What's in store in 2012? Odd language leads to pretty useless advice - and my touchingly generous offer expires today
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:38
Posted by Drayton Bird at 19:06
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:00
As all but the blind and stupid know, the news is increasingly brought to us by glamorous lady newsreaders.
The reason may lie in research I saw 40 odd years ago into what attracts the eye. This may well help you in your marketing, by the way.
Men look more at women than at men, and women look more at women than men, but they look at babies even more.
This may explain a few relationship mysteries to us males, but that is not my purpose here. Go and check out http://dotsub.com/view/01ad2718-073c-474a-ac40-c7a72e199d55. It will explain one reason why most people in this country (and I suspect many others too) are not keen on the joys of the European community.
Another is that 45% of the community's money goes to subsidising two groups. First, rich farmers who don't need the money. Second, poor farmers who need the money because they are not very efficient ... and get it because they are large in number, many are in France and Germany, and they all vote.
After that, a far better European joke.
Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece.
The mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town.
When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor he wondered how he could afford it.
The Spaniard said "You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to build a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end this house could be built".
The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek Mayor's house - gold taps, marble floors - the lot.
When he asked how this could be afforded the Greek said; "You see that bridge over there?"
The Spaniard replied "No."
And finally, a Swiss-Welsh joke.
There is great stress placed on retaining the ancient language of Wales, which I applaud.
It does give rise to oddities, though, as they have made up words for things that didn't exist 700 years ago - e.g. toilet is toiled, or ty bach, and paper is papur.
Anyhow, after that boring stuff you don't really need to know, I was entertained to receive the other day this message: Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.
My Welsh is not what it was - I went to school in Wales, but only learnt rude words - but this means Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Why the sender, who works for a Swiss firm, imagines all his readers speak Welsh, I have no idea, but I would like to pass that message on to all readers in their respective languages - even my resident hissy old queen, Shannon O'Hara.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:47
While you were out celebrating, the fires of liberty were being extinguished, no doubt on the principle of "yes we can".
The U.S. Congress, abetted by Obama, has passed a Bill that means you can be arrested, thrown in jail, "questioned" for any reason or no reason at all. You don't have to be charged with anything. Don't waste time asking for your lawyer - or anyone else. They don't have to allow it, any more than they need read you your rights or provide any evidence.
And I might add that they also feel they have the right to do much the same thing anywhere in the world - to you or me. All this brings to mind nothing so much as the Spanish Inquisition, Stalin's Purges and Hitler's Germany.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:03
After Cameron's little squabble in Europe Mr. Clegg stamped his feet and said "We risk being a pigmy on the world stage".
What an EXCELLENT prospect. I love the idea of being a pigmy nation - like Switzerland or Norway. Sarkozy, being a genuine pigmy, naturally feels the other way round.
Mr. Clegg seems to have an almost unnatural desire to grab hold of the wrong end of the stick and beat everyone up with it.
Offhand the only sensible idea I can recall from this government is to restore tax breaks to people who marry. Clegg says it is a bad idea to “preserve the 1950’s marriage in aspic”.
As anyone with eyes to see and brains to use knows, one of our biggest nightmares today is teenage delinquency. And as we all (save Mr. Clegg and a few PC crackpots) also know,oceans of research and statistics show that children whose parents stay together are, on average, happier, less at risk and do better in life than the reverse.
One of my own greatest regrets is that my first marriage broke up. God save us from posturing fools after short term advantage at our families' expense.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 09:20
I read what follows this morning, so I have no idea whether it has come about.
However, I do know that years ago Tony "I gave Gadhafi a big wet kiss" the Bliar's flabby excuse for a government allowed the U.S. to whisk our citizens away and stick them in jail without trial or proof.
Memories are short, so you may not recall that this was part of Bambi Blair's campaign to insinuate his tongue as far up George W. Bush's arse as far as it could go. Anyhow, what goes around comes around, and it seems a Bill has come before the U. S. Senate that defines the whole of the United States as a ‘battlefield’ and allows the US Military to arrest American citizens in their own backyard without charge or trial.
“The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president — and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even US citizens could be swept up by the military, and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself,” writes Chris Anders of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
Under the ‘worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial’ provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which is set to be up for a vote on the Senate floor this week, the legislation will ‘basically, say in law, for the first time, that the homeland is part of the battlefield,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who supports the bill.
The bill was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) before being passed in a closed-door committee meeting without any kind of hearing. The language appears in sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA bill.
“I would also point out that these provisions raise serious questions as to who we are as a society and what our Constitution seeks to protect,” Colorado Sen. Mark Udall said in a speech last week. ‘One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on US soil. Section 1031, essentially, repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the US military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved.’
This means Americans could be declared domestic terrorists and thrown in a military brig with no recourse whatsoever. Given that the Department of Homeland Security has characterized behavior such as buying gold, owning guns, using a watch or binoculars, donating to charity, using the telephone or email to find information, using cash and all manner of mundane behaviors as potential indicators of domestic terrorism, such a provision would be wide open to abuse.
“American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely, without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?” asks Anders.
That report is taken from The Daily Reckoning. What follows is taken from the Bird postbag.
I have commented before on the rank stupidity of Dell's marketing, which is almost entirely based on discounting, a pretty good way to tell buyers your stuff isn't good enough to sell on its merits.
They do also have some copy, though. For instance, in an insert with my copy of The Week: "Give the gifts you wish you could hold on to."
