x factor

Cheryl and Liam’s Instagram relationship makes a corporate merger look like a casual fling

In Hail, Caesar!, the latest zany yarn from the brothers Coen, a movie PR man called Eddie Mannix (played by Josh Brolin) attempts to divert attention away from a studio crisis by publicising the “secret romance” of two of his biggest stars. In the studio system of the early 50s this was normal – as a […]

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Never Mind the Mayans, Here’s the Apocalypse

Whether or not the Apocalypse is approaching this Friday is speculation that I will leave to the Mayans. As life flashes past us, however, the approaching end of year provides a good opportunity to contemplate the changes that have happened in our world over the course of this past year and some of the PR […]

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Twitter or Trad PR? Always Check the Bathwater for Babies

The past few years have seen huge debate in the PR industry around the radical reshaping of public relations. Why, asked the naysayers, would a Celeb employ a PR in an age where they can use Twitter to break stories, correct rumours, build their brand and offer coveted insights into their lives? DIY was the […]

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Starting a business? Keep your eyes forward and your ears tuned to what’s real

“The media wants overnight successes (so they have someone to tear down). Ignore them.” So writes .com marketing legend Seth Godin in his piece “The Secret of the Web”. He’s totally correct. As anyone who has ever striven to realise an original idea knows, not only the media but those with the power in business […]

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Frankie Cocozza’s Meltdown is an Unrestrained, Uncontrolled Toxic Mess- It’ll do Wonders for the X Factor, though Little for M&S

The X Factor’s token Rock n Roll hairbrush Frankie Cocozza was splashed in lurid glory all over the red tops this morning: you can’t beat a good old fashioned tabloid coke scandal. Especially when it comes courtesy of Frankie, the boy who wanted to be a mashup of Richards, Moon and Shelley. The question, however, […]

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The Ceri Rees Story: Validating Chinese Government Policy?

The tale about Ceri Rees- an upbeat but apparently mentally challenged woman allegedly repeatedly invited to appear on the X Factor for the sole purpose of ratings-grabbing rejection- has really captured the tabloid imagination yesterday. This has the shape of something that could seriously run and run. The latest Mail piece by Richard Price, which […]

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Red or Black: a [Bad] Publicity Factory Closed Down Too Soon?

As Simon Cowell’s ‘Red or Black?’ approaches its end, the viewing figures tell an interesting story. The nosedive from its inaugural 6.4m audience to 4.47m on Sunday was splashed gleefully all over the press and the show was proclaimed to be Cowell’s first failure (certainly not true: remember Rock Rivals? Battle of The Stars? Of […]

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How to Survive in Media Limbo

In the wake of Cheryl Cole’s turbulent relationship with the media since her sacking from the American X Factor, here are some tips, inspired by Andy Green, that might help her through any other media difficulties that may come her way in future. Cheryl’s recent sacking is an opportunity to re-evaluate her identity and learn […]

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The Ego Has Landed

Britain’s Got Talent has rolled around again and again the nation is gripped. Out with the old and in with the new. It’s been this way for a while. Remember, it’s not five minutes since the X Factor was all anyone could talk about, but that’s seeped away into the mists of time as BGT […]

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The Cowell Question

The Observer is asking the big question – is Svengali in chief Simon Cowell essential to the X Factor? Two journalists debate the pros and cons, intersecting the public conversation surrounding Cowell’s migration to America. But neither address Cowell’s principal ingredient, his enormous power to influence the hype and guide the off-screen narrative. After watching […]

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Breaking X Factor in America

This weekend the nation gathers around the TV once again, to watch the X Factor final; the uber-karaoke contest live from the Wembley’s Amphitheatrum Flavium, thumbs poised for pollice verso. Tomorrow we will marvel at the victor who, with scrupulous and unaffected dignity, will be giving thanks to the loyal viewers for allowing him or […]

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How to Build on Past Protests

It was fascinating, on Wednesday, to watch the streets of London step back 20 years in time to the sort of violent protests that marked the anti Poll Tax movement. I admire the energy and the zeal of the students but, in an age where everything is being re-drafted, reinvented, challenged and overturned, I wonder […]

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The Good, the Mad and the Twittery

This Sunday is the season finale of series four of Mad Men, and the web is alive with the sound of tributes and ‘best of the series’ video clips, including spoilers if you’ve not seen the entire run yet. Unless you’re in the UK, that is, in which case you’ll be watching episode seven of […]

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Interesting Times for the X Factor

“May you live in interesting times,” says the old Chinese curse. Somebody seems to have willed interesting times onto the X Factor of late and much of it is to do with the ubiquity of social networking. Cowell’s money machine TV show has always trodden a fine line between seeking privacy for its big announcements […]

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Lady Gaga: Offal or Wonderful?

The more I think about Lady Gaga’s meaty costume worn at her appearance at the MTV Awards, the less sure I am about the intentions behind it. Is it 1) a controlled and thoughtful satire in meat couture about the plight of women in the pop industry, who are oiled up, lubed up, dressed in […]

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Seeking Out the X Factor

It’s great to see that the fairy godmother of Edinburgh publicity, Liz Smith, has won the Bank of Scotland Herald Archangel Award. It has taken more than three decades for her to get the pat on the back that she so richly deserves, given the amount of help she has given others for so many […]

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Election Stuntwatch: The Rise of Old Media

When I was 19, the publicist Theo Cowan – this country’s first pro celebrity PR wrangler, who created the Rank Charm School, an acting school run the Rank Film company that brought the world Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Christopher Lee, Diana Dors and more – granted me an audience in Poland Street. “Keep your clients’ […]

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Debating the wretchedness of Reality Television

I took part in the Cambridge Union debate last night, arguing for the proposition ‘This House Believes that Reality TV Represents Everything Wretched about Britain Today’. I underestimated the space, at how steeped in grandeur it is, and found myself more than a little nervous. The debate was well attended; over two thirds full. Joining […]

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Same Old New Old Year

I spent a little of last night, as the festive season faded and a whole new year and the return to work hove into view, watching the latest iteration of Celebrity Big Brother wipe it’s arse across my TV screen. As the usual array of desperate people, half-arsed film heroes and one hit blips on […]

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