WORTHLESS

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating claims that some advertisers are using participants in reality TV shows to plug products or services to their followers on social media without it being made clear to those followers that their reality TV idol is being paid in cash or kind for the “endorsement” This breaches the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines which require paid endorsements to be presented as such, to enable the purchaser to evaluate whether the celebrity claims for the use of the product are genuine and impartial, and therefore can be trusted, or whether they are paid for and therefore worth spit.

Some reality show participants, and their paymasters, already criticised by the ASA are Millie Mackintosh (Britvic) and Louise Thompson (Daniel Wellington) from Made in Chelsea, Marnie Simpso (Diamond White) from Geordie Shore, Stephanie Davis (Convits UK) from Celebrity Big Brother and presenter A.J.Odjudu (Alpro).

It is thought that some of the coyness about payments made is not unconnected to possible financial interest in them from HMRC

GATWICK PARKING PROBLEMS

A company director who ran a “meet and greet” service at Gatwick and then parked customer’s cars in muddy fields and public car parks has been given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Shagufta Khan, 42 and a director of Best Meet and Greet Ltd, was also ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service, after admitting to Hove Crown Court engaging in unfair and misleading commercial practice. Continue reading

RECORD FINE FOR GOOGLE

A fine of £3.8 billion has been handed down to Google by the European Commission for breaches of competition law.

The Commission says, after a three year investigation, that Google abused its dominant market position by forcing smartphone manufacturers using its Android system to pre-install Google apps and browsers. This illegal practice, says the Commission, prevents manufacturers from installing rival software and therefore limits consumer choice.

The Eu can impose fines of up to 10% of a company’s turnover, meaning a maximum of £10 billion for Google.

A KICKING FOR HERMES

Staff at delivery company Hermes were filmed in January punching customer parcels and throwing and kicking them around the depot in Bridgewater, Somerset.

Hermes say this behaviour was “completely unacceptable” and that the staff involved no longer work there. However a whistle-blower who worked at Bridgewater for 15 months said the behaviour was “routine” and that as many as 200 parcels a day were damaged, or opened by staff.

A 2016 Citizens Advice report into parcel revealed that 69% of customers had experienced items lost or damaged.

TURKEY BEFORE CHRISTMAS?

The fall in value of the Turkish lira has made a cheap break in the country a real possibility for those hunting a bargain.

Despite the current falling pound £1,000 gets 6,887 lira, compared to 4,300 last summer, an improvement of 60%.

Air fares are still comparatively high for independent travellers – Heathrow to Istambul on Turkush Airlines £500+ return – but once in Turkey a family meal for four can be got for £38 as opposed to £73 last year, a bottle of beer for £1.45 instead of £2.30 and a glass of wine for £2 instead of £2.80. Hotel rates and car hire costs have fallen similarly.

BRING A BOTTLE

One piece of railway marketing not thought through is from the clever people who have ordered the smart, new £1billion Bombardier Class 345 trains knowing that they have no toilets.

Apparently, according to the caring management at Transport for London toilets take up valuable seat space that could be sold and they are planning to run the loo-less trains on the 60-mile, 102 minute stretch between Reading and Shenfield. They say that the average time passengers will be without a loo is 20-minutes but this doesn’t allow for breakdowns and signal failures.

So why not just admit “We’ve screwed up”?

STUPID MARKETING

Learn from their mistakes.

o Wiscombe Cider’s Suicider brand has been banned from sale at a festival following a complaint from a Samaritans volunteer that the name was “insensitive”.

o The Bristol Dry Gin distillery was criticised for calling a new vodka Novichok.

o Airline Tui handed out badges to boys saying “Future Tui Captain” and badges to girls saying “Future Tui Cabin Crew”

ONE WAS THERE, ACCIDENTALLY

We’d decided to take a day trip by coach to Brighton, attracted by the £12 return fare for seniors and the convenient pick-up in our Bedfordshire town.

We didn’t realise, and we suspect nor did the coach company, that the day selected of Saturday August 4th was the day of the Gay Pride celebrations in Brighton. With all the traffic log-jams the 3.5 hour journey took 4.5 hours and the road closures meant our coach had to drop us off a good 15 minute walk in the heat from the town, and we had to be back there 4.5 hours later for the run home. Continue reading

EJECTION FOR GRAPHIC TRUTH

An anti-abortion group, Life, was kicked out of the Lambeth Country Show last month after a few of the 150,000 visitors complained that their stall was “inappropriate”.

The stall featured plastic models of foetuses at various stages of development laid on a time-line, and this was deemed upsetting by organisers Lambeth Council to visitors who had had abortions. A teacher visiting, Katie Stacey, 26, said that abortion was a “perfectly legal medical procedure” and that women attending a family event “should not feel attacked for their right to choose it.”

Life say they are considering legal action against what they see as censorship. Question is, for all of our thinking teachers of the young out there, does being “perfectly legal” make it right?