What a weird weekend. There was no end to the promo cycle for the book. My heart was in my mouth as I was being interviewed by my old client Mark Lamarr who was standing in for Jonathon Ross with Jo Brand on Radio 2. Mark is not a fan of ephemeral hype nor the process of publicity – thank god he liked the book.
From Radio 2 it was a full Sunday – non-stop at LBC on the Andrew Pierce show. Reading the News of the World beforehand in the LBC reception, I had a chuckle when I saw the spread about Cameron and Mrs. C on the family holiday in Cornwall. Evidently they wore the entire Boden catalogue and the pictures proffered the future leader and his missus frolicking in the catalogue’s finest in the frothing sea.
It must have been vortex of hell for the long term trendiness of the Boden brand. I reckon the feature was a terrible bit of brand PR telling the wrong story. The paper told its readership how to get the look, which I am sure will offend all the toffs who wear the gear like a uniform. I suspect there are fears that the catalogue for the middle classes will no longer have its prior cachet. Stand by for the white bourgeoisie onslaught for the odious Jack Wills school uniform.
Whilst I am on the subject of the weird, I have just found out that the great great grandmother of Victoria Lyon (one of the members of our new client eScala) was Jenny Lind, the sensational 19th century Swedish soprano. My book extols the brilliance of the showman Barnum as the great, great, great, great grandfather of all those publicists of old, and it’s a strange coincidence that Victoria is connected to the hypemeister. This note from Wiki explains how he broke the opera singer.
“By late 1846, Barnum’s Museum was drawing 400,000 visitors a year. An instance of his enterprise was the engagement of Jenny Lind the “Swedish Nightingale” to sing in America at $1,000 a night for 150 nights, all expenses paid by the entrepreneur in advance – an unprecedented offer. “Jenny Lind mania” was sweeping Europe and she was a favorite of Queen Victoria. She was unpretentious, shy, devout, and possessed a crystal-clear soprano voice projected with a wistful quality which audiences found touching. The offer was accepted in part to free her from opera performances which she disliked and to endow a music school for poor children. The risk for Barnum was huge. Besides never having heard her or knowing whether Americans would take to her, he had to assume all the financial risk. He borrowed heavily on his mansion and his museum. With bravado, he drummed up publicity but conceded, “‘The public’ is a very strange animal, and although a good knowledge of human nature will generally lead a caterer of amusement to hit the people right, they are fickle and ofttimes perverse.
“As a result of months of Barnum’s preparations, close to 40,000 greeted her at the docks and another 20,000 at her hotel, the press was in attendance, and “Jenny Lind items” were available. The tour began with the concert at Castle Garden on September 11, 1850 and turned out a success, recouping Barnum four times his investment. Washington Irving proclaimed: “She is enough to counterbalance, of herself, all the evil that the world is threatened with by the great convention of women. So God save Jenny Lind!”