Tag Archives: marketing

St Patrick was a Welsh boyo from Scotland!

I was having a healthy debate in the office with Aussie Susan (who was itching to head off to Irish Village to celebrate St Patrick’s Day at the time) about whether the English know when St George’s Day is when she threw in that St Patrick wasn’t in fact Irish.  She said it with absolute certainty and in the old days that would have been good enough; now we have the internet to check and indeed to tilt the odds at quiz nights. I stifled a ‘you are talking absolute nonsense’ and in two clicks uncovered that he was in fact Welsh or maybe even Scottish.  According to legend he was born in the still Welsh-speaking Northern Kingdom of Strathclyde of Romano-Brythonic stock, at Bannavem Taberniae. Others consider his birthplace to be in the south of Wales around the Severn estuary, or at St. Davids in Pembrokeshire.

Damned hard catch

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, rock and a hard place, catch 22, which is your favourite?   My guess is most people’s vision of a no fly zone would have seen allied planes buzzing around high in the sky making sure there were no bandits hiding behind the sun.  As a result the barrage unleashed by the coalition of the willing which includes the UAE came as a bit of a surprise. I didn’t realise that a no fly zone actually meant a no drive zone.

Most sane people want Gaddafi to go sooner rather than later.  Or maybe not as the German’s, Russians and Chinese seem to be perfectly happy living with a murderous dictator.  Germany, which opposes a no-fly zone, remains sceptical about the value of military action. In an interview Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said Berlin remained strongly opposed to any military intervention in Libya or the use of air strikes against Gaddafi.

Westerwelle words of wisdom, “Your own instinct is to say ‘We have to do something’ but there are non-force options that could still be used against Libya, including ‘targeted sanctions, political pressure and international isolation.”

It seems to have escaped Mr Westerwelle’s attention that Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years and spent a lot of it living with sanctions and isolation during which he sponsored terrorism and initiated many atrocities including Lockerbie.  He’s very mad and very bad . . . and the way his LSE educated boys are shaping up things can only get worse.

So all things considered I’m happy to live with being a western imperialist provided the people of Libya get the opportunity to be rid of Gaddafi and share in Libya’s huge wealth.

Turning swiftly to Iraq, Saddam also had to go, the big mistake was not to plan the peace (same mistake after WW1, one that was learnt from when WW2 came to an end).  Let’s never forget Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds.  On March 16, 1988 Iraqi warplanes flew over the Kurdish town of Halabja releasing chemical weapons. Within an hour, over 5,000 innocent men, women and children died on the streets. He also persecuted the Marsh Arabs and the UN estimates that up to 60,000 were killed after the uprising in 1991.

The French are the new champs of gung-ho

I mistakenly thought the French had gone all soft and cuddly.  Very wrong.  First up they got trigger happy in the skies over Libya then some madman climbed the Burj Khalifa.  Apparently they made Alain Robert wear a safety harness just to be on the safe side of crazy.

Spidrerman climbing the Burj Khalifa

How far can you stretch a brand?

This is a very good subject for marketing types.  Without even realising it you are surrounded by brands that started life as one thing before spreading their tentacles in a million different directions.  I noticed a Ferrari Dell computer the other day and thought that’s seriously wrong.  A mainstream computer brand and a high performance car, nah.  Some brand extensions however are perfect  (e.g. Dennis the Menance comics and lunch boxes – the latter abandoned by my daughters, adopted by me), my favourite this week comes with the news that Robinson’s are going to be making sweets.  I can almost taste them and everything about the new product is right; similar target audience, similar ingredients, similar retail channels etc

Robinson fruit drink

How safe is Dubai?

I think most people who live in Dubai would say that it’s a pretty damn safe place to live however according to the British Embassy visiting Dubai as a tourist is a risky business. Brits are more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world.  That’s because we are the worst race in the world for getting drunk and behaving badly.

Drunk Man

Drunk Brits

All power to your elbow

How good is the new Elbow album?

On the recommendation of Tony Dodds (it’s a lot quiety was Tony’s description – opposite of a bit shouty) and a decent review in the Guardian we have been listening to the new Elbow album in the office – build a rocket boys!  Below is our rating:

Susan ****

Eve ***

Hoda ****

Me **

Overall, very mellow, a good alternative to counting sheep.

Top five mad ‘uns

My top five this week is madder than mad people who are still alive.

  • French Spiderman
  • Muammar Gaddafi (pic below with his plastic surgeon)
  • Eric Cantona
  • Ian Holloway
  • Charlie Sheen

Moammar Ghadafi and his plastic surgeon

What would a blog not be complete without?

