Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Easy shopping

Mrs W and I were pondering the fact that kids' clothes in stores are often categorised by age.

Why stop at 14?

Couldn't we have categories such as 21-30 or 55+? It would make shopping so much easier. No more queasy feelings about something being too young or too old for you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All change please

Anyone who travels on the London tube will be familiar with the terrible genre of ad that plays around with the familiar underground map. Stations are renamed and embarrassing puns about routes and destinations are linked tenuously back to all manner of brands.

If you've ever wondered how creatives in advertising agencies come up with this crap, there are usually two explanations. The first is that the stuff is done at gunpoint on the instructions of the client. The second is that the copywriters and art directors are at a loss for anything to say about a particular product or service and have been tipped over the edge after their fifth double espresso of the day.

I would therefore formally like to forgive whoever is responsible for the Otrivine nasal spray campaign on the tube right now. But let me make one thing absolutely clear. I am not getting on any train departing from Blocked Nose. Especially when it is being diverted via Little Sneezing, Sniffingham, Stuckin House and Sick-of-Being Hill. And if there's any extension of this campaign, the people responsible for the account will be paying a visit to Much Slapping in the Face.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Are you an extremist?

An article in The Sunday Times draws my attention to a disturbing phenomenon called 'extreme couponing', which has migrated to the UK from America. According to journalist Kevin Dowling, more and more people are attempting to get bulk purchase discounts by spending up to 40 hours a week researching deals online.

The word sad doesn't really do justice to this. 40 hours a week looking for discounts? Perhaps if the coupon extremists went out to work instead of surfing the web, their groceries and household goods might suddenly seem more affordable?

Believe it or not, one of the interviewees flew out to the States for an extreme couponing training course. Presumably the savings she makes quickly recover the cost of her transatlantic plane travel, workshop fee and accommodation costs. After all, if you come back and bulk buy enough Andrex to last you a year, you'll be quids in.

Think I'm joking? Someone from Greenwich in London claims to have bought 'a year's worth of shaving foam, hair wax and skin lotion', along with cereal, cleaning products and so on. Let's hope the warehouse facilities come cheap, eh?

Perhaps I'm missing a trick here and shelling out hundreds of pounds needlessly. But at least I know that when self-respect was being handed out, I didn't settle for 75% off.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

What a load of rubbish

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable is still probably best known for his parliamentary attack on Gordon Brown, in which he described the transformation of the former Labour Prime Minister from 'Stalin to Mr Bean'. If anyone looks like Mr Bean now, it's surely the Liberal Democrats' bumbling brainbox who represents the leafy suburban constituency of Twickenham in London.

Remember how Cable blurted his mouth out to a couple of undercover female journalists, revealing how he was going to nail Rupert Murdoch? Perhaps you caught the report about Vince's unfortunate backlog of VAT payments? Well, he's now been found discarding confidential documents in recycling bags outside his local office.

Although his Letwinesque approach to data protection did attract some national press coverage, the really interesting detail can only be found in the original Richmond & Twickenham Times scoop.

Waitrose bills found in the paperwork make interesting reading, for instance. Might they reveal Vince's refined tastes? Two packs of wholesome dried cranberries. Alpen - no added sugar. Dressed, layered crab and a six-pack of perfectly ripe plums.

A local Lib Dem supporter - yes, they still seem to exist - will be disappointed to discover that their cheque for £2.00 has been recycled by Shell's former chief economist.

According to Cable's discarded diary, a painter called Henry Mee visited him in March and May to paint his portrait. I wonder if the government minister was depicted amid piles of discarded rubbish? The odd confidential report? A few constituents' personal pleas for help?

Let's hope this joker eventually finds his way into retirement. In the meantime, it's probably best not to drop him a line.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Fracking hell

If you're promoting an energy technology which results in alarming seismic activity, you have an uphill PR battle to fight. And given the relative unpopularity of earthquakes and self-igniting tap water among the general population, maybe it's a battle you're never going to win. I have a hunch, however, the task might become just slightly easier if the word 'fracking' were buried beneath a pile of subterranean shale rock. Remember, Windscale became Sellafield. Who needs fracking when you could be releasing the potential of pure shale energy?