Let The Great World Spin

Let The Great World Spin

I first picked up Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann back in June but have only just managed to finish it now.  I’m an avid reader, so to take 7 months to read a book is unheard of for me.  I could have written one in that length of time.

Let The Great World Spin has won numerous awards such as the 2009 National Book Award, the 2010 Ambassador Book Award and even Oprah had it in her list of “Books You Can’t Put Down”.  I actually found it difficult to keep picking it up.

Back in early summer there was a massive advertising push on Let The Great World Spin.  It was everywhere.  Not just taking over the windows of local book stores but blanket coverage on billboards around the country.  And that was my mistake – I fell for the advertising.

As I chose a selection of books to see me through the sunny holiday season I let the advertising influence me.  Normally I’ll be more informed and decide what literature I like (or dislike) via trusted reviews in the media or by way of endorsements from writers I enjoy.   Sometimes I’ll even judge a book by its cover, afterall the publishing company has spent a great deal of money on graphic design precisely to appeal to me and my target market.

Now, Let The Great World Spin actually garnered rave reviews.  As I write this I checked out Colum McCann’s excellent website and had a peek at the many plaudits.  He deserves them all, there’s no doubt about that, and I appreciate the book for its literary merit but it just didn’t do it for me.  I kept trying to get back into the story and at one point considered ditching it altogether, but decided that I’d invested too much time just to abandon ship.

My point, dear reader, is that while advertising works, a targeted method of promotion, like PR, is more beneficial in the long run – both for brand and consumer.  A good Public Relations campaign has the power not only to influence but to influence the influencers.  PR can instil views, thoughts and beliefs that stay with the consumer long after they have digested the information.

PR is like a long, loving relationship while Advertising is just a one night stand.

Working in the industry (I’m a former hack turned flack) I like to think I can make up my own mind and not be swayed by advertising.  I’m annoyed that I didn’t do my homework, that I was easily persuaded to buy the book before I knew anything about it.  Perhaps I might still have bought it after looking up my favourite reviewers; Colum McCann is, of course, one of the greatest writers in the world.  Next time I’ll be better informed and make my own mind up … maybe with a little influence from the world of spin.

Wayne Cronin is a PR consultant with Fuzion Communications.

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