Sport of course, having nearly made it to the end of my blog without covering this all important subject to compensate for the lack of coverage I will leave you with one of my all time favourite sporting pictures.

England Rugby Fox On Field

Leave a comment

Filed under Observations

Tough call for the Americans

Egyptian protesters

I’m not sure anyone has quite worked out yet how far the people’s revolution can spread through the Arab World.  For those of us that witnessed the fall of communism it was quite astonishing watching the former Soviet bloc countries fall like dominoes with the fleeing or execution of some very unpleasant dictators.  The President of Tunisia saw the writing on the wall and cut and ran PDQ, President Mubarak won’t give up power that easily but there are a lot of unhappy people in Egypt and Cairo is a city of 20 million plus people which equals a lot of people-power.  Whichever side the army supports as the situation unfolds will determine the outcome.  Now comes news that Yemen is catching the bug and who knows where it will end.  My guess is the GCC will be unaffected, most of the countries have small, wealthy, highly privileged local populations and the expats are not entitled to get involved.  My only slight niggle is Saudi where there large numbers of disaffected youth but the importance of religion in their culture will almost certainly keep any discontent in check.

The Americans are now between a rock and a hard place.  As the world champions of democracy they welcomed the collapse of the communist world but now they have the dilemma that undemocratic countries are their allies.  Do they cheer the people on or offer covert advice and lend a few of their operatives to crush the people’s revolution?  Maybe Wikileaks could throw some light on this one.

Egyptians protesters

HSBC announces sale, time to fill your boots!

Having got that off my chest it’s time to return to marketing, my specialist subject.  I’ve been having a very interesting dialogue with HSBC this week.  Some of you may have noticed that HSBC is having their FIRST EVER SALE.  Now it’s my opinion that bank and sale simply don’t go together and I put this to a representative of the bank and he really couldn’t see my problem.  Resisting the urge to say it’s beedin’ obvious I resorted to reasoned argument.  In my book a sale is when the owner of goods or services offers discounts to attract buyers, a tactic that is typically used to boost sales and get rid of excess stock.  Banks by contrast are meant to take deposits and lend money, that’s their job pure and simple.  They make money on the difference between the interest rate they pay on deposits and earn on loans.

Now you will remember the financial meltdown that is still having a huge impact around the world, without going too deep into the causes, it was triggered by the excessive risk-taking of banks.  Lesson learned and you would expect a return to good governance and conservative banking practices, instead we have a bank throwing a huge amount of money at publicising a sale on products like credit cards, loans and mortgages!  If that isn’t encouraging people to take on debt I don’t know what is.  I have invited HSBC to reply to my observations, hopefully they are not too busy calculating their bonuses to reply.

HSBC sale ad

What is a brand?

Staying with marketing, I had an interesting conversation with two very nice ladies from a charity we are supporting by providing our services at a heavily discounted rate (i.e. free).  They do voluntary work for Senses, a charitable organisation that helps children with special needs.  We got to talking about brands and they thanked us for the logo we have designed for them, at which point our branding guru, a certain Nameer Kanderian, explained a logo is all good and proper but a brand is much, much more.  The essence of his argument was if you think of a person as a brand then the logo is the clothes they wear.  This creates a first impression, but there is so much more to the person.  Now one of the ladies was posh spice and the other sporty spice so if we judged them just on the clothes they were wearing we would never have guessed they are both kind, considerate, generous people who are totally committed to giving back. My guess is whenever they are deciding whether or not to do something they will subconsciously be making a judgement against their value set.  This is what a brand should do.  For example, the essence of Apple is Think Different and they live this in everything they do from the people they employ, to the products they sell to the retail shops we visit.

There endeth the branding lesson by a non expert.  If you would like to know more Nameer is your man.  He is also the person who when I asked about the 10km last weekend, namely did he manage to dodge the traffic queues into Media City, his reply was, ‘oh, I ran from my home’ (in somewhere like Abu Dhabi) ‘to the start’.

All time top 5s and the return of the Gang of Four

Having done my top 5s for 2010 a few people (one actually) asked me whether I had seen or heard anything in 2010 to change my all time top 5s. After a couple of seconds thought the answer was a resounding no.

Click this link to find out my top 5s of all time

Last week Gang of Four released their first album for sixteen years (or thereabouts).  On the off-chance anyone out there is also a fan you can hear the stream by clicking the link below.


Gang of four

It always makes my day when someone pitches in below, so feel free to comment.


Filed under Observations