorchester Hotel. Will signed the first 7 copies of the book - Solo 001 to 007 - before entrusting them into the hands of 7 British Airways cabin crew who were whisked off in a convoy of the cars to Terminal 5. Each book, encased in a Perspex briefcase was then personally picked up by the captains of 7 planes, strapped into the cockpit, and flown to 7 destinations worldwide: Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, LA, Delhi, Cape Town and Sydney. As I write the final copy has just reached Sydney to a media frenzy. As one media report commented, ‘Boyd is now Bond’. With all this cultural work going on our campaigning team has been equally busy with a range of projects from The Kennedy Memorial Trust to the Charterered Institute of Management Accountants-   more on that front next month! Till then, all the best Dotti

You might also like