There’s an exhibition on at the moment at the British Library entitled Propaganda: Power and Persuasion. A much maligned term these days, thanks to the work of Herr Goebbels & sons (which is presented in all its horror/glory in the exhibition), propaganda also has a less sinister heritage – the term entered common parlance when Edward L Bernays issued his seminal work on influencing public opinion named Propaganda. The book pretty much set the terms for PR practice as we know it today, earning him the title of ‘the father of public relations’.
On Monday I’ll be at the British Library discussing ‘The Art and Business of Persuasion’. Although the landscape has changed vastly since the time of Bernays, in many ways the techniques that defined his thinking hold the same, if not greater relevance today – from the importance of influencing the influencers to the art of using the newspaper front page as a canvas. I’ll be joined by my good friend Trevor Beattie, one of the finest advertising folk of our era who knows more than a little on the art of persuasion; for evidence please see Eva Herzigova in her Wonderbra – “Hello Boys”.
Trevor and I have worked together a few times over the years, a subject I’ll be touching on on Tuesday evening in my show Adventure Capitalism: The 20% Maverick Factor at the Solo Theatre Festival. The show is a magical realist journey into the weird and wonderful world of the Maverick. Featuring a theatre on the back of a bike, runaway taxmen turned circus performers, Hitler’s nephew, a human exhibit in London Zoo, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and a man intent on eating a Cessna jet, I’ll be sharing the stories of some of the larger-than-life characters I’ve encountered in a career surrounded by the eccentric and the brilliant, as well as offering guidance on introducing the maverick factor into your life.
I hope I can twist you to join me for either – or better, both.
The Art and Business of Persuasion
Mon 1 Jul 2013, 18.30-20.00
Conference Centre, British Library
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Adventure Capitalism: The 20% Maverick Factor
Tue 2 Jul 2013, 7.30pm
The Lost Theatre, 208 Wandsworth Road, SW 8 2JU
£11.25 / £9 concessions