Selling the Stolen Strad



Tarisio, the internet-based auction house for fine string instruments and bows, approached WildKat PR in 2013 to raise its profile in the UK in advance of its forthcoming London sale. Press was to be focused on the business and entrepreneurial side of Tarisio, centered on national publications, and much emphasis was placed on staying true to Tarisio’s key brand message.

During the campaign, Tarisio expanded the brief, informing WildKat PR of the exciting news that they would be auctioning the world-famous Stradivarius violin that was stolen from London’s Euston Station in 2010 and safely recovered in 2013. All press was to be focused on the auction house as owner of the violin was unavailable for interview.

Mission and approach

WildKat PR initially approached core business sections in the national newspapers about Tarisio and the fine-instrument auction market in general, securing prominent features for the target market in the Sunday Times, Telegraph and Evening Standard.

We then broke the news of the auction of the stolen Stradivarius in an international news release. Our method took the form of three separate stages: releasing the story to press in October 2013 that the violin would be going for auction; using the story to lead to extra valuable press for Tarisio in general; and finally doing a worldwide release with the result of the sale in December 2013.

To achieve maximum impact from the initial news release about the Stradivarius, WildKat PR secured an exclusive interview for Tarisio with the Guardian which created a waterfall of press both nationally and internationally. Rather than aiming for the arts section, we targeted the news desks and secured a page-3 feature, enabling us to reach a far wider audience. Additionally, we also secured major television and online video interviews with Jason Price, Director of Tarisio for BBC and ITV, strategically staggering press so that ITV was broadcasted in October with public preview of the instrument, and the BBC feature during the week of the auction itself.

On the back of the interest generated by the news of the sale, WildKat PR achieved features on Tarisio and Director Jason Price in the Financial Times' How To Spend It, Economist, Robb Report and Ideas Tap, as well as an interview and filming for BBC Breakfast that was aired on the day of the sale itself with viewing figures of over 4 million.

This ensured maximum press interest for the sale of the violin, so as soon as it was sold online at 14:15 on 18th December 2013 for £1.385 million, press was awaiting the result and WildKat PR distributed an international news release. The final sale story reached over 30 countries including: UK, USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Guadaloupe, Samoa...

Press Achievements

  • Sunday Times – 'How I Made It' column interview with Jason Price featuring the history and success of Tarisio compared to its older competitors, Jason's background and tips to be a successful entrepreneur
  • Guardian exclusive – interview with Jason Price about the sale of the stolen Stradivarius. This was printed on page 3 of the Guardian and featured in the prime website homepage space
  • BBC News video – secured a feature with BBC News Arts and Ents. BBC filmed the Tarisio London public preview in advance of the auction where the Stradivarius was on display, and we arranged for a violinist to play the Strad
  • BBC Breakfast – organised BBC filming with Jason Price and top international violinist Jennifer Pike to play the stolen Stradivarius, filmed in Tarisio’s offices in London. This followed with an invitation from BBC Breakfast for Jason Price to go live on the show for the Arts and Entertainment primetime slot
Features and interviews
  • Telegraph – feature on the fine-instrument industry model
  • Economist – feature on the auction industry
  • Ideas Tap – interview with Jason Price
  • Arts Professional – interview with Jason Price
  • Sunday Times (see press highlight section)
  • Guardian (see press highlight section)
Strad news story press achieved

UK National Press
  • Guardian
  • Telegraph
  • Sunday Times
  • Huffington Post
  • Evening Standard
  • Metro
  • Mirror
  • BBC News Online
  • ITV News Online
  • How To Spend It
  • BBC News
  • BBC Breakfast
  • ITV News
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC Radio 2
  • Classic FM
Industry press
  • BBC Music Magazine
  • The Strad
  • Gramophone
  • Classic FM Online
  • Classical Music Magazine
Strad news story, international press
  • LA Times
  • Spiegel
  • Sky News Australia
  • Luzerner Zeitung
  • (and around 180 other publications across 30 countries)