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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Another classic from the Daily Mash


THE government has outlined plans to monitor all of Britain's email traffic, covering everything from penis enlargement to Lindsey Lohan straddling a Labrador.

The only internet traffic exempt will be Ministry of Defence communications, NHS data transfers and anything that comes to or from the inbox of an MP, even if it has a JPEG attachment entitled 'Freaky Japanese Scat'.

IT expert Julian Cook said: "Sorry, I must have misheard. Did you say all the internet traffic in the UK? Are you fucked up?

"An elderly crofter living on a Hebridean sheep farm generates enough porn-related clicks to keep an IT worker busy for a year.

"Your average ADD office worker clicking their Facebook page like a starved lab rat on the food button would take more people than are currently alive in the world."

Civil rights campaigner Nikki Hollis said: "It's like that book by Orwell. Not the one with the pigs, the one set in the 1980s. What was it called?

"Anyway, the point is, if I update my Twitter page every eight seconds, then that's nobody's business but my own and the seven people who follow me. Hi Debs. CU l8ter. LOL."

But a Home Office spokesman insisted: "Nikki Hollis' ongoing Twitter status is very much the business of government. We need to be able to respond effectively the moment we intercept intelligence which suggests she has just eaten a Kit Kat and is beginning to regret it.

"And as for the gigantic amount of sexually explicit material that will be collected, you do know the home secretary is Jacqui Smith, right?"

By the way, Lindsay Lohan did not straddle a Labrador - not her thing. She prefers girls.

Having said that, I just noticed that our free home improvements secretary is called "The Right Honourable Jacqi Smith." Some mistake, surely.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Yours for £65,000 in The Guardian Jobs section ... just in case you're wondering how they're STILL pissing your money away

The only real requirement is that you can sit in meetings all day talking total bollocks, as follows.

Assistant Directors of Strategy Development (G6) 3 posts

Ref: CS6010

You will lead strategy development in your area; embedding robust strategic action plans and working closely with senior and board-level staff. These are important ambassadorial roles where you’ll be working on high-profile programmes in a complex environment. So it’s vital that you can find your feet quickly.

You will have the ability to develop a clear vision and lead its development and communication to a wide audience. There’ll be a highly skilled strategy development team to manage, plus strategic delivery partners to liaise with. You will be working with teams across IPS and also Home Office Strategy teams to develop a shared agenda.

You should have previous experience of developing and introducing business strategies, and building programmes from scratch, drawing on your quick mind and first-class interpersonal skills. Political astuteness, personal gravitas and a gift for communication will help you negotiate and gain buy-in to strategy options.

What unadulterated drivel. You don't need a "strategy" to issue passports, you wankers. I use the word advisedly, as we're talking about a department of the Home Office, which is next door to the Department of Barbecue and Porn Procurement, Head of Corporate Strategy. J. Smith.

And there are plenty more where that came from: e.g. Strategy Development Managers (G7) Central London - £52,075 + benefits; Strategy Development Analysts (SEO) Central London - £36,412 + benefits; Regional Head of Housing and Economic Development - London Region Up to £70K plus regional allowances (where applicable) (More may be paid for exceptional candidates).

That's £195,000 PLUS benefits pissed away on the first set of jobs. At least a million altogether.The "mission" of the first trio of time-wasters is to "safeguard identity whilst being a trusted and preferred provider of identity services. This means developing and providing the infrastructure to enable you to prove your identity in a convenient and secure manner and to protect your identity."

For that it seems you need a "Strategy Development team responsible for four main areas: corporate strategy; National Identity Service (NIS) strategy; benefits realisation strategy; and safeguarding identity strategy. We’re looking for outstanding professionals to work and lead in these fast moving, exciting and challenging areas."

