Marketing Matters Jan/Feb 2014 ISSUE 36

LETHAL MARKETING
If you have bought any furniture in the last few years you might want to establish whether it is fire-safe or illegally lethal, because if it came from retailers SCS, Harveys, Argos, Tesco Direct, Homebase or Amazon it could be the latter. …

WERE THEY PUSHED?
Last year’s news that our government had dropped its 2012 plans to slap a minimum price on alcohol were welcomed by those who felt it was always going to be downright daft …

BBC KEEPS FAKING IT UP
The BBC, well-known for faking wildlife scenes in its documentaries with David Attenborough, and others, is to warn viewers that parts of Hidden Kingdoms, a new…

CENTREBUS DRIVERS DISAPPOINT
One bus company CEO who needs to be concerned about the negative image of his company some, though certainly not all, of his drivers are projecting is Peter Harvey …

SOME OLD AMERICAN ADVERTISING
Thanks to reader Steve Kingshott, now in Sarasota, for emailing us “You’ll never see these again”, a collection of ads from the USA that arguably haven’t aged well. Memorable was…

FCUKED?
Sad to note that top fashion and toiletries firm French Connection UK, which trades with a hilarious and sophisticated abbreviation of its name, seemed to have some marketing …

NICE ONES BARRY
It’s always good to report when a product lives up to its marketing, and for all those pickle fans out there we can report, after extensive and pleasurable testing that Barry Norman …

BACK-END STRATEGY
The positioning of talented singer Miley Cyrus as the latest musical sex object by her marketeers is seriously ill-advised. For those who have missed some of her…

LETHAL MARKETING

If you have bought any furniture in the last few years you might want to establish whether it is fire-safe or illegally lethal, because if it came from retailers SCS, Harveys, Argos, Tesco Direct, Homebase or Amazon it could be the latter.

A BBC TV documentary, Fake Britain, was screened this week and featured sofas or China-manufactured Ventura matresses from the above which had failed a fire-ignition test, making it highly dangerous to buy them and illegal to sell them in the UK. The laws requiring a minimum level of flame-retardantcy were brought in by the government in the 1970’s after the furniture fire at Woolworth’s in Manchester in 1979 which killed ten people, and the government were advised by fire officers that 700 people a year were dying from fire in their homes. Many were victims of the toxic smoke produced when foam in furniture or matresses burns, and which can render a room fire unsurvivable within three or four minutes of the first tiny flame. Continue reading

WERE THEY PUSHED?

Last year’s news that our government had dropped its 2012 plans to slap a minimum price on alcohol were welcomed by those who felt it was always going to be downright daft to penalise millions of moderate drinkers to pay for the excesses of a few immoderate ones. Much fairer, surely, to make drunk and disorderly a much more serious crime, with seriously larger penalties, this reflecting the damage to the community done by the binge-drinkers and the burden on the police and health services?

Now, it is alleged, the government’s sensible U-turn was due to pressure put on them by the powerful alcohol lobby, at hundreds of often secret meetings. It is also alleged that reports revealing some benefits of minimum alcohol pricing were buried until after the U-turn decision was made. Continue reading

BBC KEEPS FAKING IT UP

The BBC, well-known for faking wildlife scenes in its documentaries with David Attenborough, and others, is to warn viewers that parts of Hidden Kingdoms, a new BBC documentary about tiny creatures narrated by Stephen Fry, also contains faked scenes.

Using the euphemism “dramatisation” the BBC is advising its licence-payers that some scenes in the new wildlife doc have been “dramatised” (faked) such as an exciting one of a mouse apparently leaping to escape the open jaws of a rattlesnake, faked by gathering footage of the snakes lunging at a hot towel mounted on a camera and merging it with footage of a mouse jumping. Continue reading

CENTREBUS DRIVERS DISAPPOINT

One bus company CEO who needs to be concerned about the negative image of his company some, though certainly not all, of his drivers are projecting is Peter Harvey of Centrebus.

At a driver changeover on one of their Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire services in very cold weather in late November a pensioner was seen politely asking, twice, if he could board the rather warmer bus while the two drivers were chatting as Peter Harvey’s passengers shivered in the freezing temperatures. This was perhaps something that Centrbus never allow as the original driver told the pensioner “No problem” and reached up and shut the door in his face. Continue reading

SOME OLD AMERICAN ADVERTISING

Thanks to reader Steve Kingshott, now in Sarasota, for emailing us “You’ll never see these again”, a collection of ads from the USA that arguably haven’t aged well.

Memorable was the reassuring submission from the tobacco industry that advised “MORE DOCTORS SMOKE CAMELS THAN ANY OTHER CIGARETTE!” closely followed by one that urged smokers “Let’s face it – you could get hit by a BUS tomorrow.  Go on – HAVE A FAG!”  Rather less philosophical, and one for the ladies to ponder was one showing a chap puffing the smoke from his Tipalet brand cigar at an attractive and clearly excited by it young woman and straplined “Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere” (Did anyone actually try this?) Continue reading

FCUKED?

Sad to note that top fashion and toiletries firm French Connection UK, which trades with a hilarious and sophisticated abbreviation of its name, seemed to have some marketing problems with The Urban Duo box set of hair and body wash and body spray developed exclusively for retailer Boots.

Pre-Christmas this was on sale for £8 in one of our local Boots stores, and sold so well that in the new year it was first offered at 50% off, then at 70% off, with the store having hundreds to move at the £2.40 price.

We say sad because it was such good value at £2.40 that the writer bought five of them, around 12 months  supply, after discovering that they were actually  good products, with some wake-up citrus, amber and musk notes. So could it be that the bad-taste joke is wearing a bit thin, or that Boots customers are the wrong market?

NICE ONES BARRY

It’s always good to report when a product lives up to its marketing, and for all those pickle fans out there we can report, after extensive and pleasurable testing that Barry Norman Premium Pickled Onions  are what it says on the jar. (“hot and spicy, crisp and crunchy”) We also found them satisfyingly sweet and pungent on the palate, with warm hints of five-spice.

Reportedly, like Paul Newman’s Salad Dressings, the affable and sometimes pungent film critic’s pickles were launched after a tasting by someone in marketing who insisted they had to be marketed, and accordingly they were launched in 2007 by producers Bennet Opie, based on Norman’s own family recipe.

Of course there will be those tightwads and not us of course who know that the secret’s in the vinegar and will save it to immerse lesser, cheaper onions in, perhaps with some other additives

BACK-END STRATEGY

The positioning of talented singer Miley Cyrus as the latest musical sex object by her marketeers is seriously ill-advised.

For those who have missed some of her pornographic contortions the pretty and formerly wholesome Disney pop princess has specialised of late in what is called “shaking the tail feathers” in some cultures, and “butt-strutting” or “twerking in others, that is “dancing to pop music in a sexually provocative manner involving the rhythmic gyration of the lower fleshy extremities” and probably not the kind of thing Bruce Forsyth will be introducing any day soon on Strictly Come Dancing.

It will be interesting to see if, when Cyrus grows up a little more she regrets agreeing to this short term strategy. And let’s all pray that no unfortunate wardrobe malfunction occurs during one of her lively performances and sends an image of a very private part viral. Or could that be the next silly stunt?