When writing or reviewing copy it is wise to ask yourself questions like what the hell it means, and does it make any kind of sense. Do you hug your little computer to your chest? Are you worried that you might drop it down the toilet? Are you getting paid to write lines like that? Really? Why?
Another line in this insert is “Give the gifts they’ll love to open”. Why not “I saw Mummy kissing my Dell computer”?
I watched a programme about Steve Jobs last night, presented by that man who looks like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. I can just imagine what Jobs would have said about such rubbish.
Anyhow, the other thing interesting about Dell's leaflet is that they have one in every issue of The Week - but with no way I could see of properly measuring the results. Dumb.
Incidentally, I see this blog is being regularly reported in Facebook as abusive. What took so long?
Posted by Drayton Bird at 09:04
Yesterday I was on about the floppy-haired wunderkind J. P.Maroney.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 05:00
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:23
In New York the sun was shining. In Bristol it was pissing down. And in my flat it was going plonk, plonk, plonk into assorted buckets, bowls and pans.
Only the plants, which needed watering, have escaped.
Meanwhile in a website called London Loves Business it was raining jargon and cliché in the form of an ad from Harrow Council.
With the exception of property ads, recruitment advertising must surely be the worst.
But seriously, could anyone cram much more pretentious bosh into one small space than what follows? And what kind of person will apply? Someone who loves children? Or someone who talks bilge?
Here is the headline to the ad.
LSCB Senior Professional
Gripping, isn't it? It caught my eye because I had no idea what LSCB is. Nor, I bet do you.
More to the point, I suspect that anyone who does is probably divorced from the rest of humanity.
But if the headline was bad, just wait till you read the rest of the complacent self-praising disgraceful guff that follows
Support the groundbreaking new integrated Children’s Service in Harrow through innovative partnership working for the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB).
Play your part in a new model
In early 2012, we will launch a brand new operating model for Children’s Services – a radical transformation driven by a complete system re-design. This will be a seamless, fully integrated multi-agency service with one point of contact and a true team around the family. Our visionary approach is based on the firm foundations of evidence, best practice and extensive consultation.
Residents, partners and employees have informed the model’s development every step of the way. Joining us now will give you an important say in the detail and the development of service delivery as we continue on an ambitious journey to become the country’s best performing Children’s Service.
We are looking for an experienced safeguarding professional to work within the Quality Assurance and Service Improvement service to ensure efficient operation of LSCB and sub groups. You will have a key role in ensuring the efficient operation of LSCB meetings, sub groups and time limited task groups.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:57
A few people take the trouble to write to me and comment or suggest things, which I do appreciate.
Today my main challenge is to make a chili to poison the guests at my son Phil and his wife Megan's annual Christmas bash, but Robert Currey wrote to me about a (very good) blog by photographer Trey Ratcliff and asked what I thought.
Trey decided to measure the performance of his advertising in magazines - a blindingly obvious idea ignored by the fools in big firms who think marketing means just spraying money around at random with no regard to the results.
He concluded that print is now a waste of time. and we should throw everything on-line. Robert asked me if I agree. Here are some thoughts for you.
1. In the days back when I compared the ROI on advertising in trade mags with direct mail a couple of times. Direct mail did four times better. One reason, I think, is that most trade mags are tripe.
2. However, most advertising in mags is as bad as the editorial, so good ads work, as they shine out like good deeds in a naughty world.
3. Most people who use the internet haven't a clue and can't be bothered to study. It is NOT easy to understand. The water is muddied by thieving rogues who tell you all you need is either a) traffic b) good traffic c) be at the top of the Google rankings d) "my secret super launch formula" - that's made me a fortune out of mugs like you.
4. You must attract the right people - thousands of them; you must get them to give their details; you must follow them up with an endless series of messages - on auto-responder and otherwise - that are interesting, relevant and helpful enough to make them buy eventually. You must use all available channels (this one for example). A whole lot easier said than done when so few people can think clearly, write well, or even take the trouble to bloody count.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 13:45
By the time you read this I'll be winging my way across the Atlantic to sighs of relief here in the U.K. and moans of apprehension in the New York area.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 21:03
Posted by Drayton Bird at 14:56
A weasel, as all good copywriters know, is a word or expression that gives you a misleading impression of something, usually good, without actually lying.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:12
I'll tell about the picture in a minute as it may interest you.
But first, I am often amused by the way, at regular intervals, people tell you everything has changed, customers are getting smarter etc., etc.
Only this morning I read that a business expert, referring to the internet, and the great social media yawn-a-thon thinks “In this new world, we are more and more dependent on word-of-mouth.”
Sorry. It's all balls.
I regularly quote research conducted for Buick about 7 years ago which asked people what governed their choice of a new car. The chief reason given was word of mouth. (TV advertising, on which Buick were pissing away most of their money was given as least important, and boring old direct mail from dealers came second after word of mouth).
I will happily wager that word of mouth always has been and always will be the chief single reason why people buy things - or do things, for that matter. The internet just allows more people to sound off than ever before, and since most of what they say is rubbish, I'm not sure how much it helps.
I would imagine people are, if possible, getting more stupid, too.
Back in the '60's fashionable educational theory proposed that nobody should be allowed to fail. The real result has been that educational standards have been lowered to such a degree that in reality almost everyone does. This is not helped by the fact that governments fiddle things to make them look better than they are.
A big thing worth remembering about people was well put about 400 years by Sir Francis Bacon in one of his essays: "Men behave as they are accustomed". Our own marketing hero John Caples said "Times change. People don't"
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:15