Here's how to save a few billion straight off. Fire, and don't hire, anyone whose job can't be described in plain English. This applies to the public sector and any firm with more than 150 people, which is about the number of people the Foreign Office employed when Britain ran a fair portion of the world 150 years ago.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

If this doesn't make you laugh, seek professional help


Thank you, Greg Waggett - (if anyone wants to know what it's really like to be at the sharp edge in some of the world's worst places, read Greg's book "In My Blood".)

"British MEP accused of fraud and false accounting" - oh, really?

The poor bastard in question is called Wise, and I just read about these charges.

It is grossly unfair, not to say bizarre that anyone in the European parliament should be accused of this offence. I nearly fell out of bed when I read about the poor fellow's predicament.

To those not blessed with living in the said community I should explain that as a rule it is expected - no, required - that all MEPs vigorously support, endorse, indulge in, nay enthusiastically propagate such activities. They are part of the European parliamentarian's remit, in the same way that, say, a U.S. congressman is expected to be a thieving bastard.

Mr Wise must think the whole thing is some kind of insane practical joke at his expense.

Every year, without fail, for as far back as I can remember, the degree of fraud and false accounting is such that the auditors, rather than endorse the accounts of the great European boondoggle, state without equivocation that they are a pack of lies.

Anyone working for the European Commission who draws attention to this sort of thing is fired as a matter of course - even if they've been employed to keep things clean. They have all but ratified a treaty which is nothing but a fraudulent attempt to foist on citizens something which has been repeatedly rejected in popular vote. Rather like the man who, when his doctor tells him he is about to die, says "I want a second opinion. And if that doesn't come out right, a third."

I would have expected Mr. Wise to get some sort of Euro-commendation for setting the kind of example that should be followed by all who wish to carve out a successful career in politics. Maybe even pudding-faced Jacqui "not quite as good as a quick wank" Smith should be sending him e-mails for hints on how to get a few more home-improvements at our expense.

And certainly the Great One-Eyed Toad should be asking him up to Downing Street for free drinks and a big wet kiss. After all, The Bloat has been vigorously engaged in fraudulent accounting since 1997. It was he and Bliar who promised us a referendum on the European con I just mentioned, then withheld it.

Actually, I prefer crooks to idiots. What kind of shit-for-brains loony thinks that, having buried us all in the biggest financial hole in 80 years, they should not just keep pissing away public money on gay, lesbian and transgendered orgy coordinators, but actually spend more in the next year?

You and I, who live in the real world, don't just make up the figures as we go along. We know that if our income goes down, we just spend less. What is wrong with the pumpkin-headed smirking fuckwit? My partner Ian's dopey Labrador Moose has more sense.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Today's quiz

When I first started speaking in public I used to stand up and talk my head off - rather like a politician really.

Then eventually some kind soul said, "Would you make it a little more interactive, please?"

Well, I ignored them because words like interactive are just a load of old corporate bollocks. But when I eventually grasped that they meant the audience should be encouraged to join in, I thought that was O.K. - and they've been interrupting me ever since.

So, here is today's interactive opportunity, restricted to those who are blessed with living in the tattered remnants of this country.

The Great Lying Toad has decided that since so many politicians have been caught stealing money, they should all be given £200 a day for turning up in parliament to do what they're already paid for anyhow.

Very sensible. The best idea (actually, the only even remotely good idea) he's ever had. At least we'll know how much we're being ripped off for.

Your starter for one: if it's going to cost £200 a day for them to turn up, how much should we pay to get them not to bother? £400? £700? £1,000? It's your call.

Next question: how much would it be worth coughing up to get the Toad himself to fuck off back to wherever he came from? Only answers with seven noughts after them qualify.

Final question: how much pension do you think he deserves? Only answers in pence per decade qualify.

It's not really my problem, to be honest, as I'll be dead long before you lot have finished working to repay the cost of his financial mastery. I'm just curious.

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Bliar at it again

I quote without comment from "The Oldie" newsletters - an offspring of that excellent magazine, which you don't have to be as senile as me to enjoy.

