You’ll need persistence, enthusiasm and passion, says celebrity publicist Max Markson. Jade Kennedy reports
M ax Markson is a tabloid journalist’s dream contact, representing clients from former US president Bill Clinton to infamous party boy Corey Worthington.
Markson started his Sydney-based company, Markson Sparks, as a purely PR and publicity firm 29 years ago this month.
‘‘ Since then we have expanded into celebrity management and event management that has given us some astronomical success,’’ Markson said.
‘‘ We have always been involved with events for charity, which originally started with the Variety Club, but we expanded and have now done over 200 charity events and raised over $ 40 million.’’
His reputation may be left-ofcentre, but Markson’s advice is very down to earth.
‘‘ If you want to be famous and want longevity, you need to do something of a credible nature,’’ he said.
‘‘ Build up your credibility, that then becomes a basis you can work from.
‘‘ Think outside the box, sure, stand out from the crowd and be unique.
‘‘ The key catchphrase in marketing is ‘ unique selling point’ – work out what sets you apart from your peers and push yourself to be the best.
‘‘ My dear friend Laurie Lawrence, who incidentally is from Townsville, I believe, says ‘ persist’ and he’s right, persistence is everything.’’
Markson said financially-speaking, if you can play golf or tennis you’re onto a good thing right now.
‘‘ But that only works if you’re a sportsman,’’ he said.
‘‘ If you’re an actor, be a great actor, if you’re a singer, be the best singer you can be.
‘‘ Build people up around you that can help you be the best at whatever it is you do, support is everything.’’
For a lot of local bands, models and athletes, self-promotion is the key.
‘‘ It’s important to know that selfpromotion literally starts at home,’’ Markson said.
‘‘ Do you know your neighbours? Do you know the people down your street? Do they know you and what you do?
‘‘ Get out there, get involved in the local community, call the Townsville
Bulletin and tell them how fantastic you are and why you’re fantastic and get everyone in town talking about you around the water cooler.
‘‘ JFK made a fantastic speech when he was elected President of the USA.
‘‘ He said, ‘ ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’
‘‘ The next day, his advisers came and told him they had received phone calls from across the country from people asking what they could do.
‘‘ So he did another broadcast, and told them it didn’t matter what they did as long as they just DID something, put their finger in the pond and start making waves.’’
From Nelson Mandela to Lara Bingle Markson has seen a lot in his career.
‘‘ I got a job in a night club earning 50p a night operating the spotlight, and was soon earning three quid as their MC,’’ he said.
‘‘ At 18, I got together with a friend of mine and started hiring the club to put on bands and events.’’
Townsville may be a regional centre, but Markson said it was still possible to become internationally famous from here.
‘‘ Go on Facebook and Twitter – in this day and age everyone has a voice, you don’t need the media to engage people – we’re all Rupert Murdoch or Ted Turner,’’ he said.
‘‘ YouTube is a fabulous tool for global recognition – Justin Bieber is a classic example of how YouTube can make you famous.
‘‘ When Justin was discovered on YouTube he had Usher and Justin Timberlake fighting over him.’’
To make it in the fame game, it all boils down to action, according to Markson.
‘‘ If you have an idea in Townsville today and you don’t act on it, you can guarantee somebody in San Francisco or Moscow or Buenos Aires is going to have the exact same idea tomorrow, and if they act immediately they’ll be the ones making squillions of dollars instead of you.’’
With Clare ‘ chk chk boom’ Werbeloff