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NiteTalk: Beyond the Red Carpet With PR Guru Julie Fogel

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NiteTalk: Beyond the Red Carpet With PR Guru Julie Fogel

John Hood

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Whether it's a bold-faced name or a hot new restaurant, the hotel-of-the-moment or a designer's latest line, you wouldn't know about any of it if a publicist hadn't made the media arrangements. Miami's got its fair share of top flight outfits working the field, of course, among them The Patton Group. And that's where Julie Fogel works her magic.

You're director of hospitality, entertainment & lifestyle media relations at The Patton Group. Will you please tell folks just what that entails? I meet with teams to set up strategy for new accounts, and then regularly follow up to ensure strategy is being implemented. ... Plus I pro-actively pursue press coverage and publicity for all clients on a regular, ongoing basis. I always carry two cell phones so I can be reached at all times and I never, ever sleep.

Word is the Patton Group boasts some very high-profile clients. Can you please drop a few names we might know?
Italian shoe designer Cesare Paciotti, the legendary Eden Roc Renaissance, London's award-winning restaurant Zuma, three of Chicago's hottest nightclubs: Manor, RiNo and Stay, and the Village of Merrick Park.

Much of your work goes on after dark. What is one of the more memorable parties or events you've been involved with?
The Armani Exchange Music Lounge during WMC 2008 in the Raleigh Penthouse was an amazing artist retreat lounge put on by BMF Media Group and I handled the PR. That year, Lady Gaga, who at the time was not known anywhere but the underground New York scene performed at the lounge.

I remember trying to get press to cover Lady Gaga's performance, who at the time was unknown and with the only pitch angle I had was that W Magazine had called her "one of the hottest acts on New York's club scene" who "defies categorization." I was practically begging assignment editors to send camera crews to come but no one would cover it. No local television, no photographers, no reporters, nobody. Long story short, just a few months later, Lady Gaga became an international sensation when her debut album "The Fame" reached number one across the world. I bet some of those media outlets who flat out declined covering her private performance were kicking themselves in the a-- as they missed history in the making.
 
You're also active in the hype side of such large scale events as Super Bowl, Sundance Film Festival, Lollapalooza, Kentucky Derby and the Winter Music Conference. Does it take a different kinda mind-set to take on such craziness? Yes. It takes a complete different "kinda" mind-set to take on such craziness -- it can be very overwhelming on those red carpets. I always have to remind myself to take a deep breath. Event-based clients are, in many ways, more time consuming than retainer-based clients. For example, for the two Super Bowl parties I handle the red carpets for every year (Leather & Laces and Saturday Night Spectacular) I literally receive an average 350 plus emails per day for about four weeks straight. When I tell people what I do for a living, they think I have the most glamorous job in the world. Don't get me wrong, many parts of my job are glamorous and I feel very fortunate to work for such an amazing company, but what people who aren't in the industry don't know is the amount of work and hours and headaches that goes into doing the press for a celebrity red carpet event. It can be brutal. ... But I love it.

Since one of your job's objectives is landing publicity for a client, I've gotta ask: how do you handle a difficult journalist? With journalists, difficult or not, I always treat them with respect -- it is important in maintaining long-lasting relationships with them. In the end, in PR, contacts are a commodity -- difficult ones included -- and, like me, they are just doing their job.  

Is there one thing a media rep should never do? Never make promises to a client -- about coverage that you will get them -- that you can't keep. Press coverage is never guaranteed. 

When you hit the town for fun where do you most dig going? Zuma Miami, Mokai and Louis.

What's coming up for Julie Fogel?
My mother would like me to get married eventually. I just broke up with my ex-boyfriend for good though, so I am single. ... I'm excited for a private dinner we are doing with Roberto Cavalli in attendance that will include a fashion show. Our events team is producing it and I will handle the press side, so that should be fun.

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