"Although he has been a Roman Catholic only for a year or so, Tony Blair already feels confident to speak on behalf of millions of what he calls "ordinary Catholics" throughout the world.

Thus in an interview for a gay magazine with The Independent's Johann Hari, Blair takes issue with the Pope's old-fashioned hostility to homosexuals which he says is out of touch with today's forward-looking generation.

Whether they agree with him or not, the church's leaders are unlikely to welcome Blair's highly publicised pontifications on matters religious.

They must be aware that their new convert is in the eyes of the majority of people in this country a discredited figure held personally responsible for the deaths of British servicemen and women following the invasion of Iraq, an operation he justified with a number of patently false statements.

Blair has never once showed the slightest sign of remorse for his actions and continues to insist that he did only what he thought was right. It's hard to see how he reconciles that self- righteous complacency with membership of a church that calls on its followers to confess their failings and make amends. Perhaps Blair would regard such an approach, like the attitude to gays, as yet another old-fashioned tradition which means little in the modern world and which ought to be jettisoned. As also the church's teaching that the relentless pursuit of wealth and possessions (as exemplified in Mr and Mrs Blair) is contrary to Christian principles."

We should never forget that, if Brown is a low, incompetent, lying shit, the Bliar is, if anything, a bigger one. But can either hold a candle to the ex-premier of Israel, Ehud Olmert, currently charged with corruption?

Whilst he was swanning around on other people's money he persistently (and illegally) made sure that most of the cash given by Germany to help concentration camp survivors was denied them and snaffled instead by the state. He is about to have the best cancer treatment money can buy. They are reduced to choosing between food and medicine.

There is a sobering parallel between these tragic survivors' present situation and what they suffered all those years ago - and Israel would never have had nearly as much sympathy sixty years ago but for these victims of the Nazis. They made their country possible. Now their own leaders betray them.

Surely they deserve to live out their last days in better style than a corrupt politician.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Cheers, Rod

Back in December 1985, I ran (or tried not to interfere in other people running) Britain’s biggest direct marketing agency.

We were being courted by many of the big groups – I think we had conversations with eight of the top twenty. Eventually it came to make-your-mind-up time.

We had two choices. Grey Advertising and Ogilvy and Mather. We went and had dinner with Grey, who were making the better financial offer.

Their main negotiator was rather aggressive. He kept asking why we would want to stick around once the deal was done.

This was stupid for three reasons. First, we had to, as it was in the contract. Second, the question impugned our honesty. Third, we had pride in our reputation..

So I went to the toilet with my partner, and suggested we should tell them to fuck off, which we did.

Ogilvy and Mather were gentlemen. They had strong beliefs – especially in educating their people. They stood for something.

The other people stood for nothing except making money. So we did a deal with Ogilvy.

I made a lot of money – which I no longer have. The person who, very largely, made this possible was a very talented young man called Rod Wright.

The chief reason for his success was an ability to motivate, a very good mind, a great sense of fun which he communicated to all of us (he is the only person I know whose shenanigans got him a full page in the Sun newspaper) and an eagerness to take on any challenge.

He was amazingly good at getting new business. This was uncanny. I cannot explain quite how he did it, as he was one of the most hesitant speakers I have ever met.

For five or six years we were very close. Then we each went off in different directions, into the corporate stratosphere.

This week he died suddenly. A dreadful shame. In a world of corporate drones, he made the right kind of difference.

Cheers, Rod.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Does this compute to you? Or, can you count? No? Thought not.

Do you think an advertising spend of $1 million that gets $1.28 million in retail sales is a great investment?

Think about it before you answer.

In AdAge's online mag, with breathless excitement, it was suggested on this basis that "outlays on social networks by package-goods brands can result in offline sales impact and deliver positive return on investment."

Depends on what you mean by positive. Positive if you don't have to do a few trivial things like getting the raw materials, then making, packaging, selling-in, distributing, displaying and retailing your stuff.

