My first book launch was for a brilliant and funny book called Glad to Be Grey by Peter Freedman. It was a glorious celebration of everything dull. Frankly it’s time to reprint the book, but I digress. On the week of its publication I staged a number of stunts to generate column inches to try and get some noise about its release. The central event was its launch party. It was then the 80’s and London was awash with glamorous bashes stuffed with beautiful people. I organised a more modest event. I didn’t really have any option – the budget was �180, so I organised the world’s dullest book launch. It was held in the Betteton Street Coin Op Laundrette in Covent Garden.
We served the guests Rich Tea biscuits and jelly. We allowed anybody who used the laundrette to carry on using the machines to create a general sense of ordinariness and some theatre for the guest. There was no alcohol served. Instead we offered the press tap water direct from the mains. It went down very well with all the press that turned up. In fact they all featured the beverage in their reports. I thought we were on to something and the next morning armed with all the cuttings approached Thames Water with the idea of bottling and selling their water. I remember passionately declaring that they could overnight dent Perrier’s dominance of the mineral water market. Oh for youthful bravado. I was laughed out of their building.
Yesterday Coca-Cola confirmed that the source for its new Dasani bottled water was the mains supply to its factory in Sidcup, Kent. It said that a “highly sophisticated purification process” meant that the product was “as pure as bottled water gets”. Dasani costs around 95p for a 500ml bottle. The huge amount of negative publicity on this wheeze proves one thing: sometimes all publicity is not necessarily good publicity. Especially when you have committed to spending millions on launching an idea that overnight is exposed as classic cash cow.
I am looking at the option of seeing if there is any evidence that the drinks giant ripped off my idea. Any legal folk reading this that operate on a no win no fee basis please call my mobile.