Daniel Bee, Ink’s PR man, has worked for Hugh Hefner and magazine mogul Tina Brown, so he knows a bit about powerful and demanding editors as well as the world’s biggest celebrities. Fitting between the UK and the US in time-honoured rock-star style, one of his key remits has been getting stories from our magazines in front of lots of people – largely through using the celebrity PR machine to, in his words, “feed the beast”.
With his help, Ink stories have gone further than ever before. When Nexos, our Spanish-language magazine for American Airlines, ran a cover story on Pitbull, the US rap star put it out to his 21.5m Twitter followers and 60m Facebook fans. When American Way did a cover on the NFL star Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, the cover received more than 46,000 Likes on Instagram. And when Rhapsody, the premium magazine for United Airlines, did a cover story on the three Bond Women in new film Spectre, the story and images made news outlets across the world, from the New York Post and People (US) to the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror (UK), Irish Mirror and Times of India.
We see these stories as a positive win for everyone,” says Daniel. “The star wants publicity, and the airline wants positive engagement – they want to move the narrative of their social content on from bad weather and lost baggage and to create a feel-good story around their brand. It’s obviously good for Ink, too, to get our stories out to millions of people and to get eyes on our fantastic content.”
Daniel sees his job as oiling this process. “People don’t realise but there’s a lot of work that goes into setting up a story. With the Bond story, it was three weeks of planning. We had editors and picture desks primed, and we timed the release of the images and story to coincide with the film premiere. It was right story, right place and right time – a few days or even hours later and we’d have got zero traction and coverage.”
Occasionally, the story goes further – like American Way’s August cover story on Jada Pinkett Smith, in which Will Smith’s wife opened up about her brutal Baltimore upbringing and the perils of being one half of an A-list marriage. “If it’s a new revelation or a wonderful new shoot, it’s likely to trend,” says Daniel. “The Jada story had a bit of both, and it took on a life of its own. It really caught fire, going round the world in hours, and papers were doing extra research to add to the colourful story. I suspect that Jada’s PR team ended up spending more than 48 hours almost solidly managing the story and sculpting it to the success it was.”
Cover stars Cindy Crawford and Samuel L. Jackson recently went white hot around the world online, in print and on TV following their exclusive shoots and interviews for Rhapsody for United. Firstly, Samuel and Donald Trump went head to head on Twitter and then Cindy set rumours running about her imminent retirement. Daniel comments “These stories originate with a beautiful shoot and then get propelled into the world in with such adrenaline speed its incredible; but the key is that the original stories are magnificently shot and written – proving that content really is king and always will be.”
8th January 2020