I think grown-ups know that no sane firm planning to stay in business for another few days spends a dollar to get $1.28 in sales. Grown-ups know that in the sector mentioned, Consumer products, 7.9:100 was the last quoted average from leading authority Schonfeld & Associates. Not 100:128.

But just in case you think nobody could be that stupid, the people who wrote this report said, "by the measure that matters most, sales, the campaign appeared to pay off nicely. It produced $1.28 million in offline sales."

If you found a way of wasting money to that degree, then knew so little you boasted about it, any normal boss would throw you out in the street. But of course, we all know social media are THE thing and marketers are like sheep.

In the favourite phrase of my old boss David Ogilvy, "Stupid bastards."

Or to put it more simply a great many people in marketing haven't the vaguest vestige of a clue. I blame the schools. Bring back arithmetic.

Barack Obama visits a Glasgow hospital

I fear this will only be appreciated by those of Caledonian extraction with a sense of humour - i.e., everyone except the Great Flatulent Toad.

Barack enters a ward of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness,

He greets one, who replies:

Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm,
As langs my airm.

Obama is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient, who responds:

Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit.

Even more confused, his grin now rictus-like, the President moves on to
the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

Wee sleekit, cowerin, timorous beasty,
O the panic in thy breasty,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle

Now extremely troubled, Obama turns to the accompanying doctor and asks, 'Is this a psychiatric ward?'

'No,' replies the doctor, 'this is the serious Burns unit.'

Another Steve Crittall classic

A stroke of genius at Marketing Week! They get rid of the only thing worth reading

For over ten years, at varying intervals, I wrote a column for Marketing magazine.

Such are the vagaries of human memory that some people still think I do – even though I haven’t for nearly ten years.

Eventually I wrote something so rude about a friend of the proprietor’s that they fired me, and I was replaced by a business school professor.

It was not a bad move, as besides being younger than me, with good looks and lots of hair, he is – unlike all most all his confreres - an excellent writer, and more subtle in his insults than I ever was. .

But during the period when I wrote my column, there were only two writers on marketing whom I admired and envied.

One was Jeremy Bullmore, former chairman of J. Walter Thompson, whose sharp intelligence and feline wit never fail to delight and amuse.

The other was Iain Murray, who, week after week, hilariously exposed the follies of the marketing industry, treating it with the contempt so many practitioners so richly deserve.

Compared to the tedious literary ullage that composed the rest of the magazine he shone out like a good deed in a naughty world. He was, by far, the only thing worth reading in its pages.

I never held a candle to him. Week after week In would read his stuff and chortle happily.

Now, I hear, they have fired him. Lunatics.

You do not save a publication (or product) by degrading it; a fact which many firms should bear in mnd in these tricky times

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A timely reminder for the resident rogues

The gentleman on the left is Oliver Cromwell, whose speech on the Dissolution of the Long Parliament given to the House of Commons on 20th April 1653 was sent to me by my friend Ian Dewar.

Cromwell was an utter shit, as anyone from Ireland can probably tell you, but he did have the House of Commons totally pegged, and threw the lot of them out after giving this speech.

See if you recognise anything here. And if you aren't British but think a lot it of might apply to politicians in your country, well, I wouldn't be surprised

"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone!

You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us be done with you. In the name of God, go"

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vandals unmasked - and criminals protected by idiots

This is Robert Davis, the living, breathing cultural disaster who heads the committee that thinks a blank grey oblong looks better than a work of art worth quite a lot of money.

Besides the fact that he should have his trousers pulled down and be soundly spanked for causing the destruction of communal assets and replacing them with ... nothing, just look at that absurd tie. Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about his taste?

Then look at the face. What kind of person do you suppose lurks behind that smug facade?

Now, reflect on what he does. He is a local politician. Imagine what it takes to be NOT GOOD ENOUGH to be a national politician, or human cockroach, as we know them to be.

