THE BIG QUESTION: Which author would you pay to endorse your brand and why? Luxury jewellery brand Bulgari raised eyebrows last week as it was revealed that the company had sponsored novelist Fay Weldon's latest offering


'Salman Rushdie in the Satanic Verses era as he was prepared to face

censorious adversity head-on, in a brave but dignified manner. To speak

as he found - albeit in the world of letters rather than in hard global

news. Those traits sum up our group's dedication to accuracy and being a

damn good read. More seriously, relying on individuals to endorse a

brand can be problematic because, if he or she fails in some way, the

brand can suffer. TIME and Fortune's values are exemplified in every

issue of our magazines. When Henry Luce founded TIME in 1923, he set out

to create 'the world's most interesting news magazine'. Today, leaders

in commerce, politics, science and the arts endorse us each time they

pick up a copy.'


'With our Hot Wheels range of replica toy cars, we produce more cars

each year than GM, Vauxhall and Ford put together. Our cars are all

about power and performance and that's why I'd choose the racy airport

novelist Harold Robbins. He always seems to be top of the bestseller

lists so we would be guaranteed major exposure for our products. His

latest book is The Betsy and is about a guy who designs these smart cars

that are fast and furious, perfect backing for our lines. This guy also

has lots of affairs - it's all a bit like Jilly Cooper but far more for

men than women. Overall, Harold Robbins aims to be number one and that's

why I'd choose him.'

ALISON BONNY, Virgin Mobile

'I'd choose JK Rowling. She has changed her market, as Virgin Mobile has

done. She saw there was room for change in her field - children watching

TV and playing computer games, rather than using their imagination - and

gave them (and certain adults) a bold new proposition, which has led to

success. We also looked at our market, with its lack of choice and

imagination, its rip-off culture, and have found that more than a

million people wanted to believe in us, too. They're both "David and

Goliath" stories. Richard Branson plans to make Virgin Mobile the first

global mobile brand. JK Rowling has created a worldwide brand with the

Harry Potter books, which she has achieved by being both a great author

and an entrepreneur. Her books are about the innate human desire to see

the forces for good triumph over forces for evil. A mission statement

for Virgin Mobile?'

NIC GAULT, Barclaycard

'There's only one Billy Shakespeare. He's a proven crowdpleaser - like

the Barclaycard Premiership. He's all about passion, drama and tragedy

and his stories keep you gripped to the final whistle. His writing

covers everything from tactical substitutions to off-field drama and, as

a playmaker, he's at the top of every manager's shopping list. He has an

association with spending given past appearances on the old £10

note. His transfer from Stratford was a good strategic move, allowing

him to play before the packed terraces of the London clubs such as The

Globe. He has never missed a season and by his early 30s Billy could

guarantee a full royal box at every performance.'

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