The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Marketing

Saturday, 16th January 2016

On the side of a bus I see an advert for rice. It asks, ‘Got enough turkey to last ‘till Easter?’

How can a piece of text that’s been scrutinised for weeks or months by dozens of graduates and is going to be printed in very large font on thousands of posters manage to combine two schoolboy errors in the rendering of a single word?

Till or until. One or the other, not both.

Monday, 7th December 2015

I click ‘unsubscribe’ on an email from Virgin Trains and am taken to a message saying,

Are you sure?
These service emails are designed to give you updates on your upcoming journeys. You’ve already unsubscribed from our lovely marketing emails (it still hurts).
If you still want to unsubscribe, please call our Customer Relations team on 0333 103 1031. Much love.

With much hate, I call the number. Every attempt is made to get rid of my call before it is answered, including an impertinent offer to fob me off on to National Rail (privatise the profits, nationalise the losses, eh readers?). While on hold, I’m treated to a looped selection of railway-themed pop, e.g. “The Day We Caught the Train” by Ocean Colour Scene, and “Last Train To Clarksville” by The Monkees. (Both songs whose appeal, beyond the cuttings of railwaydom, is that they sound like they’re by The Beatles but they aren’t.)

The call lasts for one hour, twenty-three minutes, and fifteen seconds. Most gallingly, Ocean Colour Scene, The Monkees, et al. are regularly interrupted by a message encouraging me to sign up to emails from Virgin Trains. When I finally get through, the man tells me that the instruction to call customer relations is erroneous and that he cannot unsubscribe me.

It still hurts.

Tuesday, 14th July 2015

I propose that the sincerity of food and drinks manufacturers be tested by looking at the ways in which they market products with regard to what this implies about their other products. For example, if low-fat Hellmann’s mayonnaise is ‘Lighter than Light’, then presumably that makes his full-fat version ‘Heavier than Heavy’; if, on the other hand, the full-fat is ‘Real’, then that makes the low-fat variety ‘Fake’. Light is not the opposite of real. One or the other, Herr Hellmann, not both.

To this end, I would welcome the following appearing on the shelves:

  • Coke Thirty-Nine™ (per cent of today’s sugar)*
  • Really Sugary Pepsi™
  • Heinz Pesticidal Beans™
  • Pointless Waitrose™
  • Tesco Worst™
  • Branston Derivative Chunk™
  • Lurpak Rock-Hard™ (a.k.a. Bread-Renderer™)
  • Duchy Originals Poor and Watery Unnatural Yoghurt™

* The slogan of Coke Zero is, ‘Because You Don’t Know Zero™ ‘Til You’ve Tried It.’ Clearly the marketing managers at the Coca-Cola Company don’t know zero, or they’d know what an apostrophe looks like, and that till and until are separate words.

Thursday, 9th April 2015

It occurs to me that the longstanding slogan of Homebase – ‘Make a house a home’ – takes the form Make a [U] —— a [non-U] ——. Might this be a fruitful source of slogans for other companies? Below are suggestions to submit to the appropriate marketing departments:

  • National Express: Make a bus a coach
  • John Lewis: Make a counterpane a coverlet
  • Halfords: Make a bike a cycle
  • Burton: Make a dinner jacket a dress-suit
  • Habitat: Make a looking-glass a mirror
  • Richer Sounds: Make a wireless a radio
  • Harrods: Make a table napkin a serviette
  • Patisserie Valerie: Make a pudding a sweet

Thursday, 5th March 2015

Click through, v.

Pronunciation: /klɪk θruː/
Etymology: < click v. + through adv.

1. Theoret. To access an advertiser’s website by clicking on an advertisement on another web page.
2. Pract. To access an advertiser’s website by (accidentally) clicking on an advertisement on another web page.

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