HYPE OF THE WEEK: On the surface, there wasn't anything unusual about a recent Virgin Records full-page trade ad touting the label's current single, "Mary's Prayer" by Danny Wilson. The ad featured a huge reproduction of a telegram from promotion man Mike Bone, saying " 'Mary's Prayer' is my life." Above the telegram, in huge letters, the copy read: "Do Mike Bone a Favor. Add Danny Wilson's 'Mary's Prayer.' "
But here's the twist--Bone doesn't work for Virgin. He's head of promotion for Elektra Records, one of Virgin's industry rivals. "What can I tell you--I really liked the record," Bone said. "So I sent a telegram to (Virgin promotion chief) Phil Quartararo. He called me back and asked if it would be OK to use the telegram in their ads. I said fine, but I thought they'd just have it buried with all the other testimonials.
"Then this ad came out with my name in huge letters at the top and I said, 'Holy. . . !'
It was pretty funny. I was just at a sales convention and all everybody's been doing is kidding me, saying, 'Boy, Bone, you better break that record now or you're in trouble.' "
Bone's not exactly complaining. At the bottom of the ad--in much smaller print--Virgin gave him a payback, plugging Elektra's new Cure single, "Why Can't I Be You?"