A few years ago ATOM invested in a brand expert who engages with companies to discover their essence enabling their brand to become a decision-making asset guiding their every action. Take Apple for example, their essence is ‘think different’ so they never get involved in producing twists on established products invented by competitors. No Walkman lookalike/doalike for them, they went straight to the iPod. Our very own brand man, Nameer Kanderian (name and shame), has built a very strong essence for ATOM given which imagine my surprise when he was caught on camera dressing up as Jack Sparrow at an Iftar staged by one of our major clients. Pirate and agency, umm . . .
On a more serious note, the full-scale of the tragedy engulfing Pakistan has emerged, with the United Nations saying that the floods have affected 13.8 million people. This is more than the combined victims of the three most recent big natural disasters the world has faced – the Haiti earthquake in January, the 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan, and the Asian tsunami – although the death toll from the flooding is much lower. Officially it stands at around 1,600, but with so many parts of the country inaccessible, it is feared it could end up being much higher. Locally, The Green Foundation has launched an appeal and this is a fantastic opportunity to offload all of your unwanted electronics for a very good cause. Details on their website or in this ITP article.
Also our very good friends at TDIC (well done to Alison Carmody for coming up with the idea and getting it off the ground) have organised a quiz evening at Left Bank Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to raise funds. The prizes are well worth winning so I’ve spent most of the Eid holiday swatting (two days for the private sector, Friday and Saturday, thanks). Air Miles have contributed some great prizes and it’s well worth noting they have a triple points promo running through September – my iPad is getting ever closer.
It seems ages ago but I’ve recently returned from holiday during which I’m pleased to announce that I witnessed four sunny days in a row – a British record. Suitably flip-flopped and shorted-up when my girls came across tree surfing to replace our cancelled fishing trip (wrong sort of tide) my hand flew up in the air. Little did I know that it would involve making my way up a tree about 36,000 ft in the air and then balancing precariously on rope bridges as I made my way Indiana Jones style to the next tree (I use the term bridge very loosely). Once you started there was no way back and at one stage a traffic jam took shape behind a young lad who refused to leap off a tree minus a parachute into a rope net that was located in France.
Other highlights included; conquering Pew Tor on Dartmoor in the sunshine, camping with friends in North Devon, visiting Riverford Organics for a guided tour around the farm and a scrummy meal (whenever our guide looked away I was scrumping apples, plums, artichokes, tomatoes and sweet corn – only the rhubarb escaped my deep pockets), breaking my (world) record for eating Cornish pasties and visiting my good friends Anthony and Kathy Wills at their malt whisky distillery on the Isle of Islay – Kilchoman (read my wife’s review of this here). For anyone who doesn’t use SatNav head up to Scotland, go through Glasgow (tip, follow signs to the Erskine Bridge unless you want to finish up either in Glasgow town centre or back in Carlisle), skirt Loch Lomond and Loch Fyne and wend your way to the Islay ferry at Kennacraig on West Loch Tarbert. The Wills’ have built the first independent distillery on Islay for well over 100 years and by making clever use of the barley from the farm next door and the unique peat waters of Islay they have created a masterpiece. Islay itself is spectacular and even better it has a brilliant old-fashioned links golf course with lots of right-angled doglegs and blind shots adding to the challenge.
Another tip for anyone planning to visit England, avoid the M6 car park. I will never, ever complain about traffic in Dubai again. Whenever you see a traffic jam on the opposite carriageway in England the temptation is to gloat, don’t, your turn is coming soon, very soon.
Everyone we met in England seemed to have kids receiving news of their A level results. The whole country was awash with A* and people like me saying exams were much more difficult in my day. With many more highly qualified students than places at university, David Willets, the new minister for universities in the coalition government, hit upon a novel idea. His advice to the 170,000 school leaves who will be left without a place at university due to spending cuts; sixth formers who fail to secure a university place should start a business. Funds, experience, knowledge of the game all sprung to mind. Imagine a 17-year-old student walking into the Dragons Den trying to sell the mass production of false identities to the under 18s so they can blag their way into pubs.
An amusing local story that caught my eye the week before I left was a report in Arabian Business claiming 113% rise in number of interviews as companies search for employees.
True or false?
Best international story, in the wake of the Gulf oil spill is there have been 2,000 additional applications for commercial fishing licenses. Now that BP has exonerated itself from all blame those baddies at Transocean and Halliburton will have a lot of fun compensating all of the people who would have been successful fisherman if only.
More fun, penalty shoot outs as we all know are tense affairs. Take a look at what happens when a goalie celebrates a great save a wee bit on the premature side.
And talking of ‘while the cat’s away’, this video is what happens when you let loose 100 of them in an Ikea store. No joke.
No top 5 this week, simply my annual award for best Cornish pasty. This year it goes to an exceptional example of the pasty maker’s art, Ellis’s Bakery in Tavistock, Devon which has been going since 1907. Freshly baked on the premises, great pastry, perfect seasoning and cracking ingredients. In short, highly recommended and to all you Cornish bakers, raise your game!!