What is frightening is that this man - as you can see from his bio on the Westminster Council website - is not stupid in things other than taste. He's been busy crawling his way up the ladder of slime that leads to success in our hopelessly screwed up society. He is the deputy leader of Westminster Council. (If you don't live her, that includes much of what you think of as London - like the Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and so on.)

One of the other people who voted to remove the mural is called Susie Burbidge. She's on the Public Arts Advisory Panel. How the hell did that happen? Is she into flying ducks? What advice does she give? Does she really think mud is prettier than pictures? Has she a brain hidden beneath her pretty little blonde locks? Apparently not.

If someone advising on Arts thinks it's a good idea to destroy art, what next? Maybe the people in charge of the police should go around at dead of night beating people up. (Not that the police need any help in that area - more on that in a moment).

The other bloke responsible for this piece of cultural folly is Tim Mitchell. He's a member of The National Arts Collection Fund. With friends like Tim and Susie, do the arts need any enemies?

Back to the Nazis: one of their missions was to destroy art Adolf didn't approve of. I have no idea whether Banksy is a great artist, but people who know about these things think he may be.

One thing is sure: people were coming from all over the place to take pictures of the mural. Maybe they sensed what might happen. And people in the area who were asked about the mural were almost universally favourable. It is the job of people in local government to reflect what locals want.

The buffoon Davis and his cohorts failed to do so. They did not even ask anyone who works or lives around there. They destroyed something that had value and gave pleasure.

Hard to believe. Unless you reflect on this. A criminal policeman who two days ago viciously caused the death of a poor man was captured by the camera of a passer-by. He might otherwise have got away with it. New legislation makes it illegal to take pictures of police. Do the fools who run things here EVER engage brain before legislating?

Adolf would feel at home here: he really would. Mr. Davis and the other elected dictators in this country might like to think about that for a minute.

A touching tale for the young at heart

A fireman is polishing his fire engine outside the fire station when he notices a little girl next door in a little red cart with little ladders hung on the side and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle.

The little girl is wearing a fireman's helmet and has the cart tied to a dog and a cat.

The fire-fighter walks over to take a closer look: 'That's a lovely fire engine,' he says admiringly.

'Thanks,' says the little girl. The fireman looks closer and notices the little girl has tied one of the cart's strings to the dog's collar and one to the cat's testicles.

'Little colleague,' says the fire-fighter, 'I don't want to tell you how to run your fire engine, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat's collar, I think you could probably go a lot faster.'

The little girl pauses for a moment, looks at the wagon, at the dog and at the cat, then shyly looks into the fireman's eyes and says:

'You're probably right, but then I wouldn't have a fucking siren, would I?'

Thank you, Steve Crittall, you are an ornament to Soho society

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

It's vanished! Did the council Gestapo remove it?

Almost exactly a year ago, to my huge delight, this Banksy mural appeared on the wall next to the Post Office depot at the end of Newman Street, where my office is.

Banksy's stuff sells for as much as £250,000, it was a wonderful splash of colour - and I like the political comment. So what happened next? Some constipated arsehole from Westminster Council said it was defacing the building and should be removed.

I have no views on whether it's a great work of art, but it has to be 1000 times better than a blank wall. And a blank wall is what it now is. It has vanished. Maybe it was removed by the creep in question. I'm sure this apparatchik - had he been alive at the time, if indeed he has ever been alive - would have taken one look at the Cistine Chapel and had the ceiling whitewashed.

Does anyone know his name? Such pustules on the body politic should be named and shamed.

Now am I surprised he's a crook, too? No. But should we just put up with it?

When the Nazi leaders at the end of the war were tried, the prosecutors bent some of the rules.

Nobody lost too much sleep over that. They were criminals, everyone could see, just as Pol Pot and his followers were, just as Mugabe is.

There are some things you just recognise - like beauty. And crime.

