Penguin Random House author Sam Conniff Allende has written and projected a 100ft message for President Donald Trump on the side of Parliament, telling the world leader ahead of his visit next week "the wrong pirates are in charge".
"A small crew of pirates" shone the image across the Thames onto the building's facade in the early hours of yesterday morning (4th July), the author of Be More Pirate (Portfolio) revealed in a video on Instagram. With the marketing ploy, Conniff Allende said he had wanted to "up the stakes" to celebrate the close of a "bidding war" for US rights to his book, eventually won by Simon & Schuster US imprint Touchstone Books.
"Trump, May and other anachronistic world leaders gripped by a crises of their own imagination need to give way to a new generation of positive young ‘pirates’ creating change at the edges, who are unafraid to stand up to a self-interested establishment and rewrite the rules for the future they deserve," Conniff Allende commented. "They are the generation who inspired the book - modern day 'pirates' causing good trouble at the edges of society, business and politics, just like their 300 year old ancestors did."
He added: "My research for the book found not only an untold history of pirates as working class heroes and social revolutionaries who are timely role models for the 21st century, but also that the root of American independence, democracy and identity is borne of pirates, much like it is in the UK. So I wanted to mark this twist in the story of the ‘special relationship’ and encourage our leaders to think for a moment about how we once again bring about the change we need and ask of ourselves whether whether we'll be ready to break the rules, when that is the right and responsible thing to do."
Conniff Allende's new US editor, Mathew Benjamin, commented: "We love this idea that the wrong pirates have been in charge for too long, and that the time has come for a new generation to prove once again that history doesn't look favourably on those who follow orders. Be More Pirate represents the positive, practical and youth-led winds of change the US needs."
Conniff Allende has already pulled PR stunts in the centre of London, famously flyposting PRH's offices without permission to promote his book on publication day by forging c.e.o. Tom Weldon's signature and asking his team to don high-vis vests to lend an air of credibility to the ploy. He was subsequently congratulated by Richard Branson on Twitter and even by Weldon on the "pirate" activity.
Other "rogue" activity in pursuit of publicising the book included a partnership with Blinkist, a tech start-up specialised in summarising non-fiction books for the smart-thinking market in bite-size text and audio "blinks" for paying subscribers. Although publishers don't receive a cut, Conniff Allende wrote the Blinkist summary of his book himself and organised a 10% discount on the book for Blinkist subscribers.
Weldon commented on the author's US deal: "It's been a pleasure to watch Be More Pirate proving books build movements. We wish it even greater success in the US and to be honest, it will be a relief to see Sam cause trouble on someone else’s walls."