No; I'm not in the least bit surprised that Eyebrows Darling, current guardian of our nation's financial probity, is ripping us all off on phoney expenses for homes he doesn't need and makes a profit from, any more than I'm surprised that most of the people in parliament are doing the same including the Great Bloat Who Is Too Busy Saving The Universe To Learn To Count.

They all say "but I am not breaking any rules." Nor were any of the people who ran Auschwitz and Belsen. They were just following orders. And who made the orders? The criminals in charge.

Who has made the orders that allow all these politicians to steal millions? They did. They are in charge. And they are crooks.

It is not good enough to say others are worse. Yes; they have bigger crooks in the U.S. They have much bigger crooks in Italy and Russia. They have much, much bigger crooks infesting all Africa. It is a matter of setting an example.

The failure to set an example is destroying our society. And we should make an example of the people who fail to set an example, because whatever the law says, these people are crooks. The Home Secretary is ultimately in charge of the police force. She is a crook. No wonder the police feel it is O.K. to kill an innocent news vendor as they did the other day. If their boss doesn't have to answer for her actions, why should they?

Geoffrey Hoon - the Transport Minister - is a bigger crook. (Did you know that "hoon" is Aussie slang for a pimp? Very appropriate.)

Nor are they all from one party. Scots M.P. Malcolm Bruce who got £50,000 for one ten day trip to China is a Lib Dem crook. Red-faced speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin is supposed to be above party (which he isn't) and he certainly isn't above claiming phoney expenses. He is a crook.

When Smoothie-Chops Cameron pretends to be riding a bike to work but is followed by a car, he is dishonest. He is a crook. When they all fly off to jaunts described as fact-finding tours, they are dishonest. They are crooks. When the jaunts are to do with saving the planet they are doubly crooks - and taking the piss.

A country gets the politicians it deserves. What have we done to deserve this lot?

Monday, 6 April 2009

Measured reaction to economic crisis

I see that Ministers are not being panicked by the economic crisis, because for them there isn't one.

Porqui "My old man's a wanker" Smith billed taxpayers £40 for a barbecue in her second home - no doubt on the grounds that "every little helps". Imagine what would happen if the Inland Revenue caught you or me doing this.

Mind you she says she is "just about 100% sure" she did not claim for it. What would that be then, dearie? 93% sure? 77% sure? Not sure at all because you're chronically dishonest? Isn't that the second home you're ripping us off for in the first place? Does your "parliamentary aid" get boxes of tissues on expenses? Are you sure? How sure?

Anyhow, there are more important things for the good and great to focus on than the Home Secretary being dishonest or the country going down the pan. The other day I was relieved to see that the Almighty Bloat has warned the North Koreans to mend their ways. Has this reduced the rogues to shuddering fear, with The Beloved Leader fleeing to the hills in panic? Or did they just say, "Who gives a shit?" at the thought of being threatened by the Western world's worst economic manager? Maybe they just said, "Gordon Who? Oh, that pompous fool."

At home I read that many menus are to incorporate calorie counts: a wise strategic move that should kick-start the economy. The last place I saw anything like that on a menu was in Krakow - on an old menu left over from the communist era. But then surely you have noticed that in everything it does this government has emulated the Stalinist approach, right down to driving the country into bankruptcy.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Baldrick approach to running things

When I read the news this morning it suddenly occurred to me that the only way to describe this government is to say that it has the Baldrick approach to problems.

British readers will recognise Baldrick, shown here, as the buffoonish sidekick of Blackadder in the TV series. Whenever problems cropped up, Baldrick always said "I have a cunning plan" which invariably turned out to be half-witted.

So, now that every business is groaning under the weight of producing money to pay for all the idiotic initiatives, billion pound computer programmes that don't work, hordes of termite-like unproductive bureaucrats, theft by ministers and MPs (it turns out that we're paying for three homes for one particularly avarious wretch called Hoon) a new piece of lunacy has landed in our laps.

Now parents are to allowed even more time off to recover from the ordeal of having babies. I remember well what a trauma it was for me. I used to keep fainting at my typewriter from the emotional strain of it all. This is, of course, time off employers will be paying for.

However, no worries, because EU regulations to be introduced will make it illegal for us all to work more than 48 hours a week. This, it is estimated, will cost us £11.9 billion a year, screw up the hospitals and fire service. And land me in jail.

I actually remember visting a firm in Germany a few years ago, where they explained to me that to get round this insane regulation they used to work in secret after 6 o'clock with half the lights turned off.

That won't happen here. Whilst elsewhere in Europe they know it's a farce and only obey the rules when it suits them our idiots will hire an army of snoops to make sure we don't cheat.

At this rate in a few years about one person in ten in this country will be doing things that make money and the other nine will be paid to snoop. "Are you sorting out your garbage properly?" "Are you stopping work when you should?" "Don't park there." "Remove that Christmas tree, it will offend minorities." And so on.

Even Baldrick would have known it makes no sense.

By the way, how come nobody's suggested we put a statue up in Parliament Square to the Blessed Jade Goody?

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Garbage in, garbage out

That's an old acronym from the computer business you probably recognise.

It sprang to mind not in the context of the mountain of half-truths concocted by the G20 cronies to kid us they are doing anything as a result of their mutual back-slapping, but because of a nagging professional interest

I just keep asking myself if by any chance the recession will get rid of the mountains of sloth, ignorance and stupidity in the form of human garbage that infects the marketing industry.

I wonder about this in a spirit of hopeful, but not optimistic enquiry. Not optimistic because here is a typical example of what happens every day all over the world.

My Australian partner, Malcolm Auld, is one of the best known figures in the industry there. His book, Direct Marketing Made Easy is a required text. For twenty odd years he's been speaking (very entertainingly) all over the country and in much of South East Asia on the subject.

I've even shipped him over here a couple of times and stooped to stealing one or two of his better jokes. So here's what happened to him not long ago

He was asked by an organisation to tender for some work – quite a substantial series of projects. Let him tell the story.

"They wanted full costings, typical timelines and potential discounts (creative and print) for briefing all jobs at once.

We submitted a tender because we’re already doing a major job for them.

They ask us to a meeting to answer questions, which I confirmed by e-mail because I wanted to make sure they weren’t looking for credentials.

We get there and they point to the data projector for our presentation. I say, 'but you confirmed we were here to answer your questions – how long would you like me to speak about myself?'

There were 5 women there. The lady leading it was English. Her first question was: 'How long does it take you to get the reverse brief back to us, where you convert our brief into your creative brief?'

Apparently that’s the usual way she works - obviously spent too much time in big agency land and has been convinced by her agency that clients cannot write briefs."

(Incidentally, I've never heard of this reverse briefing crap. Obviously an ingenious new way of wasting time and money whilst trotting out another piece of pretentious jargon)

"Then the events manager wants to know what qualifications I have in direct marketing."

(That was the bit that got me. Here's one of the very best known direct marketers in Australia, who's written the book - and this silly cow's never heard of him.)

Mal goes on:

"Then they tell us that only one of them has even read our tender response, so can we elaborate on it as they haven’t had time to read it."

(Interesting. No time to do the one thing they should have done; plenty of time to demonstrate their idleness and ignorance in a meeting).

"Then when I ask why they are changing agencies, they tell us they haven’t decided if they want to change agencies. Yet 4 agencies were meeting with them that day to pitch their business.

None of them knew we were already working with them and it was their Director who recommended we be put on the list for the tender."

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? How did they all find enough time to attend a meeting but not enough to do five minutes' homework?

I might add that this business of "tendering" is absurd. You can't evaluate this stuff on price. You're not building a bloody motorway, you fools. Only the results matter. So a test is the easiest, cheapest and only sensible approach.

How do these people get jobs?